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iPod Troubles, Spontaneous Healing, Liberation from the Tyranny of iTunes

July 7, 2007

Hi all. How are you doing?
I found the continuity of my musical addiction cut suddenly, when nearly all my musical gadgetry suddenly malfunctioned and died at once. First it was my trusty 2nd gen 20 gig iPod, which seemed to have a hard drive meltdown. Then my ancient Sony D555 CD player – which I used to use religiously before acquiring the ‘Pod – suddenly bit the big one after nearly 20 years of crystal clear service. Then, the tape player in my car (through which I ‘played’ the iPod) died spectacularly, forcing me to buy – for the second time in my life – an aftermarket car stereo. I ended up getting a snazzy CD-R, MP3 playing one with lots of grunt output-wise.

But I digress…
In the meantime, I was more or less sure that my iPod was muerte, so I sent it in to one of the many ‘we’ll diagnose and fix your iPod sites’ so that I could be sure and maybe, I don’t know – have a little funeral?

The one I ended up sending it to was a highly rated one called MyiPodBroke.com.
The process was pretty straightforward: You simply fill out an online form, after which you’ll get confirmation and an address to send it to. You must pay return postage (via PayPal) and insure it and then ship it to the address provided. So the turnaround was pretty quick. The repairman – Peder – got back to me in a few days and informed me that while he was surprised that an iPod of my vintage was still running, he said it was working fine for him. He confirmed my suspicion that it had a problem booting up to an Intel Mac (my work computer), and that it would most likely occur again. I got it back in less than a week and it seems like nothing ever happened to it. Battery life seems to have diminished, but it is the original battery and the whole seizure episode seemed to have zapped it when I ineptly kept trying to cycle it into diagnostic mode and the battery subsequently died on me. The whole MyiPodBroke process only set me back 16 bucks or so and was really worth it. He had lots of info for me on my iPod and iPods in general and offers a broad range of repairs throughout the lineage of the iPod. I highly recommend Peder’s services.

So, in the meantime, many upgraded to hardware and software in my workplace has meant that for some reason iTunes quit working for me. Since it’s a non-essential feature of my work, it’s not real high on our poor IT guy’s list of priorities. I am always eager to explore free and non-proprietary approaches to computer tasks, especially art and entertainment related issues. The most obvious step was to use the excellent app VLC as the player for media on my hard drives. It isn’t as slick, interface-wise as iTunes, but works quite well for nearly everything you feed into it.

I then investigated a few programs that let you control your iPod independently of iTunes.
First I tried Yamipod, which worked initially, when my primary concern was with putting songs off and on my iPod while at my Itunes-crippled work environment. But playing songs on it is unnecessarily complicated. It involves ‘queueing’ songs on lists and is really confusing and poorly explained in the sparse documentation. While attempting to de-queue songs off of the playlist, I inadvertently deleted the songs off of my iPod.
The next one I tried was Floola. This is the one. So far I have used it seamlessly on both machines (my work Intel Mac and my home PowerPC) and it not only transfers songs back and forth easily, but is very straightforward in its playback process, in an interface not unlike iTunes. And, like Yamipod, it doesn’t require installation to run it. I run it from my hard drive enabled iPod on both machines.

Another cool app that I have found endlessly usefully has been Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack.
It allows you to record audio from virtually any application, Radio Shark-type radio interfaces, line input applications (Wiretap, LineIn, etc.) and more. I use it – and its indispensable timer function to record the many radio programs that I cannot stay awake for. It’ll even turn your computer ON at the required time to start recording for you, which is unnerving if you forget. The latest build allows you to record from several apps simultaneously, which is good news for those who love to make noise with their computers, as is the virtual effects rack that lets you configure and chain VST plugins as you would in a studio environment. The free preview version limits recording time to only ten minutes (enough to steal music from streaming previews), and locks many of the cooler features, but is enough to get you hooked. I rarely buy programs, but find this one worth every penny.

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5 comments

  1. Good useful nerdy stuff there. Lol


  2. I am an occasionally useful nerd.
    ‘Course this is all useless to all non-Mac people out there.


  3. […] whom I bought it – by at least two years (he is, by his own admission, very hard on gear). I even counted it for dead last year and even sent it to the morgue, but it was sent back whirring and playing music again. It gives me the hard-drive hiccups every […]


  4. I tried myipodbroke.com and didn’t have a very good experience with them. Their prices are way to high. I went to iRestoreteam.com and they repaired my white screen of death on my ipod nano for about $40. Highly recommended.


  5. […] it finally kicked the bucket. Read about the many trials and tribulations here. I’m not an ideal Apple customer, by any means. By all rights I should’ve dutifully […]



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