Now, the insert said you could listen to the preloaded music while the player was charging, and since I don't care for earbuds I used the Koss headphones from my laptop. This may have been a mistake. Early production Carbons have a static problem with metal-tipped headphones, and there was a little of that when I plugged in the phones. There was little more when I moved the player and joggled the headphone jack slightly, and after about twenty minutes there was another brief splatter of static and then silence. The Carbon didn't respond to power cycling or punching the rest button; it was completely dead.
Fortunately Overstock was cool about exchanging it for a new one. I won't have it in time for this trip home, but next time I'll be more careful about the headphones.