Lose mini, Gain Microdrive

In the course of wrapping up work on the 4th edition of Secrets of the iPod, I managed to thoroughly wreck an iPod mini (My Motto: "I destroy 'em so you don't have to!").

Determined to salvage what I could from my former music player, I disconnected its hard drive, unwrapped the black plastic tape from around it, removed its three blue bumpers, and -- because I understood that this 4GB Hitachi microdrive was encased in a Compact Flash form -- plugged it into my USB LaCie Hexa Media Drive.

Lo (and, may I add, behold), the microdrive mounted on the Mac's Desktop just as a good removable drive should. Because the drive had been formatted with the iPod mini 1.0 Updater, the drive displayed the icon of the mini and contained all the items you'd normally find on an iPod's hard drive -- the Contacts, Calendars, and Notes folders along with the invisible folder that holds the iPod's music.

Despite its mini icon, the drive could not be formatted with the iPod mini 1.0 Updater. However, I had no trouble formatting it as an HFS+ volume with Panther's Disk Utility.

The drive is bit thicker than a normal CF card and is too large to fit in my digital camera. Even if it did fit, however, it's unlikely to work. Those who visit the forums of Digital Photography Review, have tried using the mini's Hitachi drive in a digital camera and have met with no success. However, the same Hitachi drive found in Creative's Nomad MuVo2 does appear to work in some digital cameras.

Note: Others have reported no success in mounting a ripped-out mini drive with their card readers so it's a hit and miss affair. It does work with my LaCie reader and both my Power Mac G4 and PowerBook G4 running Panther, but it may not with your Brand X reader.

The long and short of it: I'm reporting this because my mini was dead. I thought it was interesting that I was able to salvage something from its carcass. If your mini is functional, leave it alone.

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