Shaking It Up A Bit

by Christopher Paul on January 15, 2008

As part of my new year’s resolution to be healthier, I went to the gym this evening after work. I’m working hard – feeling the burn – and I’m on my last exercise feeling good. All of a sudden, I drop my iPod. I wasn’t too worried about it. I had dropped my iPod before on harder surfaces (the gym floor is that rubbery stuff). When I picked it up, I still heard music playing and only noticed something was a little off when I tried to rewind the song I was listening to at the time I dropped it. A quick sliding of the ‘lock’ feature once or twice and it was fine. I finished my workout and went to the locker room where I grabbed my jacket, took the elevator down to the ground floor, and started walking home. All of a sudden, as the iPod started playing a new song in the playlist, it stops.

Just like I had attempted to do before, I slid the ‘lock’ button around to try and free it up but it didn’t work this time. Again, thinking nothing of it, I tried to reboot the iPod by pressing the ‘Menu’ and the ‘Select’ button in the center of the click wheel. It was then, I saw something I had never seen before – the sick iPod.

The sick iPod is a picture of the Gen 1 iPod that only worked with a Mac (unless you hacked it or used XPlay like I did). Below this frowning iPod is the link to Apple’s support page for the iPod.

Now I didn’t have a lot of faith in Apple’s support page. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been able to solve a lot of problems by visiting their site and feel that, while it doesn’t account for every situation, I’m satisfied with what solutions they do offer. But predictably, they didn’t have any simple instructions on how to de-brick your iPod… except buy a new one.

So I started looking at the new iPod Nanos. The small form factor, I thought, would be great for keeping it in my pocket. No more using a belt clip (that didn’t keep my current iPod in place). I also thought of getting the iTouch. With its large widescreen display – and all those new features announced today at Macworld 2008 by Steve Jobby-Jobs – I thought it might satisfy my craving to watch TV and movies on the subway. But I didn’t like the small-ish storage they offered.

I have almost 50GB of music and 15 GB of video already. An 8GB Nano or a 16GB Touch wasn’t going to cut it. The “Classsic” iPods, while thinner than the one I have – and capable of storing all my media needs for a while, didn’t seem like a good purchase either because it only offered me a slightly different version of the iPod that I have. Plus, will all the cool things announced along with the iPod upgrades (MacBook Air, Time Capsule, and the new AppleTV), I’m already looking at contributing a significant amount of paper route money to Steve’s backdated options income.

So after chatting with a friend of mine, I decided to seek out a fix for my bricked iPod on the Interweb – I hear they have the Internet on computers now…. (sorry for the Simpson’s joke). I did a quick search and found the wonderful site, iLounge. Their forums have been a great source of information on all things iPod – today was no different. I couple of clicks here. A few more there. And presto! I found a post that offered hope. The the solution was unconventional to say the least.

Most of the posters with bricked iPods were told to shake it. SHAKE IT!!!

Out of all the things you don’t want to do with your hard drive based devices is shake it!

But, the theory was sound to me… The idea is that the hard drive was stuck from the fall and the iPod was playing cached music. Once a song to be played wasn’t in the cache, the iPod threw up. With nothing but a $200 to $399 bill for a new iPod in the cards, I shook it.

Nothing happened.

I shook it again.

Nothing happened.

I started thinking of that saying: Shake it once is ok, shake it twice is ok. But shake it a third time and you’re just playing with yourself.

I stared to wonder if I was either kidding myself into thinking this could work and, again, thought of what iPod I’d be owning (and what I should have engraved on it 😉 )

But with nothing to lose, I shook it a third time despite feeling shameful and this time I put my full wrist into it.

Low and behold, it worked!!!!

The moment I tried to reset the iPod, the screen became backlit and started loading my media info. All my playlists are there and I was able to sync the iPod with my computer. Just shaking the iPod saved me from getting a new, shinny, engraved, widescreen or really tiny (and perhaps colored), iPod.

Oh well.

Previous post:

Next post: