Greg Hewgill (ghewgill) wrote,
Greg Hewgill

two dead mp3 players, what next?

I usually only use my MP3 player (Creative Zen Stone Plus) to listen to podcasts when I take the bus to work. After the Christmas holiday break, I went to plug in my player to copy the latest podcasts to it, and it didn't power up. I tried the reset button on it, I tried "charging" it for a whole day, I tried everything suggested on the Creative troubleshooting site, and didn't get so much as a blink out of its little LED. It's possible that the battery was drained to a level below some threshold where it refuses to charge again (apparently that sometimes happens with Li-ion batteries).

I liked the player, so I found another identical one on Trademe (New Zealand's own version of Ebay). I charged it up, copied my current files to it, and it worked like a charm. For just two days. Then, as I was copying some more files to it, I got some odd I/O errors during copying, followed by generally slow performance (and USB timeout errors in my Macbook system.log file), followed by a complete loss of files on the device and and inability to boot it up (turning it on shows the "Creative" logo screen and nothing further). That was an unfortunate waste of $60.

I'm now on the hunt for a new player. One of the features I use on the player is the ability to delete a file while I'm listening to it. I do this whenever I'm done listening to a podcast, as unlike music the exception is wanting to keep the file. Anyway, a file delete operation is a must, and I never realised that this was apparently an uncommon feature. Fortunately, today virtually all manufacturers provide the full user manuals for their devices online for download. Because deleting files seems to be an obscure feature, it generally doesn't seem to be mentioned in the short blurbs.

  • Sony Walkman - no delete function
  • Philips GoGear - no delete function
  • Samsung U4 - delete function, but not current file!
  • Creative Zen Stone - delete function, including current file

I'm sort of having trouble finding other models because I know I don't want an iPod (I've written my own program to download and manage podcast feeds, so I need an ordinary filesystem interface). I also don't care about: video, photos, hackability (ie. I don't need to load Rockbox), more than about 4GB of space, or anything over about NZ$100.

I'm currently undecided between trying my luck with another Zen Stone from Trademe (as they don't seem to be sold at retail here anymore), or getting a Samsung U4 at retail so I can return/replace it if it's not working for me. Does anybody have any other ideas?

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