From time to time I've seen an iPod stop operating and
display nothing but a folder icon - definitely not a happy sign. With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it'd be
a good idea to offer the iPod owners and soon-to-be-owners a refresher link to Apple's support document on this problem, in case this
issue crops up with a shiny new iPod just snatched from under the tree.
To summarize, the moral of the document is: make sure you install the proper and latest iPod software using orthodox tools and methods. Use either the CD that came with the iPod or download the latest iPod Updater software from Apple's Downloads site. Also, don't use other software or means of erasing the iPod or partitioning the drive unless you really know what you're doing - playing by the book does sometimes have its advantages.
I'll go through more of Apple's support documents in the next day or so and post a roundup of links to the most common topics and problems so everyone has a good stock in their toolbelt for the gift-giving season.