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Tuesday, 3.29.05: iPod Perversities

Rule: Whenever anyone tries to convince you how easy a new electronic device is, laugh out loud.

Case in point: Natural saleswoman that my sister Kathleen is, she persuaded me to buy an iPod, partly on the basis of how easy is it to pour music into it. She also exploited my weakness for anything cool and cutting edge. She even convinced Jim to pay for it.

Happily, she got it going and stocked it up with her top 600 personal favorites.

Somehow between the joy of bottomless listening and my installation of the software on my own computer, the magic fairy dust disappeared.

First install: everything smooth, and all 625 songs appeared in my iTunes library. But then I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to the newer version. Natch. Then iTunes was empty, even though songs were still on my iPod. And then I got a message that the new software lacked certain components -- please re-install. Grrr. I decided to backtrack to the original version. I have to remind myself that my darling devices only like me when I am methodical.

 But then, crap! BOTH my DVD drive and my CD-ROM drive disappeared! Disappeared!! What the...? In my Device Manager, little yellow exclamation points told me that "we loaded your drivers, but where the heck are your devices??"

I fumed for a while. Then I decided to go online and chat with tech support at Gateway. "Oh, no problem," he typed, "just go to this web page and download the updated drivers for your optical drives." Okey-dokey.

Hmmm... the installation process netted me a 3-sentence Notepad document which basically said: "Updated drivers? You don't need no stinkin' updated drivers -- Windows XP identifies optical drives automatically!"

By this time, I was too tired to contemplate hanging on the phone with Customer Service, so (leaving the iPod attached to give it a good charge) I did a Scarlett O'Hara and went to bed.

Don't try to tell me that machines aren't conscious. They know when you are being slapdash instead of methodical. They know when you are in a hurry and, like a mule, they stop in their tracks. And then sometimes they take a kind of perverse pity on you.

When I woke up this morning, my DVD and CD-ROM drives had reappeared in My Computer. But all 625 tracks were gone from my iPod.

Your guess is as good as mine...



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