Friday, April 28, 2006

Online Music Services

I was going to do a review on the Online Music Services, including subscription music, "Music To Go" and straight download services. However someone has already done this:
Here's a blog, which reviews Music Subscription Services:

PC Magazine also did a review "Subscriptions for a Song"

Still, here is my take on the services I've tried so far:
Rhapsody Online is one of the most expensive Online Services (for downloading Subscription Music). But they were offering a 30-day free trial. To use their service you have to download their software. Its actually quite easy to use, and I had no problems downloading Subscription tracks to a Sandisk Sansa as well as an iRiver H10. They have a wide selection of music, and when you view an artist they list other similar artists. This works quite well. Some groups and tracks are for purchase only.

Then I tried AOL Music Service. My initial impressions were not good, especially compared to Rhapsody. Although this is supposed to have a web-only interface, you still have to install the AOL Music Download Utility. The Web interface to AOL Music is pathetically slow, even on a broadband collection. otherwise, they have a fairly good selection of music, although you are left on your own regarding similar artists.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Frozen Mini

Last night my Apple iPod Mini starting giving trouble. At first I thought it was frozen, but the player can play songs using the wired remote. So it seemed that the click wheel wasn't working.
I scoured the web for solutions. After trying to to reset it according to instructions on the Apple support site, I did the next suggested solution: drained the battery and recharged it. The reset still didn't work. Then I tried restoring the iPod to factory settings. I can transfer songs to the player, and play them using the remote, but the clickwheel - probably the single best feature of the iPod - still doesn't work.
Of course it is no longer under warranty. The 30 day warranty ended over a month ago.

What really burns me is that I could have got a refurbished second generation iPod Mini (this one is a first generation - main difference being 2nd generation gets 18 hours battery life instead of 8) directly from with a better warranty for less than I paid for this piece of crap...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Technology moves fast (sometimes)

One technology which is moving particularly fast - probably because there is so much consumer demand - is MP3 Players.
I guess I should have realized when I bought the SanDisk Sansa 240 1GB MP3 Player on special that there was a new one coming (I suspected that something was up).
Now I see that SanDisk has come out with the Sansa c100 and Sansa e100 series of MP3 Players. Instead of boring mono screens, these new ones come with full color screens, and the e100 series can play video.

According to CNET "The SanDisk Sansa e200 series combines copious features such as subscription compatibility, an FM tuner/recorder, voice recording, and photo and video playback into a compact and durable device. We like the tactile navigation wheel, as well as the well-designed software interface. The user-removable battery and the Micro SD slot are nice touches, and the device has decent sound quality, processor performance, and battery life."
From CNET's SanDisk Sansa e270 (6 GB) review:
"The SanDisk Sansa e200 series offers a boatload of features for a reasonable price, in a package that is much nicer than that of past SanDisk models. For those looking for a high-capacity, compact, skip-free MP3/WMA player, start with the e200 series."

The Sansa e200 series starts with a 2GB capacity and goes all the way up to a 6 GB capacity, 2GB more than any iPod Nano at present.

The SanDisk Sansa m240:

The SanDisk Sansa e200:

Everyone say Ooooh!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mobile Internet Part IV

(I use Roman numerals because they seem fairly well understood in the U.S., probably due to the Super Bowl)
Once again I tried using the wireless Internet on my Tungsten T3 with the CPU at full speed (400MHz). I may have been expecting too much, but eBay was extremely sluggish in loading. Only got past the login screen, and page just loaded too slowly, even with "Load Images" turned off. I tried again, and the T3 did a fatal reset, which messed up the Virtual Graffiti area. Is it due to a better Operating System (Linux) that the 200MHz Sharp Zaurus can browse not just eBay, but another page at the same time? Or is it the Opera Browser? There are rumors that Palm is working on Linux-based operating system for their handhelds - see this article at PalmInfoCenter

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Apple boots Microsoft

Apple Unveils Software to boot into Windows XP, according to this article in My Way News. But that's what Microsoft has been wanting to do to Apple for ages!