27 Mar 2001 @ 2:55 PM 

Finally, the corporate bureaucracy I’m voluntarily joining has deigned to give me official notice of the job offer. I can resume a relatively normal existence, soonish.

Of course, by normal I mean living in an apartment much too large for my stuff while waiting for my lovely partner and monster munchkin to join me a couple months down the line, with more stuff. At least I can have my computer on a desk again, although I will sadly be sans broadband internet for a while longer.

Money, I want money. Whole lot of spending money…
current_mood: relieved

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 27 Mar 2001 @ 02:55 PM

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Categories: Journal
 22 Mar 2001 @ 1:32 PM 

So, Salon has joined the ranks of sites that have given up on being free. Unlike many, though, Salon isn’t closing down, just offering two tiers of service. According to a recent press release, Salon will implement a $30 annual subscription to nuke ads and get more content. The “light” version of the site will continue, with larger ads than currently in use (and presumably less content than current).

So, unlike the Wall Street Journal and other sites, which require $60 annual subscriptions or more, the Salon site will cost about as much as 2 magazine subscriptions. Is the content worth it?

How much would you pay for CNN’s site, if they went to a subscription model?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Mar 2001 @ 01:32 PM

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Categories: Journal
 21 Mar 2001 @ 12:56 PM 

I love small town mentality. For the past 3 years, I’ve lived in a city of 100 thousand people that seems to think it’s still a small town. Makes for some surreal things at times.

I want to make deposits at the ATM, much as I did in 1985 with my first bank account, and as I did in Korea and Tacoma and Boston. C’mon, I could deposit in KOREA! But, when asked about the possibility of making deposits someday in the ATM here in BFE, the response is generally vague and usually ominous. Today’s was the best:

“I wouldn’t if we ever allow it even. When I worked at the bank in Austin, they pulled an ATM out to replace it and found a deposit made 3 years earlier that had been lost all that time.”

Yeah, and ten years ago, Chicago postal workers burned mail rather than deliver it. Does that mean I shouldn’t use the postal service anymore? Mistakes happen, but I’ve never had a problem with an ATM deposit in nearly 20 years.

Another fun item: Banker’s hours. You have heard of them, but unless you are older than 40 or live in a tiny town, you think of them as quaint stories. Not here. Until Wells Fargo merged with Norwest, the local bank closed its doors at 3 pm every day, and was not open at all on Saturday. Coupled with the inability to make deposits at the ATM, people had to race around on lunchbreaks or take time off from work to deposit their paychecks. Duh?

I’m sure I’ll think of others soon enough. Where y’all from?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 21 Mar 2001 @ 12:56 PM

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Categories: Journal
 20 Mar 2001 @ 9:40 AM 

Following in the footsteps of so many corporate mergers online lately, the mighty Winfiles (nee Windows95.com) has ceased to be. It is an ex-site. After Cnet bought them out a long time back, they continued existing as a separate entity, but now they are gone, folded into the vast faceless, unfriendly Download.com site. Worse, the files that were indexed on Winfiles don’t seem to have migrated. I know my two tiny “desktop enhancement” products are no longer listed. Way to lose functionality.

Reminds me of the way Yahoo ate Four11 and reduced its usefulness a while back. Or when Yahoo ate Geocities and broke most of its functions for months on end. Or or or…

I’ve been online too long.
current_mood: wistful

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 Dec 2006 @ 06:51 AM

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Categories: Journal
 12 Mar 2001 @ 7:37 PM 

After a conversation with an old friend today, I revisited Gnutella. There’s a program called BearShare that acts as a frontend for Gnutella, and allows searches to be performed without the pain of a few months ago. Just played with BearShare tonight, looking for common and obscure tunes, including some George Carlin and Bill Cosby tracks. Great selection, which indicates that all the publicity that CNN et al have given Napster has raised awareness of such things to the point that Gnutella is actually useful finally. They have definitely hit the critical mass needed to be a decent search tool.

Even better, the RIAA can now only sue individuals, cuz there’s no server. So, the record companies are going to take their own customers to court? hehe

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2005 @ 09:37 PM

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Categories: Journal, Music
 12 Mar 2001 @ 3:29 PM 

It’s not completely new, but I know not everyone reads Slashdot and pays attention to the latest news from techno-geek lands like ZDNet and CNet. Anyway, there’s a new music distribution format that the RIAA (motto: we’re not an evil entity, but we play one on TV) actually likes for a change: DataPlay.

Basically, the DataPlay disks are 500 megabyte CD-R disks that are downsized to a miniscule 1-inch wide platter. BUT, what the RIAA wants to do with them is to put not 500 megabytes of actual CD-DA audio on them, but 500 megabytes of compressed audio, with most of it encrypted when you buy it. Say you buy the latest Madonna album on DataPlay disks (let’s call them DP for short :)). It may well include the Immaculate Collection on it as well as Like a Virgin. But, you can’t hear those other albums until you pay the label for them. You connect the DP to your computer, and send an electronic funds transfer to Warner Bros. In seconds, your DP has had a few more bytes written to it, and now you can listen to all three of those albums, from a disk the size of a quarter. Pretty neat, in my opinion. Obviously, with compressed music you get some lower sound quality, but not enough to hurt sales. After all, MP3 is amazingly popular, and you can fit about 8 albums in 500 megs with that format.

Here’s the deal, though: chicken and egg. When CDs replaced LPs (don’t complain, the vinyl record is as near dead as makes no difference), they had the benefit of being smaller and better-sounding, with no pops or hisses or crackles. They are also, of course, much more durable than vinyl. Although some people don’t take care of their CDs very well, if you remember to put them back in their jewel cases instead of using them like coasters, they should last much longer than vinyl would under normal usage. Where are the players for the DP disks? If you look at the DP site, it seems that all the players are portables, and most are made in Korea (whatever that means).

So, is the rationale here that we would use CDs at home, and then burn our own DPs with 5-6 albums on them for our portable use? The RIAA makes money on the blank DPs, I’m guessing, just as they do on blank DAT tapes (a great format that the RIAA nearly killed 15 years ago). (They must, if the disks are going to cost 5-12 bucks each for blanks. Of course, remember when CD-R disks were that expensive?) Sounds good to the RIAA, and maybe it will even work out ok for consumers, so long as we can burn whatever we want to the DPs and not need permission for each file, etc. I’d hate to be strangled by Windows Media Player (wimp) or the abominable SDMI when I just wanted to take my entire Concrete Blonde collection on one disk when I went for a bike ride.

Keep an eye on the DataPlay format, it may turn out to have better legs than MiniDisc and DCC (anyone besides me remember that one?)

Update: Yeah, I was obviously way off on this one. DataPlay never really even hit the market before it died.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Oct 2005 @ 10:41 AM

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Categories: Geek, Journal, Music
 11 Mar 2001 @ 1:25 PM 

This isn’t all new material, and I just got it from the HumourNet Newsletter, so I’m even plagiarizing old jokes, but I just thought it was perfect:

You are 100% Texan if…

1. It doesn’t bother you to use an airport named for a man who died in an airplane crash.

2. You use the phrase “fixin’ to” almost daily.

3. Someone you know has used a football schedule to plan their wedding date.

4. You’ve ever been excused from school because “the cows got out.”

5. You can properly pronounce the town Mexia, Waxahachie and Mesquite.

6. You can remember the name of the last state legislator to introduce a bill involving castration and he didn’t mean farm animals.

7. You know exactly what calf fries are and eat them anyway.

8. You can recall really hot summers by the year they happened easier than you can remember your mother’s birthday.

9. You think that people who complain about the wind in their states are sissies.

10. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door but the availability of shade.

11. You have owned at least one belt buckle bigger than your fist.

12. A bad traffic jam involves two cars staring each other down at four-way stop, each determined to be the most polite and let the other one go first.

13. When you hear a tornado siren, you go out and look for a funnel.

14. Your “place at the lake” has wheels under it.

15. You aren’t surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, and bait all in the same store.

16. A Mercedes Benz is not a status symbol. A Ford F350 4×4 is.

17. You know that everything goes better with Ranch.

18. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply.

19. You know that “y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.

20. You are 100% Texan if you have ever had this conversation:

“You wanna Coke?”
“What kind?”
“Dr Pepper”

current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 11 Mar 2001 @ 01:25 PM

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Categories: Journal
 10 Mar 2001 @ 8:51 PM 

OK, so this week they’ve been playing The Day After on cable quite a bit. I can only assume they’ve run out of material. BUT, how many people under the age of 30 know this movie? And, how many people 30 or older do not think of it as an important and powerful film from the Cold War?

I swear, the difference in 10 years was astounding. Everyone just knew, when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, that we were seconds away from nuclear conflagration. We had songs (99 Luft Ballons, Russians, etc.), we had movies (Red Dawn, etc.), we couldn’t escape it. Hell, we had air raid drills when I was in elementary school. Like hiding in the school basement would have made a damned bit of difference.

I think this is somewhat more significant a difference than my generation’s veneration of Levi’s 501s, don’t you?
current_mood: contemplative

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2001 @ 08:51 PM

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Categories: Journal
 08 Mar 2001 @ 10:06 AM 

Here’s a great quote from Survivorsucks:

I think in a few years they’ll actually start executing people who are voted off, because that will increase the drama. As is, I think people who are banished should be allowed to form their own vengeful “ghost tribe” to harass the other tribes and pull all kinds of spooky Blair Witch pranks on ‘em. That’d add greatly to the show, seriously.

current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Mar 2001 @ 10:06 AM

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Categories: Journal
 07 Mar 2001 @ 4:30 PM 

Anyone have a way of making Jack of all trades, master of none sound good? Damned army has made it impossible to have job experience in anything that someone will pay me for, except to stay a spook. If I wanted to play spy, I’d have stayed in.

Meanwhile, I’m still looking for work that pays something more than “insulting” as a wage. Anyone? Anyone?
current_mood: frustrated

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 07 Mar 2001 @ 04:30 PM

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Categories: Journal
 07 Mar 2001 @ 8:49 AM 

Here is a great sign I happened upon recently: Pikahu PrisonPicacho Prison. hehe

Oh, and then there’s also EloiEloi (no Morlocks though).
current_mood: silly

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 07 Mar 2001 @ 08:49 AM

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Categories: Journal
 07 Mar 2001 @ 7:52 AM 

$_=’while(read+STDIN,$_,2048){$a=29;$b=73;$c=142;$ t=255;@t=map{$_%16or$t^=$c^=( $m=(11,10,116,100,11,122,20,100)[$_/16%8])&110;$t^ =(72,@z=(64,72,$a^=12*($_%16 -2?0:$m&17)),$b^=$_%64?12:0,@z)[$_%8]}(16..271);if ((@a=unx”C*”,$_)[20]&48){$h =5;$_=unxb24,join””,@b=map{xB8,unxb8,chr($_^$a[–$ h+84])}@ARGV;s/…$/1$&/;$ d=unxV,xb25,$_;$e=256|(ord$b[4])>8^($f=$t&($d>>12^$d>>4 ^ $d^$d/8))>8^($t&($g=($q=$e>>14&7^$e)^$q*8^$q>=8)+=$f+( ~$g&$t))for@a[128..$#a]}print+x”C*”,@a}’;s/x/pack+ /g;eval

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 07 Mar 2001 @ 07:52 AM

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Categories: Journal
 07 Mar 2001 @ 7:38 AM 

OK, finally got around to finding something better than the old free UBB board I’ve been running. Say hello to my Ikonboard, a place for geeks to hang out and chat. Main boards are Linux, SIGINT, and Mayfair High School. Also a completely random forum, and if anyone wants a new one or wants me to host a discussion board for them on my site, let me know.

For some reason, the most popular page on my site is no longer Lianna’s XXmas, as it has been since January. Now, the most popular page is a review I did of the RioVolt. It’s a pretty cool toy, if you’ve not read it already. I didn’t realize how many folks read the MP3 forum.
current_mood: thirsty

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 31 May 2018 @ 07:12 PM

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Categories: Journal
 06 Mar 2001 @ 9:21 AM 

Here‘s a great way to circumvent the insipid file filter threatened by Napster. It just renames all your MP3 files into Pig Latin. Even better, it’s illegal under the DMCA (same blunt object the RIAA hides behind) to reverse-engineer it. Gotta love subversives.

And, an OpenNap server may be starting up at Sealand, using HavenCo’s servers to circumvent the DMCA by hosting on a sovereign site. Yep, the RIAA really should have taken the money that Napster offered…

Apologies to anyone who actually reads /. and my journal. 🙂
current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2005 @ 09:38 PM

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Categories: Geek, Journal, Music
 02 Mar 2001 @ 5:01 PM 

Just saw the RIAA representative talking outside the courtroom on CNN. She really sounds petulant. Of course, Napster can stop people from trading songs based on a simple filter. But, you willfully ignorant twit, that doesn’t mean people will not just rename files with funky characters to get around the filters. Here, try this example: Prinse n da rebolushun - Boyz und Girlz.mp3 would slip right by the filtering system, but would still be a pirated song.

Of course, the RIAA also claims they had a horrible 39% decline in CD sales last year, but it was actually a 39% decline in CD Single sales. Um, who buys CD singles anyhow, especially with the ability to preview individual tracks at CDnow, Amazon, or Tower Records stores? Slashdot had a great piece that tore apart the RIAA numbers.

Oh, and Courtney Love, after telling the world how record companies screw artists, is suing her record company for the indentured servitude forced on her, as with any other artist. But, she can afford to make noise about it. Cool.
current_music: Prodigy – Smack my Bitch Up
current_mood: amused

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 09 Aug 2005 @ 09:38 PM

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Categories: Journal, Music
 02 Mar 2001 @ 4:47 PM 

There’s yet another story about Linux PDAs, this one from the venerable Hewlett-Packard, possibly moving the Jornada line to Linux or Palm since WinCE blows.

There are plenty of other examples of such promises or hints, including some actual physical devices, yet nobody has brought one to market yet. What the hell? Here are the examples, can someone tell me why they aren’t done yet? Yopy has been hyped on Slashdot and elsewhere since February 2000, supposedly to ship in the summer of 2000. Still nothing. Agenda‘s VR3 has been discussed since August, but still not shipping except to developers.

Of course, Gateway is shipping their AOL webpad thing running Linux, but c’mon, it’s America OnLine! Besides the fact that it isn’t portable, it’s not much use except to check AOL email. And, really, if you are buying an internet appliance for your home, you probably don’t use AOL. AOLers don’t know what “internet appliance” means, for crying out loud.
current_music: Prodigy – MindFields
current_mood: bored

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Jun 2004 @ 05:06 PM

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Categories: Journal, Linux
 01 Mar 2001 @ 7:06 PM 

Major Update –

I’ve recently flashed to the 1.11fr firmware, available from the Rio ftp site. This update adds a slew of features, and fixes many annoying bugs. I’ve indicated where things were fixed or how they differ from shipping firmware to updated throughout the review. Also added photos of the Volt. If you just want to see the Firmware updates, jump to the end. Since I grabbed the firmware, Rio has seen fit to replace it with an identically named file that removes the Study mode. If you want study mode, here’s the mirrored original file for your use.

Rio Volt

The Rio Volt, the second major CD player to display ID3 tags, is a giant step up from the first, the Pine SM200C. Here’s a comparative photo of the two units:

As you can see, the Volt definitely had someone with an eye for design make its shell, as opposed to the industrial-looking Pine box.

The Rio has some great features, and you can see the full list at their website, but let me give you a review from a (so far) satisfied consumer’s point-of-view.

The ability to display ID3 tags is a giant step up from the first generation of MP3 players, which showed only the track number. Maybe that works for players with a mere 32 megs of memory, and their 10 or so songs. But, when you’re looking at a CDROM of 100+ tracks, you definitely don’t want to muck about with a paper track list or a faulty memory (was that song 101 or 98?). So, the ID3 feature is great here. It shows the track title, then artist. If the ID3 tag is missing, the display reverts to filename display. Since most people write their MP3 filenames as the track title, that is perfect. If the ID3 tag is malformed, though (i.e., no artist field), the display will show the parts of the tag that are present. So, I have some songs that show up as Track - , with no artist after the dash. That’s operator error, not the fault of the device or its programmers. The display is a little narrow, showing only 12 characters at once. It does scroll, character-by-character, through the song title and artist continually while playing. It appears to truncate the entire scroll at 48 characters, however. So, if you have a long song title and long artist name, it won’t show it all. The entire title tag will display, and the artist will be cut off. As my personal example, many tracks with the artist field of Prince and the Revolution show up as some abbreviated version. The LCD also will display CDtext, if it is encoded on the standard Audio CD you can play as well. I rarely put straight CDDA disks in mine, since I have them in storage right now (middle of a move don’tchaknow).

The navigation through the CDROM is quite transparent, thankfully. After pressing the NAVI button, you see a two-line display of directory names, with [ROOT] as the first one. There is no [ROOT] entry with updated firmware; starts in root directory or wherever you are currently playing.. To enter directories, use the right-arrow on the joypad (also the FF command when in play mode). To go back a directory, use the left-arrow (RWD) or the NAVI button. To exit NAVI mode, just wait and it will time out, or tap one of the Volume keys. In NAVI mode, the +10 key continues to function, so if you have a disk with 100 songs in one directory, you need not arrow down from track to track.

A note about the NAVI display: if you have played the track once already, you see the track - artist name; if you haven’t played it yet, you see the filename. Again, the display scrolls, if a bit slowly for simple navigation. Perhaps some future firmware will include some compressed fonts for the display, which is quite readable currently (picture).

The display is very large and readable, as I noted above. It also is backlit. The backlight would be a battery-drainer concern, but it is only lighted when you first start it or when you tap a button. It stays lit for a few seconds after you use the controls, or is on constantly when the Volt is hooked to external power sources. With updated firmware, the backlight behavior when used with external power can be set to the same as when using batteries.

The Rio page claims a 15-hour battery life for the Volt. That may be true with 128 kbps disks, as the iRiver page claims. I have a variety of different bitrates encoded on my disks, as many people do. Here’s how the battery extending tech works: there is a buffer (I calculate it is 2 megs) which fills with data as the disk spins up for 15 seconds and starts a new track. The disk then stops, and the Volt plays from the buffer until it gets about 30 seconds from empty, at which time it spins for another 15 seconds and refills. This give the Volt a great battery life (only with MP3 disks) and also means that the anti-skip protection is perfect for about 70% of the time, since there are no moving parts most of the time. Here is my experience with the spin-up/down times for various bitrates.

Bitrate Time between spin-ups
192 kbps 60 seconds
160 kbps 75 seconds
128 kbps 90 seconds
96 kbps (god why?) 120 seconds

This is why I assume a 2 megabyte buffer. The drive spins before it is empty, obviously. I guessed it as a 30-second delay, but I could be off a little. With 128k tracks, that is 16 kilobytes per second, with a 120 second buffer, so 1,920 kilobytes, or about 2 megs. Also, the Rio and iRiver docs all say a 120-second buffer, which is at the “standard” 128 kbps encoding rate.

With a CDR of various bitrates, mainly 160 and 192, I ended up with 11 hours of playtime on the set of batteries that came with the Volt (not necessarily the freshest cells around). Of course, I usually use the player in my car, where there is no battery problem.

The playback is quite good, with audio on par with most good-quality portable CD players. The Volt supports a huge array of bitrates, and sampling rates up to 44 khz. The only tracks the Volt has choked on for me are tracks with Mp3 instead of mp3 or MP3 as the extension (a known bug in the shipping firmware), and a track that was encoded at 352 kbps (holy crap! What a disk hog). The 1.11 update fixes the mixed-capitalization bug.

The playback options are quite flexible as well: repeat song, repeat directory, repeat disk; shuffle directory, shuffle disk. The shuffle mode is pretty decent, with the strange effect of RWD not going to the previous track played, but just to another random track. Also, using NAVI mode to choose a specific track will drop the device out of shuffle mode. Not with updated firmware.

The Volt recognizes full Joliet filenames, so the files are sorted by the “Windows” name, not ISO9660 truncated names. Also, the Volt does not support M3U or PLS playlist files. It will play songs in album order only if they are named with sequential filenames. So, go ahead and make the rip as Jethro Tull – 01 Aqualung.mp3 and be happy. This will require a new mindset for me, since I have always archived my tunes with simple Artist – Track conventions, trusting the M3U file to keep them in order. Ah, well, blank CDRs are cheap. 🙂

The remote control (picture) is decent, but feels a little wimpy in your hand. I don’t have ham fists, and I think it’s delicate. My bud Cory can barely fit his fingers on a standard keyboard, so folks like him will probably hate it. The headphone and lineout ports (picture) are nearly identical in usage, with the only difference the addition of a ring around the headphone port to allow the remote to function. The lineout jack is powered, so the EQ and volume controls on the Rio affect the output. I know stereo purists will insist this causes distortion, but I don’t have good enough external equipment to test that theory. The remote can handle Play/Pause, FWD/RWD, Stop, Volume, and EQ functions. With the updated firmware and using Study mode, the remote does other things. See below.

OK, now you know I like the Volt quite a bit. There must be something wrong with it, right? Well, there are a few niggling things, some of which can be tracked to the roots of the device in Asia, others can be fixed with firmware flashes.

It takes about 20 seconds for the Volt to startup, read its firmware and index the CD before it starts playing. Not a huge deal, but if you want to jump in the car and hit play, it will be a few seconds before you hear anything.

There is a row of the display given over to hard-wired dancing guys and pulsing circles. These are just silly, they don’t seem to have any diagnostic meaning, and they aren’t even accurate beatmeters. I can only assume that when the Volt was designed in Korea, this was considered a cool feature. Anyone who has been to Korea or Japan can believe that the local culture would value cute kitsch over an additional line devoted to better track navigation, or maybe a bitrate display as the new TDK device is supposed to have.

The sorting system sorts capitalized filenames before lowercase files, in a Unix-y touch that may feel odd to Windows users. Simple solution: name your files all lower-case or all proper-case. As an example, ZZ Top shows up before Zapp on one of my 80s compilation disks. The update fixes this bug. Now Zapp is before ZZ Top.

The directory view in Navi mode can be a bit perplexing if you have subdirectories. The structure of one of my disks, for instance is ROOT->Prince->CD1/CD2/CD3/CD4, with the 4 CDs being all subdirectories off the Prince directory. The Navigation display shows Prince as an empty directory, and then the 4 subdirectories under that, rather than within it. This is fixed in the update. Now the directory tree is navigated in the same way as on the computer, with multiple subdirectories. This is supposedly being looked at as a firmware update, and is in fact already available on the iRiver version of the Volt. Whether iRiver firmware works on the Rio player is unknown and, understandably, the various companies selling this player try to avoid connecting the many different versions in any way. Branding über alles.

Finally, the ID3 tag standard allows for non-ASCII characters, such as umlauted and accented letters. The Volt will not display these. I have a couple Björk tracks, and her artist field is displayed as Bjkinstead. If this is unable to be fixed with a firmware update, just use the 127 ASCII characters exclusively. I think she’s used to being listed as Bjork by now anyhow. 🙂

I think the RioVolt is a great device, and the best on the market currently. The problems it has are tiny or aesthetic-only, and it is an attractive, useful player for MP3, WMA and standard CD disks. Sorry I didn’t review any WMA tracks, I think they’re the spawn of satan.

If you can afford the 170 dollars for this player, it is a great deal. If you want to wait a while, there are plenty of competitors gearing up now, and that TDK player is looking pretty decent.

New features available in the firmware 1.11 update: The navigation function has removed the entry for [ROOT] that made no sense, and just starts in the root directory. The directory is now navigable through all subdirectories, rather than putting them all in one big list. Great for those that organize their MP3 archives in multiple layers of subdirectories. Unfortunately, there is no way to play a set of subdirectories together. For instance, I have a set of 4 bootleg Prince CDs in subdirectories under the main directory Prince. If I were using WinAmp, I could tell it to play everything in Prince, and all 4 albums would play in order or shuffled. There is no way to select a directory with the Volt, only a song. So, you can’t have it play everything in a directory, even if that directory includes a song or two itself. All you’ll get is whatever MP3 or WMA files are in the parent directory, but nothing from the children. No big deal, but something that could make it a bit better if there is sufficient demand for that feature.

Resume mode has been added. Like the resume mode on my old Sony Discman, the RioVolt can now resume at a specific location in a specific song, if you enable the resume feature.

Study Mode – I’ve played with this a bit and can’t figure out what it would be good for. You can now set the remote to control other features, in the following manner: stop is “jump back 10 seconds”, EQ is the Prog button. Also, the Prog button on the main unit can select the speed with which you search within a track. I’ve been told that some folks listen to old radio shows of 45 minutes or more, and it takes forever to FFWD through the track; here ya go. The speeds are 1x, 2x, 4x, and 6x. For me, just listening to music and not Berlitz CDs or old radio shows, Study Mode is useless.

Beeping can be enabled or disabled, a nice feature if you want it and annoying as shit if you want the beeps to stop. Unlike the iRiver updates, which turned on beeping and you had no choice, SonicBlue has given us the option.

Backlight can be set to two different modes now as well: On or Off. These are misnomers. On means that it is on all the time when using external power, but it turns itself off when you are not using the buttons if it’s running on batteries. Off only affects the behavior when using external power, and makes it behave like it was using batteries, using the backlight whenever you touch a button but not when it’s being ignored.

There is one undocumented new feature, as well. The +10 button now also can jump forward one directory, when held down for 1.5 seconds. Very flexible. Overall, I like the SonicBlue 1.11 update much better than the 1.10 update from iRiver, mainly because of its ability to choose which features you want. Especially getting rid of beeping.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Jan 2019 @ 01:51 PM

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