Sunday, October 05, 2008

my mp3 player


You know as time goes by I am more and more fond of my mp3 player. It's an iriver, of a model you probably can't get anymore, and if you could you probably wouldn't like it. It is temperamental.
This is a market segment manufacturers and designers should keep in mind if they don't already: I have long been used to temperamental, emerging technologies which often don't quite work yet. And character quirks in a product can be attractive, just like they can be in a person. Probably there is a body of thought about this in marketing. I hope so.
So this iriver is an oddity in some ways. It records voice well, though it is sometimes not quite obvious whether it is recording or not (you can't listen to it to tell what it's recording like you can do with some analog recorders). it has a whole wide strange range of music playback options between random and straight-off-the-list, but if you do anything at all to it (delete something, for instance) it immediately reverts to the straight version. And the random is pretty random, but not in a good way: it seems to select about 1/3 to 1/4 of the songs it has and loops them (it certainly plays favourites) very occasionally dropping one or two rarities into the mix. I assume this is a perception not a reality, but it seems to make decisions about your preferences: if you flick through a few (I have a short attention span you know) but listen to one all the way through, it seems quite often to play another from the same artist.
It is really weird about podcasts. I put quite a few ABC and BBC podcasts on there on a regular basis - By Design, In our time etc. and often it's very hard to get these things to play; they'll often come up on the screen for a second then it'll skip to the next track. Very odd. Usually I get them to play by selecting them through the browser function. Sometimes if you leave it playing for a longish period, they will start to be regarded as 'music tracks' and just play normally; this is of course the time at which you are wanting to listen to music, probably have it going in the car or whatever and that is a nuisance.
It also seems haunted by old songs. Occasionally things long deleted will reappear from its depths. This doesn't happen that much (actually, it probably hasn't happened for a year) but it can be freaky.
All in all, a characterful product which is much better than perfect ones.
Current faves on the iriver:

Doing it for the kids - Paper Planes
Red Hot Mama - Ariel
The Falcon - Mimi and Richard Farina

and many many more.

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