This is not a good thing to get when you fire up your iPod.
This is the "sad-iPod" icon. And it means you're screwed.
Or in this case, I'm screwed.
Luckily, my particular technical fornication came at month 10 of my initial 12 month warranty period. I called the Apple store nearest me and was told to bring it in to the gEnius dEsk, so that one of the mAc gEniuses could look at it and tell me I'm screwed. Amy (the person who took the call) also told me that since it's under warranty, it will not cost me anything to get it looked at (and presumably repaired) and that sometimes depending on the particular cause of the sadiPod icon, they just swap out units right then and there.
If this happens, it will be interesting. I have a 4th Gen 40GB iPod (which is no longer made). And I had over 30GB of music on it. So, my thinking is...the righteous thing to do would be to swap me out to a 60GB (since the 40 is no longer made and I clearly had over 30GB of stuff on it). I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the new one is sleek and sexy..and color...and video...blah blah. All nice features-but none that I would pay for. On the other hand, I have a few accessories that require the accessory port to be next to the headphone jack (OK, I have one accessory that fits this bill)....on the new iPods, the accessory port is on the bottom.
I guess I wouldn't be too broke up if they sent me home with a shiny new iPod. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My guess is the mAc gEniuses have some kind of magic tool they can use to just reset it.
It's all speculation at this point. I go in to the apple store tonight to see what the dealio is.
meanwhile, I'm stuck listening to top 40 crap all day now.