Five Hacks To Give Your Old iPod A New Life

After last week's Apple announcements, your previous-gen iPod probably isn't looking so hot. Cheer up! We've got five mods that'll breathe new life into the little guy, so you don't have to feel guilty about picking up a shiny replacement.

1. Turn it into an audiophile's dream

You might think your iPod already sounds good - if you aren't using crappy earbuds - but most audiophiles would turn up their noses up at the sight of it. Fix that with Red Wine Audio's iMod, which replaces some of the guts of your disparaged 5/5.5 generation iPod with hifi-calibre parts. The trick behind the mod is replacing the circuitry that leads to your headphone jack, which the team at Red Wine Audio claim degrades the signal. With new parts in place, you'll enjoy untainted sound - though you'll need to connect the modded iPod to an amplifier to get any audio. After this mod, the headphone jack is strictly line-out.

2. Transform it into a covert tracking device

Using the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, you can turn that nigh-antique third generation iPod into a stealthy means of keeping tabs on friends and loved ones. The Nike+iPod sensor you're supposed to stick in your shoe can be placed anywhere, beaming out a unique signal detectable up to 18m away. That's where you, with your Linux-enabled iPod, pick up the signal with Nike's own receiver. Use your powers for good, and try not to be creepy!

3. Convert it into a Linux mini-computer

Speaking of Linux, those of you who have yet to dance with the penguin might find your washed up iPod is an exciting (relatively!) way to experiment with an alternative OS. A diligent Linux programmer from the iPhone Dev Team has already smashed his way onto the iPhone, with an iPod Touch version as well. And while features are still a bit shaky, support for multitouch, sound and other basics have arrived. Being able to slip a Linux box into your pocket? Giant geek street cred.

4. Refashion it into a sexy VOIP receiver

So you want to live out your wildest Don Draper fantasies, but don't want to go analogue. No problem. With a bit of work, you can turn that old Touch into a full fledged, VOIP-enabled desk phone - and we promise it'll be the most retro-beautiful thing on your desk. Starting with your choice of handsome vintage receiver - Jason recommends the Moshi Moshi - throw Skype on there to set up international trysts on the cheap (And call your mum! She misses you!) Or, with a bit more effort, pair an app like Fring with an SIP account to turn your 'Pod into nimble telephony beast.

5. Jailbreak the damn thing already

It's easy. You've been wanting to try it for a while now. And once you've got your old iPod Touch lying around, the "I don't want to mess it up!" excuse goes out the sad window it crawled in through. Jailbreaking will open your iPod to a forest outside of Apple's walled garden: emulators, themes, widgets and a flurry of apps that don't play by the rules.

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