In a battle of man vs. iPod, I won. It bent to my will, and finally accepted data from my computer. (Turns out the Apple tech support guy was right: it was the iPod, the cable or the Firewire card. The Firewire card, actually.)
After replacing the Greek knock-off Firewire card (sold at the Apple store) with an Adaptec Firewire card, everything worked swimmingly.
Now I have to start ripping all my CDs, something I should’ve started doing years ago.
Anyone have recommendations for noise cancelling headphones? I’m particularly interested in earbuds, so the Sony earbuds seem promising.