No trouble like iPod trouble

I noticed this afternoon that my original 5GB iPod wasn’t charging in my car (I have a cigarette lighter to FireWire adapter, one of those insane gadgets that you think you’ll never need—until the right moment comes along and then it’s indispensable). I tried the adapter in another outlet: nothing. I finally jiggled the cord a little and the charging bars started moving. Huh, I thought. Time to plug it in overnight.

I brought it home and connected it to my PowerBook. As it started to sync with iTunes, I remembered I hadn’t set it up with iSync yet on this machine. I started iSync, scanned and found the iPod, double-clicked—and then iSync froze. And iTunes was frozen. I noticed the iPod looked like it was back to its menu screen, so I unplugged it. Bam. Kernel panic.

I rebooted the PowerBook and tried to get the iPod to connect. No joy. I can’t even force it into FireWire drive mode, though it passes all the diagnostics. I think the problem is the physical FireWire connector on the iPod. Anyone know how to open one up?