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Portable Media Players

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Posted · Report post

So, if I want to buy an mp3 player that will hold tons of stuff and be easy to use, but I don't want to buy into the whole iPod/iTunes madness, what do you recommend?

Drawbacks I'm hearing about iPods:

-Complicated issues with being limited to one computer

-Too many licensing issues making things complicated

-Scratching too easy

-Heck, every month they come out with an improvement on it, so why buy one now?

- Price

Basically, I don't want an mp3 player for downloading music. I want one that I can use to carry mp3 versions of my whole CD collection, so I don't have to tote around cd players and cd cases in the car, or when I'm hiking. And I want to be able to use it with my PC at work, my laptop, and my PC at home. Oh... and inexpensive would be very helpful.

Recommendations?

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Posted · Report post

I have a little Creative MuVo slim that I like (I just use it in place of mix CDs and change the songs every month or so). But that's only 1 GB. I know Creative makes some decent 4 - 6 GB and 20 & 40 GB mp3 players called Zen Micros. Creative is the second most popular mp3 player manufacturer behind Apple. Their players get pretty decent user ratings.

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Posted · Report post

I love my iPod. And I'm with Bono on this: it is attractive, and we need more aesthetically pleasing things in our lives.

I use my iPod for much the same reasons you are wanting a player for. I would think that with the iPod photo and the video that the basic model would be coming down in price, but it hasn't seemed to happen yet.

The limited to one computer thing - I didn't understand this when I first got it, so I started putting all my CDs on my work computer's iTunes, but then got a new home computer and wanted that to be my "base iTunes". There was not an easy way to move it all, so I just started over at home.

But that doesn't mean your iPod listening is limited to one computer. You should only put music onto one computer's iTunes, but then you can bring your iPod anywhere. I'm not sure how to play an iPod through a computer, but you can just unplug your speakers from the computer and plug it into the iPod directly (assuming the jack for the speakers is RCA like headphones, which most computer speakers are).

I like the functionality of iTunes a lot - I used to make mix tapes for my sister when I was in college, and haven't been doing it for a while. There was certainly something neat about having to figure out how much time you have by adding up the minutes of the songs, but I don't have time for that now, and iTunes has made it easy for me to start sending my sister good new music again.

I haven't owned an Apple computer since my Apple //e in the 80s, but the iPod has me convinced that they make superior products.

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Posted · Report post

I have a little Creative MuVo slim that I like (I just use it in place of mix CDs and change the songs every month or so). But that's only 1 GB. I know Creative makes some decent 4 - 6 GB and 20 & 40 GB mp3 players called Zen Micros. Creative is the second most popular mp3 player manufacturer behind Apple. Their players get pretty decent user ratings.

I love my Creative Zen Micro. Absolutely top-notch player-- much better than the iRivers or iPods that I've had experiences with, fwiw.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

-Heck, every month they come out with an improvement on it, so why buy one now?

No kidding... they just announced three more models this past week.

The scratching issues on the iPod seem to only be limited to the black ones, but there are products out there that will take care of scratches. One of my co-workers has a black Nano, and he's got a little slipcase for it that protects it just fine.

As for licensing issues, what are you referring to? The licensing issues of the iTunes Music Store, I assume. Because I don't think there are any licensing issues attached to the iPods themselves. There are some restrictions if you've got accounts with other online music services (i.e. the file types they use may not be compatible with your iPod), but there are ways to get around them.

Edited by opus

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Posted · Report post

I've heard amazing things about the Creative Zens. I just filled up my 10 gig iPod, and I'm thinking of switching over to a Zen myself.

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Posted · Report post

Drawbacks I'm hearing about iPods:

-Complicated issues with being limited to one computer

Actually you can have your music on up to three computers at once if I remember correctly.

-Too many licensing issues making things complicated

I don't know who told you that, but it's crap. Seriously. Unlike other download services, there is a standard license for all iTunes purchases. The DRM is the least intrusive in the industry. I've never felt constrained by Fairplay (the DRM scheme) in two years of using iTunes and my iPod. Furthermore, you don't have to use iTunes to enjoy your iPod.

-Scratching too easy

If you put it in a case, it won't scratch much. The same complaints were raised over my 3rd generation iPod that I've used for about two years, but I don't have many scratches since I carry mine in a case and don't slide it across tables and such when it is out of the case.

-Heck, every month they come out with an improvement on it, so why buy one now?

Why did you buy a computer recently? You know they're only going to come out with a better one for the same money (or less) in a few months...

- Price

Yeah, the price can be a tough one, but you get what you pay for. I thought my iPod was very expensive when i bought it ($500, back in the day), but it soon became apparant that it was well worth the money. I have a friend who bought he and his daughters some "inexpensive" (about $130) mp3 players about a year ago and they have been very unsatisfied with them. He told me the other day that he was hoping to get an iPod for Xmas.

Basically, I don't want an mp3 player for downloading music. I want one that I can use to carry mp3 versions of my whole CD collection, so I don't have to tote around cd players and cd cases in the car, or when I'm hiking.

The iPod works well for that.

And I want to be able to use it with my PC at work, my laptop, and my PC at home.

The iPod works well for that, although I think you're unnecessarily complicating things here...

Do you really want to store all of your music files on every one of your computers? If you have a large capacity iPod (or any other mp3 player), it will store your music files for you so you don't have to keep your music on every computer. For instance, I only keep music on my 300GB hard drive on my desktop Mac at home and use my iPod to listen to music while I slave away on my Windows machine at work. I have a charger at my desk at work so I can listen to my iPod without running down the battery.

Oh... and inexpensive would be very helpful.

Yeah, that's always good. biggrin.gif

Recommendations?

Think carefully about your choices and actually spend some time using each player. Personally, I haven't found anything as nice as the iPod interface and the iTunes solution. Your mileage may certainly vary, but Apple dominates the market for a reason. Even Microsoft, Dell and Sony haven't been able to make a dent in Apple's market share.

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Posted · Report post

I love my ipod, I do, but there's something I wanted to point out.

And I want to be able to use it with my PC at work, my laptop, and my PC at home.

The iPod works well for that, although I think you're unnecessarily complicating things here...

Unless you download software that specifically allows you to do so (such as PodWorks) you cannot use and iPod to transfer music from one computer to another. For example, I have a new job that lets me listen to music while I work. In order to listen to my music, I had to re-rip CDs that I'd already copied onto my laptop and transferred to my iPod, because the iPod wouldn't allow my to transfer songs OFF it and ONTO my work computer. I ended up downloading PodWorks, which is a great program and no trouble to use -- but you should be aware that you'll have to do that should you purchase an iPod and want the ability to transfer songs off of it.

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Posted · Report post

Dude, do what I did and get a mobile phone that's an mp3 player at the same time. so many phone deals online, it was free and i get loads of talk time & texts for

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Unless you download software that specifically allows you to do so (such as PodWorks) you cannot use and iPod to transfer music from one computer to another. For example, I have a new job that lets me listen to music while I work. In order to listen to my music, I had to re-rip CDs that I'd already copied onto my laptop and transferred to my iPod, because the iPod wouldn't allow my to transfer songs OFF it and ONTO my work computer. I ended up downloading PodWorks, which is a great program and no trouble to use -- but you should be aware that you'll have to do that should you purchase an iPod and want the ability to transfer songs off of it.

1.) Why is it necessary to actually transfer your music files from one computer to another if you already have an iPod to listen to? If you want to play the iPod through computer speakers, you simply plug the speaker minijack into the iPod and blast away... I simply don't understand the concern.

2.) You can use your iPod in "TargetDisk mode" that turns it into a simple portable hard drive and then simply transfer the music files from your primary computer's iTunes directory onto your destination computer -- then simply point iTunes to the music files and select "Add to Library".

3.) The PodWorks software is handy to automate the process, but it is mostly handy to take song files off of someone else's iPod and install it on your computer.

Edited by TexasWill

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Posted · Report post

I've heard good things about iRiver (not a mac product) but I don't think that it's cheaper unfortunately.

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Posted · Report post

So, then, if your computer dies, you can only have the songs that are on your iPod?

If you use backup software to backup your music files, you are in good shape. If you haven't backed up your music files and want to extract the files from your iPod, there are a number of utilities and methods to do it.

No chance of downloading them back It seems to me that an upgrade, or perhaps family computers, or perhaps home/work computers are all vallid reasons.

If the music file host computer is still in good shape, you simply transfer the files from one computer to the other through your home network, deauthorize the original host and authorize the new host.

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Posted · Report post

I'm very interested in the Real store; it seems much better than iTunes.

In what way? (As a Mac user, I'm locked out of Rhapsody, so I don't have personal experience.)

Fundamentally, I'm not interested in Rhapsody since it is a subscription service. I don't like the idea of having to pay Real.com every month to maintain access to music I select.

iTunes has a very large selection and quite a bit of exclusive content. It has been around for several years and has rapidly grown and matured. I think Rhapsody has been around for less than a year. Furthermore, Real.com hacked the iPod software in order to make their music operate and can easily be broken if Apple decides to upgrade the software/firmware of the iPod to add new features. (And yes, Apple has added new and useful features to older iPods before.)

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(As a Mac user, I'm locked out of Rhapsody, so I don't have personal experience.)

Actually, I'm allegedly not locked out of Rhapsody anymore starting today, but it still fails to interest me because of the subscription-based model.

It seems to me that the subscription-based service is best for people who enjoy music as background noise or simply follow the latest trends and popular bands instead of purchasing music for a lifetime of listening enjoyment.

And Rhapsody seems more expensive for those who would actually want to purchase music and put it in their collection. While they advertise tracks at $0.79 cents apiece ($0.20 less than iTunes), they also charge, at least $9.99 for the privilege of using the service.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Well, for one thing (and this also applies in part to Yahoo!'s music service), you don't need to take along an MP3 player. Real is now supposedly software-free, so as a pure, Web-based service, I can use it at work, at someone else's computer--wherever.

You

Edited by TexasWill

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Posted · Report post

...you still have to download a DLL (ActiveX) file to your browser.

ActiveX? yuk.gif

That rules it out for work.

And home. dry.gif

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Posted · Report post

10 Things that are Better and Cheaper than an IPOD:

1) A chocolate chip cookie (world's cheapest luxury item)

Will make me fatter.

2) A Champion Edition candy-plastic Innova Wraith (long distance driver)

Huh?

3) Criterion's Au Hasard Balthazar DVD.

But you shouldn

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Posted · Report post

Ken, you are the new king of top ten lists.

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Posted · Report post

That rules it out for work.

And home. dry.gif

Are you using Safari or Firefox? I only tried it with IE at work. It might have some kind of browser detection and give you more options if you're not using IE, but unfortunately that's all I've got at work. I use Opera at home.

Most of the time I use Safari, but the real issue is ActiveX itself. As far as I know, ActiveX only works with Windows.

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Posted · Report post

Dear Jeffrey:

10 Things that are Better and Cheaper than an IPOD:

1) A chocolate chip cookie (world's cheapest luxury item)

2) A Champion Edition candy-plastic Innova Wraith (long distance driver)

3) Criterion's Au Hasard Balthazar DVD.

4) 30 minutes of massage therapy.

5) Homer Simpson Talking Alarm Clock

6) Anti-Fog Shower Shaving Mirror with AM-FM Radio (so you can sing along)

7) A Hardcover edition of Nick DiFonzo's The Worst Album Covers Ever.

8) A Kay Chicago Blues Harmonica

9) Thai Silk Reversible Kimono Robe

10) Justice League Unlimited 10" Hawkgirl Figurine

Oh.....

you meant what's better and cheaper than an iPod among MP3 players?

Sorry, can't help you there.

Peace.

ken

I've said it before, but Ken you are my hero. laugh.gif

But...I don't think I'd trade my iPod for any of those things. I don't go ANYWHERE without my iPod. I use the bus and find myself stuck in the library at the university and my iPod has become my best friend. I honestly don't think I've left my apartment (not even to run down to the corner Mac's store) without it in the last 4 months. I even had it when I met Jeffrey for coffee in Seattle. I should have taken it out and played with it. I'm sure I'd have sold him on it then and there. wink.gif

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Posted · Report post

iPod, iPod, iPod we are becoming a civilization of pod people!

I have a Birthday credit for an iPod but I just haven't been able to bring myself to purchase one almost 4 months later. Quite frankly, I am not certain the Apple iPod is the way I want to go, although with the 5th gen. you get more for your money than with the 4th gen. I think the iPod is more hype than quality. Realistically, there are miniDisc player/recorders that sound better and they record as well, which is a feature I like.

Anyway, I am curious to know how many people here use something other than the iPod, and I am not speaking to the Alan's of the world who do not mind finding a PC in whichever part of the world he might find himself in. The portability is the issue, the convenience and the market defined need.

I have been looking at the Creative Labs Zen mp3 players, some of which record through a mic input. I am really taken in by them. The finger interface looks to be less spastic and more controllable than the iPod circle.

So, Creative Labs has the 20GB and 40GB versions out there, anyone using them?

I have read some complaints about them freezing up.

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Posted · Report post

iPod, iPod, iPod we are becoming a civilization of pod people!

I have a Birthday credit for an iPod but I just haven't been able to bring myself to purchase one almost 4 months later. Quite frankly, I am not certain the Apple iPod is the way I want to go...

Man, I completely agree! Tell you what, let me take that credit off of your hands so you are spared the burden of having to choose an iPod. I've got a shredder here at the house. Or better yet, I'll march right down to the Apple store with that credit and give them what for! No no, I'd be happy to do this for you! It will be my pleasure!

PM me and I'll give you my mailing address...

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Posted · Report post

iPod, iPod, iPod we are becoming a civilization of pod people!

I have a Birthday credit for an iPod but I just haven't been able to bring myself to purchase one almost 4 months later. Quite frankly, I am not certain the Apple iPod is the way I want to go...

Man, I completely agree! Tell you what, let me take that credit off of your hands so you are spared the burden of having to choose an iPod. I've got a shredder here at the house. Or better yet, I'll march right down to the Apple store with that credit and give them what for! No no, I'd be happy to do this for you! It will be my pleasure!

PM me and I'll give you my mailing address...

I am so grateful to be able to turn this over to you. How can I ever repay you for your kindness?

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Posted · Report post

You know, as much as I love the idea of portable media, I just can't see myself spending the money for an iPod -- or, really, any other device. If I'm travelling, hiking, waiting at a bus stop, etc. I'd rather be absorbed by my surroundings than caught up in my own personal soundtrack (which, would be a great one, but nevertheless...).

Call me old-fashioned...

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Posted · Report post

You know, as much as I love the idea of portable media, I just can't see myself spending the money for an iPod -- or, really, any other device. If I'm travelling, hiking, waiting at a bus stop, etc. I'd rather be absorbed by my surroundings than caught up in my own personal soundtrack (which, would be a great one, but nevertheless...).

Call me old-fashioned...

Right on! I hear what you are saying, loud and clear with no audio/visual distractions of any kind. I love being visually and audibly absorbed by my surroundings, especially in urban settings, but I also enjoy being able to listen to want I want, when I want.

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