Then my wife came across a page on wikiHow that recommended smacking your iPod to fix it. Voila: after a few well-placed smacks she managed to get my iPod up and running.
I am not guaranteeing this method will fix every iPod, but it has been 24 hours since the smack-down, and my iPod is the very picture of excellent performance.
From the wikiHow page:
1. Turn your iPod on. Make sure the battery is charged up enough to turn it on.Anyways, it worked for me, and perhaps it will also work for you, and then you can break out the wine coolers in celebration.
2. The sad iPod or sad folder should pop up on the screen.
3. Put your ear up against the iPod and you will hear the clicking sound inside (it sounds like a car trying to start up, whenever it takes a few tries turning the keys).
4. While the iPod is still making these sounds, take the iPod in one hand, open the palm of your other hand, and smack the narrow side of the iPod against the palm of your other hand. [WARNING: This method is proven to work as an effortless way to repair iPod hard drive misalignment, but it may result in future hardware problems. This is only a TEMPORARY solution to fixing an iPod, and the problem may come back (experiences vary). Other methods of reviving a dead iPod are available below and may be much safer]
5. Continue smacking it on its side for at least 6 times, while the iPod is trying to turn on. The key is to loosen the hard drive.
6. After this is should resume normal function. If it doesn't, read on.