Your iPod might not be as dead as you think...

by Matt 24. July 2006 17:17

I'm just back from holiday. It was very nice, thanks for asking. Brilliant weather, great food, smashing company.

And of course, like any self respecting young man about town, I spent the couple of weeks preceding the holiday filling up my iPod. 1400 songs later, and the day before I leave, the iPod gods laugh in my face, and I'm greeted with a constantly rebooting Apple logo when I try and turn it on. Gah. Perfect timing.

So, I'm a techy kind of guy, and since I don't own one of these T-shirts, I thought I'd have a go. I upgraded the software (good grief, I'm 0.0.2 versions out of date!) and still no joy. Right. Restore to factory settings, and we're back. I've lost all the music, but that's fine, iTunes has it. A (not so) quick sync later, and would you Adam and Eve it, it's bust again. Google time. In and out of service mode, disk mode, normal mode, several wipes and long syncs later, and it's still bust. Just rebooting, stuck on the Apple logo screen.

There's nothing else for it, I have to go to the professionals. I need to take it to the Apple store. And I do my homework, I look on the web site - what do I need to do to return something? Apparently nothing. Let's phone them and see. Ah, automated system that eventually tells me to check the web page that I'm at, and then disconnects me. Nice. (Not one of the options was to talk to a human being. Rubbish.) So, it looks like I'm good. I make the half hour trip to the shop, stand in line, and then get told I need to book in with the Concierge Service, which means that my appointment is in the three hours time. My blood pressure is really good at this point, by the way.

The annoying thing about the Concierge Service is that it's really good. Book an appointment time, come back and get your stuff fixed. Marvellous. The bad thing is that it's only good when you know about it. I actually went looking for something like this, and didn't find anything (I did actually see the Concierge Service link on the web page, but a concierge is someone who helps you out in a hotel by getting information, and handling stuff like getting you tickets. It's not a repair man. Poor name, Apple). This needs to be more discoverable.

Anyway, back to the whole iPod thing. Chappy takes a look at it, wipes it, chucks loads of files on, and it's fine. Bugger. The silver lining is that the iPod isn't broken. The cloud is that I probably have a dodgy music track. One in 1400. I think it's called needle.mp3.

So, here's the reason for this post - smart playlists are your friends. Firstly, make sure you've got your iPod sync options to just be checked files. Then uncheck all files, so nothing is being copied across. Then create a smart playlist such that the contents consist of all files beginning with "A". Highlight all (ctrl + A) and check them. Sync. Eject iPod. Check it works. Repeat with "B", "C", "D", etc. Sooner or later, the iPod will break. The last section you checked will contain a dodgy track.

Turns out my dodgy track had some funny data in the genre field. Shame on Apple for letting user data crash their device and waste my entire day. Still, a quick edit later, and my iPod is back in full working order. Just in time for holidays.

This story almost requires an ironic, "and I didn't listen to it once on holiday". Sorry to disappoint.

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