Mourning My iPod No More

Now playingThere’s few things in life I go anywhere without.

House keys.
Wallet.
Mobile phone.

Since September 2006 you can also add a 60gb video iPod to that list. In my pocket, in my bag, in work, in the van, on a bus, on a trip to Canada, on a trip to Germany – wherever I went, the iPod followed.

It had been a month since I’d seen it. I’d used the iPod (as I always do) in setting up the rig for the night, check sound levels, quick pan left and right and put it away. Collecting the gear the next morning, I grabbed the iPod, put it into the van (or at least thought I did) but it never made it back to Kilkenny. Any boxes, bags, anything small enough to hold the device have long been emptied.

Hell, even at the weekend I unscrewed the lower panels in the back of the van just in case it had some how slipped in behind them.

Alas, no.

Flash to Monday of this week and I was hovering with my finger over the publish button on this post, which ultimately had a different outcome. In Monday’s post I would have talked about how the iPod was an extension of my being. Like a lost puppy it followed me absolutely everywhere – gigs, walking around town, working out, around the house, in my camera bag, in work, in the van, never leaving my side. I would have talked about how strange it is to get attached to a digital device. I’ve had phones I’ve loved, laptops I’ve loved but when something *just works* and shows no sign of needing an upgrade or update, provides great battery life (through care), hasn’t a mark on it (bar some wear on the back) and does everything I need it to do, then obviously I’m going to get attached to it. That said, this is the iPod I upgraded the firmware on.

Plus at the time, it was a considerable investment, breaching the 450 euro mark (yes, in typical Apple fashion it wasn’t long before they announced the 80gb slim models but there you go…).

Ever since the secondary school days I’ve had some form of portable music player sitting in my bag – hell even go back to primary school days where I would accept sitting through slower renditions of my favourite songs because the batteries in my walkman weren’t totally depleted. Walking to work in Waterford my minidisc would sit happily in my pocket. On the bus home from college by Creative Zen Jukebox would provide me with some musical interludes between conversations. But in the 18 months I’ve had my iPod it never left my side.

Yesterday I would have talked about how it was time to look for another iPod. I didn’t necessarily need wifi, but maybe it would be interesting. I didn’t necessarily need to go to a 160gb classic model, but maybe the extra space would come in handy some day. However, I had also resigned myself to the fact that replacing my iPod would, in the present climate, have to take a lower priority on the list of things I’ve got lined up. Plus, if I was going iPod touch route I’d certainly try and organise something overseas rather than pay Apple’s silly exchange rate where US$1 = €1.

But, no more.

Rummaging through a bag of XLR cables needing to be repaired on Monday (and stuck with a tube of masking tape around it) the mourning of a device turned to sheer joy. Battery drained, marked up from the tape (comes of with cleaning) but a full charge via USB and the world is back to normal.

I think I’d been physically upset at losing the iPod, such is my attachment to it. Or at the very least angry with myself for having misplaced it to begin with. How it ended up in the bag is beyond me as I certainly didn’t put it there – I wouldn’t mind only I’d been through that bag before and had it out at two gigs since.

At least now I can empty iTunes of all the podcast content I’ve downloaded.

iPod Hack – iPod Video becomes iPod Classic (How To)

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Update: Updated on February 29th 2008 with latest versions of firmware (1.2.2 version at time of press). See main site here.

After picking up on a new firmware release for the iPod Video (both 5G and 5.5g), I’ve gone and replaced the original firmware on my iPod to that resembling the iPod Classic. (via)

The ‘Before’ images…

Original iPod interface Original interface (menu)

What you’ll need…

  • Latest version of iPod Wizard
  • Access to a Windows machine (no Mac version at present)
  • Firmware for your video iPod (5G Version or 5.5G Version). I’m on the 5G version, no search feature and it’s the 60GB model. If you’re on the slim 30gb / 80gb model and/or have the search feature then it’s likely you’re a 5.5G model but be sure! See my warning note below.
  • iPod cable

How to modify the iPod’s firmware…

  • Connect iPod to PC (iPod Wizard is windows based). If iTunes opens on connecting, you’ll need to close it and make sure that nothing else is accessing your iPod at the time. If connected properly, you will see the ‘Do Not Disconnect’ warning on your iPod screen.
  • Open up your copy of iPod Wizard (it doesn’t require installation, but does need to be unzipped to a folder).
  • Browse (via My Computer) to your downloaded firmware and if zipped, unzip it to a new folder. Unzipping should create a folder called ‘Classic Firmware for 5G v1.0’ (depending on what firmware version you downloaded).
  • In iPod Wizard, set your edit mode (top left corner) to ‘Firmware File’.
  • Click the ‘Open Firmware’ button and navigate to your ‘Classic Firmware…’ folder and open the ‘Classic Firmware…’ file (Windows displays the default icon if no filetype associated). Once loaded, the firmware’s version name will appear beside the ‘open firmware button’.
  • In the ‘Firmware Information’ box, press ‘Write To iPod’ (top left). The writing process may take 2-3 minutes.
  • When finished, you need to eject your iPod safely from your computer – whether via the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon in your system tray of via My Computer (right click on your iPod and press ‘Eject’. Ejecting the iPod will restart the iPod automatically, booting with the new firmware.

The ‘After’ images…

Now playing (track view)Now playing
iPod Interface (Video now playing)iPod Comparison

See full photoset here

Feedback

I hadn’t seen the interface on the iPod classic before today but really like the split screen approach. I don’t feel anything is lost by adding the firmware. Navigating through the menu system is quick, though the slide from left to right could be a lot smoother (or instant). The new fonts are bigger, smoother, clearer though the fonts in the title bar look a fraction distorted (menus are fine).

I also realised through the new interface that I really need to update my album artwork across the majority of recent additions to my iPod. Also, it’s worth going through the iPodWizard forums if you’re up for a bit of hacking!

Warning (a.k.a How Not To Update Your iPod)

Adding this firmware does not erase the contents on your iPod. BUT – make sure you’re using the correct firmware version for your iPod. The wrong firmware on your iPod will leave it in the infinite loop mode (as I did with Aidan’s). To get around this you need to restore your iPod to it’s original settings, effectively wiping whatever music is on your iPod. Resyncing with your library will restore your music.

To restore your iPod you must hold the middle button (centre of wheel) and ‘Play’ at the same time, forcing the iPod into Disk Mode (like safe mode for all the world). Reconnect your iPod to your computer and pop open iTunes, the iTunes software automatically recognising the iPod needs to be restored. The restoration process takes 1-2 minutes.