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Reverse-Engineering The Creative Nomad Jukebox

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the making-it-work dept.

Music 131

indole writes "As it enjoys a large, growing, user-base, the Creative JukeBox still suffers from Creative's ugly corporate obstinateness. Despite the pleas of its users, an SDK has not and will not be released to the public. A nice little initiative is growing out of the frustrations of creative.products.nomad to reverse-engineer the Nomad Jukebox USB protocol and hopefully design some more functioning software. The Protocol Refrence v0.1 is up and due for an update very shortly. Hack away boys."

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131 comments

SDMI Compliance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#435359)

I was under the impression that most of the concerns surrounding the "closed" nature of the nomad are due to SDMI compliance. That's why you can't retrieve music once it's been placed onto the device.

Creative (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 13 years ago | (#435360)

I was under the impression that most of Creative's hardware is rebranded hardware from third parties. Creative's PC-DVD Encore [creative.com] package is basically a rebranded Hitachi DVD drive, along with a rebranded Sigma Hollywood Plus card (Creative DXR3). Most DXR3 Windows 2000 users have had to use the Sigma H+ driver over the past year as Creative was unable to get a working W2K driver out of Sigma that they could rebrand as their own.

It may very well be that Creative knows absolutely nothing about the Nomad Jukebox except how to rebrand it and market it.

Re:2.4.1 ATAPI (OT) (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 13 years ago | (#435361)

If you can't find the SCSI emulation, that's your problem. But if you need help getting the IDE system to give up a drive so it can be picked up as SCSI, look no further than LILO. "append hdc=ide-scsi" works for me.

Re:Linux Functionality. (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 13 years ago | (#435362)


The RIO has drivers in the kernel. I don't know if they work, but I've seen them enough trying to get 2.4.1 & USB working for the last 3 days...

--

Re:2.4.1 ATAPI (OT) (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 13 years ago | (#435363)

I'm not the person to ask, as I can't even load modules on my 2.4.1 kernel yet.

It looks like there are symbols in arch/i386/lib/mmx.o that the modules can't find. Fucking weird.

--

Re:2.4.1 ATAPI (OT) (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 13 years ago | (#435364)


make doesn't bail out at all - after I install & reboot, insmod bails out on pretty much everything with unresolved symbol errors. I'll try fucking around in the USB section and see.

and it's worse, because I'm being a dweeb and using Win2k's bootloader, I have to reboot to the 2.2.18 kernel so I can mount the windows drive (as the vfat module wouldn't load in 2.4.1) so I can update window's copy of the boot record of the drive I'm booting off of.

really fun.
--

Re:Licensing? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 13 years ago | (#435367)

Well there's a difference. Copyright law, which is what prevents him from playing music someone else holds a copyright on and getting away scot free is generally only constitutionally permitted to be concerned with copying and public performance. And even then, not always.

BUT if he's copying it for his own purposes, it's doubtful that this is much of a conflict with copyright law. Certainly the space shifting argument worked well enough for the Rio.

And he's right of course. He didn't license it. He never signed or agreed to a license; he merely paid for a CD. His inability to legally copy the disc for profit, etc. stems not from any license (nor is a license necessary for authors to prevent it) but from law.

Re:The hacker ethic (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 13 years ago | (#435369)


Now someone decides that although it does what you have said it will it dosen't do what they want it to. They buy it, reverse engineer it, and publish their results on the web for all to see. (The BAD part)



Becasue of this you start to loose market share. People no longer need you program to do what it was designed to becasue it has been reverse engineered and released in the holy name of RMS and all things open-source.


How would this person magically start "losing market share"? This is like saying a sound card company loses users when someone releases linux drivers for the card? If anything, this hypothetical person would GAIN customers, since there is now MORE software out there that works with his hardware.

No one is stealing anything here.

Re:The hacker ethic (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 13 years ago | (#435373)

User 312184 wrote [slashdot.org] :
In this case, a company has created something.
As creators, they own it, and they can do what they want with it.
If they refuse to improve it, that is their prerogative - without them, the thing wouldn't exist, so surely they should be given the freedom to do what they like with it, without fear of hackers undermining them?


You are wrong with your second sentence; although they created it, as buyers we have the right to do as we please with it (almost).

when a company such as AOL releases a products, it knows that its users will not try to undermine it by reverse engineering, rewriting, or open sourcing it
Remember Instant Messenger wars ??

Not improving a product is tantamount to suicide; in evolution failure to improve and adapt results in death. Also the whole industry, like hackers, competes by making better products than their rivals. For example, bigger, faster disk drives emerge normally due to small steps forward, not giant leaps, which occur only rarely.

In most respects hackers do not redcue the value of a product to zero (except maybe CueCat). By extending the functionality and use of a product they often extend its lifespan, ensuring more sales for the company and thus more profit. However, what really p**ses a hacker off is having a door slammed in his face, and the result is that the hacker is non too subtle in axing the door to pieces.

If you want an example of a responsible attitude to hackery, I suggest you look at the Tivo, who appear to have quietly provided help to the hacker community around it, on condition that they make no attempt to break TiVos revenue stream from subscription. I have no idea if they are going to succeed, but I think that Tivos handling of the hacker community should be the way all companies respond.

P.S. Someone Mod the parent post up; if it's a troll, its a thought provoking one.

Re:Alternatives to the Nomad (1)

Teutates (16902) | more than 13 years ago | (#435374)

Are these or any others available with firmware upgrades? I have a Philips version of mp3 cd player and i was disappointed to see that firmware cannot be updated, thus i can't ever play Vorbis files.

I'd be eager to see if anyone releases a mp3 cd player that will allow firmware updates for their decoders.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (1)

Fishy (17624) | more than 13 years ago | (#435375)

RE:I've never had a problem with tracks stopping in the middle

There is a problem with bad frames in mp3 tracks causing a song skip, it tends to be from downloads where an error has crept into the file.

Anyone,its fixed in the firmware released today

F

pdf link already dead, use _0_2 instead of _0_1 (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 13 years ago | (#435376)

http://www.aracnet.com/~seagull/NJB/protocol/proto col_0_2.pdf

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 13 years ago | (#435380)

another dumb question --> Does anybody know of a portable CDR/CDRW that will play mp3's from 32kb to 320kb, vbr as well?

I encode most of my newer files now with Lame using the VBR option to 320k, and usually result in files with an average of 224k, but some spots do hit 320k, and I haven't seen any player yet that will handle this... I am seriously considering getting an MZ-R70 instead of something with a hard drive etc. Even though it would be a little more inconvenient to get the files on the thing, I could have discs to switch out depending on my mood, and not have to worry about killing a hard disc.

Re:The hacker ethic (1)

nmarshall (33189) | more than 13 years ago | (#435381)

now, let me get this right. i go and buy a creative nomad. then i see that it doesnt support my OS. what should i do? why, do what hackers have done for ages. REVERSE-ENGINEER it! linux wouldnt be here if hackers didnt.

if creative wants control release a SDK. if not then dont cry when hackers fix the oversight.

ask for paying for software that is diffrent. i will glady pay for quality software, and good games.

us hackers will play with any technoly, dont cry if it gets played with. that means we LIKE it.


nmarshall

The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..

Alternatives (1)

svirre (39068) | more than 13 years ago | (#435382)

Of cource, in stead of buying an SDMI compliant closed device with poor battery time and large dimentions. You could get a similarly functioning device like the Archos Jukebox or NEO 25 that can be mounted like a common drive off the usb port. And don't obstruct the user in any way on how he should handle his files.

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (1)

svirre (39068) | more than 13 years ago | (#435383)

That's not a bug, that's a feature.

The beauty of a HDD player is that you don't need to carry anything else, no CDs, no memory cards, no MDs.

Transfering the data to the drive is painless, and done only rarely.

Under no circumstance should the jukebox be your only copy of the music, you should have backups. I keep cd-r backups, but unlike mp3-cd players I don't need to carry them around.

Also any pc on the up&up got a usb port today. With my Archos unit i can plug it into any pc and get access to my files.

Re:Not far enough... (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 13 years ago | (#435384)

Where exactly is Creative telling you what you can do with the Jukebox after you buy it? Not releasing the SDK != Preventing you from figuring it yourself. If Creative sets some lawyers out to stop this project, that's a different story. As far as I can tell from what I see, Creative is taking a "we don't support 3rd party developers, but we'll let them be" stance, which is better than many other companies.

Re:Why buy crippleware? (1)

William Fold (45891) | more than 13 years ago | (#435385)

Is this true?

I know I was a little disgruntled when I couldn't transfer my mp3s from the Nomad to my PC. However after an update of bios and software they allow you to do this. I didn't try another PC though, just the one I used to put the mp3's on my Nomad.

However, there's a catch - you can only transfer the mp3s you put on it, not the "protected" ones preinstalled.

Nomand Jukebox HD is upgradable too! (1)

Geek Dash Boy (69299) | more than 13 years ago | (#435387)

You can see how here [tomshardware.com] .

I swapped my 6gb drive out with a 20gb and it works fine.

The only downside is when the Jukebox starts up, it takes a couple minutes to create its database file (why this couldn't be cached in the flash mem, I don't know).

The Nomad Jukebox isn't perfect, but it's one of the better hard disk-based players out there.

Creative (1)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 13 years ago | (#435390)

Creative truly IS a horrible company. Sure, the Sound Blaster cards run very well in Linux now a days... but way back in the day when Sound Blasters were new, programming them was a completely different thing. You see, even back then Creative was really obstinate in giving out information on how to use it's cards to the lowest common denominator developers, as such finding information on programming the SB cards was futile at best. Most of what you could find consisted of information that eventually tricked its way down from larger companies who Creative more happily worked with, or from library writers who made crappy generic sound libraries that never worked as well as they were intended.

Eventually the information got out though and people were programming the SB cards and they became the standard they are today, but Creative never really got better.

I've purchased a few cards from them since my first SB, and I've been dissapointed by everyone in some way. I won't even talk about the clusterfuck that was my 3D Blaster video card. That thing was a joke. But even the SB32 PNP is such a difficult card to get running on any machine. Hell, they don't even have good drivers for Windows 2000 for their SB8->SB32 line of cards!? Why not Creative? Do we *REALLY* owe you more money? Hell, the only reason you even innovated at all in the last four years was thanks to Aureal, Yamaha, and the other chip makers FORCING you to. What have you show us consumers that makes upgrading to SB Live cards really worth it?

iTunes supports the NJB (1)

gardenhose (85937) | more than 13 years ago | (#435391)

Apple's (great) iTunes also supports the NJB, so it's not a case of Creative only allowing people to use their (crappy) PlayCenter software.

Re:OT: USB 2.0 (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 13 years ago | (#435392)


#1: What MP3 players support USB 2.0 yet?

#2: What motherboards support USB 2.0 yet?

I have yet to see it implemented anywhere. So why single-out Apple?

$350, Re:Archos Instead - Nomad blows (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 13 years ago | (#435393)

Also, I totally forgot to mention. The Archos is a whole lot cheaper than the Nomad. It costs $350, whereas the cheapest I've seen the Nomad for is $450, but it's typically $500. You get more bang for your buck with the Archos.

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (1)

twivel (89696) | more than 13 years ago | (#435394)

I'm sure it's a matter of preference. I prefer the cd-rw one because the media is useful on anything that supports cd-rw. For example, my PC, my apex dvd player - and my portable mp3 player - can all play music off of the exact same media.

Being lighter, they are a bit more conveniant too - and they are even expandable. If you buy a HDD based player, youre either going to hack it and void the warranty to make it expandable, or you need to buy a new one to hold more data. (for example, when your collection exceeds the size of the device you bought).

You just can't beat the price per megabyte of the cd-rw players in expandability. The player costs about $100, plus the media at 30 cents a disc. This equals 103.00 for 6 gigs worth of storage. And whats the best price of the 6 gb nomad?
--
Twivel

Re:A first! (1)

Cire (96846) | more than 13 years ago | (#435395)

It's sarcasm. Usually sarcasm is missed by the moderators, or modded down as flamebait, it's nice to see something sarcastic get modded up.

Re:Linux Functionality. (1)

Municipa (99320) | more than 13 years ago | (#435396)

I think the PJB is more 'open' than this is. There are some tools available to help, I believe as well. I once owned a PJB 6 gig mp3 player shortly before the Nomad Jukebox one came out. I returned it and got the creative labs one mostly for the recording aspect, to record my band's practice sessions.

The PBJ had a far greater interface... I could usually manage to operate it without looking at it, in my pocket, whereas the Nomad Jukebox is very difficult to operate and not intuitive, as far as music players are concerned. When you hit "back", it should go to the begining of the song, but this one goes to the previous song. You have to save your playlists, or see them occassionally and semi-predictably get lost when you use other functions of the Jukebox (such as the recorder). Saving your playlist with good name is fun.. it's about as hard as entering your name on a high score coin-op video game, but imagine using annoying buttons and having to delete a 14 character name first.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (1)

Municipa (99320) | more than 13 years ago | (#435397)

If you weren't one of the few people who bought this the first day it came out, you could have checked numerous discussion groups (mp3.com had some user info about this thing) and found out about all the shortcommings first. If you're going to spend this much on something, it might help to do some reasearch.

Having owned the PJB first, the Nomad Jukebox is very annoying to use, for all the reasons.. It's not very ideal to use on a crowded subway for instance, since it's quite a painsaking process to do anything on it. I've been using it has a portable storage device quite a bit recently, renaming files to .wav and moving them over, and renaming them back. It works great for recording live shows and my band practices, where I have a little time to prepare. The recording quality is pretty good too, and I still haven't played around with all the settings that much.

Ogg Vorbis support? (1)

borzwazie (101172) | more than 13 years ago | (#435399)

Apparently the codecs in these players can be updated to support new music formats. What's involved in writing a new codec to support, say, Vorbis files?

Re:Why buy crippleware? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 13 years ago | (#435401)

Once the proticals and software is fully understood and "hacked" there will be no reason to call it crippleware. We will be able to do almost anything with the data, including sending the "protected" data back to the computer.

Creative Labs Nomad II MG (1)

gatz (121608) | more than 13 years ago | (#435402)

I actually created a usbdevfs driver and client for the nomad ii mg about a month ago.. its not exactly fully complete (the only thing that doesn't work is the memory card. the internal memory works but i dont have any smart media cards so it would be pretty hard to reverse engineer. hehe.)

Anyways it was really not hard. It took me a few days of usb snoopy to figure out the protocol. I never really got around to posting anything about it but this story reminded me and I just did up a little webpage now. http://nomad.ipflux.org [ipflux.org]

Wrist watch (1)

Xanlexian (122112) | more than 13 years ago | (#435403)

You mean something like this?

http://www.casio.com/corporate/pressroom.cfm?act =2 &pr=2973

They also have GPS, camera's, and the like in wristwatches also.

--Xanlexian

Re:MP3 Players (1)

xjerky (128399) | more than 13 years ago | (#435406)

Do the Linux drivers fully support the 300SE now? I rembemer trying them last year, but they tended to mangle my songs (placed in wrong bitrate, causing songs to play faster then normal, cut off songs, etc).

Re:MP3 Players (1)

mrhide (137659) | more than 13 years ago | (#435410)

if anyone else knows of any mp3 players that are decently priced and does everything the mpTrip does if not more, please let me know.

WELL ... more :) ..: Play VCDS! The Napa DAV-310 [mp3playerstore.com] ...

I know .. it's a store..(not mine !) but it's gat lots of info :) ...

..Never Trust a naked Busdriver..

Re:MP3 Players (1)

karld (141289) | more than 13 years ago | (#435411)

I bought 2 of those MPTrips and what trips they are. Most of the time, they do not work and are generally a waste of money. I am looking forward to a MP3/CD player that actually works.

I will not buy an MP3 player until ... (1)

emars (142040) | more than 13 years ago | (#435412)

It's cheap and will actually hold more than 1/2 CD. This "Nomad Jukebox" is way to big for me. C'mon, it needs to be the size of a wristwatch!

Why buy crippleware? (1)

pesc (147035) | more than 13 years ago | (#435413)

Why would you want to buy a Nomad jukebox? They have chosen to let it be SDMI [sdmi.org] compatible. This means that they will probably guard any protocols jealously to avoid hacking. They will also not allow any MP3 files to be transferred from the device to the PC of your choice. Crippleware by design!!

For alternatives, look at Archos 6000 [archos.com] .

Cheaper. And can double as a portable USB hard drive! Don't know if the USB protocol is open though, but I don't think archos need to guard the specs like Creative do.

OT: USB 2.0 (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 13 years ago | (#435414)

I can't belive how head-strong Apple is towards IEEE-1394. The newest G4 towers and cubes **still** don't have USB 2.0... just USB 1.0 and vanilla IEEE-1394. There goes any chance of fast uploading to an MP3 player.

Ugly corporate obstinateness ?? (1)

tonyPick (161066) | more than 13 years ago | (#435415)

the Creative JukeBox still suffers from Creative's ugly corporate obstinateness
Eh? This might lose me all Karma ever but why is it that suddenly not going open source is "ugly corporate obstinateness"? Sure open source is a good choice for lots of companies/tool vendors/whatever but it's not automagically the right choice for everyone selling software/apps and not supporting an open source SDK ain't necessarily a bad decision for a corporation that maybe wants to make money selling SDK's to third party developers or that might be worried about firmware-nuking-field-return-inducing software uploads or whatever.
You don't like or agree with that? well buy a different player then (some people have mentioned the PJB-100), maybe Creative will go with an Open Source model when they find that the software available for the open source competition is way better than anything they have to offer and it's costing them sales...

Now using dubious legal means to prevent reverse engineering (see CueCat...) would probably qualify as "ugly" but I don't see any sign of creative doing that...

ILLOGICAL. YOU ARE IMPERFECT. (1)

Hentai (165906) | more than 13 years ago | (#435416)

YOUR FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND NOMAD INDICATES THAT YOU ARE AN IMPERFECT AND INFERIOR LIFE-FORM. YOU MUST BE EXTERMINATED.

ERROR. ERROR. BATTERY POWER LOW. NOMAD CANNOT BE INFERIOR.

(Note to moderators [and excess padding to avoid the 'no caps' filter]: Before you mod me down, go ask a trekkie.)

Re:The hacker ethic (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#435418)

If they refuse to improve it, that is their prerogative - without them, the thing wouldn't exist, so surely they should be given the freedom to do what they like with it, without fear of hackers undermining them?

And without customers, the company wouldn't exist. So your point is?

Rewrite the firmware (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 13 years ago | (#435420)

The site says that one of the problems with reverse engineering the protocol is that the firmware is updatable, and therefore the protocol might change in a new firmware version.

So... why not rewrite the firmware and make it all GPL?

OK, probably quite a lot of work involved. I don't know, I don't even have one of these.

And I suppose companies might eventually implement locks on who can and cannot update firmware.

Just a though.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (1)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 13 years ago | (#435423)

What about the boot times? Has this been fixed yet, with 20Gig HD it's meant to take about 60 secs.

Re:MP3 Players (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 13 years ago | (#435424)

Actually, I have found the Diamond Rio PMP300SE to be a fabulous piece of hardware. I clip to my shorts and mow the yard or go for a jog with it and no skipping. The linux software lets me do random uploads when I am to lazy to select a particular set of songs, and I just let it run in the background while I check my email or read slashdot. Several minutes later it is done loading on the songs and I am set to go. The battery life is also much better than most anyother device on the market. I just wish it supported ID3 tags.

About time (1)

Nostradms (201833) | more than 13 years ago | (#435426)

What makes the nomad suck is the fact that the software takes so long and is just such a pain in the ass that it deters people from using it. First Post

Re:Working Link (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#435429)

It looks like these guys [oreilly.com] are also working on a similar hack. They've already got it working with the USB interface under the 2.4 kernel.

Add a nice set of speakers and acheap 486 or pentium box and you've got yourself quite the jukebox.

Re:Missed the point (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 13 years ago | (#435430)

The point is not to reverse engineer the hardware and mass produce it to compete with the manufacture, the point is the ability to alter it to make it more useful. It's like buying a 1 ton pickup truck but it ships with a 2.3 liter 4 cyl engine. If you have a machine shop, you can engineer some mounts for a Detroit Diesel engine and transmission. Now the truck can be used to haul stuff instead of just look pretty. This fitting useful more powerful software to the player is not going to put Creative out of business. It makes the player more valuable, not less. People are dissapointed this software is so lame as shipped from Creative. The desire is to improve the weak spots of someting almost useful to make it usable.

There's another example of Creative's obstination. (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#435431)

The Sound Blaster Live. For over two years, the only change that the soundcard itself has undergone was a jack reorganization (putting the stupid PC99 colors on the jacks). The card still only processes 64 stereo voices and 32 "3D" voices. There is no true 3D sound processing, just directional reverb, chorus, and delay effects through EAX. Creative has failed to do anything at all with A3D, which it acquired after buying out Aureal. And the latest driver release (LiveWare 3) has created more problems than it has fixed.

By now, there should be a soundcard that can process 256 stereo channels and 128 "3D" channels, but Creative has rested on their laurels, and they have failed to improve the soundcard world. Instead, they push their ultra-proprietary software packages that often crash the user's computer, not to mention the Nomad Jukebox, which until recently has been locked in the realm of Windows.

Wake up, Creative. It's time to destroy the farce that you have created, and build a better soundcard.

Newsgroups?? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#435432)

Why in the world would you check newsgroups? There are a ton of other products out there. Get your receipt, and return the damn thing. The company has NO IDEA that you're having trouble with it unless you call and bitch, or better yet, jsut return the damn thing. This isn't an open source product. You ARE entitled to real support!

there's a little more... (1)

Dont tempt me (237205) | more than 13 years ago | (#435433)

I have an MPTrip too, and it does what it says. It plays mp3's, it plays them loud, and it's pretty friendly with how they're burned on the CD. However, there were a few things that I wish I had known before getting one. 1) It's almost impossible to figure out which song is where. Pick a number between 1 and 150. 2) The music doesn't skip, unless you bump it during the first 4 seconds of the song. So if you're in a bumpy car, you have to cradle it after each break. 3) The instructions look like they were translated on babelfish and the look and feel of the buttons is pretty cheezy. (i.e. It has a "Next" and a "Preview" button -- not Previous.) However, it play's mp3's by the bushel, and they sound good. What do you expect for $100? Just F.Y.I.

Re:The hacker ethic (1)

diamondc (241058) | more than 13 years ago | (#435434)

uhm.. hackers are people too and when they BUY something they OWN it and can do whatever they want with their property without depending on one company in the future for updates, patches, new features, security fixes, etc. plus it's probably fun to figure out how things work...

Re:A first! (1)

diamondc (241058) | more than 13 years ago | (#435435)

gee.. what about people that rip songs off of cd's they already bought? I cant believe this is a 3-Interesting

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (1)

Leon Trotski (259231) | more than 13 years ago | (#435437)

As someone mentioned to me, I got one of the very early models which did indeed have numeous bugs. Most problems seem to have been fixed by now.

Anyway I'm happy to hear that Creative got their act together. I have sold mine however.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (1)

Leon Trotski (259231) | more than 13 years ago | (#435438)

If you weren't one of the few people who bought this the first day it came out

Yeah, it's probably too much to ask for a mostly bug-free hardware product on first release.

I have since sold it so I didn't bother to follow up on the problems.

Cheap network storage? (1)

jasonk3 (313457) | more than 13 years ago | (#435440)

I wonder if this would let you hook up a USB->Ethernet adapter to get some cheap network storage from this thing, kinda like a less expensive version of the Snap servers.

Hey, you could even get your company to buy you one as a business expense.

Re:Alternatives (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#435442)

Yeah, I concur, the Archos is a fabulous unit. I own one myself, and despite initial flaws in the operation of the unit, the cheaper price, friendlier customer service (new firmware updates are being released quite frequently), and the fact that you can use the 6 gig Archos unit as a portable USB hard drive! If anyone is interested in purchasing the unit, I strongly suggest they look to the forums on the AJB 6000 on mp3.com and/or http://www.neomp3players.com

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 13 years ago | (#435443)

Three hour battery time?

IMO pathetic.

It's relatively easy to buy CD players that can run 70+ hours on a pair of AA's. My little MD player can run close to 10 hours on a single good alkaline AA.

Sure it's not as handy as having 6GB of MP3s but it appears they need to work on their power engineering.

Unfortunately the first revision of hardware often has bugs but they shouldn't have released it without a good beta test program.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (2)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#435444)

FWIW, I had similar problems with tracks ending in the middle etc. However, upgrading the firmware (to the version that adds .WMA support) has fixed all the glitches as far as I can tell, and it also adds the ability to seek within a song (which I think was ridiculous to leave out in the first place).

Re:Why buy crippleware? (2)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#435445)

Actually the latest firmware and software let you grab mp3s out of the box and back onto your PC.

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 13 years ago | (#435449)

It might hold _your_ entire music collection, but 6GB comes out to roughly 100 CD's, which is about 1/8th of my collection. I could carry 5 times that in my CD bag.

From my point of view, the CD players are the way to go. I just don't want to be saddled with some crappy transfer utility and I've already got many of my CD's ripped to CD-R's already.

Of course, different products for different customers. It depends on what you want or need.

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (2)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 13 years ago | (#435452)

This unit can't even hold 1/10th of my mp3 music collection. 6GB isn't that big, but it is a nice size for a portable collection. (I don't listen to much classical or jazz when driving the car, for example). The fact that these things look like they can be hacked to hold other laptop HDs makes them more promising in my eyes.

I have 80GB. and increasing as we speak. All my files are encoded at 256k [belgacom.net] for archival purposes. I use Lame -b 256 -ms -h -p and then I don't need to worry about crappy sounding mp3s. Plus, hard drives are so cheap, you might as well encode as best as you can once and not worry about it.

What I want to know is if any of these portable mp3 players play 256k mp3s, since I don't want to downsample my already-encoded mp3s due to further loss in quality.

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (2)

Baki (72515) | more than 13 years ago | (#435454)

If you have 6GB (or more, such as 20GB which can be had with the PJB-100 or NEO 25) you don't need a computer to change the media either, since you don't need to change the media. The unit can hold your complete music collection. That is the decisive advantage of these devices.

I know they are expensive for now, and thus as a trade-off one might rather go for CD-based MP3 players. But I'm sure that for those that can afford it, and in the future for everyone, HDD based MP3 players are the way to go.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (2)

gardenhose (85937) | more than 13 years ago | (#435455)

There is fast forward and rewind. You need to install the (Creative-supplied) new firmware. A few of your other problems will also be solved this way. Go to nomadworld [nomadworld.com] .


Just FYI.

Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (2)

twivel (89696) | more than 13 years ago | (#435456)

The nomad is nice, but a tad expensive. You can get a very nice cdrw-mp3 player for 100-200 bucks. The cool thing is, one cd can hold over 15 hours worth of music. CD media is dirt cheap too, at around 30 cents a disc if you buy in bulk. So you get unlimited capacity, you don't have to connect the player to a computer to change media (if you have it all on cd-rw you just put in a new cd with 15 hours worth of data before you leave each day). It skip-resistant and probably even weighs less than the nomad too.
--
Twivel

Re:Not far enough... (2)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#435457)

"I for one am sick and tired of big companies trying to tell me what I can do with X, Y, or Z product after I've already purchased it. "

If you purchased it, do what you want. If you only licensed it however....

Just like the Rio's (2)

31switch (137963) | more than 13 years ago | (#435459)

The Diamond Rio 300/500/600/800 came with the shittiest software ever. Now the protocol has been hacked for all of them. I'm the author of Riorio [uwaterloo.ca] , an alternative software for the Rio 500 in windows. It allows you to upload from the Rio to the computer (fsck the RIAA) and do all sort of stuff you couldn't do with the standard software.

Creative really mixed on the open thing (2)

evilned (146392) | more than 13 years ago | (#435460)

Creative is a strange company, parts of it want to be open, IE the live and dxr2 drivers for linux. On the other hand, you have the legal killing of Aureal, and now this. Some real split personality problems in that company.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#435461)

Now that is very cool and the drivers are GPL. Honestly since I don't want a MP3 player I've not looked at or read anything much about these things. But how can one company that has such a clue when it comes to drivers for the SBLive have it so wrong on this device? In any case this one from Compaq looks pretty sweet.

Re:PJB Instead (2)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#435462)

The PJB-100 has been hacked to do all sorts of stuff, including upgrading the hard drive inside to 20 gigabytes.

And so has the Nomad. See Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com]

Re:Nice box, but I prefer cd-rw mp3 players... (2)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 13 years ago | (#435463)

But the disadvantage of a HDD-based device is that the music is stuck on the machine unless you transfer it off the drive. With a CD-based solution, that same MP3 CD will work on any PC, as well as your CD player. So you can tote around your entire music collection and be able to use it on your portable device and on any PC you run across (ie, at work, etc), which is really nice.

Re:Archos Instead - Nomad blows (2)

JK Flip Flop (209163) | more than 13 years ago | (#435465)

The Archos looks good on paper but the sound quality is horrible compared to the NJB. Also, with the latest firmware and Playcenter software the jukebox can store non-audio files.

Alternatives to the Nomad (2)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 13 years ago | (#435466)

Several people have said that they find the Nomad overpriced and not that great. If you're in that catagory and you have a cd-burner then you might be interested in the following cd/mp3 players: There are others, but heres a selection. Now all we need is a company with an eye for design (like Sonys very sexy cd players) to come up with a good looking one with all the features you come to expect thesedays.

--

Not far enough... (2)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 13 years ago | (#435467)

Yeah yeah, the moderators will hate me for this, but really it hasn't gone far enough.

I for one am sick and tired of big companies trying to tell me what I can do with X, Y, or Z product after I've already purchased it. Hell, some companies [*cough*MPAA*cough*] want to tell me WHERE I can do things with their products [what? you don't live in region X? well, sorry, all your region X DVD's are useless, you can suck us off now]. I had liked Creative Labs, but this little jukebox issue has made up my mind to never purchase from them again. All companies who willingly support content access restriction must be eliminated, the sooner the better for all of us. I was going to buy more CD's, I was going to get a DVD player [the tech itself is plenty cool], but the lawsuit happy morons can all starve to death for all I care now. If you solve your problems with lawyers, you aren't worthy of my time or money.

-={(Astynax)}=-

Re:The hacker ethic (2)

kyz (225372) | more than 13 years ago | (#435468)

Two points:
  • I've read this same commie troll before. Get some new material.
  • You have to buy a particular piece of hardware in advance of 'hacking' it. It's yours to do with as you want, once you get it. Think CueCats.

Re:Linux Functionality. (2)

CU-Ballistic (248908) | more than 13 years ago | (#435469)

Do you fuckers really have to drag linux into every fucking thread on /.? I mean Jesus H. Christ! If there were a story about limp penises, someone would ask if the limp penis supported kernel 2.4.x, or if Limp Penis 1.0 would be outwardly compatible with sshd. Christ, give it a break.
-

MP3 Players (2)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 13 years ago | (#435470)

Out of all the mp3 players i've seen on the market (i even fell victum to purchasing the RIO --- i know, shoot me now) the MPTrip is still the best buy i can find. All the other big name mp3 players out there are way too over priced and the mpTrip is less then $100 US. The thing i like about it most is the fact that it plays MP3 CD's, Audio CD's and even compliation discs. Not to mention it actually has anit-shock technology that works. But this is just my opinion, if anyone else knows of any mp3 players that are decently priced and does everything the mpTrip does if not more, please let me know.

How about an mp3 player with linux drivers? (3)

bmetz (523) | more than 13 years ago | (#435471)

Have you guys thought about the hipzip [iomega.com] ? It shows up as a USB storage device when you plugging it in -- meaning you mount it, put any file you want on it, and unmount it. That's it. No silly software, no hacking. Did I mention that it's the size of a deck of cards and each 40meg disk for it is $10?

They even have a full set of linux drivers on their page! Stop giving money to companies that obviously aren't willing to work for it. Iomega is. Hell, if you look in the credits on the player, the Red Hat logo comes up ;)

PS: Search the Ogg Vorbis mailing lists for 'hipzip'. You'll find that they have a beta version of their player firmware that supports Ogg Vorbis as well!

Linux Functionality. (3)

Saint Nobody (21391) | more than 13 years ago | (#435472)

So the question is, which portable mp3 players have linux clients? and which are open protocols? those are the first two questions i'd consider before buying one.

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (3)

William Fold (45891) | more than 13 years ago | (#435473)

Whoa. I haven't had any of the problems you have mentioned.

My batteries worked fine after a 12 hour charge - they last about 3 hours though. I charged my second set with an external charger that I already had, and they worked fine as well.

As for the no fast-forward or rewind - this bothered me too - however get the latest update from http://www.nomadworld.com [nomadworld.com] and you will get this functionality!

Not to mention the ability to transfer mp3's off of your Nomad to your PC. This bothered me as well - unfortunately you can't transfer "protected files" such as the ones that come pre-installed. Only the mp3's that you put on yourself.

I love my NJB...

Re:PJB Instead (3)

Baki (72515) | more than 13 years ago | (#435474)

Just a warning w.r.t. the Treoplayer:

It is distributed by the same company, but has completely different origins (i.e. not Compaq research like the PJB). Thus, the Linux SDK for the PJB won't work for the Treoplayer. If one ever appears remains to be seen.

On paper it has the same characteristics as the PJB, but is cheaper. Shorter battery life though.

One of the strong points of the PJB is it's excelent sound quality, even if you connect it to a hifi installation the difference at 128kbps is hardly and at 192kbps is not audible. This cannot be said from any other MP3 player (due to excellent encoding/decoding from Fraunhofer and to good D/A components in the player).

Whether the Treoplayer matches this quality remains to be seen; I think not (it won't be cheaper for nothing, even when sold by the same company). But if you're patient, you might want to wait until it is on the market to see how it really compares to the PJB.

Archos Instead - Nomad blows (3)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 13 years ago | (#435475)



Use the Archos Jukebox 6000 instead. It has a few similarities to the Nomad: it's an MP3 player built onto a ~6 GB laptop hard drive, which interfaces with your PC via USB.

However, there are a number of differences which make it better IMHO. The Archos appears as a FAT32 formatted drive with a drive letter, to which you can drag and drop your MP3 files and directories (yes, that's right: directories, nested as deeply as you like). The Nomad has a proprietary closed means of getting the music to the device, and you need to use their special software to do it. And since the Archos is just a USB hard drive to the computer, you can use it to store more than just MP3s. The display for the Archos is smaller than for the Nomad, but full text of the song title (ID3 tag info) will scroll past, so that's no sticking point.

Windows 2000/98 treats the Archos as a USB storage device, loading the appropriate drivers for that. This is at least a degree closer to being hackable than the way Creative does it. I think most linux hackers would prefer to write a driver for a generic USB storage device than write a driver for a proprietary device with a narrow range of usefulness. Also, Archos, or the people who they license their USB bridge technology from, may be more willing than Creative to open up their interfaces for writing open-sourced drivers.

Here's some links:
Archos website [archos.com]
Review of Archos Jukebox 6000 at Fun MP3 Players [funmp3players.com]

Re:MP3 Players (3)

XJoshX (103447) | more than 13 years ago | (#435476)

I'm glad you're happy with your MpTrip, but I don't think that I would consider it the best from what I heard.

Check out Dmusic [dmusic.com] for reviews of all the hardware mp3 players. For CD/mp3 players I believe that the classic cm415 is the highest rated one that you can go out and buy. (only @ circuit city, less than $100) There are several that should come out in the next couple months (cross your fingers). One is claimed to play mp3s off a cd, and be able to rip cds to its internal harddrive much like the nomad. (or PJB for those who prefer the nicer things)The weird thing is the company claims it will be in the $200 dollar range!!!
To bad it won't probably happen..

Legal question... (3)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 13 years ago | (#435477)

Not knowing USA law, is this against the DMCA or other progressive digital laws the United States has?

... Just an inquisitive idiot ...

Re:What a piece of sh** gadget! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#435479)

1) Umm, the Jukebox isn't that complicated. The manual pretty much covers anything. This is after all a fairly SIMPLE device for playing music.

2) Yeah, I have the same problem. I don't use the jukebox as a battery device. I use it as a portable music station. I have a plug for it in my car, a power plug at work, and a power plug at home.

3) I never even listened to the pre-loaded music, but I have a ton of "concept" albums, where the tracks blend fluidly into each other. In every case, I've never heard a gap between my tracks (since the songs never really end). Winamp always has a slight gap between tracks... and its noticeable... I've never had a problem with the Jukebox.

4) Ummm, there IS a fast forward and rewind. You press the "next track" and hold. This is very similar to most stereo system cd players. And for rewind, you press "previous track" and hold. It'll start to rewind.

5) I've never had a problem with tracks stopping in the middle. My guess is there's something about that encoded file it doesn't like. I would probably consider this a bug, and you should try to create an mp3 that does this and send it along with a bug report to Creative Labs. I've already filed two bug reports with them concerning their lousy software, and have received confirmation that these are bugs that'll be addressed.

6) I agree. The case was lousy. I didn't even know I was getting it when I bought the thing so it wasn't a big loss for me.
I think the product is amazing. Has front and rear line outs. Headphone jack. DOES store 6 gig of mp3s, and if you know what you're doing you can very easily upgrade the laptop hard drive in the thing to a 20 gig IBM drive. Out of the shortcommings you mentioned, I've never experienced the major two (pauses between tracks, fast forward). The other stuff really are just personal gripes based on your usage. My usage is different and I have no problem with how the Jukebox functions in those areas.

Re:The hacker ethic (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#435480)

Um No...
You said:
In this case, a company has created something.

As creators, they own it, and they can do what they want with it.

Uhm no... They own the design, and own the protocol as their proprietary knowledge. I own the product if I buy it

If they refuse to improve it, that is their prerogative - without them, the thing wouldn't exist, so surely they should be given the freedom to do what they like with it, without fear of hackers undermining them?

Yes If the manufacturer refuses to improve the product or event to support it, that is their perogative. It comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. Creative, in this case has to analyse wether it is worthwhile for them to participate with the part of the user community that wishes to get better use out of the product.

The only time that any third party is undermining the producer is if they decrypt or reverse engineer the thing, and sell that information, or another product that uses the reverse engineerd information. If I decrypt and/or reverse engineer something, and use it to improve how I personally use the product, am I doing harm? I think not. If I share my knowledge (at no cost) with other people who own the same product and have the same interests, am I causing harm or detracting from the companies revenues? Again, the answer is no.

I think people have to be responsible here - these people should see that their actions are damaging things for everyone, and that they should not just rip other people's work off

Thease people are not stealing anybody elses work, they are trying to understand and therefore get better use of a product they bought and paid for. Creative's lack of participation to the user community in divulging the USB protocol, or in participating with users who want to improve things is IMHO just another form of poor customer support.

Companies like Chilton regularly purchase new cars, dissasemble them, and re-assemble them. They then make money off of the sale of the books they write as a result. They have not stolen anybody elses work.

Re:SDMI Compliance (Incorrect) (4)

Enry (630) | more than 13 years ago | (#435481)

The latest firmware of the NJB allow you to take music off the device and back to your hard drive, but only if it doesn't have any digital rights management set up. Your collection of MP3 files can be shuffled back and forth from the NJB, but some WMA files can't.

PJB Instead (4)

spludge (99050) | more than 13 years ago | (#435482)

From all accounts the Creative Jukebox is not as good as the PJB-100. Not only that but the PJB has good hacking support! The SDK which is open source and available for linux is continually updated by Compaq.

The PJB-100 has been hacked to do all sorts of stuff, including upgrading the hard drive inside to 20 gigabytes. You can even talk to the PJB developers on the mailing list [yahoo.com] .

If you are worried about the price of the PJB-100 then I would wait for the treoplayer [treoplayer.com] which will be out near the end of this month. The Treo includes all of the advantages of the PJB and is only $399 and has a smaller form factor.

Libpdmp - supporting multiple mp3 players (4)

GreyFish (156639) | more than 13 years ago | (#435483)

Hi,

I'm the guy that started the effort to reverse enginner the Rio600, A couple of weeks ago I kicked off a project to support multiple mp3 players under linux/whatever:

See here [pointless.net] .

So far we have info for, or access to:

  • Rio500
  • Rio600
  • Nike PSA[Play
  • Nomad II mg
  • Nomad Jukebox (via seagulls website)
  • Lg Soul.

So join the mailing list if you have a player you want supported!

Re:Licensing? (4)

Hazzl (161889) | more than 13 years ago | (#435484)

We don't license music. When I purchase a CD, it's mine. There are no license agreements that I have to fill out, there is no disclaimer that I don't own it. I purchase a CD and have full rights to do whatever I want with it, in my opinion.
Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but don't expect that to hold up too well in a legal argument. Just try broadcasting that CD of yours at your local radio station and you'll have lawyers all over you before you know it. The artists have the right to put their works under whatever license they choose to. And if they choose to sell all their rights to a record company that's tough luck for all the fans but that's life. Of course, now that artists may have a chance to distribute their works without the help of major record companies and still make some money with it all this might change. It's exactly this change that the record companies should be very afraid of, because people are just not going to need them the way they did before. And in business, if people don't need you, you die.

Licensing? (4)

b0z (191086) | more than 13 years ago | (#435485)

We don't license music. When I purchase a CD, it's mine. There are no license agreements that I have to fill out, there is no disclaimer that I don't own it. I purchase a CD and have full rights to do whatever I want with it, in my opinion.

On the other hand, if I licensed music this would work fine too. In that case I would have the ability to go buy a tape, or pull out some old eight track tapes, and exchange them for the CD's with whatever record label I had to deal with. Licensing could work well for that.

What it boils down to is that the RIAA wants to have their cake, eat it, then take your cake and the cake from the bakers themselves. It's just a scam and should be dealt with by the government just like any other pyramid scheme since the consumers can't do much about it. And "not buying their products" doesn't help because we don't have the support of a large number of people. The RIAA companies would simply forget about our money.

What a piece of sh** gadget! (4)

Leon Trotski (259231) | more than 13 years ago | (#435486)

Creative's ugly corporate obstinateness is not the only problem with the Nomad. I bought one some time ago and was thourougly disapointed. Here are my main beefs with this thing:

1. The manual which comes with this product is very poor and does not go into detail about ANYTHING.. It is a small booklet and leaves you with a billion questions.

2. Battery problems. Just like the manual said, you must charge your batteries for 12 full hours before using them. I charged mine for over 12 hours the first time (did it over night while I was sleeping), and then in the morning I took my jukebox out for a walk with me. The batteries died in a half hour. Lovely. I decided to check out the support newsgroups on this product and apparently I am not the only one who had this problem. It was suggested that I try the 2nd set of batteries that comes with this jukebox. So I did. However, there is no indication on this product as to the status of your batteries charging, you just have to GUESS and ASSUME that they are in fact charging! There is no "meter" which shows you the progress. After 12 hours of charging my 2nd set of batteries, I turned on my jukebox and it read 85% charged... I guess I'll have to accept it. The support group tells me that even though it says 85%, that it really means 100 %. How lovely. How much did this thing cost again? ANd why are so many other people in the support newsgroup experiencing battery/charging problems?

3. Sometimes there are huge pauses between tracks, while the jukebox loads up the track into memory. (very annoying.. it's like a 10 second wait until your next track; mind you not all the tracks experienced this delay, just the pre-loaded music that came with the jukebox)

4. No fast forward or rewind, you can only skip to the next track, or go back to the previous one.

5. Some of my tracks just completely stop playing in the middle, and it moves on to the next track. Yet, the same file will play fine on my pc. And no matter how many times I reboot the jukebox, it will stop playing this file after a minute, as though it got corrupted.

6. The carrying case that comes with it is really not a convenient way to carry it around for walking or listening on the bus, because you cannot access any controls on the jukebox without taking it out of its case - not even the volume! And why I should go out to a store and buy a special case for this jukebox is beyond me, considering how much this thing already costs!

The support group tells me that my 1st set of batteries may be defective, and that I should try charging them in an external charger. Why should I go out and buy one?! My bottom line is that for the money they are asking for this product, it better come with EVERYTHING i need!

In conclusion, the only thing amazing about this product is the fact that it holds 6 GB worth of mp3s. That's all. There is nothing else out of the ordinary, and in fact, everything else about this product is ordinary. Even the EQ settings and spatialization is nothing special.

Does anybody have a recommendation for a similar product without all those shortcommings?

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