WMP wasn't streaming properly. So I re-installed WMP 10. That took ages and required a restart. Then my Creative Zen Xtra with PFS stopped being available. It only half worked and sat there without fully connecting.

So I installed WMP11, which again took ages, required a restart, grabbed a load of file associations and left icons everywhere without asking. At least the Zen now connects ok. Although Sync is slightly better in WMP11, I still won't use it, because I have neat file structures both in the music library and on the Zen which I don't want screwed up. Amazingly, you still can't play music off the Zen in WMP11 although this works in Winamp 5.3 mostly OK. For some unknown reason, the Winamp playlist editor lost the connection and the streaming stopped working, although starting again from an existing playlist was ok. This morning I discover that the Zen connection didn't survive putting the laptop into standby. I had to pull the USB plug and put it back in again.

So tired of all this. Yet again, MS seems to have a huge pile of bloated crap which I'm forced to use because they're business people did a deal with the 2nd market share PMP maker. And they've then reneged on that deal by going into competition with them.

I'm stuck in this loop because nobody makes the PMP I want to own. It's a redesigned and updated Zen Xtra with a 2.5" disk, plain old USB Mass storage for sync, no DRM support and a half way decent firmware system or RockBox. The 2.5" disk is the killer. 1.8" disks are neat, small, energy efficient. But they're also expensive and don't have enough capacity. The new top of the range 80Gb iPod is *just* big enough capacity for my needs. But god it's expensive for what it is; an essentially disposable piece of electronics. And taking an old iPod with a broken disk drive and fitting an 80Gb 1.8" disk isn't really an option for price reasons even if Apple's usual hardware lock ins actually allow it.

Go back to that mythical perfect PMP. Now that MS is dumping on their PFS partners, maybe it's time for Creative, Samsung, Toshiba, Cowon, Achos, iRiver, et al to just turn their backs on this whole sorry mess and produce the PMP we want to buy. Forget about all that DRM, downloadable music store nonsense. You can't compete in that area with Apple anyway. Just build a better PMP. And one that doesn't depend on WMP to get the music on and off it.


I actually bought a second hand ancient Archos Studio 20. to see if I could create my own version of this, given that PC World are now selling 120Gb 2.5" disks for under a 100 quid. I've installed the latest RockBox on it. and it does kind of work. But the tiny screen, military industrial design and the crappy buttons mean it's not really usable and a bit embarrassing. And only having USB 1.1 is a show stopper. I've thought about whether it's hackable into something usable, but I probably can't do anything about the screen or USB so I don't think so.

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[ 18-Nov-06 9:35am ] [ , , , , ]