Thursday, July 05, 2007

I had a bit of a shock last night. I got home from our July 4th get-together at John R's apartment, and logged on to find a note from Donna H. She said that she found out, somewhat by accident, that her ex-husband (with whom she's been out of contact for quite a long time), passed away last year. She's not sure of the circumstances surrounding his passing, but as he was only in his mid-40s, it's still somewhat of a shock. I wrote back that I was sorry to hear that, which I am. I always felt that he had a lot of intelligence and potential. What a shame those gifts will go unrealized.

In other news, Joe M. asked me to stop by and have a look at his misbehaving iPod Shuffle. It's a first-generation iPod Shuffle and his PC was no longer recognizing it.

Long story less long: it seems that the problem was triggered when he updated his version of iTunes to 7.0 or 7.1 (I forget which). SURPRISE: it's not backward-compatible with the first-generation iPod Shuffle, nor with SEVERAL older models of other types of iPod.

My response was that as much as Apple devotees like to refer to Microsoft as the devil and Bill Gates as the Antichrist, Apple pulled a dirty trick by magically rendering thousands upon thousands of their own devices obsolete in the blink of an eye, *with their own software*. See, the iTunes version 7.x offered to restore the iPod to factory settings, but then at the very end of the process said it couldn't because of Error 1418. So I upgraded to the very newest version of iTunes, 7.3. I was hoping that the issues with the older iPod devices would be corrected in the latest version of iTunes. Nope, no dice.

So I asked Joe for the CD that came with the iPod, which had the older version of iTunes on it.. the one that happens to WORK with the freaking iPod. I uninstalled version 7.3 and installed version 6.x. Then I rebooted and crossed my fingers.

Well, the unsuccessful attempt that version 7.x made to restore the iPod's factory settings appears to have fouled something up. Now the PC itself can't access the iPod because of an I/O (input/output) error. In English, the PC can't talk to the iPod and vice versa.

Now you may feel free to call me paranoid, but I find it to be a dirty trick that a device Joe has had for about 14 months can be abruptly rendered unusable by ITS OWN MANUFACTURER'S SOFTWARE. Mark said that this has the makings of a class action suit, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Especially with Apple's complete lack of acknowledgement that a problem exists, other than deleting posts that complain about the issue from their discussion forums, that is described on the site.

Personally, I wasn't in the market for an iPod, as I already have invested in Another Brand of mp3 device. But if I *had* been thinking about purchasing an iPod, this episode would be enough to make me direct my attention elsewhere. Why would I want to trust a company whose own software upgrade will cause my device to figuratively blow up someday? Built-in obsolescence is one thing, but this is borderline obscene and downright underhanded. As far as I'm concerned, if Microsoft has horns and cloven feet, then Apple is carrying the pitchfork.

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