Shuffle Reset

Owners of failing first generation iPod Shuffles will be pleased to learn that Apple has released a reset utility (for Mac and Windows), which completely wipes the flash storage and starts the iPod fresh. Normally, we think of an iPod “Restore” action having this effect, which is entirely true for hard drive based iPods. A hard drive based iPod can be restored after the drive has been completely overwritten with zero’s, so there’s no argument there. However, the iPod Shuffle must work differently, as they can get corrupted and become unusable. A corrupted iPod Shuffle just blinks orange and green lights, and refuses to appear on the desktop. Apple’s new updater communicates with the iPod USB controller chip — always available when plugged in, unless the problem is far more serious — and reloads the entire contents of flash, bringing your once-dead iPod back to life.

I think Apple must have used some utility like this in the past, at least internally, to reset returned iPod Shuffles. When mine failed a few months ago with the aforementioned problem, Apple was able to reload the contents and make it live once more, so I’m glad to see that this great tool is now available to the public. As this is one of the most common iPod Shuffle difficulties, the iPod shuffle Reset Utility should greatly decrease the number of necessary returns.

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Shuffle Reset

iPod Breakout Card

Just recently, I received my iPod Breakout Card, and I finally finished assembling it tonight. By using a the same JAE manufactured connectors as the official iPod ones, each pin from the Dock connector can be individually run to a much larger pad, making it easy to interact with the iPod. I intend to install a row of pins on each side and allow the entire card to be snapped into a breadboard for easy prototyping.

While I’m not sure what kind of hack I’ll be using it for yet, I do intend to post some code written for the BASIC Stamp II, as I don’t yet have any PIC experience (I should write about the BlackBerry-like devices a buddy and I made years ago using a pair of BSII chips and wifi transceivers! A story for another day…)

You, too, can order and assembly your very own iPod breakout card from Ridax in Sweden. It took a few days for my parts to get to the U.S., but they arrived well packed and ready to be used. This should be the start of some more interesting iPod hacks!

iPod Breakout Card

Xbox Media Center 2.0

After a long bug-bash, Xbox Media Center 2.0 is out, and I’ve been testing it over the last few days. All its features are working and polished just right: video streams perfectly, even over wireless; DVD menus are enabled; Last.fm submission support is built-in; Project Mayhem III and MediaCenter360 skins are installed by default; and much more! To learn how to set up XBMC 2.0, check out the online manual wiki or stay tuned for Part 3 of Mac meet Xbox right here at Command-Tab.

Xbox Media Center 2.0