There are few products more popular than the iPod—except when it comes to battery life. The batteries in early iPods fail after a time (300 to 500 charge/discharge cycles or about two to three years) and just won't hold a charge. Even worse, there's no easy way to change the batteries. Angry owners sued and now Apple has agreed to some restitution ( www.appleipodsettlement.com ).

That's good news if you're the owner of a third-generation iPod: You're eligible for a free battery replacement or (at Apple's discretion) a replacement iPod, providing you still have your proof of purchase and file a claim by September 30, 2005. The news is not so good if you have a first- or second-generation iPod: You can choose between a check for $25 or a $50 store credit to use on Apple products (excluding iTunes). Well, at least that's something. But you're still stuck with your dead battery. What can you do?

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