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The Jukebox is probably nearing death... - Elf M. Sternberg
The Jukebox is probably nearing death...
I dropped my Archos Jukebox a couple of months ago and ever since then its behavior has been most flaky and unereliable. Once dependable, it has become a cranky beast demaning the most cautious of handling. It's barely out of warranty and it's already showing too much age for its own good.

I found out why it's as big and heavy as it is. I took it apart last night. That's no mini hard disk in there; it's a full-size notebook drive, a Toshiba 20-g and a pair of custom fitted circuit boards to hold it in place, and that represents the length and breadth of it. The thickness is to hold the batteries and the hard drive. There wasn't much I could do, but still, I gave the geeks prayer that maybe if I just take it apart and put it back together again it'll work this time. It seemed to.

This morning, though, when I tried to do lesson 75 of my Japanese, it failed. The sound came on, but stuttered badly. Annoyed, I performed Hardware Maneuver #1: I smacked it against my chair. It started working again, but I have no faith that it'll work well for much longer.

I think I'm going to be in the market for a decent MP3 player again very soon. Are there any out there that support OGG, Linux, and don't demand DRM?

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: The Police, Murder By Numbers

9 comments or Leave a comment
dr_memory From: dr_memory Date: April 22nd, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love my Rio Karma to pieces, and it meets all of your criteria. Rio seems to have just stopped making them, but there's zillions still in the channel and new-in-box on ebay for cheap.

That said, a lot of the posters on the rio support forums complain about quality control issues. I've never experienced any of them, so factor self-selection bias into that I guess. (Then again, I've never dropped mine.)
(Deleted comment)
dr_memory From: dr_memory Date: April 23rd, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Diamond doesn't exist, and hasn't for some time now. The Rio line is now owned by "Digital Networks NA", which is a division of Denon Audio. Their software support is excellent: they've produced multiple firmware updates for the Karma, are still producing some for no-long-sold players, and their engineers hang out and kibitz on their consumer forums.
shaterri From: shaterri Date: April 22nd, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
My Nomads had the same design, though they used half-height laptop drives. What are the chances that what you're seeing is just a drive issue? If you have a spare one to test with you might try replacing the drive and dig around the net/an Archos site for the core file system pieces to see if you can just replace the drive and make it work that way.
happy_hacker From: happy_hacker Date: April 22nd, 2005 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)


A quick google on ipod linux turns up a plethora of solutions for using an ipod with linux. 'pods don't *insist* on DRM, they just support Apple's if you happen to be using files that have it. The only criteria you laid out that an ipod doesn't meet is supporting Ogg. If you can work around that, I highly recommend iPods. They're tough, they're well thought out, they work well, and they have pretty impressive sound quality for portable electronics.

wolfwings From: wolfwings Date: April 22nd, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well... Linux and no DRM is available...

...with a Rave-MP, if you want a really indestructable, solid-state player. They sell up to a 1GB built-in model, and it accepts SecureDigital cards, or however you spell it, which are available in up to a 2GB model for 3GB total of solid-state storage.

The base units are about $20 more than the equivilant iPod Shuffle, but they have a built-in screen, run off of a single AAA battery for about 16 hours (~18 if you don't have an extra memory card loaded), and use a standard USB<->Mini USB cable to show up as two external USB storage devices when plugged in.

If you're worried more about storage than durability, then the previously-mentioned options would work better, but I've enjoyed having an MP3 player that I don't have to worry about dropping or leaving it to bang around in my glove box, or can stuff in a gym bag without fear.
From: lazarus834 Date: April 23rd, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well... Linux and no DRM is available...

I just picked up a Rave MP 2.5gb from costco for $129, which came with a lot of accessories. Definitely good bang for your buck. Same cost as a ipod shuffle but has a display and more buttons.

I was able to plug it in to my USB and use it as an external hard drive without installing any software in windows, but when I tried to do that in linux, and then I tried copying stuff onto it, the file system got corrupted. I had to reboot into windows to do a disk repair and all was well again. I may try this again sometime when I am in the mood to hack around.

lucky_otter From: lucky_otter Date: April 23rd, 2005 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I have about the same criteria as you do. Both of the below are available in 20GB and 40GB models.

I've been eying the iRiver H340 for a while now. The color screen is a bit of a waste for my purposes, but apparently the battery life is comparable to the earlier black-and-white H140, so I'm not too upset.

The iAudio M3 also looks pretty nice, but the need to control it through the remote - the main unit lacking buttons or a screen - is a minus.
rfreebern From: rfreebern Date: April 25th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've had a Neuros for a year and a half now, and I love it. It's made by a small company that loves its customers, and they've released the firmware and software source code as well as the hardware schematics, so there is a bunch of third-party hacking and innovation going on, which is always interesting.

I use it exclusively with Linux, and it's great if you don't mind the semi-bulky size.
From: hedgemage Date: April 27th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)


Check out http://iRiver.com :) Most of their stuff handles OGG (read the product descriptions), and I'm told that all of it works well under Linux, though the only one I've tried personally is an H10 someone brought to an installfest (Slackware recognized it as a plain old USB storage device... yay Slack!). They come with some icky DRM handling (PlayForSure) but you don't have to use it.

I am currently drooling over the iFP799, and the waterproof casing and headphones. I'm easily amused... it would be awesome to listen to tunes while I swim laps. The flash-based players do need a driver to work, but there is a project on sourceforge ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/ifp-driver/ ) that supports them quite well.

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