There are several factors preventing me from connecting my sister's iPod Touch to iTunes on my computer (the same one I used to set up her iPod):
1. The sleep/wake button is jammed, or just doesn't work. The button ITSELF feels fine. It pushes down with a "click" feel, like all of the other devices I use, but nothing happens. It fails to turn off or turn on the iPod; it's a dud. I think this is the main issue. She's had a problem turning it off, lately. Since this is an ipod 3, I highly doubt the warranty is still active, and isn't worth getting Apple involved.
2. She was sleepy when she set her passcode and punched in the wrong numbers (which I don't understand, since it asks you to re-enter the password before it is accepted). Unfortunately, as a theft deterrent, each time a password is incorrectly submitted, the wait time to re-enter becomes longer and longer until the device is disabled. Now it shows the message, "IPOD IS DISABLED connect to iTunes".
3. Connecting to itunes brings up a message in iTunes: "ITunes could not connect to iPod "iPod Touch" because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPod Touch before it can be used with iTunes."
I Googled the "iTunes could not connect..." message, which gave instructions to restart the iPod with the sleepwake/homebutton trick, but that can't be successfully accomplished with a broken sleepwake button.
I Googled "broken sleep/wake button", but that gave instructions to restore the iPod in iTunes, but it won't connect in iTunes without the passcode correctly entered in the iPod.
I Googled "Wrong password", but that gave instructions to restore the iPod in iTunes. [sigh!]
I asked my sister if she had a wobbly table or chair with one leg shorter than the rest, and she said she did. I told her to place the iPod under the short leg. She asked, "How is that going to fix my iPod?" I replied, "It isn't. But it will fix your table." Took her a few seconds to realize that it was all her iPod was good for.
I don't want to resort to the wobbly table fix just yet. I thought if there was going to be a way to fix this without reaching out to the Apple store (which would probably only be able to sell her a new iPod), this would be the place to find the answer...a place where most genius iDevice users would hang out to help other users.