Yesterday morning before I left for the office, I was updating the songs on my iPod when it started whirring loudly. It sounded like the high-pitched hum and whirr of a failing hard disk. Picking it up, the iPod felt like it was getting warmer. I quickly unmounted it from the Mac and rebooted the iPod, only to be greeted with the gut-wrenching folder-with-exclamation-mark icon signifying the inability to start up. Pushing the buttons while it's whirring made it sound worse. Several reboots later, I still couldn't revive it, either displaying the folder icon, the Apple icon, and sometimes accompanied with the loud whirring.
I chucked my iPod into my bag to have a look at it later, and while on the bus miraculously it was working again.
But at the office, I had plugged it back in to the Mac to charge it up, but it froze my Finder, and I heard the whirring and clicking from the iPod again. I couldn't even unmount it cos the finder was giving me the spinning beach ball. I yanked the Firewire cord out and rebooted the iPod. Missing folder again.
I don't know what's going on. It seems to be linked to having it connected to my Mac. I had recently upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3.6 and there have been reports about firewire problems... so I don't know if the problem is software or if the iPod HDD is really on it's way out.