Tale of a Dying iPod

This is a tale in progress of a third-generation iPod nearing the end of its life. No, not by my hands. This poor little guy is dying of natural causes: old age. :-)

The iPod is functional currently, but the most worrisome symptom is this very peculiar screen it displayed when trying to sync a few days ago:

A dying iPod’s call for help!

I didn’t know what this screen meant, but after a search on Apple’s website, I discovered it is called a Disk Scan Icon. It means that something bad was happening with the hard drive, so the iPod went into a diagnostic mode. The progress bar never moved after 15 minutes, though, so I’m assuming the diagnostics crashed. After a reset, the iPod rebooted normally and worked fine after that.

Before this happened, a few weeks earlier, the iPod started crashing every time it would start a sync. Just a hard freeze. After some fiddling, I figured out that it would work if I plugged it directly into the cable instead of the dock. Once I got it running, I did an iPod restore through iTunes (which wipes out all songs and restores the iPod to its factory condition). Everything has worked fine since then, until the ominous screen above.

Maybe my iPod will die right on time for the release of a multitouch iPod. ;-)

Mad at Your Money: Unlocking the iPhone

As the froth and fervor surrounding the iPhone continues, it is no surprise that we see some people making some poor decisions. For instance, we have the lady who spends $800 for the front spot in line because she thought she was going to buy out the whole store, clearly ignorant of the one-per-customer rule at AT&T stores. That’s just incredibly embarrassing and foolish, which is different than what I’m going to talk about next.

Alex King is someone I respect and occasionally read, and he recently canceled his iPhone plan in line with TUAW’s instructions so that he could use his iPhone as the world’s coolest widescreen iPod and internet device–apparently the syncing and WiFi capability continue to function just fine with the phone components disabled.

My first reaction was how awesome that was. And more power to Alex for having the gumption to try it and for buying himself the coolest iPod ever. :-) In the end, though, you’re paying $599 + $49 for first month of service = $650 minimum for an 8GB video iPod. The cool factor may be here now, even if the high price tag doesn’t deter you, but it may feel a bit more foolish when the heat and excitement of the iPhone cools and Apple brilliantly times the release of a 60GB widescreen multitouch iPod 3 months out from now, for a comparable $400-$600 price range because it lacks the complexity, price and hassle of the phone components. The price, the timeframe, the mere existence of said iPod are all pure fabrications to indulge my point (although “sources” do claim these things). It could happen. And it would make business sense.
Yes, there may be some phoneless iPhone owners grumbling in October.

Look! A New Photo of Something…Not New

I know I grow continually more irritable at the rumor sites, because I can’t help but read them because there may be some ounce of golden truth in the sands of fabrication. But the way AppleInsider handled the news of an orange iPod Shuffle is just irritating.

“Look! Here is a ‘new’ iPod Shuffle that looks and operates just like the old iPod Shuffle, except it is orange. And here are 21 high resolution photos for you to look at the same old thing…in orange.”

One or two photos, fine. Oh cool, look, it’s orange. But 21 supersized photos. One term. Over-zealous.

Okay, I admit. I came into that article already agitated. Why? Because of irritating headlines like this: New Apple Products coming TOMORROW? I am so tired of headlines like these. Meanwhile, the article suggested the possibility of 8-core Mac Pros and other nonsense. Yeah, it just ended up being that amazing orange Shuffle. Here’s another term. Fiction.

There’s no professional prognostication going on there. It’s pure story-telling. Yeah, an 8-core Mac will undoubtedly come out someday. Yeah, Apple will eventually revamp their displays. But there is no news or scoop to back up your speculation.

I just wish the rumor runners would practice my final term for this rant. Discretion.

Some iPods Are Shipping With a Windows Virus

This is pretty funny. Apple contracts various companies to manufacture their iPods, and apparently one company mistakenly allowed a situation where the iPods were being manufactured and released with the RavMonE.exe virus, effectively serving as Typhoid Mary devices for any Windows customers.

Apple is taking steps to correct the matter, and apparently it is an extremely small percentage (less than 1%) of affected iPods.

In the Information Week article “Apple Says Shipped iPods Carrying Computer Virus“, statements from both Apple and Microsoft are quoted. Allow me to translate and paraphrase.

Apple: “We’re sorry for shipping our iPod with a Windows virus. Gee, it’s too bad Windows is so bad with viruses.”

Microsoft: “Yeah, but you’re stupid for letting the virus get on your product, even if, erm, it doesn’t affect your own OS. Just watch it in the future, will ya?”

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