Originally Posted by WM
DH has an iPod shuffle that's a couple years old. No problems with it. But yesterday, when he plugged it into the computer to charge, the orange light flashed 3 times and then stopped, and the computer said it didn't recognize the device. Trying again, rebooting, etc., didn't help. Any ideas?
It sounds like the device is locked, or 'on hold'.
The front status light blinks orange three times when 'hold' is turned on. To turn 'hold' off, press and hold the Play/Pause button down for 3 seconds, or move the switch on the back of the iPod Shuffle to Off, that is, the green strip at the top of the switch is not visible.
Cheat sheet reference card:
Apple - Support - iPod shuffle - Quick Reference Card
About those weird status lights:
Understanding iPod shuffle (1st generation) status lights