The Nintendo(R) Fix!

Dead iPod

My oh my. Electronics haven’t changed one byte in 20 years. Remember your Nintendo®? How did you troubleshoot games that wouldn’t play? There were two fail-proof treatments. The first thing you did was blow until your face turned blue at the cartridge. Your mom would find you passed out in front of your Nintendo with your hands clutched around the sides of the gray cartridge (gold if you were trying to play Zelda) in the grip of death.

The other fix was to hit the system. Hard. Because we learned as kids that plastic is really strong and can take it. And somehow, hitting it made it work. There are clearly a lot of governing dynamics to either method, probably something about force and maybe one could throw in terms like “contact surface area” and “Brownian motion,” but it’s probably just transferance. Transferance of anger and frustration into the irony of the damn thing working again.

Well in the case of my iPod, which bricked randomly this afternoon, when it finally does come back up there’s a non-smiling Mac icon, sort of trying to share your pain for the multi-hundreds of dollars that you wish could somehow be exchanged again. What did I sign up for? So, like a good little iPod user, I read the support docs on Apple’s Third Grader Friendly™ support website, and to no avail.

One could argue now that the iPod having support docs is a far step up from the days of the Nintendo, where the only support one could possibly get as an eight-year-old who couldn’t quite see over the steering wheel was the mostly-Japanese manuals whose English translations didn’t really amount to much more than “Do not submerge in water.”

At some point I decided to slam my iPod onto my desk, at which time the gentle whir of the hard drive demonstrated that the technique had revived the beast. So who needs a manual, since the old time tried and true solutions still seem to work better than any support document, forum, or Japanese guide out there?

Of course, I had to slam the iPod at precisely the right angle holding it at the right direction, while I had several hundred school children in Kiev jump simultaenously while whistling the Ukrainian national anthem in G-flat minor.
And so electronics persist in their ability to frustrate at or near the level at which they were meant to entertain, for at least one more generation.

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