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Potentially disastrous user interface mistakes

Since my mac is getting rebuilt in Cupertino, my iPod is just sitting here with nothing to do. I thought I'd try plugging it in to my pc and see what happens. I have a firewire card for the PC because, way back when I thought things would just work, I asked work to buy a firewire pc/mcia card so I could move large files between my mac and my pc on my handy FireFly 5 gb drive. I quickly learned that plugging the FireFly in to the firewire card on the PC got me bubkiss, even though plugging the FireFly in to the firewire port on the mac did exactly what I expected: it mounted the drive. The problem with my Firefly + firewire card + PC system is that the firewire adapter can't deliver enough power to the drive. Oookay, so I need a firewire drive which has its own power. Voila, le iPod.
Now, I'd heard rumors that you have to either get a mac iPod or a PC iPod. This seemed suspicious -- is the hardware actually different? the firmware? or just the disk format? I'd held off on investigating until tonight. I have just discovered BitTorrent as retroactive VCR, so I have a few gigs of season 6 west wing avi's on my big machine, that I have to get to my small machine. So, this might work: connect iPod to big machine via firewire card. Copy large files onto iPod. Connect iPod to small machine via pc/mcia card. View avi's on small machine, which has better speakers. Or, well, that would have been the plan. Here's where it all went wrong: I plugged in the iPod to the pcmcia firewire card, and... a little tiny dialog box popped up. "F: is unreadable. Reformat?"

...which brings us to the potentially disastrous user interface mistake. The default action for that dialog box is "Yes," meaning, "Yes, please reformat my 30 gb storage device on which I have a few years of music and data stored." I jerked away as from a hot flame! My impulse was to unplug the iPod from the Destroyer of Worlds, but I paused... shut down the Destroyer of Worlds... and then gingerly unplugged my sacred iPod.

I will not... I will not connect my iPod to any pc's ever again. That's just the classic "bad defaults leading to disaster" error... and I won't be bringing my sacred pod into contact with the Destroyer of Worlds again.

Never fear; there are other methods! I have an external USB 2.0 DVD-RW drive, but the big machine doesn't support USB 2, just USB 1. Transferring half a gig at USB1 speeds? no thank you. I will try my backup backup plan, which I'm pretty sure will work... and then I'll be lying in bed falling asleep while catching up on the West Wing episodes I've missed.

Technology is just so much fun. Getting technology to do what I want it to do actually helps me sleep better at night.

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