Can I backup my ipod with rsync? Or more to the point, if I do make a copy of my ipod onto an external disk using "rsync -a", can I later restore that data back onto my ipod (or a new one) should something happen to my ipod?

At some point, I ripped a bunch of CDs into my itunes library. My computer's hard drive was pretty full, so I just copied them to my ipod and deleted them from my hard drive. Now I don't keep my ipod synced, I typically just copy what I want to my ipod and then delete it from the itunes Library on my computer. I did (and do) tend to keep copies in the itunes library on my computer of anything I purchased via the itunes store or other online retailers, but should anything happen to my ipod, it would be a real hassle to re-import all those tracks off CD. It looks like there are some apps that would let me sync in the other direction (ipod to computer), but I don't really want to have all that music on my computer's main hard drive.

What I have done as a safety measure is to hook up an external disk and just do an rsync -a from my ipod to the external disk. Now, at least, I have a duplicate of everything (I think) on my ipod. But should something happen to my ipod, would I be able to rsync this data back to my ipod (or to a new one) and have it be the same as it was before?

Recently, I have been getting the problem from time to time that my ipod will cut off the end of a song when it moves to the next song. I'm pretty sure that if I click that "restore" button, I'll wipe all the songs off my ipod, and there will be nowhere to get the majority of them back from (without ripping the cd's all over). Even if a "restore" fixes the skipping-end-of-song problem, I get the feeling that if I then rsync the other way to restore from my backup, I' may well reintroduce the problem. Naturally, I don't want to try any of this for fear that I'll lose all that stuff that is not in currently my itunes library on my computer.

I'm not sure exactly what all the third-party software does, but I'd be willing to try it if I thought it would allow me to back up songs, etc. from my ipod to an external disk and restore them again. One major trouble with using rsync, is that all the files have meaningless names, and you'd have to restore all or nothing, otherwise the DB would likely be messed up.

Does anyone know if the rsync backup/restore will work in the case of a catastrophe? Does anyone know if any of the third-party software (I'm running leopard) will allow me to backup songs from my ipod to an external disk?