Step 1: Make sure the cable is good. If it is, seek help elsewhere, because that’s all I’ve got for you today on this issue.

So I have this windows computer and it was no longer reading the iPod. So I did two things, and each of these things exemplifies a different operating system.

I went to the Apple web site for help. This is a PC running Windows, but an Apple iPod and Apple software (iTunes). And I decided it was time to uninstall the scanner software that says “seeking scanner” for two minutes every time any USB device is plugged in, figuring that maybe that was a problem. I ditched the scanner long ago.

The Apple web site told me several helpful things and is actually better than average for a tech help web site from a company that makes the product. The site is good enough that it is almost an argument for the proprietary model, but of course, since this was not Apple hardware it was not helpful enough. It also did not solve the problem. None of the suggestions were correct.

Meanwhile, while attempting to uninstall the software from the Windows machine … this is that freeware crap that comes with a piece of hardware … I was told that “the software you are trying to uninstall is on a CD rom. Insert the CD Rom.”

Right. No, it is not on the CD rom. And no, I don’t have that CD Rom anyway.

So, I aborted the install and not suprtizingly my system hung and I had to reboot

Eventually, I tried a new approach: I switched cables. The new cable worked, the old cable did not work.

Now, here’s a question I have for all you Apple experts out there: Are there two kinds of USB-iPod cables or just one? Is it possible that I hav two different kinds of cable here and one works and the other does not because they are different, or is it the case that I have a bad cable?

The reason I ask is that I do have two different kinds of chargers that have the cable that hooks to any iPod on the end, and they are different and are not inter-compatible with all iPods.

Comments

  1. #1 Jared
    August 15, 2009

    All iPod cables are the same, if one cable works and another doesn’t, that is a bad cable. As for the chargers, one must be third party, because as far as I know, they are all the USB-port chargers or car chargers…

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    August 15, 2009

    Apparently, the original cables, which no one has, except my brother, who still has his first gen iPod, and you, who never gets rid of anything for charging, were different.

  3. #3 A
    August 15, 2009

    I had the problem of using multiple PCs to add to the audio files on my iPod (I inherited an older version iPod from my son, use it for language lessons, classical music); when the new PC recognized the iPod, it started iTunes, and iTunes, of course, wanted first to wipe all the existing files from the iPod. I found that I can add to the existing files by using Winamp (on Win XP) without wiping out the existing files, and now have given up on iTunes.–

  4. #4 Alcari
    August 15, 2009

    Step 0: Never, ever buy an iPod

    Consider the altertave of buying just about anything else. A sony walkman, for example, will hold 16gb, function with drag-and-drop over a simple usb cable which can also charge it. It doesn’t have a harddisk, so you can drop it and it will still play.

    Yes, it stores less data than an iPod, but seriously, who actually needs 120 gb on his mp3/mp4 player? If that’s not to convincing, consider the fact that you can buy three, four, or even five brand-X mp4 players for the cost of a single iPod.

  5. #5 Webs
    August 15, 2009

    Definitely a bad cable.

    I like the iPods, that is once I wipe the firmware and install Linux. There are a couple projects out there, but Rockbox is the best by far. I highly recommend checking it out.

  6. #6 michael
    August 15, 2009

    I like the iPods, that is once I wipe the firmware and install Linux.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    August 15, 2009

    I believe that as usual, Stephanie is correct, and that there is a difference. I have never bought an iPod, alcari. People give them to me. The old cable is probably from my wife’s first iPod which was given to her and was, indeed, one of the very first ones. Jared, It seems has committed the “Three Button Mouse fallacy”

    I’m pretty sure the charger cable mismatch is a recent and separate issue, and it has to do with plug in the wall cables that you buy at the apple store. At least, taht is where one plug in the wall charger that I have came from, the one that only charges the old and middle-aged iPod but not my daughter’s brand new one.

    I would love to see an authoritative white paper on the iPod cable issue. Just the facts. I don’t care that the hardware changes. This is part of the Apple philosophy and can be argued as a good thing or a bad thing, just like the way Linux drivers work can be a good thing or a bad thing (though people will fight tooth and nail). But I do suspect that the non-open sourcde aspect of this contributes to the fact that it is not easy to find this information.

  8. #8 DuWayne
    August 15, 2009

    I will go with the “fuck ipod” crowd. I despise itunes and despise anything that’s not drop and play. I fucking HATE the notion of needing proprietary software, to use something I bought to play media on. I just want to drop my files in there and be done.

    I have been tasked with managing my parent’s ipods and that is enough stress for my life. I am happy with the four gig, thirty dollar mp3 player I use and my son is happy with his sixty dollar, eight gig walkman. Though I am looking into a shelftop media player shell, as I have a 120gig hd that is aching to fill one…A friend sent me seventy+ gigs of Nova and we also have all of the BBC’s Walking With series and given the twenty month old’s fascination with Walking With Cavemen, never mind the dinosaurs, beasts and sea monsters – it would be nice to be able to watch them on an actual tee vee and I have a friend with a fucking huge one…But I digress…

    Fuck ipods.

  9. #9 Orac
    August 16, 2009

    Yes, it stores less data than an iPod, but seriously, who actually needs 120 gb on his mp3/mp4 player?< ?blockquote>

    I do. In fact, I have a 160 GB iPod Classic, and it’s nearly filled. I like having my entire music collection, all my photos, and several videos all on one iPod–so much so that I’m bummed that Apple has given up on the iPod Classic an it appears that there will never be a 240 GB version.

  10. #10 Eee
    August 16, 2009

    My 12 year old niece uses multiple iPods (Touch and a nano) with a PC with absolutely no problems whatsoever. Just sayin’

    I should send her a link to this page. Imagine a 12 year old girl laughing at the collective tech skills of you sorry lot. :-D Seriously, guys, find a tar pit to walk into already. Hey, I kid.

  11. #11 Bob
    August 16, 2009

    Orac, brilliant as usual, calls out the “Why would anyone want to do that?” meme. Personally, I don’t want to carry around that much disk either, but hey, I’m sure someone does and I won’t presume my mostly-arbitrary opinion is anything more than personal preference.

  12. #12 Phil
    August 16, 2009

    You had what is commonly called in the hi-tech world, a broken wire. And I love my Ipod touch coz it has a neat touch screen and wireless internet capability. So what if it uses Itunes? I can save the songs in mp3 format and convert. Is that really so hard? I had a Mobiblu Cube but the sound level was horrible, it was too low so I sold it. On paper it did more things than the Ipod Touch, it had a radio, but the volume was so low you could hardly hear it.

  13. #13 Alcari
    August 16, 2009

    Yes, I was fully aware of the irony of that statement. Still, the vast majority of people who get an iPod, will never use anything over a few GB worth of storage, or watch a movie on it. To those people, I can recomend a 30 dollar no-name mp3 player from the supermarket.

    “I have never bought an iPod, alcari. People give them to me.”

    Ah, well then, gift horses and all that ;)

  14. #14 Minneapolis Photographer
    August 17, 2009

    There are some differences in the cables, and the original iPods used a 6-pin firewire cable that I doubt you could even plug into your computer, but all USB cables should be pretty much the same. The biggest difference should be the support of video-out on the newer ones. I suspect you just had a broken wire.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    August 17, 2009

    I definitely have a charger that charges only one type of iPod and not another (and the instructions indicate this). So the iPod end of the iPod cable must vary from case to case at least somewhat (the other end … the end that plugs into the wall … would not vary). I’ll have to see if the “broken” cable works on any of the other iPods that are newer … I’ll keep you’all posted.

  16. #16 Wayne Robinson
    August 17, 2009

    I love my iPod(s). I bought a different brand of mp3 player once (to play an audiobook I had inadvertently bought not realising that it was a Windows only audiofile, and got rid of it because the player was so cheap and nasty. I have the new 120GB iPod, and it works with the old USB cable, so it sounds as though your cable might be broken. iTunes accepts audiofiles from other sites, so you aren’t just restricted to the iTunes store and your own CDs. And iTunes is very flexible in allowing you to rearrange your audio (I wish the Kindle could be as flexible). If 120 GB is too much storage, you can also use the excess as a convenient extra external hard drive.

  17. #17 Monimonika
    August 17, 2009

    I got a 120GB iPod and eventually found my way out of using iTunes (and its non-existant video file management) by installing Floola into the iPod and using iPodMe (free!) video converter on my PC to make my own video files compatible (at near-high-quality!).

    Although the process is kind of a pain, at least with Floola I can specify whether my converted video files are “Movie”, “TV Show”, or “Music Video”, as well as entering other appropriate info before and after adding them to my iPod. (The pain part is that, although I can specify the TV Show name for a bunch of files at once, I have to edit each one individually to assign them episode numbers. Grrr… Plus, there seems to be no way to search through the files.)

    Another thing I like about Floola is that I can connect my iPod to another PC (never tried this on a Mac) and copy my music/video files from my iPod to the PC.

    There might be other free programs out there that may do better than Floola or iPodMe (if there is, please tell me!), but they’re serving me well for now. And I am extremely glad to have 120GB instead of a paltry 8GB or so to work with.

    Also, a word of caution. Unless you have an early version of iPod, do not buy those $1 chargers. They were incompatible with mine.