Saturday, November 26, 2011


My wife and I have an iPod each, I am ashamed to say. AFAIK it is the only way one can have an MP3 player with a capacity greater than 32GB. As soon as a large capacity MP3 player comes along that is not made by Apple, we will buy it immediately. We have been waiting for years and we are still waiting. I reckon Apple have some kind of monopoly on large capacity MP3 players. They must do, right? Why else does no-one else produce one?
We have the black iPod classic 160GB version. Brenda's is the older model, the one where it is possible to disable the European cap, and sadly mine is more recent where, for the moment, the cap cannot be disabled (keep working on it, guys!).
But it's not the European cap that causes the most irritation. It's the fact that proprietary software is needed to actually use it. We are Windoze-free in our house so this means the iPod comes with a problem: how does one put music on it? I have been using gtkpod (thanks, guys, what a great utility!) but I have found a problem with it. When one uses gtkpod to update two different iPods from the same desktop it seems that gtkpod can get confused regarding which model the iPod is. I managed to trash Brenda's iPod, i.e. get it into the state where music is on it but the iPod reckons it is not there. It reckoned the iPod was empty in fact. Eventually I managed to fix this by editing the file /media/IPOD/iPod_Control/Device/SysInfo, removing the line that refers to the model name. If you do this then gtkpod prompts for it and this time I put the correct value in.
When you read the various posts on the web about how to make the iPod recognise that music is there that has been placed by gtkpod, they all say you need to give the firewire id. What they don't tell you is that the model name also has to be accurate. If either is missing or wrong then you get this problem. During my attempts to diagnose and fix the problem I did a factory reset and wiped all the music from Brenda's iPod. Luckily I have all the music on an external USB drive so I will be able to restore it. But why does Apple create this pain for all it's users? Cowon does not bother creating proprietary software for its MP3 players. To load a Cowon player you just drag and drop. Simple, eh? What a pity that the largest capacity MP3 player by Cowon is a mere 32GB (the S9).
I am patiently waiting for RockBox to support the iPod classic. I use RockBox on my ancient iRiver H30 and it is fabulous. What a pity I can't use it on the iPod yet. What a pity that I am not technical enough to help with the porting. The code really is quite hairy to a novice such as me. I know, I've looked.
I can't wait for Cowon to create a large capacity player. They have a tablet that does the job (the X7) but the tablet is just that little bit too large for Brenda to take to the gym. But the spec is great. It even plays FLAC and Ogg Vorbis, which of course, Apple does not do. Come on Cowon! Just go that little bit further and I'm sure your sales will skyrocket!

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