Patent Pending

I’m sure I’m not the only somewhat tech-savvy person who’s encountering this: when you return home after a while, the second thing family asks you is always that nagging computer problem. No sweat, I’m getting used to it – but this weekend I had a special kind of problem.

My dad has an iPod. We all laughed and joked about it when mother decided to give him one for his birthday, claiming he wouldn’t know how to switch it on, and god forbid – transfer music onto it. We were wrong – 2 years later, he’s happily using it a lot, and rips his carefully collected cd archive to digital files. Personally, I don’t favor or easily give credit to Apple products (I’d like to think I own hardware, and don’t buy something to become an iConsumer Apple can shovel updates and expensive apparel to a couple of times a year), but it worked very well for him. So far, so good.

This weekend however, he showed me his iPod (Nano – 4th generation, I think), and I could see how the screen was all white, with only a hint of the original interface visible, when you watched it from a steep angle. The music played fine, but without any navigation help, it was hard to use the thing.

First thing I tried was to reset the player by holding the play and select button. Screen turned off, but switched on again – problem remaining. After trying this a few times we tried to reset the device to factory settings using iTunes – to no avail. Then it hit me: the device is used a lot outdoors (my dad loves to take the bike to work) and in the bathroom (there’s a dock there). The humidity might have killed the screen, a problem known in iGroups as the “White screen of death”.

I proposed putting the device in a sealed bag/box of rice. Round of laughs all around, but lo and behold, only 4 hours after we put it in the rice, the screen started working again! Rice effectively absorbs water.

So this is what you need:

  • Sealed container. You can use a plastic bag, or a tupperware container.
  • Uncooked, dry rice. Take it out the packet, of course. Even though all the iProducts seem to suffer from a hint of white supremacy, it works fine with brown rice too!
  • 48 hours.

Leave it in there, and refrain yourself from switching it on to check: this might short-circuit the device when there’s still water inside.

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