I should probably mention that the title of this blog is not a marketing ploy by Steve Jobs, but somewhat of an accident: my first-choice titles (What's that sound? and What's that noise?) were already taken. OTOH, it's not entirely an accident - I do most of my listening on the iPod, in the car or in lab, so this piece of metal is a pretty prominent part of my relationship with music.
I do not endorse Apple or their products. I never used other mp3 players, so no superiority for the iPod is implied. However, I must say that I am pretty happy with mine (a second-gen 10Gig iPod); it must be a single object I never leave home without.
One annoying quirk of the iPod is that it cannot be treated as an external hard drive where drag-and-drop is enough; iPod needs a program mediating between the mp3 player and the computer. I have a general mistrust of the proprietory software, so I do not use iTunes for Windows. There are several third-party programs for the Windows-iPod interface; I only tried EphPod and stuck with it. There are no pop-up windows that try to sell you something, it does not contact a remote host to relay my listening preferences, it does not mess with my registry, and that's what matters. It is very good for my purposes, although it does not support some of the functions on the new iPods, namely there is no image or video support.
Another iPod quirk is that it does not recognise file names or folder structure, but only the file tags. The files absolutely must be tagged properly; if they are not, the music collection on the iPod turns into a mess. AFAIK, the best tagging program is Tag&Rename. It is not free, but it is good (and since I indulge in the copyright violation here anyway, I might as well say that the crackz are easy to find).
Despite the blog name, I will try to avoid the gimmick of referring to my iPod in every review (i.e. "this album never leaves my iPod" etc.etc.) If that happens, you have my permission to kick me in the shins.
That's it for now. So, <sarcasm>let's crank those iPods and get rockin'!</sarcasm>