A possible solution?

The internet is a wonderful thing! I scoured the internet, to see if anyone else has experienced the same problem. While I haven’t found a “large number” of similar incidents, I have found “one.” Interestingly, it’s the same guy whose music I like to use for my various podcasts, Derek K. Miller.

In his post at Inside Home Recording, he writes:

I suspect this is more about the iPod than the TuneTalk, but it’s worth knowing how to stop your recordings from skipping. In summary, defragmenting your iPod by restoring it to factory settings, or otherwise freeing contiguous hard disk space, may help it work better.

Well, I have to agree with his first bit “it’s more about the iPod” since I don’t have the Griffin TuneTalk but rather have the iTalk from Griffin. (Although it is disconcerting that they both come from the same manufacturer…)

Assuming Derek is correct, and the flash memory is only used to buffer replay and not recording, then It certainly makes sense that, if the hard drive is having to work harder, it will “miss” things. Of course, I do find it difficult to believe that it would result in such significant losses. But, hey, it could happen.
Derek’s solution was to run the iPod “restore” feature, and then reformat the Hard Drive. He then only put podcasts on his iPod instead of music, to keep the disk from getting too fragmented. One person in the comments section tried only the “restore” feature (which some sources say also defragments the hard drive) but that person found that did not work.

Unfortunately, reformatting, or defragging, the hard disk on the iPod is not something that Apple recommends doing. I am not sure about the impact of doing that. Additionally, as I give it more thought, once the music is on the hard drive, it shouldn’t contribute to fragmentation since it is essentially locked in place. Only podcasts, which are recorded, deleted, recorded, deleted, and so on, would result in a fragmented hard drive. It’s the constant writing and deleting and then writing to whatever free space is available, that causes fragmentation.

Now, will this work for me? Perhaps–although as I hinted at above, I am reluctant to try this based on my comment above of defragmenting. Actually, I don’t think this will solve my problem, based on the following:

  • The skipping was not “linear” (it stores different parts of the lecture out of sequence) which leads me to conclude it has more to do with the way the file is stored/read, and not with a problem in the buffer.
  • I had deleted a large number of podcasts off the iPod between when it occured last week, and the recordings this week. That should have freed up very large contiguous segments of hard drive space.

I would love to read what others of you are thinking on this subject. Please, if you have any thoughts, or similar experiences, let me know.

I am quite curious to learn if this is a problem with the latest video ipods as well. This could bode quite ill for the iPod as a lecture recording solution. Professors need something that can record with a very high level of reliability, and when it fails, the solution needs to be nearly immediate.

— The Professor