Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I'd been thinking of getting myself an iPod and a friend of mine sold me hers on Saturday.

Problem #1: Going to Apple's website, the iTunes software was only available for Win2000 and XP and I'm still running Win98 on my home PC. So, a search of the internet found an application called XPlay that will work on Win98.

Problem #2: Xplay software has a one week trial download but if you want the full version it'll cost you $30. A search of Bittorrent found a pirated version with the crack.

Problem #3: Installing it on my PC seemed to work but then I realized that I had forgotten to turn on my external USB drive. When I turned that on I received the Blue Screen of Death (tm) and crashed my system. This external drive had caused me problems when I bought it but I had been able to work through them. But now turning on the drive with the iPod plugged in threw fatal exception errors. Plugging in the iPod after the drive was turned on threw fatal exception errors. I uninstalled drivers, reinstalled drivers but could not resolve the problem after several hours and a score of reboots. The alternative was to install the iPod on my laptop and then pull the music into it through the household network. Not an ideal solution as it would be extremely slow but I don't have so much music and I'm not adding to the collection fast enough for it to be a regular hindrance.

Problem #4: My laptop couldn't find the drivers. On my desktop, it found them just fine but for some unknown reason, the laptop couldn't get them off of the same Win98 CD.

Problem #5: Apple doesn't have drivers available for Win98. Another search of the Internet found a site that had them be wouldn't let you download them unless you paid a "donation" of $5. Somehow I think that if you must pay then it's no longer a donation. Continued searching found another location that had the drivers for free. They installed and now the iPod appears as a drive in the My Computer folder.

Problem #6: The XPlay software said that the version of software wasn't compatible with the iPod. OK. I had an update in the folder I downloaded but after installing that I still had the same issue. Windows Explorer could see the iPod folders and files but I couldn't navigate to the Music folder. Ahhhh. The problem was that my iPod was configured for Mac. So it was back to Apple to download iPod Updater to re-format the iPod for PC.

Problem #7: iPod Updater didn't recognize that there was an iPod connected to the system even though it shows as a navigable drive in the My Computer folder. On top of that, making the attempt with Updater was freezing my machine. To run Updater, I installed it on my daughter's WinXP machine. That installation went OK and the Updater restored the iPod.

Problem #8: After the update, the system screen said to plug in using a wall outlet so the iPod could reflash the memory. Except that I didn't have an AC adapter for the iPod. But, I knew a coworker was sure to have one. It'd be an easy matter to ask him to borrow his for a few minutes.

Problem #9: He didn't have the AC adapter with him on Monday so he agreed to bring it on Tuesday. No big deal. But he called off of work on Tuesday so I had to wait until Wednesday. Sure enough, it took only a minute for the iPod memory to flash and it looked like I was back in business.

Problem #10: I plugged the iPod into the laptop once I got home and Xplay recognized it. I started up the external drive on the desktop machine, shared the drive and started downloading. Except that after a few minutes the drive wasn't responding and the download crashed. I've noticed before that the external drive will hesitate, sometimes for minutes at a time, when I am copying large volumes of files. For the desktop, it's just a pause but for Xplay the pause is too long and the connection fails. I was forced to copy things in smaller increments. One folder at a time.

Whew! Finally, after four days I have it working.

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