Back in the days of the Atari 800, there used to be one golden rule: NEVER open the disk drive when the light's on. Today, you don't unmount a drive when the computer tells you it's in use. Yesterday I ejected my iPod for my lunchtime walk when for some reason iTunes said that the iPod couldn't be disconnected because it's in use. "In use? By what?". There were no open windows, no apps were using it (except iTunes which wasn't playing anything from it). Thinking that my XP machine was lying to me just to get attention, I disconnected the iPod anyway.
And I lost everything.
Yup, I went to find whatever it was I felt like listening to and my iPod told me nothing was there, but the "About this iPod" screen told me there were 7k files and 200+ pictures still on it. I brought the iPod back, and sure enough iTunes laughed at me. I had a dead iPod.
Or did I?
I make playlists based on music from the iPod and on my Windows machine at work. It's a mash-up because I don't like keeping 2 copies of things. Well, I tried a playlist I thought was based on files from my hard drive, but it was actually based on files from my iPod. Yup, the files were still there, it was just the directory iTunes used that was dead. Not one corrupted file in the iPod_Control folder. The problem was that they were all renamed KDFF.mp3 or somesuch. I backed up a few, even though everything is on CD at home and ripped to my Mac's hard drive and restored the iPod when I got home.
It's a totally useless story, but I hope I keep someone from pulling the plug on their iPod prematurely.