My iPod and its resurrection from the dead 4

JISHOU, HUNAN — Riddle me this, Steve Jobs. Why is my dead iPod Shuffle once again working properly, after two years of sitting unused in a desk drawer? Two years ago this fall, my iPod stopped holding a charge. I would charge it up, even overnight, and within minutes of using it would go dead again. Finally, I chucked it into a desk drawer and bought a new music player in disgust. Well, that drawer had turned into a junk pile, so yesterday I had some spare time and decided to clean it out. Before tossing stuff out, I like to see if it really is fubar’d. My deceased Palm Treo 680 is now even deader than before, if that’s possible. The phone ignores the charger entirely – not even a lit LED to show it’s connected. Then, I tried charging the iPod, once from the USB connection and once from the AC charger. I got the same result: the iPod acted liked it was fully charged already. WTF? So, I fired up iTunes, and loaded some music onto the Shuffle. And guess what? The danged thing has been playing music through my speakers since yesterday morning — not continuously, ...

Television crew weirdness 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — TV people are the same all over. They are just plain weird. At Sunday’s Engish Corner, James, one of the older participants, told me that the provincial TV network, Xiangxi TV, was planning a Christmas program. They wanted to invite me to talk about US Christmas customs. James said he was also going to ask Michael, an American who teaches at No. 1 Middle School, to participate as well. Toward the end of the evening’s meeting, James approached me again and said that the TV people wanted to meet us right away. So, we grabbed a taxi to a tea room at a local hotel near the railway station. With us was Shelldy (庞肖狄 Pang XiaoDi), a junior music major who runs English Corner and hosts the daily campus radio broadcasts in English. She was to be my interpreter. Awkward moment #1: I was the only person there with no command of Chinese. Meanwhile, the TV people had no command of English. So, Shelldy, my translator, was kept very busy. The TV people (James’ sister, two camera guys and the hostess of a weekend features program) were planning to take us to Dehang to talk about Christmas. ...
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