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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

The Death of an iPod Shuffle

by Ken Newquist / September 4, 2006

My trusty, usually dependable 512 MB iPod Shuffle died a slow, tortuous death this weekend. It ended a year-long run of iPod-augmented home-impovement and exercise, and I'm exceedingly sad to see it go.

What killed it? I'm not sure -- one day it was working just fine, the next it continued to play its store of MP3s, but could no longer connect or draw power via USB. I tried it on several machines, including my G4 PowerBook, G4 Power Mac and even my Windows XP desktop machine, but none could see the device, nor would it draw power. Resetting the Shuffle had no effect, nor did leaving it sit for 24 hours.

It's charge has slowly been dwindling, and at this point its probably a very slender, very useless little brick. It marks the first Apple poduct I've ever owned that's really and truly died (my Power Mac has a brush with death when it's hard drive went, but that was easily fixable ... and covered under the extended warrenty.

I haven't given up hope on the Shuffle; it may still be covered under its original warrenty, so I may be able to get it fixed. Until then, I've forced to fall back on my old 5 GB iPod, which is far more awkward for exercise and housework since it's so heavy (it's a second-generation iPod that's no where near as slender as its modern kin).

If the Shuffle stays dead, I think I'll need to start saving for a current-generation iPod, which should work well at the gym. The 5 GB oldster will probably be assigned to home improvement -- yes, it's awkward, but it's better to drop that thing while painting than a new $300 music player.

One final, somewhat related note -- if you're curious about the reliability of iPods, check out MacInTouch's iPod Failures page, which lists the failure rates for the various incarnations of the machine.

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Ah, Shuffle, we hardly knew ye...

Well at least it gives you an excuse to buy new tastyness (hm, wonder if Jobs is gonna announce that 'true' video ipod on the 12th).

I've always had to rely on my treo and a pair of speakers somewhere in the corner. I live in constant fear of dripping paint or putting the cordless drill down on my screen. Makes for verrrry tense home repair (grin) but I don't see how folks ever got things done working alone and stay sane before music or podcasts!

My next 'when it breaks' purchase has been replace teh tv and teh monitor with widescreen lcd goodness. Now I listen to your story of woe and I wonder if a new oldish shuffle or nano would be a good idea to add to that list.

PS: I heartily endorse getting email notices to posts. I think you'd be able to completely forget about forums then, if Drupal could handle it.


When working by myself (as I will be doing Friday and Saturday) the iPod and speakers routine works fine, but when I'm working with Sue, well, there's only so much geekiness she can take. :)

As far as post notifications go ... I just activated that. After you log in, click on the "my account" link under your user name. Your profile appears, and among the tabs at the top of the profile is one for "notifications". You have a fine degree of control over what you're notified about, including new posts, new comments, etc. Updates about posts will probably be sent once or twice a day, depending on how frequently I setup Nuketown's cronjob to run (a unix-thing that automates certain chores on the site).

Try out the notices and let me know what you think.