Help me buy an MP3 player

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ryan Wright, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Yes, it's me again.

    Due to a few circumstances, I've decided I no longer want any of my personal data within reach of others. I've become accustomed to storing data on my hard drive @ work, but no longer want to do that for various reasons. So I'm looking for a way to move fair amounts of data in a small package.

    First thought was a 1GB keychain. This would satisfy most of my data needs. But then I figured, if I'm going to spend $400+ on this, I could get one heck of a hard drive based MP3 player to carry around.

    So, who's got an IPOD? And do they work with Windows yet? I'm going to blow a nice chunk of change within the next few days (or hours), if not on an IPOD, on something similar.

    Here's what I desire:

    - Must have USB connectivity. A lot of people don't have firewire yet. I'd prefer something with both USB 2.0 AND firewire, but will settle for plain old USB if that's all I can get. I can't settle on just firewire unless there are inexpensive 1394 -> USB adaptors available.

    - Must work with Windows (obviously). I'd prefer if the internal data simply used standard drivers and showed up as a standard external hard drive. Then I could use it with Linux, too.

    - Must be able to use it as a portable hard drive and MP3 player at the same time (ie, a collection of MP3s playable via the player, and a large cache of standard files on the same drive at any given time).

    - The smaller the better.

    That's about it. Any advice??

    Thank you!
     
  2. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    Ryan looks like you want a Zen USB 1.1/1394 20GB (scroll down to see the USB/Firewire info.) Looks like the USB 2.0 20GB retails for 299.00 I would bet the USB1.1/1394 would be right around there.

    I think the older IPODS worked with Windows but I do not think they have an Windows interface for the new ones yet. I also think the IPODS are strictly Firewire (correct me if I am wrong)
     
  3. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Hmmmm, looks like the Zen requires proprietary software to use as a regular hard drive.

    If I was willing to live with just 1394, can I plug an iPod into a Windows 2K PC and have it recognized as a standard hard drive??
     
  4. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    From the Zen Website

    Creative File Manager
    Move non-music files quickly and easily with this handy little program that fits on a floppy .

    Fits on a floppy! It may not even require the proprietary software. Nowhere on their site does it say it needs to use it to transfer files. Most of these have to include easy to use user interfaces to make it super easy for the non-computer types... (IE my mother-in-law).

    I have no experience with the iPod (just what I have read and seen on techTV. I understand that a third party software soloution is used to talk to the iPod's in a windows enviroment and that it does not work with the newest iPods.

    Im sure that some iPod owner will ring in with actual experience. I would like to know as well.
     
  5. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Ryan, it looks like you may be able to combine XPlay with an iPod to achieve the results you want. The "special deals" section of Apple's online store currently has (refurbished) first-generation 5 GB iPods for $150 shipped free, if you'd prefer to save a couple hundred bucks and don't mind having the latest and greatest.
     
  6. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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  7. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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  8. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    Ryan -- Get an iPod. Yes, it does USB 2.0. Yes, new iPods work with Windows. There is just no rival. I just plug it right into my Mac and it appears as a hard drive on the desktop.

    [Evangelism]BTW, if you use Windows and Linux, did you ever think of just buying a Mac? I used to develop on Linux and bagged all of them once OS X matured. Now, I can run commerical software like Photshop and Dreamweaver and run and develop open source *nix software at the same time. All of our servers now run MacOS X with Apache and all of the assorted goodies...[/Evangelism]
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Some of your questions about IPOD were answered just the other day in the PC area.

    New ones are USB, all of them can be formatted with FAT32 as windows drives (or can be left mac and use a 3rd party app to talk to them), they will let you treat them as simple hard drives in addition to MP3 players.

    -V
     
  10. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Another vote for the iPod!!!


    Matt
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I have both a Mac and a PC and I was seriously considering the iPOD, but the one thing I didn't like is that once you register the iPOD to your Mac, you can't use it with any other Macs [​IMG] Maybe things have changed since then, but I have a Mac Desktop (at work) and a Mac Laptop (at home) and I wanted to use both computers, but I don't think it would let me use both.

    I settled on the Creative Jukebox 3 (40GB). I previously had the 6GB version and loved it. The Jukebox has both USB and Firewire. The only thing I was upset with is it only works on the PC. Oh well, I still like it and use it on my PC at home and at work...I just download the files to my pc and FTP them to my mac if I need them there.

    If it weren't for the non-Mac issue I would HIGHLY recommend the Creative Jukebox, but even still, it's pretty great!

    p.s. I'm not sure on the iPOD's, but the Jukebox came with an 11 hour battery and an additional slot to add another 11 hour battery for a total of 22 hours of battery life [​IMG]
     
  12. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Mark, I heard about this same limitation upon the release of the iPod a couple of years ago, but soon after, also heard of a very simple workaround to this handicap.

    Again, a more experienced iPod user will hopefully elaborate.
     
  13. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the info. Looks like the new 30GB iPod is the way to go for me.

    David: I'm such a sucker for the latest and greatest. I always have to cough up the dough for the extra little feature. I'm one of those consumers the electronics industry just loves. Hurts the pocketbook sometimes, but you only live once.

    Vince: In the other thread, you said you used Ephipod to put songs on the iPod. Can you just drag & drop songs and files via the Windows interface? I read something about not being able to play the songs from the iPod if you haven't used some special software to transfer them. What's your take on this?
     
  14. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    The Creative Jukebox isn't in the same league as the iPod. The important factor here is SIZE and the iPod crushes that monstrosity.

    Jukebox: 4.84" W x 5.1" H x 1.3"D Weight 10 oz without batteries
    Ipod: 2.4"W X 4.1"H x.62" D Weight 5.6 oz WITH battery

    Yow, who'd like to lug around a pound as an mp3 player! [​IMG]
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Well- it's slightly more complex- but not much.

    The issue is- you COULD drag and drop to the IPOD as a hard drive- but for the internal OS/MP3 player to see them properly- it has to be translated to its interface (which renames the files among other things). If you just drag and drop, the files would be there (like a hard drive)- but the internal system won't recognize them.

    The Ephipod works VERY similar to a Windows explorer window. You have click boxed for ADD SONG, ADD DIRECTORY, ADD PLAYLIST, etc- and you just navigate to what you wanna add and it adds it. It sin't exactly drag and drop- but it's real close (very visual, very similar to loading a playlist into WINAMP for example).

    I think apple didn't want the IPOD to be (easily) used for people wanting to transfer tehir whole music library from one PC to another... so they sort of dealt a wildcard by making their internal system work a little bit differently. it doesn't make copying 30 gigs of MP3 from one machine to another IMPOSSIBLE- just makes you ahve to work for it.

    But if you have files you don't need the internal OS to recognize (anything other than MP3)-- you just just make folders and drag and drop...

    There is the more "do the work for you" type music/mp3 management apps like MUSICMATCH, which help you maintain MP3 playlists and stuff on you local machine as well as syning to a portible device- but if you're looking for QUICK AND DIRTY interfacing- I find the Ephipod program to be the closest to drag and drop.
     
  16. StephenK

    StephenK Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan,

    I am addicted to my ipod...practically sleep with it...however, a few things to note:

    1) out of the box, it only comes with a firewire cable (1394), they mention (in small notes) that a USB adapter must be purchased separately.

    2) out of the box, it comes formatted in MAC!, no mention of this anywhere in the literature. Pissed the hell out me for 3 hours, installing, uninstalling, etc etc etc until I went to a support forum.

    3) Even formatted as mac, a freeware program called EPHPOD can recognise the ipod though, and will give you all the functionality you need.

    4) If you see it in your explorer as f:removable drive, then all you have to do is format it, and it will work just like a removable drive, (you can create folders, drag files, etc etc) and still function as an ipod.

    5) it doesn't charge using the USB, only firewire.

    6) I find the battery life disappointing. it says 8 hrs, but real use is closer to 6-7 hours. however, it does charge to 80% capacity in under 1 hr, and it's LiIon so no memory problems with not fully charging all the time.

    7) DON'T DROP IT!!!!! I haven't had first hand experience, but 2 friends who dropped their ipod on the sidewalk essentially "broke" it, wouldn't function. this was on the older model.

    Despite all of the above, I'd buy another in a heartbeat! I currently have 2,954 songs on my ipod, roughly 200 hours of music, can't beat that.
     
  17. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Also keep in mind that the new iPod/sw supports the supposedly superior format, AAC (MP4/.m4p), which can be found at the iTunes Store (currently only available to Apple users, however, this fall will become available to PC users).

    BTW...for those iPod users - how high do you code your mp3's? I've found that I can really notice a dropoff from 192 kbps to 128 kbps, so I stick with 192 kbps as much as possible. Do you notice any difference going from 192 to 256/320 kbps?

    I've not yet tried VBR, since with 15/30 gb's, do you really need to save space?
     
  18. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    OK; two more Q's before I skip the rest of the day at work and go buy this thing:

    1. If formatted FAT32, do I need any special drivers to access the hard drive mode? (Will Windows autodetect it and make a drive letter available?)

    2. Can I use ephpod to transfer my MP3s FROM the iPod to a computer? (Yes, there are legit reasons for wanting to do this...)

    Thanks!
     
  19. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Peter - I encode everything with 128-320 VBR. Can't tell the difference between that and the CD. I can tell the difference with a 128kbps MP3 and the CD...
     
  20. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Interesting Ryan...I guess I'll try and encode using VBR. However, I thought the VBR setting does not improve audio quality, only saves space by squeezing out the blank periods in the song.

    The single AAC song I purchased through the iTunes Store sounds very good (Alan Parsons Project), but I confess I'm no audiophile (after years of working with Stearmans and using a McCullough).
     

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