I don't really know why he should suddenly give up the ghost, I've always treated him well, keeping him snug and safe in a bright blue iSkin. He began the day working just fine, and I travelled to work listening to Dot Net Rocks as usual. I switched him off when I arrived at the office, but then when I tried to switch him back on again a short while later, I just got that infamous "Sad iPod" picture staring back at me.
On Thursday I called in to an Apple Store to seek advice from the guys at the Genius Bar. They broke the bad news that a hard disk failure is likely to blame, and repair would cost £145 from UK Ipod Repairs - ouch! They suggested that I'd probably be just as well to sell Barney on eBay for spares / repairs, and invest in a shiny new 80Gb fifth generation model - currently £230 on Amazon.
Given that Barney's always been so well looked after, it really surprises me that his little hard drive should die at such a young age, and I have a horrible nagging feeling that maybe this is a really easy problem to rectify. The cynical side of me suspects that it's in-built obsolescence, designed to boost sales of new models. But, *shrug*, what can I do? So - anybody want to buy a faulty iPod?
Updated [2006-01-07] - a week later, and Barney is back in the land of the living! Read how it happened here.