iPod Problems

My sick iPod attached via USB to the iMac.

I was going to have a post up this morning on the usual schedule shortly after midnight, my local time zone. Yesterday I was getting ready to work on that project among others, including a letter to my brother Stephen, when I got a phone call from school asking if I could come in for a teacher taken ill during second period. Money is always welcome. I got dressed in reasonable clothing and was up to the school in about twenty-five minutes. And thatʼs where I spent the rest of the day until returning home, after a stop at the grocery store en route, about 4:00 PM. After that, although I intended to create something, not much really got accomplished. The weariness that used to assail me after regular days of school seem to bubble up and drown any sense of good intentions.

My purpose had been to put up my promised restaurant review, contrasting our long-established Chinese restaurant downtown with its upstart, chain challenger out here on the west end of town. But that little essay will take some time and consideration, both of which seemed to leak through my fingers yesterday evening (and I did have supper to prepare, along with breakfast and The Lovely Oneʼs lunch for today — excuses, excuses). I still think that reviewʼs worthwhile. Maybe later today…

Right now I am annoyed at Apple. And this post is intended as a complaint and also a plea for those of greater tech savvy to help me out.

Three years ago, as a Christmas present, Janet bought me an iPod of my very own. It was one of those now antiquated 80-gig classic models, and in 2008 we still only had her lame HP laptop, so I formatted my iPod in Windows and began loading our hundreds and hundreds of CDs into iTunes on the computer. Within a few months, by the end of April 2008, I think, the computerʼs hard drive was full so I had to buy a separate USB drive just for music and transfer all my tunes onto it. Once I retired (June 2009), this  machine on which I am typing and dictating now has offered greater scope for the music library and generally simpler transfers (although I still think Appleʼs inability to find cover art for music from CDs is a pretty lame gimmick to get shmucks to buy from the iTunes Store instead; I have simply gotten good at self-scanning my own CD art or googling).

Notice there is no iPod listed among the items on the left in iTunes…

I loved having the iPod. It was much lighter than a cassette player for running in the mornings, and the adapter we had acquired (for the portable CD player she had given me back in 1999) to play CDs through the cassette player in my truck also worked off the audio plug for the iPod. So I could have music, plentiful music of all kinds, whenever and wherever I wanted it. And all I had to bring along was that one little playing-card-sized device. Amazing and wonderful. I was delighted for three full years, even when I had far more than 80 gigabytes of music and had to pick and choose what went onto the iPod.

That pleasure seems to have reached an end, however, as last week, on Thursday evening, the iPod began to malfunction, quitting in the middle of two different songs and each time not wanting to present its menus so I could discover why. Then suddenly the damned thing said there was no music available, which I took to mean the hard drive had died. On Sunday I did try to get iTunes on my iMac to reformat the iPod (yeah, Apple really has come up with far too many iThings, and I can only lust after the notoriously named but still amazingly popular iPads). Unfortunately, iTunes took five or six hours to not successfully complete the process, at least according to the “Reformatting iPod” window. I forced quit and shut down anyway, and to my pleasure the disconnected iPod seemed to be okay, although now formatted as an Apple device.

…nor does the device show up in the Finder, as it always did and is supposed to.

On Monday my rekindled good feelings dwindled when I attempted to load some playlists on the iPod. Once again half a day transpired as nothing much occurred… until sometime late in the afternoon, I realized the iPod had vanished from the Finder and also no longer appeared among Library, Store, Genius and Playlists on the left side of the iTunes window. Furthermore iTunesʼs status had become “Not Responding.”

So I forced it to quit again, shut down (again) and disconnected the iPod, which still seemed functional although only the first 85 songs alphabetically had loaded from my playlist. Clearly, something had gone wrong trying to resurrect the poor little music player.

Now, although the iPod says itʼs connected when I plug it in, iTunes doesnʼt automatically start and the iPod doesnʼt appear. Itʼs cursed and invisible, although it does accept a charge through the USB connection, and the little device believes itʼs connected and must be ejected for disconnecting. (Itʼs wrong about that,  evidently.)

I cannot accomplish anything by attaching it to the computer. Sadly. Very sadly for me.

Both my little iPod and I got sick at the same time. Now I am better, and I would like the music player to get well, too. Except for those downloaded 85 songs by Al Kooper, Al Stewart and Alanis Morissette, itʼs as though the device has ceased to exist, as least as far as my computer and its software are concerned. (Those 85 songs do play, as I proved during my run this morning. But that tiny bit is really no consolation whatsoever. I want my device to work like/as itʼs supposed to work!)

You would think that an item that one paid over $200 for might last more than three years. I guess Apple doesnʼt agree.

I would certainly be open to anyoneʼs advice or suggestions on what I can do to revive my ailing device.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.


iPod attached but invisible and effectively nonexistant. Thanks, Apple. Sigh.

2 thoughts on “iPod Problems

  1. Sorry to hear about your woes. My guess is that the hard drive in your iPod is kaput. The old/current iPod Classics all have mechanical hard drives, allowing for more, cheaper storage than the flash equivalent used in the iPod Touch and iPhone. The downside of mechanical hard drives is they can be damaged by being shaken about, so I’m guessing your running has taken its toll on your iPod.

    Apple does sell refurbished iPod Classics for around $200, and they have a 160GB capacity. You could also look on eBay or Craigslist for possible deals. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you could buy a replacement hard drive, but it’s probably not worth the effort and risking damaging something else in the iPod.

    I would also recommend using a different mp3 player for running to avoid running (ha, lame pun) into this problem again. Any of the other iPods (Touch, Nano, or Shuffle) would be a good idea (although you will have to pay a lot for a decent amount of storage).

    Hope this provides some help to you, Mr. Burrow. I always enjoy reading your blog!


    • Thanks, Kris. Not the news I wanted to hear, but pretty much my own assessment, unfortunately.

      I was hoping there was some way I could get the computer to “see” the iPod so that maybe I could try to work a disk recovery action on the hard drive… (I used to do that in pre-System X days often with hard-drive devices.)

      Maybe Iʼll buy a Nano… or Mini (or whatever the little square $50 ones are called); I got Janet one of those for Christmas to replace her old one (a long, skinny Nano?) that got ripped off at the Dubuque Y (and she still hasnʼt even formatted her new one…). I could just put varying collections of songs on it for running (because I am going to tire of those same 85 songs that actually are on the decrepit pod).

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