Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Bye Bye, biPod
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The new little MP3 player (Philips PSS110) I bought recently is going back to the store. It's just not hacking it. It's rather cute, but I bought it for functionality and not looks.

It's not a terrible toy, but it's too hard to hear while riding my bike, and that was its primary mission. On its own, inside, its volume is fine.

It can certainly be heard a lot of the time while riding, but not in heavy traffic or with very much wind, whether natural or generated going down hills, or just riding faster than about 17 mph. Thus, it's acceptable for music files, but not for podcast NPR news articles or audio books where it's more important to hear content without interruption.

The so-called automatic FM tuner isn't. It could not find any radio stations in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, a target-rich environment. Further, trying to manually set stations means a single button press every .1 MHz -- holding down the up/down buttons to find a frequency does not cause the device to advance as expected -- so clicking up to a high-numbered channel isn't fun. And when you do manually try to set a station, the receiver still doesn't find it.

One futher nit: if I have a large number of music files that I want played back in random order, I can click the shuffle button (to change from the default sequential), however powering off the machine results in that setting being lost. Thus, next time it starts it launches the first track again, and you have to re-enter the shuffle mode.

And of course the fact that it uses a SQLite database but cannot be accessed from a Macintosh, and has only 256 KB memory, count against it. It also takes a rather long time, about 20 minutes, to clear out old files and upload new ones to it.

Enough said. Off to post a review on to help others, as so many have helped me.

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