Feren (feren) wrote,

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Portable music devices

Dear Lazyweb,

I am in need of a new toy. Given that in five days I will be flying to Orlando on an airline that doesn't let me listen to Air Traffic Control via the in-plane audio system, I know I'm going to be bored during the flight. While I'm at the campus working, I'm going to be in wiring closets and conference rooms, thus I will be bored to tears and forced to listen to humming exhaust fans. To try to avoid being bored, I've decided I should buy a portable music device to take my increasingly substantial collection of MP3 and M4A audio files with me.

The requirements are:
  • It should have a battery life that is in reality greater than 8 hours. Marketing claims need not apply.
  • It should have a rechargable battery inside it, because swapping out AA batteries is lame and means bringing along more crap.
  • Whatever the battery technology (LiON,NiMH, etc), it must be user replaceable so that when it inevitably dies three days after the warranty is over, I can put a new one in myself.
  • Capable of playing MP3 and M4A files. Why M4A? Because that's what iTunes files are after you rip off that ridiculous DRM crap, and I'm too lazy to convert formats after removing DRM.
  • Capacity greater than 5GB.
  • Firewire is preferred, but USB2 is acceptable.
  • No crazy software packages to copy files to it. I want to plug it in and just drag-and-drop. In other words, it should appear as a HD to my PC. Being able to copy non-media files to it is not a necessity, I have a Lexar Jumpdrive for that.
  • I'd like to be able to build playlists somewhere -- on the PC or on the device, I care not.
  • Some sort of control over what's playing is necessary -- if a song isn't right for my mood, I better be able to advance to the next track or the device will be set on fire and thrown over a cliff.
  • I don't need or want "value-add" features like FM tuners or crazy colors. If I wanted to listen to FM and be subjected to "whacky" DJs and annoying Enzyte commercials, I'd bring along a Walkman. If I want colors, I'll powdercoat it on my own time.
  • I'd prefer that it be not harddisk based (flash has no moving parts to break in fun and unique ways), but this is only a personal preference and is overridden by the above.
Tell me there is a non-iPod product that does this. While iPod is neat and "industry leading" and all that, their prices are ridiculous and their products violate many of the above requirements.

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