Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I fixed an iPod (sort of)

One of my coworkers left an iPod on the free table—discarded and disregarded like so much ephemera—and it inevitably made its way into my possession. As I've mentioned before, I like to fix things*.

Earlier this year, my lawn mower would start and then quit immediately. So I did a quick search online and was able to find plenty of helpful advice, including step-by-step videos. Granted, some of the advice and videos were better than others, but I was able to disassemble the carburetor on my lawn mower, clean it, reassemble it and get it started again. Thanks Internet!

I mention this willingness to dive into things because it reminded me of something I read about Steve Jobs. Now, I’m no Steve Jobs, but in the outstanding book, The Pixar Touch, there’s a story about how Steve started learning about electronics at an early age. He would get disassembled radios and learn how to build them from the ground up. In the book, he says that the experience took away the mystery of electronics as this mystical, magical, unknowable thing.

So when I came across this non-working iPod, I saw it as a challenge to overcome. I tried a hard reboot and that failed. I did a reinstall of the operating system and that seemed to work. Huzzah! But then battery wouldn’t hold a charge. Ah-ha! One problem: How to get to the battery? Answer: the Internet. I found a helpful site that showed me how to open the case (basically jam a knife inside and pry) and disconnect the battery. From there it was just a matter of matching part number to part number, getting a new battery for about $15 online and reassembling the whole contraption. Unfortunately, part of the screen was damaged in my zeal, but overall, I have a working iPod again for $15. And I gained the confidence in knowing that if the screen stops working entirely, I’ll be able to fix that, too.

*As opposed to “people” or “relationships”