Sunday, December 12, 2004

The War of the MP3 Player

I just got a new MP3 player for Chanukah. It's a Creative Labs Nomad Zen 40 gigabyte giant. I was really excited. And then I tried to get it to work.

I can only conclude that the designers employed by Creative Labs are miserable little sadists bitter that they got fired from IBM, Apple, Rio, HP, and any other electronics manufacturer of reasonable competence. The organizer tool that goes on my computer was ATROCIOUS, it took me a few hours to even figure out HOW to order my playlists (I like to listen to my songs in specific progressions, tragically, that progression is rarely alphabetical). Some of my songs it didn't even pick up, and I couldn't figure out how to transfer them manually from their current location to the organizer. And heaven help me if I used the "smart" playlists. They'd put all the songs in random order, and then they WOULDN'T LET ME shuffle them around. Nice. Nomad must be the only program who's artificial intelligence makes it dumber.

Then I transferred the music to my MP3 player. What do I find? All the playlist--which I had painstakingly organized by hand over the strenous objections of the organizer--had reverted back to alphabetical order. Oh, and what few smart playlists I had made didn't transfer at all. At first, I couldn't figure out how to change the orders at all. Once I figured that out (it was an option available on one, and only one particular way of viewing what was playing), I happily spent the next few hours reorganizing the playlists by hand (again). Then, when I finished, I started to listen...only to find the lists back in alphabetical order AGAIN! Turns out that there is another obscure, hidden option to save any changes you make (heaven forbid Creative follow the pattern set from Windows 3.1 and ASK if I wish to save any changes if it won't make them automatically). Oh, and the lack of cross-fading, after listening to Itunes for the past few months, is aggrevating. All in all, I felt like I was waging a war on the player, and it put up a very good fight. As one of my friends put it, "a worthy adversary, but Chanukah presents shouldn't BE "adversaries" in the first place!"

Rant over. Thanks for listening. And Happy Chanukah!


N.S.T said...

First of all, and I say this with no sarcasm, I had no idea you were Jewish, Schraub. If this means I'm an idiot, ignorant of race, religion, etc... then so be it, but it's true. Second of all, I've got an I-pod, so haha(and I do feel that, especially at the end of the post, when you were attacking the present and all but said that it should have been an easier model to work, you gave me the right to attack the present, keeping in mind that you have no control over what you get). Third of all, enjoy chanukah, and all that other time you have off(lucky!). Anyway, peace out. -- Nick

H said...

Nah, doesn't make you any more ignorant. Besides, I still wish I didn't know some days. It would let me order cheese fries (with BACON) as I like to, with an easy conscience.

Have a wonderful Chanukah!

Anonymous said...

I'm Jewish and I got a Creative MP3 player also (a Zen MicroPhoto), and I haven't explored all the features yet (of the player and of my Judaism, too - haha), but I have to look at the software to figure out how it's supposed to work with the player. Yeah, the controls are a bit difficult, but I love the player, and I chose that brand because I've been satisfied with Creative products for over 10 years, particularly their sound cards. (No, I do NOT work for Creative!) I've put a bunch of MP3, WAV, and WMA files on there and they all sound great - which is what I'm looking for - the sound. One thing that bothers me is that with the music files I have with Hebrew titles, those only show up as blank boxes instead of the letters that should be in the name. They have several other languages available in the menu but I haven't looked to see if Hebrew is one of them, and I doubt it. It also bothers me that even within the warranty period, it's a toll call (with a lot of waiting) to get any kind of tech support. But, at least their tech support is in Oklahoma instead of in India or wherever, so at least they speak and understand English. Anyway, happy Chanukah!