My uncharitable disposition broadened at the weekend to include Apple for temporarily wrecking my iPod.
Cupertino has again shot itself by coming out with a great product then issuing a software so-called "update" which kills the device. Not for everybody, but for enough people to have caused an uproar on a handful of Mac sites among even those of us who should know better but rarely bother to check out warnings before plunging into an upgrade.
The hard disk on my iPod spins like crazy but has done nothing sensible or useful since I ran iPod Updater 2005-02-22 (Apple article) on it.
If you happen on these lines before trying it yourself, think twice and take a look at the MacFixit site and help forum (rather than my usual recommended place, Techsurvivors, where I see no trace of the problems reported elsewhere, along with fixes that work for some but not everyone).
The downloadable upgrade was clever enough, according to the nasty tales, to destroy different models of iPod in different ways, so I'll leave out details and just say that even a total reformat of its hard disk -- not just a recommended "reset" -- then reinstalling the previous version of the software didn't do the trick.
Apple, habitually discreet about its blunders, has quietly just slipped out a revised support document on 'Resetting iPod if it appears frozen or doesn't respond'.
I'll try what it suggests at the weekend and let you know if it works, but suspect that the dead device is more likely to end up going to the AppleCare centre along with its predecessor, which gave up the ghost just days after the guarantee ran out.
My own interim solution, since the very notion of a day without a head full of music is a nightmare, was to buy another one!
I couldn't afford it, but am good at rationalising myself into wild expenditure ... and have plans for the "old" ones suiting both me and somebody else. The iPod photo is mainly a colourful gimmick, given the size of the screen, but fun all the same. I was miffed merely to find that its cost includes an Apple iPod holder, a revolting black pouch which like almost all accessories provided by my favourite computer company is an overpriced piece of rubbish. Plenty of other firms make better and cheaper ones which not only allow you to get at your iPod's controls but have a sturdy belt clip less likely to break at the very moment a subway train is coming into the station and drop your music player in front of it.
Pretty gadget or not, with all the projects on my burners, the iPod photo gives me another 60 gigabytes of storage space which can also be used to play music. That space has of late become a necessity rather than self-indulgence.
It's time anyway to put in a mention for the ever-helpful iPod Lounge and iPod Hacks sites, along with a further good word for the O'Reilly team. The day the destructive software update came out, Wei Meng Lee wrote a good piece on how to display album artwork in iTunes (and also on an iPod photo). The site he recommends in his second method works surprisingly well, but it can be haphazard in what it turns up for albums which stray off the beaten track.
As for my O'Reilly Safari bookshelf, it's so rarely used that I think of cancelling my subscription sometimes, but don't. The largely technical stuff on offer gets better and better and it's worth every cent whenever I make the time to use the points members collect each month, enabling us to download just the chapter chunks of book we need as .pdf files rather than actually buying them and reading only the bits of any use to us.
I've almost given up buying textbooks in science and technology because they're both expensive and rapidly outdated and there are dozens of ways to find what I want on the Web.
'Mind Hacks' by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb (published in November 2004) is one of the latest on offer online and a clever, well-written
"exploration into the moment-by-moment works of the brain, (which) uses cognitive neuroscience to present experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception. Each 'hack' examines specific operations of the brain."
That's the publisher's packaging, but what's between the covers lives up to it and this a very rare recommendation from somebody who usually hates anything resembling a "self-help" book.
9:01:38 PM link