Monday, March 01, 2004
Spring Has Sprung, and the Music is Playin'... 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
This weekend, I finally gave in to my urges and purchased one of those little portable MP3 players - the ones that look like blobs of plastic with a couple of buttons and headphones sticking out; in fact, mine reminds me of the Pagoo™ - that little pre-DSL-World virtual answering machine that looked like a pager. The model I got was a Rio S10, a basic player that comes with a padded case, earbuds, software and matching USB cable.

Upside - it's light, easy-to-play, gives you at least 20-30 hours of music on a single alkaline AA battery (try that with a Walkman®) and the sound quality is very good, no matter how much you shake-rattle-or-roll, because the device has no moving parts. The downside? If you're not at least moderately computer-literate, you'll undoubtedly run into some downloading errors and media snags, but with a little trial and error (and a few computer reboots, but to be fair, the computer I used is a cobbled-together Old French Whore of a Dell) you'll get about 20 to 30 songs on the out-of-the-box device with enclosed 32Mb memory upgrade.

You also need to observe the correct order of switching-on and plugging-in: first, you need to start the Rio Music Manager software, then you plug the USB cable into the player, then insert the USB cable into a free slot on your computer, then finally, you turn on the player. Any deviation will result in the player not being recognized by the software. Also, if you attempt to download a corrupted music file to the player, you will create a "glitch" in the memory, requiring a full erase of the player, and restart of the downoad. The fact I mention trial-and-error is because there appears to be little detailed troubleshooting info on either the Rio website, or the online documentation provided with the S10.

Anyhoo, now I'm having fun downloading .mp3 and .wma tunes from my hard drive onto the little gadget, like this first playlist of "Dionysian walking music":
  1. Overseer - "Horndog"
  2. Blondie - "Heart of Glass"
  3. Patrick Hernandez - "Born to Be Alive"
  4. The Kings - "Switching to Glide/The Beat Goes On"
  5. Blondie - "Atomic (Xenomania Mix)"
  6. Blur - "Boys and Girls"
  7. Bon Jovi - "Its My Life"
  8. Bran Van 3000 - "Drinking in L.A."
  9. Collective Soul - "Heavy"
  10. Fatboy Slim - "Going Out of My Head"
  11. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - "Five"
  12. Kraftwerk - "Expo 2000 (Orbital remix)"
  13. The Urge - "Jump Right In"
  14. The Strokes - "Last Nite"
  15. Pink - "Just Like a Pill"
  16. The Verve - "The Drugs Don't Work"
  17. Moulin Rouge Soundtrack - "Because We Can Can"
  18. Sugar Hill Gang - "Rapper's Delight"
  19. Bernard Herrmann - "Twisted Nerve (Kill Bill Vol 1 OST)"
If nothing else, it gives you an idea of my strange, all-over-the-place music collection.

Note to self: rip songs using more compact file modes (so you don't end up with 9.5Mb songs that run a paltry 3:30 apiece), purchase a memory card upgrade, and never, ever put earworm songs like "Twisted Nerve" by Bernard Herrmann (that godforsaken whistling song, from Kill Bill Vol. 1 that plays as an eyepatched Daryl Hannah walks down a hospital corridor in preparation for murder) on a portable music player.

Never, never, never, if you value your sanity.