Yes, it's usually a bad idea, but it was so obvious in this case that I have self-diagnosed: I've got me some of that March Madness.
Why, Syracuse, why?
While I'm at it, I've diagnosed my iPod, as well. It's true, there's nothing like a good history to explain symptoms that would otherwise be mysterious and vague. But the presentation is exactly the same as it was the last time the Pod crapped out on me, except this time I'm armed with the knowledge of what the problem was last time.
Funny story about that. My Pod had been a champ, a faithful companion... until last fall a month or two past the warranty date. Then it started skipping in much the way a CD player with a dirty laser lens would. This developed into an amusing game where it would play the first few seconds of a song, then flip ahead to the next. The end stage of this malady was just flipping through songs without actually playing any of them. I'd watch the display and wonder if the ectoplasm of a disapproving ghost was hitting "next" and growing more frustrated at my lame taste in music.
I wondered if the copy-protection cops were on to me -- had I downloaded files that self-destructed? But no, stuff from my own CDs did the same. I fretted about file types. I tried converting, only to find that some files would rewrite fine and others would crap out partway through. I wiped the whole thing (nooooo!) and re-imported from CDs... in Apple Lossless format. Which was fine, since instead of 2200 songs, now I had 140, and room to spare.
I took the thing to Albany, and since they were unable to get the Pod to "mount" just as I had been unable to at home, they couldn't apply their magic touch to it. Then upon questioning, they admitted their idea of magic was the same iPod updater program I already had. They suggested I buy a new Pod. Some "geniuses." Their bag of tricks wouldn't hold so much as one of the crack rocks they was smokin', I thought to myself, as I stalked out of the store.
But then I went home for break, and added a little more ammo to my "New York is cool and all, but Albany/Troy is basically Dubuque" attitude. A guy at one of the stores in the Minneapolis area listened to the useless spinning of the hard drive, observed the freaky-deaky display behavior, and took the Pod to the back. He came out with the thing working perfectly, explaining that there's a cable that sometimes comes loose; without the connection to its own hard drive, the Pod can't make anything work.
So now, I'm convinced that carrying the Pod back and forth to the car, etc. in New England winter conditions has caused the connector to expand and contract to the point where now, it's out again. And here's your O. Henryish twist to the story: back in Albany last week, to pick up the woman* at the airport, I signed in, sauntered up to the Genius Bar when it was my turn, and helpfully suggested that they go in the back and open 'er up. I said that if they did, they could expect to find a loose cable connector. They shocked me by reporting -- are you ready for this?
"Oh. No, we don't open them up. We can't, actually. Against company policy."
So, to the crazy Genius somewhere in the TC metro area who made things so right: you, sir, are not the one who's out of order. They're out of order. The whole damn system is out of order!
And now I just need to find out if Albany is merely genius-free, lacking in some core skills no matter what the name tags say, or actually FOS. (That's a medical term.)
* who is totally awesome