100 Gigs of MP3s

It finally happened after I added the new Anniversary album, I have over 100 Gigs of music in my iTunes!

I’m very strict when it comes to my music. Minimum 192 kbps. I’ve made posts before about how to create good mp3 files through iTunes.

I’m just excited to break the 100 gig mark. My iPhone only holds 16 gig, but it’s nice to know I can listen to music for over 45 days and never hear the same song twice!

Excess, what’s that!

Mac on my PC – LEO4ALL

In my last blog post I talked about how my computer had a system drive failure. I am waiting for Western Digital to send me a new 10,000 rpm drive to replace the broken one, so in the meantime, I thought I would screw around with trying to put Mac OS X on my desktop.

My friend Luis Majano is a great software developer and swears by his Mac Book Pro. At work I run Windows XP, at home it Windows Vista. I have Ubuntu on my laptop and run CentOS on my web servers, so I’m not a die hard about one OS or another, they all have their place.

I love Linux operating systems, so learning from Luis that Mac OS X sits on top of BSD made me more interested in switching (Apple don’t tell you that in their cute commercials). The price of Mac computers is insane though, and not something I’m blindly going to jump into.

So to the point… a broken PC a spare harddrive, and the want to try Mac OS X, whats a geek to do? A few google searches, and a torrent download later, I had in hand, Leo4All.

Leo4All is an awesome distribution of the hacked apple OS to run on none genuine apple hardware. They even have a great wiki (http://osx86leo4all.wikidot.com)

I dropped the DVD into my drive, booted up and a few minutes later I was in the OS X installer. Formatted the drive into an apple format, clicked install and 10 minutes later I was working inside of OS X! everything was there, even time machine! check out the screen shot below…

I had trouble with my network card, as OS X doesnt seem to like a lot of on-mother-board devices. I fixed that by powering down, and installing an old pci NIC. Booted back up and it was there!

I had no audio, but after a few minutes of googeling around, and following likes from the Leo4All wiki, I had it going.

I still havent had any luck getting my dual monitors to work. OS X doesnt seem to like nVidia cards with 512 megs of ram. Oh well, one monitor is fine with me for now.

The USB ports work, and recognize my iPod and iPhone just fine.

So it looks like I’m set. If the experience goes well, who knows, I just might become a switcher! If you know of some sweet mac software I need to try out, let me know.

Hacking an old iPod to get a new one

A guy I know, “dave”, had an iPod that was acting up. On top of that, his warranty was was almost up, and he was worried that the iPod would live just long enough to go out of warranty before fully breaking, leaving him with out an iPod.

He was looking for a way help to speed up the failure process of his iPod, so he could make use of the warranty. Knowing that I have a back ground in working on the inside of iPods he hit me up for advice… advice that got him a new iPod

Based on the experiments and hundreds of comments I have received on my previous blog posts (here and here), its clear to see that when an iPod hard drive comes loose, the entire iPod goes nuts, and doesnt work (it cant read the music, so there is no music to play!).

  1. I suggested to Dave that he take a guitar pick (This is an old photo I am reusing where I used a screw driver for my example.. DONT USE A SCREW DRIVER you will scratch the metal part of the case!), and force the pick between the metal and the plastic, being careful not to scratch either surface.


  2. Once the guitar pick (NOT SCREWDRIVER) is in between the case halves, twist the pick and move it slowly along the seam to release the internal latches. Take your time, so you don’t mark up the case, or Apple will know you were up to something.

  3. Once you get the case apart, be careful and move the case halves a part, keeping the plastic side down. Be sure not to break the ribbon cable joining the halves.

  4. Next, find the hard drive, it should be easy to see. At the top, it is attached with a large ribbon connection. This is where the magic happens! We need to unplug this cable from the drive, but still leave it semi attached. Pull the cable straight out, unhooking it completely. gently push it back on. enough to hold it in place, but not make a complete connection.

    We are trying to simulate what happens when some ipods are dropped. In some cases, the hard drive shifts and the cable becomes unplugged, creating a messed up iPod.

    To test this, gently pick up the iPod and press the scroll wheel. If you can see your songs, you pushed the cable back in to far, unhook it and try again. If you get an error, you did everything just right!

  5. To put it back together, flip the metal side over the top and gently squeeze it all together. The case will snap back into place.

  6. Your iPod should not play, and it looks completely broken.

If you return it to Apple under warranty, they should give you a new one. If they wont replace it, open it back up, re attach the hard drive cable and enjoy the dying days of your old iPod.

I haven’t tried doing this this, and I don’t really suggest doing it. I’m posting this for educational purposes, and because it is both an interesting hardware and social hack. I’m guessing that Apple might change their policy if they see a lot of this happening. You probably should just buy a new one. (I hope that covers me legally!)

While we are talking about iPods, subscribe to my podcast!

Fix your ipod by spanking it?

Follow me on twitter for more great tips. CLICK HERE – twitter.com/JoshHighland

Its common knowledge that you dont want to drop / slam / or hit your expensive electronics, you might break them. Well, what if your expensive electronics is already broken?

I’m writing this in response to the hundreds of comments I received on my blog post about replacing a broken ipod hard drive.

It seems that there is a very unconventional way to fix your broken iPod, without having to open it or spend any money…. beat your ipod up! You heard me right, Slap your iPod!

How to do this:

Hold your iPod so the screen faces the palm of your hand and slap the back of it a few solid times. That’s it.

I personally haven’t tried this, but based on the response to my previous blog post, its worked for over 100 people so far.

Why does spanking your iPod fit it?

Here are a few of my thoughts on why this might work.

  1. Your iPod might have stopped working if the hard drive connection came lose. Slapping the iPod might jar the connection back into place.
  2. The hard drive arm might have gotten stuck for some reason. Spanking the iPod might free up that hard drive arm.
  3. It might just be magic!

I really don’t know why it works but I guess it does. If you have any experience with this post a comment.

Follow me on twitter for more great tips. CLICK HERE – twitter.com/JoshHighland

replacing the hardrive of an ipod

Follow me on twitter for more great tips. CLICK HERE – twitter.com/JoshHighland

My brother Justin loved his 20 gig 4th generation ipod until he dropped it at the gym one day. It stopped working all together and would make clicking noises when he would try to start it.
He had gotten it as a gift and didnt have the reciept for it, so he couldnt take it back unter warrenty I guess. Apple said that it would cost $250 to fix. Instead of fixing it, he spend the money on
a 30 gig 5th generation. I asked him for the broken ipod so I could tinker with it. After I got it from him, I decided that it would be cool to own an ipod, and that if i could fix it for less then the
retail price, I would be a head of the game. I documented my adventure of trying to fix my ipod, check it out.

  1. When I would start the ipod, I would get an icon of a folder and a warning sign. The ipod would then make a bunch of clicking noises. That make me think that the hard drive was crapped out.
  2. Since it was already broken, why not take it apart and try to make it work. There was no clear way to ebter the ipod, so I decided to pry off the metal back using the thinnest screw driver I could find.
    It wasnt that hard to work the screw drive between the metal and the plastic. I worked the screw driver down the side of the case, until it popped off.

  3. I flipped the ipod over, and opened it up slowly, I noticed that there was a ribbon cable connecting the guts if the ipod to the jacks mounted to the metal back. I was careful not to mess this connection up.

  4. The ipod uses an ide harddrive, the connector pulled directly off without any problems. I now hard the bad harddrive free,

  5. The drive had blue rubber bumpers wrapped around it, and on the back, there was a foam mat that was glued to the drive.
  6. Removing the bumpers was no problem, they pulled directly off with out any fight.
  7. I tried to pull the foam off the drive by pulling on it, but that wasnt working, so I desided to get a razor blade scraper and screape it off. It worked well.

  8. Once I had the foam off, I could see that it was a toshiba drive. Model MK2004GAL. I looke dofr replacements online, but was only able to find the model MK2006GAL. I compared the MK2004GAL and the MK2006GAL, and didnt see any big differences, so I ordered one. 3 days letter I had my new drive. It didnt have the apple logo on it, but who cares, it was only $100!
  9. The blue bumpers went on with out a problem, and fit like a glove.
  10. To get the foam to stick to the new drive, I went super ghetto and reached in my desk, and came up with a glue stick! Hey, it goet the job done.
  11. The new drive went in, just like the old one came out. I connected the IDE connection, and I was ready to close it up.
  12. I put the back on, and pressed down on it evenly. The back snapped without any problems.
  13. Next, I downloaded the ipod updater (11-17-2005) from apple.com, and installed it. I hooked up my newly rebuilt ipod, and did a restore. It went really fast.
  14. After the restore, I had to hook up my ipod to the wall charger. I didnt have one on hand so i tried all kinds of methods of going around it. In the middle of me trying to hack around it, My buddy chris called, I told him to bring over his wall charger.
  15. 5 minutes later Chris showed up with a charger. I plugged in the ipod, it reset itself, and then I was up and running with my newly rebuilt ipod.

I was really supprised at how easy it was to replace the hard drive in a 4th gen ipod. Im sure that someone is going to call me an idiot for opening the case that way. I dont care though. I got this thing working and that all that matters, and I did it for under $100. Screw apple for wanting to charge $250 for 20 minutes worth of work and $100 worth of parts.

I hope that through my experience, someone else can bring back to life one of their dead ipods.

Follow me on twitter for more great tips. CLICK HERE – twitter.com/JoshHighland