Thursday, August 9

My iPod 'Asploded.

Hi, Gabe.


Last week, I noticed that there weren't sounds coming out of my iPod when I pressed the buttons. This troubled me. Normally, when I pressed the buttons, sound would come out. Good sound.

Since my car doesn't have an AUX input (or a CD player), I've been listening to my iPod through an FM transmitter. Basically, it means that I hear my iPod tunes through a static radio frequency. It hardly ever works, the sound quality is embarrassing and any drive through multiple counties is an excruciating ordeal. Living in a city as large as Madison, merely driving to work means that I'll be toggling the transmitter for 18 of the 20 minutes I'm on the road. Still though, 2 minutes of music time is equivalent to 3.2 Descendents songs, so the trade-off isn't all that bad.

What I was unaware of is a little thing called a 'Power Surge.' You may have heard of such a thing in regards to your television and computer. You buy special outlets to protect your expensive electronics from welding themselves to the nearest metal surface every time lightning strikes near your home. Why, just last week, a Power Surge blew out my TiVo. Everything went dark, numbers started flashing and strobing; I seriously thought that I was about to get abducted by aliens. Power Surges are the real deal; but I didn't realize that they can happen in your car, too.

To make a long story short, I plugged 'Poddie' into the cigarette lighter before I started the car, and when I hit the ignition, it exploded. A device of its delicate size and power, Poddie didn't have a prayer holding up to the amount of energy produced by an '01 Mercury Sable (The Wild Stallion, v4.0). It was utterly destroyed; taken out behind the woodshed and manhandled like an eight-dollar Amsterdam whore. Remember when John Koncak tried to guard Michael Jordan in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals? I think you get the point. P.W.N.3.D.

I was pretty upset. While I always treated Poddie with the utmost respect and care, I neglected to see the warning on the FM transmitter box that read, "There's a more-than-likely chance that this product will lead to the instant destruction of the very device it has been created for." In fact, I'm pretty sure that it never said that on the box at all.

So, my iPod was ruined. Butchered. Ball-gagged and sodomized. I didn't worry too much, however, because it was still under a 1-year warranty from Apple. With that in mind, I marched it right over to the local Apple Store for a replacement the very next day.


He wasn't wearing a lab coat; that should have been my first warning sign.

If you've never been to an Apple Store, all of the employees either walk around with lime green polo shirts or long, white lab coats. I think they do this so they're easy to spot, look like a cohesive and intelligent unit, and create yet another way to express superiority over non-Mac folks. It's a good marketing ploy; I spent most of my visit watching YouTube clips of myself on an iPhone.

Like I said, my representative was far too stylish to be burdened with a lab coat. Actually, scratch that. I think the problem was that he didn't really work there, because he hadn't the damnest clue what I was talking about. Every question was met with a dumbass stare and a look like I was creating my own language of beeps and clicks as I went along. Furthermore, he was one of those douchebags that thought I didn't try basic troubleshooting before I showed up. My teeth were already grinding before he spoke.

Idiot - "What can I do for you today, sir?"

Me - "Oh hai thar. My iPod isn't responding. It's under warranty, so-"

Idiot - "Is the Hold switch on?"

Me (stunned) - " You see, what happened was-"

Idiot - "Did you reset it?"

Me (pressing lips together) - "I can't reset it. It won't turn on at all. There's absolutely no response whatsoever."

Idiot - "Well, let me give you a flier that goes over basic troubleshooting..."

(Idiot hands me a printout from the very same Troubleshooting web page I was on that morning, called 'The 5 R's.')

Me - "Yeah, I've already done all of that. It won't turn on at all."

Idiot - "Let me hook it up to our computer and check it out."

Me (shaking head in disbelief) - "Fine, but it won't recognize it."

Idiot - "Sure it will."

(4 seconds later)

Idiot - "Your iPod doesn't seem to be responding."

Me - "I slept with your Mother."

Thanks for doing your job, ya' ween. To make matters worse, he refused to answer any of my wife's questions, nor find someone else to answer them for her. He sincerely deserved a swift boot to the ballbag with extreme prejudice, and I was the man for the job, but I had forgotten to wear my ballbag-kickin' boots. He got lucky.


I was about to find out that my one-year warranty didn't really cover anything at all; it was merely a window of opportunity to purchase Apple Care, a support service offered to those who spend the $60 within their first year of iPod ownership. At this point in the conversation, though, I was more than willing to write a check to make all of the bad noises go away.

For my $60, I get to mail my iPod back to Apple so they can take a peek at it. They might fix it, they might send me a new one, or they might give me the finger and tell me to stick it. Seriously, this is what your money (and your warranty) gets you; the mere task of cracking Poddie open and determining what I've known for over a week now. I also saw a disclaimer that read 'Does Not Cover Accidental Damage.'

Wait, what? So you'll only cover the repairs if I break it on purpose? I didn't even realize that non-accidental damage even existed! What in the hell is going on, here?

Poddie shipped off to Apple yesterday, and there's a very good chance that I'll never see it again. In the meantime, I'm listening to my 1GB Shuffle ('Artie') and making sure that I start the car and wait 6 hours before plugging it in.

As far as the FM transmitter goes, I'll be through with that as soon as I find out what Apple decides to do for me. There's a kit that you can install that essentially gives you an AUX input in your car, so you can listen to your iPod at digital quality. It costs $200 for purchase and installation, but it'll be worth it to listen to my entire record collection in The Wild Stallion.

Thanks for listening, Emocat. You're always there for me.

Emocat feels bad about the iPod.

"No problem, man."

Yes, it's already Thursday.
I heart GABE!

To be fair, the unpleasant chap we met worked at an UNAUTHORIZED Apple store. The gent at the authorized Apple store was pleasant and helpful. Just sayin', in case they wanna send me a free Chrome iMac or something...just sayin'.
They still wear Lab Coats, though.

For as much as I shill the iMac on here, they should send one our way.

Those are pictures of Gabe, by the way.
Were you feeling like Gabe was getting left out w/ Tinks getting all the attention in the catsup costume?
You could afford the FM transmitter if you didn't spend all that money on boxer shorts.
HATHERY - Sort of. Furthermore, I wanted to make a few lolcats out of our own stock, you know?

TAMARAZ - I have the transmitter already; that was the problem. It sucks!
I doubt that there is anyone I hate more in the world than "technicians" who refuse to listen, and insist on asking the standard questions.

Is it on? Is it plugged in?

Plugged in??? I thought that thar thang was a durn antennae! Mister, you're a dadburn genius! Whoo doggie!
Also - what transmitter do you have? I finally laid out the extra cash for a Kensington, and it is much, much better than the Belkin or Griffin I had previously.
Oh Gabey!!! I love that top picture! I can feel his whiskers and cat-sniffy breath right now! AH!!
Gabe is the bestest cat in the world. Thanks to my negative karma, he'll probably be dead when I get home.

JT - I was using a Griffin iTrip, and it just doesn't do the trick in a severely urban area.

As a side note, it's been awhile since I've used 'whoo doggie!' as an exclamation. I shall do it at least 3 times tonight.
Creative 30gb MP3 Player.

I swear by this thing (and swear against iPods).

I'll spare the details on the blog, but if you're interested in my completely biased sales pitch for the fine people at Creative, "holla back".
Does your car have a cassette player?
I've been trying to convince him to just get the cheap cassette adapter and call it a day---no dice.

It would be a travesty to hook anything but an iPod up to our iMac. And perhaps one day soon, an iPhone can join in the fun as well!
I doubt that there is anyone I hate more in the world than "technicians" who refuse to listen, and insist on asking the standard questions.

The sad thing is, asking those simple questions probably solves the problem in 99.7% of the cases. People=dumb.
My ex-wife used the cassette adapter for her iPod and it worked great.

Missus - You're correct. I just hate it when I start explaining what I've already tried, and they just spit out the questions.
From what I've heard, the sound quality from the cassette adapter is mediocre at best, and it ruins your tape player after awhile. Sure, it would be a lot better than the FM transmitter, but once I get the AUX installed, I shouldn't have to worry about any of this.

I've had nothing but good experiences with all 3 of our iPods; it was the transmitter that screwed me over. To be fair, we have yet to see if Apple decides to screw me again.

If I ever see that sales associate again, I'm going to punch him right in the snoot.
Yep. Screw you, sales associate! You've caused me to want to go to the real Apple store in the mall--not your phony baloney Mac Shop!
Missus - You're correct. I just hate it when I start explaining what I've already tried, and they just spit out the questions.

I know what you mean...I hate repeating myself. PERIOD. The CDP can vouch for me that having to repeat myself is probably my single greatest pet peeve. Except maybe Ted Danson or that hand puppet on the Hamburger Helper commercials.
Mediocre at Best, you say?
That's it; we're doing a Reunion Tour.
Why, the people are absolutely CLAMORING for a reunion show! It's a veritable stampede!
I've had both the cassette adapter and FM Transmitter and the cassette adapter was by far better for me .

Nice plug for Mediocre at Best. Shameless? Maybe. Job well done? Absolutely.
If only we were plugging something that still existed. haha.
the fact that you referenced John Koncak in your blog made you my new hero.

Don't ever bother going to the apple store, I just did the apple care over the net. My girlfriend at the time decided to press down on the screen while reaching into the backseat, destroying the LCD. Apple replaced it without me even having to argue for it. Ignore retail people...

Also I bought an adaptor that hooks into the back of my car stereo, I don't know the company off hand. But it is the single greatest invention ever, it plugs into the back of your car stereo. From there it powers your ipod and allows you to use the stereo controls to skip songs etc...

Even with a crappy factory stereo like I have it works through it...
Kevin - Please figure out what you have. This sounds splendoriforous! My wife's MP3 player bit the dust two weeks into ownership. I had purchased the Best Buy warranty. Mailed it back to Best Buy (avoiding the morons at the store) and received a gift card within three weeks. I was pleasantly surprised.
KEVIN - Yup, never let it be said that I don't know my Sports History. I remember that series very vividly, and Koncak getting PWN3D night after night was one of the funniest things I had ever seen.

Also, your iPod story makes me confident that they'll just send me a new one, no questions axed. You car stereo adapter-thing sounds like the same thing I'll be getting soon.
I seriously think it's easier for them just to send out new pods than to "service" them.

Anyone working in the Apple Care center has access to everything that's on everyone's broken iPods. How cool is that? I'd amass the largest digital music library on Earth.
I've had nothing but grief from the unfriendly people at Apple. My first gen blue and white Powermac crashed more often than a Kennedy and Apple refused to replace it or pay to have it fixed. The service was awful and I vowed never again to buy an Apple product.

Then the iPod came out and I caved. But when I first got my now deceased 40G, the much-hyped 12 hour battery life ended up being about 3 hours. After being disconnected 3 times while being transferred from one service person to another, I finally got a man who told me that the 12 hour battery life was "up to 12 hours" and could only be achived if the backlight was never turned on, the equilizer was turned off, I never used random, and a whole bunch of other setting I could never use.

"So I only get 12 hours of battery life if I don't use it the way I want to use it?" I asked.

Silence. Then grudging assent. "Basically, yeah."

Thanks, Apple!

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