What if something goes wrong with the data on your computer's hard drive? You back it up, in anticipation of an impending disaster. But what about the...

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What if something goes wrong with the data on your computer’s hard drive? You back it up, in anticipation of an impending disaster.

But what about the data on your iPod? You may not realize it, but it’s a computer too.

Just like computers, iPods store their data on either a small hard drive or in flash memory. And just like in a computer, bad things can happen.

When something goes wrong with your computer, you can turn to software utilities that will attempt to repair the problems.

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You also have utilities that can copy and move data, optimize your hard drives to work more efficiently, undelete accidentally erased files and so on.

But for your iPod, if anything went wrong, you were out of luck. Until now.

According to Prosoft Engineering, its TuneTech (www.prosofteng.com, $59) is the only comprehensive software utility geared specifically toward iPod users.

Among its abilities is a way to recover lost or damaged music, repair corrupted data structures, back up your iPod to an exact copy, permanently delete unwanted files and optimize the file layout of your music.

TuneTech is a suite of eight utilities that lets you safely maintain the contents inside your iPod:

• Backup lets you clone your iPod. This method lets you easily copy anything stored on the iPod, including music, pictures and any other types of data files.

• Optimize lets you defragment the data so that it is physically stored in a contiguous manner. Just as with your computer’s hard drive, as you add and delete data, the information can become fragmented, with different pieces of a single file stored in many different places.

This can increase the time it takes to get a single file, and things can bog down. Having everything stored contiguously can increase battery life and, in the case of the hard-drive models, decrease wear and tear.

• Repair is what you use if a playlist becomes inaccessible because of software errors. Songs that are either missing or that play poorly because of data corruption may be saved via this component.

• Undelete lets you restore songs that you may have accidentally erased. This can save not only the song but how you may feel about yourself when you do something stupid.

• Shred is when you absolutely want to ensure your data is gone forever after you erase it. This is handy if you decide to sell or donate your iPod and you don’t want anything you had on there to fall into the wrong hands (or ears).

• Duplicate allows you to make an exact copy of your iPod’s contents on another iPod. This is handy when you’ve decided to buy a newer model and want to migrate everything to it.

• Scan lets you do some preventative maintenance. It checks out the hard drive’s surface for any media defects that may cause problems in the future.

• Info displays pertinent information about the hard drive that may come in handy when performing a diagnosis.

Currently, TuneTech does not support the flash drive iPod models (iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano), but I am told they are working on a version that will.

Also at this time, Tune Tech works only on Macintosh computers running either Panther or Tiger.

RCA DRC620N DVD player




RCA’s new portable tablet-style DVD player is very accommodating.

Using the player’s pullout stand, you can position its 7-inch widescreen display for the best viewing angle on an airplane table tray. Or you can attach the DVD player to a car’s back seat and plug in its car adapter for a long road trip.

You also can connect the DRC620N model to a TV, a video-game console and a camcorder.

The DVD player has dual headphone jacks and a three-hour rechargeable battery pack.

— Deborah Porterfield

Gannett News Service