Saturday, September 23, 2006

Firewire problems: Hope springs, and then...

After upgrading to iTunes 7, I had a glimmer of hope that the constant iPod/Firewire problems might have software roots and be fixed within iTunes. I went almost a week, and 3 iPod synchs, with no lockups. Naturally, when the problem recurred, it was a doozy.

20 minutes after plugging in the iPod, it still hadn't synched and was hot to the touch from constant drive activity. The iPod icon was in Finder, but iTunes reported "unable to read the contents" of the iPod. Trying to eject via the Finder locked up the whole computer -- no dock, no finder, no Command-Tab switching, all windows unresponsive. That's the point where I yank the iPod out of the cradle and realize that was the smarter approach from the beginning; you get the "device was improperly ejected" error but otherwise no ill effects. Instead, after a solid half hour of spinning rainbow and no sign of the device error dialog, I had to power down the computer and lose whatever work was open.

And how do I repay the company that made such an unreliable computer-to-iPod link? Why, get another computer of course. :-) A new Intel iMac comes with USB 2.0 ports, and some of my Firewire drives also have these fast USB connections. Maybe reducing the number of daisy-chained drives will fix the lockups, or maybe the new iMacs have beefier fuses behind the Firewire ports. We can always hope.

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