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.