take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Sunday, January 28, 2007


"The computer won't recognise it and it's making a funny noise," he whined.

"What shall I do?"

"Reset it," I suggested.

Once he'd worked out which keys to hold down, he tried resetting it and was greeted with a rather unwelcome sight. The sight the iPod owner dreads: the "sad iPod" icon (as above), with the url of Apple support underneath.

A trip to the Apple support website revealed that we would need to try to restore the iPod. First, we had to get it into Disk Mode. A few attempts at this succeeded only in bringing the sad iPod back onto the screen, but with a bit of perseverence, I managed to get a tick on screen, which gave me some hope.

"Quick, plug it into the computer!"

We did. It finally recognised the iPod, but claimed that it appeared to be corrupt. Tantalisingly, the alleged answer to our problems - the "Restore" button - was enabled.

"Right, it's going to wipe the disk, but I think it's the only way,"
"Okay, just do it..."

I clicked on "Restore", and sat back, hoping that we were at least on the home straight.

Almost immediately, a dialogue box informed me that the software was unable to access the required resource to carry out the restore. Meanwhile, the iPod continued to whirr and click alarmingly. We left it to its devices and went to bed, hoping that by draining the battery, it might just sort itself out.

Predictably, it did no such thing. Further attempts to get it into Disk Mode for a restore failed miserably.

"I think you're going to have to get it seen to, love,"

He followed through the Apple support screens and was helpfully informed that the iPod was out of warranty (thanks, we knew that) and that it would cost him (thanks, we knew that). Only after he'd provided endless pages of information did it deign to tell us how much a service would cost, the sight of which prompted him to click immediately on "Cancel" and swear loudly.

"Might as well just buy a new one," he lamented, and sloped off.

Meanwhile, I started Googling, not yet ready to accept that Big's iPod was of no more use than a paperweight. My research showed that numerous people had had the same problem and the same solution was suggested time and time again:

"Reseat the hard disk cable"

All I would need was a guitar pick, some eyes and a degree of dexterity.

"I think I know what I have to do - but I'll need to open it up. Is that okay?" I asked, pick in hand.

"Well, you probably can't make it any worse..." he muttered, seeming to forget about my appalling track record in DIY (remember the bathroom d├ębacle? That was all my fault...).

I followed the instructions on the (unofficial, non-Apple) website. I opened it up, identified the what I thought were the appropriate cables, disconnected and reconnected them, and clicked the cover back on. A few moments' work which it was hard to believe would have made any difference.

I turned the iPod on again, with no great optimism. I saw the Apple icon appear and held it to my ear as it booted up. I heard the whirring sound of a hard disk and awaited the so-called "click of death" which had characterised its recent behaviour. It never came. Instead, I was greeted with the main menu nonchalantly appearing on the screen. I scrolled through the music - it was all there.

Speechless, I walked across the room and handed the iPod to Big.

"You brought my music back!" he beamed. All was well in Big's world once more.

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