Smack my iPod up

On my way home yesterday I thought that I'd listen to my favourite podcast via my iPod and iTrip. I selected the normal Recently Added playlist, found the show I want to listen to and pressed the Select button. Then, the iPod reset itself – OK I thought, I'd seen this behaviour before, and tried again. This time when I selected the show the iPod just hung. OK, I thought, I'd also seen that behaviour before too. Normally a full reset does the job; but, it wouldn't reset. Odd, now that I had not seen before.

By the time I got home and half an hour of trying to reset the thing it did eventually manage it. Once the familiar menu came up I shut it down and figured I'll have a look later. Later that evening I thought I'd listen to my favourite podcast – when this happened:

To accompany the picture I also had a nice little "click, click, whurr!" going in a nice little repetitive cycle. After about 30 seconds of this the iPod shut down and would not restart. I went to the Apple support site to see what I could see – I've been around computers a long time now and I can tell when the head on a harddisk is stuck – and as expected the help articles from Apple just said I need to get it serviced. The issue I had with that, other than being massively expensive at £166.00, was the statement that I would lose all my data, no "ifs", "buts" or "maybes" - the data will evaporate.

This is because the way Apple solve this problem is to send you another iPod (notice I did not say new iPod) that they have already fixed (they call it refurbished). This causes me a big problem as I have been using my iPod as an external drive for all my data as well as an MP3 player – as I have been upgrading and moving between machines a lot since the whole Vista thing started the CTP and Beta merry-go-round; so using my iPod seemed to be the perfect solution: I'd always have it with me and there was plenty of room for the data (shame on me for trusting Apple – or is it really Toshiba I should be pissed at).

Anyway, given that this was not a route I wanted to pursue I pulled out my favourite search engine and looked to see what I could find. I started by searching for information on how to open the thing up – so I could have a look-see. I found a good article or two: here's one and another. In the latter post I found, buried in the comments, something that completely goes against all that I have learned about working with and using technical equipment:

Simply hold it in one hand, and smack it with your other hand. I was told to try this by a friend online, and wa-la, it has not had a single problem since which was over 2 months ago

I had nothing to lose – the thing would not start and it had the sound of stuck heads; plus I'd already convinced myself that I was going to try and do something with the disk: replace it, mount it or something – what's the worst that could happen?

Well, this morning I put the iPod in my left hand, with the wheel pointing upwards, and smacked the device with my right hand as hard as my hand could stand until the Apple logo appeared (it took three smacks). It's a happy ending (so far...) now my iPod is working great! Now, I've got to go - I have some data to copy.

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