Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×

177 comments

Just Great! (5, Funny)

intekra (754612) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084279)

More goodies to spend my unemployment check on!

Microsoft Portable Media Center Reviewed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084280)

AND IT's SHIT !

...yeah, wtf you expect ? This is Slashdot ?

Re:Microsoft Portable Media Center Reviewed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084311)

we expect slashdot to censor trolls, but we can tell they cater to linux trolls and hate groups..."+5 funny" ya, pure hate is the slashdot way, who cares if they appear more and more like other hate groups like the KKK

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084282)

can you tell I didn't RTFA?

GNAA FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084284)

first post you cock sucking slashfags

Re:GNAA FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084302)

Too bad someone already beat you to it... and they managed to form a complete sentence as well!

DRM? (5, Interesting)

russint (793669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084285)

DRM-Enabled media players? No thanks.

Re:DRM? (3, Insightful)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084329)

"I'm Corey Gouker (obviously); I'm a Media Center MVP who hangs out in the Microsoft newsgroups for everything Digital Media and Media Center related."

Also worth noting that the review was posted by someone likely to exhibit bias. I did not RT whole FA (did you see how long that thing was?!), so it may be completely impartial, just something to keep in mind...

Re:DRM? (5, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084357)

Yeah. Gouker even seems to feel that licensing, rather than owning, music is the way to go. Maybe it is if all you listen to is here today, gone tomorrow top-40 crud that you'll be bored with in a month.

Pimping Janus (1)

ceallaigh (584362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10085096)

He's already got 204GB of music that he owns. What does he care if he pimps Microsoft's Subscription service?

Re:DRM? (0, Flamebait)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084392)

Yeah, you know, they'll never take off. I mean, that white one, the iPod, with the support for AAC files with DRM crust -- who's buying those?

Oh, you say, "But these will *only* play DRM files". Au contraire. From what I'm reading, they'll play standard MPEG2s. A few hacks and we'll see DivX on these things.

Re:DRM? (1)

waynelorentz (662271) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084622)

Maybe people who realize it can also play non-DRMed MP3's, other formats? But apparently not anti-Pod trolls like yourself.

Re:DRM? (2)

1984 (56406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084394)

Beg to differ (a little):

DRM-Enabled only players? No thanks.

I've found the iPod to be a nice mix. I can buy stuff conveniently through iTunes, I can load stuff that isn't on the Music Store. Of course bleep.com is better, but having both is a good enough compromise for some of us.

Re:DRM? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084585)

I think DRM is great because it prevents people from listening to music that sounds like shit anyway.

watch the linux trolls feed on this (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084292)

we know the linux trolls can't resist a MS bash...

Apples to Apples comparison : Linux to Win XP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084297)

I have been reading all the Linux hype here and I decided to give it a go. I am a long time Windows user and have only played with Linux on rare occassion. Here is my apples-to-apples, new user, experience and comparison with Windows. Mod this down if you can't handle some fair, constructive criticism of your OS. But if you find it interesting, well there ya go- interesting.

Install time : Win XP - 1 CD; Approx 37 minutes. Linux - 4 CDs; Approx 2hr 10min (some time wasted while it was waiting for me to swap CDs).

Boot time : Win XP - Approx 18 seconds from POST to login. Linux - Approx 1min 25sec from POST to login. Lots of debug text scrolling by, not sure if this is normal or was slowing me down.

Hardware Compatability : Win XP - All hardware detected and installed. Linux - No driver for sound card (onboard audio) or network card (also onboard). Not sure about digital camera and scanner; where's the device manager? Couldn't download drivers without a net card. Used the XP box to download what seemed to be appropriate and attempted to compile. Got network card working after a few hours troubleshooting. Couldn't get audio working, error "*** depmod: Unresolved symbol in (something something) pci-scan.o". Decided I did not need sound anyway.

Fonts: Win XP - Nice clean fonts, using ClearType on my 19" LCD. Linux - Awful looking fonts. The italic font on Slashdot looks like complete dogshit. Tried Konqueror and Firefox, no luck.

Verdict: Linux seems to have done little to catch up in the past few years. I will try again in another few years.

Re:Apples to Apples comparison : Linux to Win XP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084321)

i would mod this up, but i already replied here :(

Re:Apples to Apples comparison : Linux to Win XP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084516)

he must be using some fucked distro, slackware, 1 cd, maybe 15 seconds, from after post to login

Re:Apples to Apples comparison : Linux to Win XP (-1, Troll)

Baseclass (785652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084441)

What Linux distro did you install? Windows is certainly easier to use and install. That's why it's the OS for the masses.

If you have the technical skills and the desire to learn, don't give up on Linux so easily.

Robotic Women? (5, Funny)

joeldixon66 (808412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084312)

From TFA: And please, I don't mean to get you worried at this point, I don't find them attractive in a sexual way or anything like that, I'm much more drawn to a nice 5'8" red head than anything made of silicon, LOL, err, no pun intended.

If only there was a way to combine the red head with the silicon. *ponders*

Re:Robotic Women? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084352)

If only there was a way to combine the red head with the silicon. *ponders*

Not yet, but with today's technology we can combine red heads with silicone [google.com] .

Re:Robotic Women? (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084741)

I'm more interested in combining redheads with latex. I have a special applicator for it.

Re:Robotic Women? (3, Funny)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084835)

You mean like:

\documentstyle{redhead}
\begin{woman}
\height{5ft8in}
\end{woman}

Flamebait (-1, Flamebait)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084318)

Damn it, another article on the main page to rack up 900 posts of people screaming about DRM and why linux is so much better and why microsoft is evil. This article becomes flamebait the second it's link is posted here.

So in keeping with what I saw the other day, place all comments not about how DRM and microsoft are evil below this line:

_______________________________________________

Homestar... (5, Insightful)

hypermike (680396) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084322)

I'm Corey Gouker (obviously); I'm a Media Center MVP who hangs out in the Microsoft newsgroups...
I'm pretty much an average geek...

As Homestar would say: More like NOT AVERAGE GEEK!

Re:Homestar... (2, Insightful)

PoprocksCk (756380) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084467)

Pfft, yeah... and you know what else? He said he was writing his article using Word. He calls himself an average nerd?

Re:Homestar... (4, Insightful)

crtfdgk (807485) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084546)

well of course he was using word...the whole thing is really an advertisment by microsoft...check back at this "blog" in a few weeks and see if its actually a blog. it smells entirely like a microsoft job to me..

Re:Homestar... (2, Insightful)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084950)

Actually, it seems he's pretty much an average liar [auroravisions.com] . This site is the resume of a man who works for Microsoft named Corey Gouker, whose skills in rhetoric are identical to those of this one-entry blog.

Smells to me like fishy soup.

Re:Homestar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085166)

No where does it say he works at Microsoft. Read it carefully: "Beta tester" for Microsoft Corp. "MVP" for Microsoft Corp. "Project Hurricane"--a student project--for Microsoft Corp. He just affiliates all his work with Microsoft.

Links to mirrors of video and photos (5, Informative)

tao_of_biology (666898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084323)

Hey, since it's getting slashdotted already. ;)

He has a link to mirrors of his photos and videos of the device (which I'm mainly interested in anyway). They are:

WMV: External Overview of Creative Zen PMC (temporarily down) Mirror 1 [coreygouker.com] Mirror 2 [coreygouker.com]
WMV: Demo of Portable Media Center UI (temporarily down) Mirror 1 [coreygouker.com] Mirror 2 [coreygouker.com]
Gallery of Images from Creative Zen PMC [coreygouker.com] Mirror 1 [coreygouker.com] Mirror 2 [coreygouker.com]

Direct links (2, Informative)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084452)

Those links all go to his (slow) Web site, which then redirects to the mirrors themselves.

Direct links:
WMV: External Overview of Creative Zen PMC: Mirror 1 [mvps.org] Mirror 2 [ucla.edu]
WMV: Demo of Portable Media Center UI: Mirror 1 [mvps.org] Mirror 2 [ucla.edu]
Gallery of Images from Creative Zen PMC [auroravisions.com] Mirror 1 [mvps.org] Mirror 2 [ucla.edu]

My favorite quote (5, Insightful)

PunkPig (738544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084325)

"...so I had high hopes that they might be a breakthrough device that would fit my needs perfectly. Something that would really do damage to Apple's iPod."

This guy has a real hate on for Apple doesn't he?

Re:My favorite quote (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084435)

My thoughts exactly. He'd probably be more than happy to see Apple go out of business and have all consumers stuck with nothing but MS for their portable audio needs. That is the MS mentality though. Also you just know he could afford an Ipod but would never buy it soley because its made by Apple. Sad really.

Re:My favorite quote (1)

JAD lifter (778578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084684)

I wouldn't buy this Windows media player crap but I wouldn't buy an ipod either. Apple is not the cool hip post-hippie company that people make them out to be. Apple has a long history of bringing lawsuits against people for stupid reasons just like every other big company does.

I can understand many geeks alliegence to free software, Linux, etc. But I could never understand why so many geeks have such an allegience to Apple. If you think their products are cool then that is one thing but the company itself sucks.

Re:My favorite quote (4, Interesting)

jest3r (458429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084688)

Why even bother comparing a portable video player to the iPod? Oranges and Apples really.

In reality there is nothing special about the PMC OS. The Creative Zen PMC Player [creative.com] looks like a cheap version of the upcoming Sony PSP [playstationportable.com] .

Either way you can't really call the Creative player portable ... its as thick as a brick.

Re:My favorite quote (1, Flamebait)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084772)

A lot of people have hate for the iPod because they want one but aren't willing to pay for one, ostensibly because it's "not worth it" and the high sticker implies that it is a status symbol. Same reason a lot of people hate Benzs, Cadillacs and BMWs.

These people consider the success of the iPod to be a real thumb on the nose. How can it succeed when it's so expensive? How can it succeed when so many devices do the same thing, only with more features? How can it succeed without OGG/FLAC/DIVX/Radio/Microphone/Wireless/Free Cookies?

The iPod is proof that an electronic device need not follow the commodity technology model to be successful. It's an alien concept for people who have for so long bought in to the idea that technology is a slim margin business. So, it enrages them. Because it's not popular for its tech aspect, but for its simplicity and HIPNESS. And hipness and simplicity are two things most technology pundits wouldn't understand.

Re:My favorite quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084789)

When people are willing to participate in a blatently direct marketing ploy in exchange for an ipod, it's going to be rather difficult to negatively affect their image of Apple's mp3 player.

http://www.freeipods.com/default.aspx?referer=8309 944 [freeipods.com]

It's a blog! (4, Insightful)

Philippe (3665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084330)

It's long-winded, reminescent of Jerry Pournelle's columns in Byte. It takes forever to get to the point. It's from a guy who (apparently) has a 204 MB music collection!

And we should pay attention to him why?

P.S. that thing looks huge. It has a GUI, for cryin' out loud!

Re:It's a blog! (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084382)

It takes forever to get to the point.

He doesn't ever actually make any points other than showing off at his DVD, music, TV, and movie collections. Honestly I don't give a flying rats ass WHY you were chosen to test something and I certainly don't care about how much music you have...

He said that the UI is fast while loading the songs he put on the device. How long did it take to put those songs on the device? Did you have to load a special driver for it (possible DRM) or did it just use USB mass storage that is standard with more recent Windows versions?

He did mention that the external sound sucks and that the display isn't any good in the daylight. Sounds like a bummer to me. I am not exactly going to be sitting at home watching movies on my portable media player.

I am more concerned with battery life and heat from the 400mhz XScale CPU.

I guess he didn't spend enough time explaining that afterall he did have to type out 204GB several times and count all his tracks in his music collection (44,190).

Re:It's a blog! (2, Informative)

mrklin (608689) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084721)

"I am more concerned with battery life and heat from the 400mhz XScale CPU."

Many PDAs, like the Dell Axim, use the 400mhz XScale CPU. It gets warm but never hot. More details can be found at Intel [intel.com] .

I am surprised they did not go with the 624Mhz XScale.

Re:It's a blog! (2, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084532)

that thing looks huge. It has a GUI, for cryin' out loud!
It looks to me like it was designed by the same guy responsible for the Xbox, and more importantly, the original big chunky controller.

Re:It's a blog! (2, Funny)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084733)

204GB of music. Wonder if the RIAA reads slashdot.

Re:It's a blog! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085117)

P.S. that thing looks huge. It has a GUI, for cryin' out loud!

Like, chill out, man, it's a video player.

Big Brother (-1, Offtopic)

celeritas_2 (750289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084334)

When is it that universities will 'buy' one of these for every student, put a tiny camera and mic inside, and never allow you to completely turn it off for fear that Emmanuel might get you in your sleep?

Re:Big Brother (0, Offtopic)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084566)

When will slashdotters quit making completely offtopic comments about 1984?

Re:Big Brother (1)

JAD lifter (778578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084695)

Maybe he was talking about Emmanual from 2600? This is a geek website after all.

What the hell? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084335)

Site is already slashdotted but why are we supposed to read a review on a blog on coreygouker.com? Is there not some more reliable site we could get a review from? Maybe a little background on who this Corey guy is would be nice?

Slashdotted Already (2, Informative)

bburton (778244) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084341)

Creative Zen Portable Media Center Review, Part 1...
I guess first things first A brief introduction Some of the people reading this will be friends of mine who have been eagerly waiting (impatiently) for some time in fact. If you’re one of them, then too bad, you’ll have to wait a bit more.

I’m Corey Gouker (obviously); I’m a Media Center MVP who hangs out in the Microsoft newsgroups for everything Digital Media and Media Center related. I’m 20 years old and starting up college again at SJSU after already doing a year abroad at the University of Manchester in the Queen’s Country.

I’m pretty much an average geek. I think anything electronic (that at least has some class and style) is totally sexy. For example my cell phone, my Klipsch 5.1 Ultra’s, a 2TB RAID, a super fast Internet connection, you name it. If it’s geeky, chances are I love it and might find it sexy. And please, I don’t mean to get you worried at this point, I don’t find them attractive in a sexual way or anything like that, I’m much more drawn to a nice 5’8” red head than anything made of silicon, LOL, err, no pun intended. Besides that, I’m just an average guy with an anything but average collection of digital media. Some stats I compiled about a month ago are pretty out there. I was sitting on a 204GB collection of music. That’s approximately 44,190 tracks for the curious. My main Media Center Edition PC has a 250GB HDD which at any given time has about 200GB of recorded TV. Then there’s about 500 or so DVDs as well. I’m not even going to guess on the number of pictures, all I know is that there’s a 50 CD folder sitting on a book shelf that is filled with DVD+R’s with nothing but JPG’s from my Canon G2. I’ve actually warn out 3 batteries in the little time I’ve had the camera.

I personally don’t own that many media devices. In fact, I’ve only got one at the moment. A small but nice 256MB Creative MuVo TX. I’m in a unique situation in that unlike some, I couldn’t hope to fit my entire collection on a device to take it with me. Whether it be music, videos, TV, or pictures. I’ve almost bought a Dell DJ, 40GB iRiver, and 20GB Rio Karma, but didn’t buy any since I still felt none of them quite fit what I had in mind.
Being a Media Center MVP with some interest in the Digital Media Division as well, I’ve been keeping track as much as possible about some of the new stuff coming along. Portable Media Centers (PMC) really caught my eyes and ears when I first heard about them. Back then I hadn’t a clue what size drives they’d have so I had high hopes that they might be a breakthrough device that would fit my needs perfectly. Something that would really do damage to Apple’s iPod. While some might have put the idea out there that Microsoft wanted the PMC to be an iPod killer, I don’t really think this is true. I think most people within Microsoft who were working in the area knew perfectly well that this device was different and really could not be compared with previous Portable Music Players. The OEMs that signed on to make the device, Creative, iRiver, Samsung, knew the device was different. The only real way they could be compared would be in terms of size, weight, battery life, easy of use, style, and sexiness. The feature set of a PMC far surpasses a regular Portable Music Player. Besides it having a GUI that’s strikingly similar to the Media Center (imagine that) it’s got the PMP part down perfectly. You’ve got playlists, album art, and all that. But you’ve also got videos, TV, and pictures. It really is a on the go Media Center. Or like Microsoft says, [almost] all your media. Here. There. Everywhere.

The devices can be used with or without a Media Center PC but it really does go hand in hand with a MCE. The recorded TV aspect of the device almost makes a MCE a given. It’s not a device that you plug into a cable box and record TV on it for the cross country trip, and you don’t put DVD’s into a slot and watch them that way. To some this might seem pretty odd. I mean, where do you get the video and TV content then? Well. With a Media Center PC you’ll be sure to have plenty of Recorded TV content. As for Movies and Video content, well there are/will be a number of content providers doing subscription/pay for download solutions that will let people download and sync their content to a PMC through MP10 with the help of Janus DRM technology. Not got enough music? MSN Music will help you out there as well. But really one of the main things in WMP10 is Janus. CinemaNow.com will have movies available for purchase or rent directly from the net and they’re already in WMV format, perfect for the PMC. Storing home movies from DV cams is also quite easy when combined with Windows Movie Maker and such. PapaJohn, another MVP, will probably have plenty to add to that. The biggest thing will be the entire rental model for Music. This is quite a bit different than what we’ve got now. Now you pay 99 cents and you’ve got your song. Soon you’ll pay your monthly subscription fee and be able to select all the songs you want to be able to download and listen to, as long as you’ve got a license for those and are paying those monthly fees you’ll be able to listen to that music. You aren’t actually paying for each track and don’t own them. To me this seems like an all around best scenario for music. As long as those monthly fees are right I think this should be a success. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple price points as well. Say a $5.95, 9.95, 19.95, and 29.95 plans. Hopefully that “expensive” plan will allow for unlimited listening. We’ll see.

Back when my Mom was being educated on MCE’s and PMC’s, she really didn’t understand the concept of only having digital content. So I showed her MovieLink and a couple other sites. After having a Media Center PC in the house for a bit she wanted it in the living room to use, she wanted all her stimulating reality TV shows, Queer Eye, and home improvement programs recorded so she could follow what was happening on every possible reality program available. Quite scary really. But anyway, the point is that after a while our entire TV lifestyle changed. I personally didn’t have a clue what time anything came on anymore, stopped channel surfing, and my TV time was cut down drastically. It was a real change, TV started becoming a 1 or 2 hour a day type thing that I did while eating dinner and relaxing. With a PMC I can easily see that changing again. With daily schedules becoming tighter and tighter a PMC would let someone take entertainment with them wherever and enjoy it at any time and not just enjoy it at home. In that regard, PMC’s really are different from previous types of portable media devices.

Before you’d have your MP3/WMA player and might only use it while out walking, jogging, biking, shopping, driving, whatever. It was only music though and really didn’t do much more than a Walkman did. PMC’s will let people download a movie to a device, go to a friends house, plug the A/V cable into a TV and enjoy all their music, pictures, movies, and videos with friends and family. Or a person on the go might carry it with them on the road and enjoy their favorite TV series while in a hotel. Maybe I’m making the device out to be something totally revolutionary. I don’t mean to, but it is a pretty new way of handling media. This is only the start and I’m sure gradually PMC’s will change the way people think about how they interact with their media.

So recently out of the blue I got an email from my MVP Lead, Andrew, if I wanted a PMC to play with for a bit. I was like, what in the world, why me, why now? Especially since the PMC is not an eHome product like Media Center is. It’s a Windows Mobile device that’s really under the Digital Media Division at Microsoft. So except for the fact that it’s called a Portable “Media Center” and that it’s got a very similar Start (green) button and the UI is also very similar to the desktop Media Center. It is not a Media Center and doesn’t belong to eHome. Hence my reasons for wondering why they decided to send one to me. But whatever… I immediately replied and two days later a 20GB Creative Zen PMC was waiting at my doorstep when I arrived home. When I first picked up the box I was a bit surprised at the size of the box and such and how light it was. I honestly thought it was another Media Center Remote to try out (I’ve got like 4 or 5 of them). So I began opening it up with anticipation that it might actually be a PMC. Of course… there it was. I’m not sure why exactly but I was actually pretty excited even though I knew I’d only get around 2 weeks or so to play with it and decide for myself if it really was a big deal and whether I’d end up buying one sometime soon. Andrew didn’t give me a choice in terms of the device. I might have asked for an iRiver PMC or most likely a Samsung. But heck, beggars can’t be choosers.

First thing I did when I got the device out of the box; I plugged in the juice to get it going. Then I started examining it to see if it would be easy to take it apart, LOL. Sadly while I’m sure it is; I don’t have a screw driver small enough at the moment. So that’ll probably have to wait for a couple more days. I’m always kind of curious about the batteries they use in these devices since you’ve got Li-Ion or Li-Poly, Ni-Mh are becoming a thing of the past I think. Both providing really good battery life, but Polymer usually are even lighter than Ion and are a bit more advanced. So I was quite pleased when I saw a 3.7V Li-Ion Polymer Battery in there that had 3.6Ah.

Luckily I had to go out for a bit and take care of some things. I was totally ready to just load the thing with a 20GB selection of music from my 204GB selection but sadly that would have to wait. Instead I brought my little tiny 256MB Creative MuVo TX with me which had a whopping 4 CD’s on it. Just my luck though when I got to the Wash America Laundromat and went to play some tunes the AAA battery turns out to be dead. I get back in after an hour or so and check the PMC. I unplug it and try turning it on, it doesn’t come on, I take the battery out and pop it back in, still nothing. Keep the battery out and plug it in, still nothing, then I pull the power out slowly and with the plug in half way the screen goes white. I was baffled. I thought the device might be dead. After letting it charge again for another hour or so I tried again, still nothing. I tried some tricks to get it to turn on that sometimes work with electronics and such. Like holding the power button in and popping the battery in and plugging it in, trying the reset button, holding the Start (aka green) button and pressing power, everything I could come up with. Finally, somehow the device turned on. I was set. I kept it plugged in and started playing. Being a curious geek I went to the Settings and About screen. By that it was pretty easy to tell the device wasn’t final. So I asked Andrew and was informed that I was sent a really really expensive engineering sample or something. Whatever it was it was as close to final as I’d see without actually buying it from Amazon. After going through every menu I was a little disappointed. I think partly because the sample media that was on the device left much to be desired. Some of the “classics” they had on there were just daft. But nm. At this point I pretty much decided that I was going to post up a massive review of the Creative Zen PMC for all to read, complete with pictures, video and anything else I could come up with.

I plugged in the USB 2.0 cable into the Zen which connects at the bottom of the device into the front of my computer and was quite happy that that was it. I didn’t need to do anything else in terms of drivers or software. I’m running a MCE with SP2 and MP10 so the device just shows up under Audio Devices in My Computer as well as the new Portable Media Devices area in Control Panel. To my dismay however, the device doesn’t exactly work as just another external USB drive. This may or not matter to you but it can be annoying. The device has a Data and a Media Folder, the Media Folder has a Music, Pictures, TV, and Video folder. Plus a WMPInfo.xml file from WMP. If you want you can just copy media to each of the folders and that’ll work just fine. And if you want to store apps, Word docs, whatever, you can copy it to the Data folder. One thing that really doesn’t please me though is that you must copy the data back off the device to use it if you plug it into another computer. So for example… Say I’ve got this review which I’m writing in Word. I copy it to the PMC and take a flight over to Jon and plug the PMC into his system, I can’t just open up the Word doc from the device, do a quick edit and save. I must copy it off to his system, edit, save, then copy the doc back onto the PMC. This holds true with any file on the device. Double clicking any of the files on the device will give you the File Properties Dialog and some nice text that says “Files cannot be opened directly from this device. Please copy the file to a local folder and open the copy.” Personally I just fine this to be idiotic. But I’m sure Microsoft had its reasons, one of which was probably DRM related.

At first I was thinking that it was all a bit daft in terms of getting content onto the device. But I then popped open WMP10 and started going through my library. One of the new things you’ll see in the Library of WMP10 is that it doesn’t just have Music and Videos now. It’s got a whole lot more, you’ve got a place for TV, Pictures, Purchased music, etc. Plus devices like the Zen also show up under the Library. It’s really quite cool. The Library is probably one of the biggest improvements to WMP10 over 9. There are now two artist views for Music. One for Album Artist and one for Contributing Artist. This is great because many albums such as Santana’s Supernatural or Shaman have other artists that are either co-singers or are featured on a song, like P.O.D., Michelle Branch, or Rob Thomas. In WMP9 they’d all appear under Artists, which would end up being extremely annoying since you’d have to scroll through all those artists even if they were only featured on a single song. There’s also Composer, Rated, and Purchased Music section. Not to mention the Year Released section which was sort of available before if you installed them. The Purchased Music view makes it really easy to quickly see what you’ve purchased on Napster or MSN Music for example.

The All TV section of WMP10 is equally as impressive. In fact, it provides a much more informative view of TV than the MCE actually does. Obviously there’s a section for the series’, so I can easily see the two CSI’s, Futurama, and Family Guy. You’ve also got a section for programs that have not yet been viewed. Genre view, Date Recorded, and Rated TV as in star rating not parental guideline ratings. I also thought it was cool that there is an Actors view as well, which might come in handy. Under Videos, the main new thing is a Purchased Videos view, continuing to align WMP10 to online content services.

WMP10 can now also be used to organize all your pictures in the Library which is kind of cool. You can organize stuff by Event, the date the pictures were taken, and can also continue rating stuff and rate the pictures as well. I was a bit disappointed that WMP10 didn’t expose EXIF data in a sort of Advanced Tag Editor dialog like music has. Maybe for WMP11 :-)? Even without that, it’s still a pretty handy way of organizing all the main media a system might have.

So in WMP10 there really are two ways of actually syncing content to the device. Automatic mode and Manual mode. Automatic is new and is quite cool. I think while I personally might like to have some exact say in what goes onto the device WMP help you do a pretty good job of automatically getting stuff onto the device without any user involvement. There are too many options to choose from in terms of Automatic syncing to go over. But you’ve go all the different playlist options for music, adding stuff via ratings, fresh tracks, pictures taken in the last month, TV from the past week, etc etc. It really is quite extensive. To Manually get content on the device is equally as simple. You just go through your library right clicking and then going to Add to > Sync List. Or at the right side you switch to Sync List then just drag and drop. From there just press Start Sync. The Burn and Now Playing lists are also separated from the Sync list, and the entire list concept has undergone some major changes to fix annoyances caused by creating a massive list only to play some totally random file and losing that list.

You’ve also got some other options for the device and syncing. You can let WMP create a folder structure on the device for you automatically and can have it do a total ActiveSync type thing and start syncing everything when you plug it in. And finally under the quality tab there’s an option to not convert files. Granted this option applies to both Music and Video/TV at the same time, it should be a separate option for each. For example you can have WMP auto set the quality. You can set the bit rate you want for each. Or you can have it not convert at all. This is really handy for some people who have large devices say 5GB or larger. It’s pretty silly on these larger devices to convert a 192K WMA/MP3 down to 128K when you have all that room. Plus there’s a time factor in converting and this removes it. But like I said the option to convert or not is singular. So you can’t have it just convert TV automatically but not touch the Music.

There’s plenty of new features and updates in WMP10, a couple start to address my previous blog entry about WMP9. I’m not going to go too in depth yet about the new Media Player, that’ll be for another time. I should also note now that this is going to be the first part in a series of blogs about PMC’s, MCE *cough* and related, and WMP10. I’ve not go exact times for stuff like battery life and conversion times yet so that’ll be in the follow-up PMC blog.

Getting back on track now, I ended up adding about 14GB of actual content to the Sync List. That includes pictures, TV, video and music. I hit sync and minimized WMP10, a couple hours later it had converted everything and copied it to the device. It ended up only taking about 2GB on the device. So converting can come in handy.

I popped the headphones on, and started playing. The UI sounds have been borrowed from MCE as well which wasn’t predictable at all :-). I played my copy of the Dark Side SACD which was encoded with 90% VBR WMA. It sounded pretty darn good on the cheap little Creative headphones. Which, btw, have a really annoying cable. Where the line splits to each phone you’ve got one side longer than the other. But like I said, it sounded great, especially compared to my Sennheiser EH2270’s plugged directly into my MCE. Volume level was pretty good with the in the ear cans and I really couldn’t complain. I plugged in those EH2270’s and was even happier with the sound quality. Granted the little PMC can’t pump out enough power for these mighty Senn’s but fidelity and signal to noise was great. I unplugged the headphones expecting the tiny mono speaker to take over but it didn’t, instead the PMC auto mutes the device when unplugging the headphones, plus or minus depending on how you look at it I guess. Turning the sound up all the way, I was immediately disappointed. The sound is even worse than listening to the same track on my HP iPaq 5550. And can’t even hope compare to the sound coming from the Dell Inpsiron 8600 sitting next to it. While I’d imagine most will use the device with headphones or the A/V out, having a better speaker than the midget mono would’ve been greatly appreciated. I can’t overstate just how bad the speaker was on this Creative. I took it right outside my front door, there’s some construction going on about 400 yards away at this new student housing complex. Even with it being a quiet day there I couldn’t really make out anything in particular on Money. Just hi-end noise and that was it. With headphones of course all I heard was beautiful music so at least it’s got that.

Next thing while outside was the screen. They can range from 3.5 to 4” and have a standard 320x240 resolution. It looked just fine indoors, especially with the brightness turned all the way up. But even with the brightness set to its battery killing greatness, outside it left a lot to be desired. I walked over to the Blockbuster to grab another 3 DVD’s on the Movie Pass while watching Coral Reef Adventure. Still really happy with the sound quality and just totally guessing as to what was on the screen since I couldn’t actually see much but highlights. On the way back I walked a bit more slowly and played with the brightness levels including turning off the backlight and nothing really seemed to help. The quality of the screen outdoors really can’t compare to even the iPaq 5550 which I also had with me playing the same video. They could’ve done a much better job with this one. The other problem that I saw was that the device has a glass like reflective quality so I kept on getting reflections over the screen and that only made things worse.

Plugging in the handy little corded remote I tried out the FM features. The remote itself is quite small, the headphones plug into it like most other corded remotes. The controls are pretty easy to use, tactile feedback isn’t bad either. I found even with my big hands I could use it one or two handed. The LCD on the remote has a nice TReKiE blue backlight which is quite sexy. The text and such is a bit small and hard to read around the edges because the LCD is set into the remote so deeply. Bringing it closer to the plastic and removing some of the black border would resolve that. Sound quality remained good even with the headphones plugged into the remote and the actual cable length was also plenty long.

There’s also an IR remote, that might seem kind of odd, but it makes sense for when you’ve got the device plugged into a TV and are sitting back on the couch. It works quite well too. All of the controls are reproduced including the 4 presets at the top. I couldn’t actually find a way to customize these presets though. The remote is quite small, and was pleasant enough. It uses a standard 3V CR2025 battery and it’s easy enough to replace. The IR receiver on the unit is on the front of the device so when you’ve got it plugged in you’ll want the screen facing towards you and the remote.

I started browsing through all my pictures on the device and was quite pleased with the speed of the UI. Thanks to the 400MHz Intel XScale processor and 64MB RAM, I doubt anyone will have to be concerned about it. Even when I had close to 4,000 tracks on the device the Songs view only took about 8 seconds to load up the title of every one of those songs. There was no delay at all though with the Artists and Albums view. Very pleased indeed. One of the very cool things that I quickly got used to while using the device was the entire concept of what Microsoft calls “twist navigation”. The best way of describing it is this. You’ve got the top levels, My Music, My Pictures, etc. Then you go down into My Music, from there you’ve got at the top Artists, Albums, Songs, etc. You can either go left or right for that stuff. Or you can go down through the list of Albums which have album art when you scroll slowly and switch to the letter that you’re on when you scroll quickly. Say I go down to In Step by SRV. I can then go down again through the list of tracks on that album. But now at the top I’ve got the albums to the left and right. If I go left I’ve got How the West Was Won by Zeppelin, and In the Beginning to the right, another by SRV. The same thing holds true if you go to Artists. Go down to A Perfect Circle, to the left you’ve got “A”, to the right you’ve got Audioslave. If you go down to A Perfect Circle’s first album you’ve got all the tracks but can go left or right to the other album. You’ve got this entire twist navigation thing going on throughout the device except in the Settings. This is a real breakthrough on these small devices in terms of navigation. It really makes things really simple and easy to jump around through content.

So I started up some Cure to listen to while I browsed through the pictures. I’m not sure what I was expecting really since it’s almost exactly like MCE. The only real difference is that you’ve only got a fade transition and not some super almost intelligent moving picture and fade transition that MCE has. You can’t zoom in or move around as far as I can tell which is kind of a shame considering that Pictures are one thing that doesn’t get converted down to a smaller size. I’m kind of curious why since the display is 320x240, you’d think WMP10 would auto convert down to say 640x480 or 320x240 for each picture going on just to save space. While yeah, you might want to plug the device in elsewhere and view the originals, you’ve still got to copy them off the device. So at the moment all my pictures on the device are over a meg in size and 2272x1704, the default resolution from my Canon. Along the lines of having EXIF data in the library of WMP10, I would’ve liked to see some extra features for the pictures on the PMC that might give photographers reasons to drool. For example, if the device had a SD/CFII slot, you could pop the card into the device and automatically download all those photos to the device. There are some stand alone data storage devices but they’re ridiculously expensive for what they do. For example, Epson sells the P-1000 which holds 10GB (9GB available) and has a 3.7” 640x480 LCD with USB 1.1. But that runs $599, and while it does everything a digital photographer wants in external storage, it also costs a lot per GB and doesn’t do anything else. Who’s to say digital photographers don’t want to listen to some music while taking photos :-). A couple more features and a SD/CFII slot and the PMC would be great for them. A couple more cool suggestions which I like that came from other MVPs (Zarax, Jake Ludington, et al) gave were to give the device a better display and PowerPoint support. That way a professional could pop a PPT on the device, plug it into a digital projector through the A/V and use the IR remote to control the presentation instead of using a laptop. Zarax suggested Bluetooth support so that you could quickly move all the photos from a camera phone to the device. Diane Dumas suggested that GPS would also be really cool since the device has plenty of storage for maps of the entire planet. I think we pretty much all agreed that memory card slots and USB Host features would be really nice. At the same time there’s got to be a distinction here between a PMC and a PocketPC. Maybe at some point we’ll see some sort of convergence here.

When I was going through my music when I had 3968 tracks on it I really started noticing that unless I remembered the name of something there wasn’t a way for me to find it otherwise. You can’t really change the order stuff appears in, and you can’t make changes to any of the content or even delete the content from the device. This must all be done from a host system. Whether or not this matters is debatable.

In the Now Playing view you’ve got a couple of viewing options. My favorite is probably the view that gives you the album art, artist, album, track number, and track info all in one. This is definitely the best view. In another you’ve got the album art taking up almost the entire area, with just the track time and number as well. Next it slides over and half the album art is shown with a complete track listing and the track time showing for the currently playing track. Next you’ve still got half the album art but you can change the options, like repeat, shuffle, eq, rating, and purchase. The way I understand that purchase option is that it’s for when you’re renting music and like something enough to want to buy it. You check the box and WMP10 will go out and buy it. I’ve got to confirm this but that’s my current understanding since I can’t think of any other reason for it. Anyway the last view is a bit pointless imho, it’s only got the album info but no art, and is frankly quite boring. One of the cool things is when you’re in the half album art and track listing view. You can scroll up and down through not just that album but all the tracks on the PMC. I think for some they might be a bit disappointed that there aren’t any visuals, not even a spectrum analyzer visual. Any visuals like this would mean a battery trade off so it’s my only guess as to why they weren’t included.

With My Videos, you can sort things by Date or Name as well as a place for New stuff. There aren’t any thumbnails of the videos which might make video browsing more of a chore if you’ve got a lot of similarly named videos. Overall picture quality while watching videos is quite good. Even when I transcoded the Rules of Attraction WMV HD down to 320x240 800K for the device with all the fast movement and such it still performed well. You can see a few artifacts and notice a couple dropped frames in very fast scene changes and such. Like when you’ve got a close up of this girls face with her lips. Then it draws the next scene which is all black. You can see the diagonal blocks for a quick frame or so. I think if you’ve seen the video quality of a high end PocketPC with an XScale processor that will give you an idea of the actual video playback capabilities of the device. My TV quality is just like My Videos, same views, no thumbs, and the quality is still just as good as other videos. You’ve still got the same transport controls as well so you can still pause, rewind, and fast forward any of the videos or TV. You also have the now pervasive 30 second commercial skip as well. Conversion times for TV specially (DVR-MS files) relies on the MPEG-2 decoder that your system has installed whether that be CyberLink, InterVideo, nvDVD, etc. They’ll produce about the same results, generally I’ve found InterVideo to be the all around best decoder but that’s not to say the others are bad. I’ll go more in depth about the conversion process and conversion times in a follow on article since I’ve not had a complete experience yet and can’t report the findings just yet.

One of the major gripes I have with the device is the fact that I’ve got all these cables coming out of all but one of the sides. For the amount of money that these are running it really should have a charging/sync cradle. My HP iPaq has on which is quite sexy because it hides the cables behind the device and the screen is still fully viewable and you can use the device while docked. Creative do something equally as pleasing, I figured you could make it really sexy and add one or two TReKiE blue LED’s and such but that’s just me. I’ve been told that there will be a cradle available as an after market accessory. It’ll let you sync, charge, and even do A/V out from the device. Great right? But yeah, they could really have used a cheaper one with sync and charge only included with the device.

So the size and weight of the device. Well here’s the specs of the Zen, which if I remember right, is the largest and heaviest of the 3 PMC’s atm. It’s 12 oz or 340 gms with the battery. The device is actually pretty thick, you can see from my pictures in the PMC gallery that it’s as thick as my Inspiron 8600 with the lid open. 144mm x 80.7mm x 22mm or 5.67” x 3.18” x 1.06” (WxHxD). The display is described as a “large 3.8” or 96.5mm 64k color 320x240 resolution backlit display”. Battery life is claimed to be up to 22 hours for audio and 7 hours for video. That’s just an estimate for 64K WMA and 500K WMV. I’ll do a full run down and charge and post some real stats in the next few days. The frequency response is quite good, giving a full 20-20, I would’ve liked to see some more info, like signal to noise and such but oh well.

So how does it compare to the iPod and other PMP’s in terms of the coolness factor. Well, the Creative certainly doesn’t look as sleek and sexy as the iPod that’s for sure. It doesn’t have that Click Wheel which people seem to have a love/hate thing going with it. But it does have this massive screen with color and album art and all that. But like I said before, you can’t compare them directly. The PMC does so much more than an iPod. I honestly can’t say at this point whether I’d buy one or not. While the entire idea behind PMC’s has grown on me since using it over the past few days it still hasn’t won me. I think it might just be the Creative device so if MS decides to send me a Samsung and/or iRiver to review I’d be more than happy to do so. In the end the consumers will decide whether or not this device is cool and whether they want it. Personally I can see it doing much better than TabletPC’s and PocketPC’s that’s for sure. I hope that we’ll see many more OEM’s sign onto the idea as well since that’ll help improve things.

I guess I’ll sign off now with links to what everyone has been wanting for some time. Be sure to check back over the next few days as I’ll be getting one or two more blogs up with more specs and more information with regards to using the device every day on campus along with other peoples reactions. Not to mention the all important battery life and conversion times.

For now I’ve got 2 mirrors in addition to my own for the pictures and videos. The videos are both about 23MB WMV’s. They were recorded with my trusty Intel CS-430 including the demo of the PMC UI through the video in. Sorry there isn’t any audio in either, I should be getting another video up soon including one that will have the player playing audio until the battery dies.

Re:Slashdotted Already (3, Insightful)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084832)

Wow. This guy is a dork. If he's the market for the PMC, Apple has nothing to worry about -- nothing these guys think is cool EVER becomes popular.

I mean, shit, remember the Archos? I had to listen to assholes tell me how great that ten pound, boat sized piece of shit was for three years. Then when I bought my svelte little 30 gig, I had to listen to them scoff about how it does nothing new and had a small screen and terrible battery life and no microphone or radio or ogg features.

Man, STFU. Nobody cares who made your webcam or what make and model your 7.1 speaker system is or how many MP3s you pirated from eJackass. Just tell us: was the thing convenient, did it have good response from the controls, was it easy to get your shit on and off it, was it comfortable to hold, did it feel durable, and is it worth $300 over the cost of a comparable iPod?

mirror (0)

caino59 (313096) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084359)

http://cainsconsulting.net/slash/PermaLink.aspx.ht ml

Philistine! (4, Funny)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084362)

Overall, I'm looking forward to reviews of the non-Creative devices.

I'm not. As a patron of the arts, I find this statement unexplicable. Creativity is what separates us from the lower animals! It is the foundation of civilization!

Go and play with your non-Creative devices, plebeian. Some people were just not born to appreciate the finer things in life. Run along now, you're cramping my contemptuos sneer.

Re:Philistine! (3, Funny)

oacis (212298) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084386)

I think he means devices which are not under the brand name Creative (a la Creative SoundBlaster, Zen Touch)

see Creative [creative.com] for an expansive list

Re:Philistine! (1)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084403)

Ah, jolly good! I shall make my device-related purchases exclusively from this franchise in the future.

That is, if I ever find myself in the position of actually having any device-related purchases to carry out ... rotten things, devices ... but perhaps those Creative ones are better though.

Re:Philistine! (1)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084603)

i think he was joking...

Re:Philistine! (4, Funny)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084900)

Sound level of a 747 at 50,000 feet: 1dB
Sound level of a 747 taking off next to you: 120dB
Sound level of a F-16 doing mach 2: 160dB
Sound level of a joke flying right over your head: 180dB

"non-Creative" devices... (5, Funny)

gargonia (798684) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084368)

If it's a Microsoft product I'm pretty sure you can count on it being non-creative.

Re:"non-Creative" devices... (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084872)

Whoa dude. I'm all in for a little Microsoft bashing, but this thing's style and interface seem to be hella creative. In fact, all of my Microsoft branded HIDs are comfortable, durable and responsive with an understated look. I'm selling a pair of MS Gamepads on ebay right now that lasted me for 6 years and still run fantastic -- only reason I'm selling them is they were made before USB and therefore don't work with my Mac. These things were comfortable to play with for hours, had a great daisy-chain interface and worked with every program I ever tried them in. Anything initiated by MS' HID department is the equivalent of reference hardware, as far as I'm concerned. How's that not creative?

The Zen Media Center (4, Insightful)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084372)

It's a Media Center, perhaps, but it looks about as portable as a Mac Portable. Can I carry it with me? Sure. Do I _want_ to carry it with me? Absolutely not.

Mac Portable (2, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084893)

Mac Portable

For those not in the know, the Mac Portable was Apple's first portable Mac. It had about 8 hours of battery life, a full size real keyboard, a full size trackball, a 3.5" hard drive with desktop performance, and a whole slew of I/O ports on the back--but it weighed almost 20 lbs!!!

http://lowendmac.com/pb/portable.shtml [lowendmac.com]

(This was a few years before the Sony-designed/built Apple PowerBook 100 and Apple-designed/built PowerBooks 140 and 170)

Affliations put to the side (4, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084376)

Ignoring it's Microsoft, and ignoring that there will probably be a million posts about iPod in a few seconds, I think this is going to be very interesting to watch for an entertainment and psychological standpoint (outside tech).

Will people actually carry one of these around for their commutes? How much of an increase will we see in TV viewing? Will it contribute to the growing social isolation I'm beginning to see (a world full of people wearing headphones)?

I'd give it a few revisions and then consider buying one.

Re:Affliations put to the side (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084506)

Given that my Zaurus and iirc both Palm and PocketPC will play video, I don't see the hubbub, bub.

I suspect that PDAs will eventually get a full miniature hard-drive attachment, and you'll put your music/video on that. PDAs will continue to pick this sort of thing up is my prediction, and these media-only devices will fall by the wayside.

Re:Affliations put to the side (3, Interesting)

cfuse (657523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084507)

Will people actually carry one of these around for their commutes? How much of an increase will we see in TV viewing? Will it contribute to the growing social isolation I'm beginning to see (a world full of people wearing headphones)?

Are people socially isolated if they read the paper or a book, or just stare blankly ahead a fixed point in space.

Isn't the real problem that other people are less interesting than music or reading and that it is socially unacceptable (generally speaking) to communicate with strangers without good cause.

Re:Affliations put to the side (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084897)

I don't think headphones create too much social isolation. Before the walkman, a lot of people used to just stand stock still not looking at people because they didn't want to talk. Now, they don't have to worry about it and are much more at ease in public. Shit, the iPod's conquered my agoraphobia in malls completely. I dial up some Slayer and walk as fast as I fucking well want, not getting pissed off at people or wondering if they're looking at me funny. Call that isolation if you must -- I call it freedom.

Maybe it's just me but... (4, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084385)



Maybe it's just me being paranoid, but, this looks like a setup.

I mean, poor english, no train of thought and a site with a single blog topic.

Sounds like Microsoft advertising department to me. (trying desperately to not be an ad).

Re:Maybe it's just me but... (0)

berkut7 (761778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084465)

Yes, you are being paranoid, go see a doctor, a head doctor.

Re:Maybe it's just me but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084924)

Bzzt!

Sorry clown, it's nothing more than your everyday garden variety fake marketing blog.

Yawn, MS. They've been trying to pull the same braindead type of stunts with their killer 'exclusive' Halo 2...

Re:Maybe it's just me but... (5, Informative)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084928)

You may be on to something. Check this out [auroravisions.com] . If this is as it seems, Corey's not a 20 year old student...he's been working with Microsoft for 8 years.

Fucking insidious.

Well, he publishes his references, among them: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085138)

- From Dana Haynes at Astrology World News
To Whom It May Concern, ...you add the nature of my profession, and what I wanted to project, I wondered how Corey Gouker would meet the challenge....

Corey took a subject matter associated with "hocus-pocus", and did exactly what I requested.

Re:Maybe it's just me but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085191)

He worked at Microsoft as what? "Hardware and Software Beta Tester"? I mean, seriously, that's not an full time position--that's, like, downloading something off the beta site and um, playing with it...

Re:Maybe it's just me but... (5, Insightful)

huchida (764848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10085029)

I believe it's a setup too. Google "Corey Gouker"... Wade through some of the results, interesting what you'll find.

This is either the biggest-- and most clueless-- Microsoft fanboy in existence, or Microsoft's ad department is creating a fake blogger (actually, blog community) to give their products some "street cred."

Trying to be objective (4, Interesting)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084445)

This does sound like a neat toy, though it's portability would certainly be limited. The ability to load up video files and play them on any TV certainly is an attractive prospect -- but I would only be interested if it can play back non-DRM encumbered Divx/Xvid files.

Back to the portability issue, this thing looks huge, and would only fit in the largest of pockets. I recently picked up a Rio Karma, and really can't imagine walking around freely with anything much larger than that. Also, I wonder how long this thing can run on battery power. With that huge color screen, I would think not long. (though maybe the screen can be turned off)

Wait for the competition... (1, Interesting)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084484)

I plan on waiting at least a few months after the holiday season to see what kind of competion is available next year. I have to imagine these devices will really catch on, and if I decide to get one, they will likely be a bit cheaper once their is lots of competition.

Also, things like quality of product will be at least partially available for review within a few months. Who wants to get one right away only to find out that 1/2 of all of them die or something?

Personally, I am just trying to get my iPod first! Help me out and sign up for a free one with my link. (not trying to be a spammer, sorry there really is content in the post...)

Mind numbing review (4, Interesting)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084495)

That has got to be the most long, drawn out review for a product I have ever seen. How about not writing it like a book that involves your mothers TV viewing habits, and your walk to the store.

WMP10 Feature (4, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084499)

FTA:
"But really one of the main things in WMP10 is Janus [DRM technology]."

<sarcasm>Remember, kids, it's a feature, not a bug!!</sarcasm>

Re:WMP10 Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085130)

Yep! I'm gonna run right out and buy one of these because it has this!

This just lends even more weight to the speculations that this is really some sort of disguised Microsoft advertising bullshit!

Fuck 'em! Just fuck 'em!

Non-Creative devices?! (0, Flamebait)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084530)

I guess you've been asleep while Apple have been DOMINATING the personal audio market?!

-psy

Re:Non-Creative devices?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084745)

Many people do not want to use apple products for fear of being labeled gay. It is even seen here on slashdot. Someone says that they own a powerbook and you get at least one post calling them gay. But microsoft is not thought of as gay because everyone uses their products. Microsoft and Apple are the only two companys who currently make operating systems and most all heterosexual people use windows.

Yes. I realize that many people, especially slashdot readership, still use wierd old computers from the 1980's like Ataris, Amigas and TRS-80s but the average business person uses windows.

By the way. I have been unable to properly navigate to slashdot by using the correct AOL keyword in my web browser. Does slashdot even have an AOL keyword? Does AOL even run on your Amigas and TRS-80s? If you people ever want to get real jobs in the real IT world you need to ditch your archaic machines and buy some newer Dell or Gateway eMachines running Windows XP. Just a bit of friendly advice! :-)

-Jennifer Hull
-Webmaster
-Computer Specialist
-Karate Black Belt
-Grand Rapids Citizen Corps Founder

What about Archos? (5, Insightful)

cj171 (687355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084536)

Archos has had these kinds of portable media players out for at least a year now..with no drm, and recording from video sources to mpeg4 or divx I believe. Definitely something fishy in that blog

Yeah, this is going to TOTALLY smoke the iPod. (5, Funny)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084555)

I mean, come on! It's full of Microsoft goodness! Just look at the fun you can have trying to turn it on!
I unplug it and try turning it on, it doesn't come on, I take the battery out and pop it back in, still nothing. Keep the battery out and plug it in, still nothing, then I pull the power out slowly and with the plug in half way the screen goes white. I was baffled. I thought the device might be dead. After letting it charge again for another hour or so I tried again, still nothing. I tried some tricks to get it to turn on that sometimes work with electronics and such. Like holding the power button in and popping the battery in and plugging it in, trying the reset button, holding the Start (aka green) button and pressing power, everything I could come up with. Finally, somehow the device turned on.

Yeah, I'm going to break my iPod into teeny little pieces and use the polycarbonate shards to open my veins before I buy one of these POSes.

multimedia? (3, Interesting)

hdd (772289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084581)

all i saw in the gallery is nothing more than some wma/mp3 palyback screenshots. Where are the tv play back, wasn't that suppose to be the key feature of this device? or perhaps at least some divx/xvid riped movie? Pocketpc with intergated svga resolution and powerful 624 intel processor(powerful enough to play dvd riped move at full speed with no frame lost, confirmed on axim x30 high) will be out before holiday, as far as i am concerned, that will be my mobile media center, after all there are a lot more you can do with a pocketpc-GPS navigaion, for instance.

He must make the RIAA proud (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084605)

"Besides that, I'm just an average guy with an anything but average collection of digital media. Some stats I compiled about a month ago are pretty out there. I was sitting on a 204GB collection of music. That's approximately 44,190 tracks for the curious."

So that's about $80,000 of CDs (which of course he purchased legally, right?)...all college students should follow his example.

Re:He must make the RIAA proud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085145)

So that's about $80,000 of CDs (which of course he purchased legally, right?)

and they just started suing people again. When will this "thief" get his threatening letter? Or are Microsoft shills exempt?

I saw these things in California (3, Informative)

betterthanducttape (763202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084607)

I was in Silicon Valley last month when Microsoft debuted these at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Technology. Honestly, I loved the things.

There are three models and all of them are excellent. All of them feature TV-out as well which was truly awesome.

The software was excellent, the GUI was pretty intuitive, and the formats it supports are entirely up to the manufacturer outside of WMV and WMA. They can support whatever they want, be it OGG, AAC, whatever.

Re:I saw these things in California (1)

betterthanducttape (763202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084643)

To reply to myself, I notice there's not a lot of mention of the iRiver and the Samsung devices.
The iRiver PMC was awesome and the Samsung is a flitop style device that fits in the palm of your hand and still makes video look good.

The battery life is supposedly pretty good, but I didn't get to spend hours with it.

Re:I saw these things in California (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10085200)

+4 Informative?

Check his record! This is the same asshole who swears he knows people who were there and saw WMD's in Iraq and that he personally saw a virus in the wild that erases Mac disks!

I really believe this moron!

Who's the target market? (3, Insightful)

H_Fisher (808597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084630)

I'm not sure who's supposed to be the target market for this player, or others like it.

Techno-saavy users who want to watch / listen to media on the go? I may be in the minority, but a main reason I have a laptop is so I can play my movies and music on the go. (Oh, there's that whole job thing too...)

Mr. & Ms. Adult Consumer? They don't know what "Creative" is unless they also fit into the computer geek category. They're going to spend their money on the portable DVD player for home and car at Wal-Mart or Best Buy.

Mr. & Ms. Consumer's kids? They're going to go with what all the "cool kids" have, and around here that'd be an iPod.

I think only the techno-saavy are going to go for this, and look how many of them won't buy these things because of DRM or Apple loyalty or because they already own 3 other devices that'll do the same things and possibly do them better. I just don't understand how the companies expect to crack this market.

cat got my tongue (3, Insightful)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084633)

Any article that has "LOL" in it is not worth reading.

Your friendly neighbourhood troll.

Re:cat got my tongue (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084804)

zI think that may apply to posts as well

wow (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084641)

That's a pretty small, lightweight, and easy-to-carry device.

Sincerely,

The '80s Cell Phone

The only thing more (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084707)

more disappointing then this article is the fact that it has not been slashdotted.

BTW: if nobody on /. reads the articles, how are these sites getting slashdotted?

Open Source embedded project (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084714)

When will we see something like that, with Linux embedded in it. It would be easier to read ogg files in a open source system than with the buggy Microsoft system.

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

p0 (740290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084722)

Yeah it looks nice, but does it run linux?

When/Where to use a personal video player (1)

owlmon (696565) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084755)

I would like to know how people use these gadgets. If you ride a train every day, you could certainly occupy yourself with such a gadget. Otherwise, when would you use it? If you are sitting in an airplane, wouldn't you prefer to use a notebook computer? It would have a bigger screen.

I suspect that these gadgets will sell in a few places such as Tokyo, but not elsewhere. What am I missing?

Blue Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10084778)

Wow! This is what I have been waiting for. A portable emitter of the Blue Screen of Death!

Surprise, surprise (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084862)

A Slashdot thread bashing Microsoft and Creative Labs. What next dogs sleeping dogs, water falling from the sky, gravity pulling things towards the earth? Yes, we all know Apple is the king of cool and never makes any shitty hardware... that Newton thing worked out real well.

Re:Surprise, surprise (4, Insightful)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084949)

Actually, considering how many people still use and defend Apple's failures (G4 Cube, Newton [wired.com] ), one could argue that Apple doesn't usually design a crappy product, but sometimes overestimates the demand for it at the price point they use.

Re:Surprise, surprise (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10085066)

They make some outstanding hardware, but they are far from infallable. Of course anti-MS/pro-Apple forces are slamming this player when Apple doesn't even make a portable video device.

BSOD? (1)

jack_csk (644290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10084938)

Does this player BSOD?

Article Summary (5, Funny)

Sinner (3398) | more than 9 years ago | (#10085087)

Corey Gouker is a 20 year-old geek who likes 5'8" redheads. He sits on 204 GB of music. He has one media device. His hobbies including hanging out in Microsoft newsgroups.

He is reviewing Microsoft's "iPod killer". It is gonna be like iTunes, except instead of buying music, you rent it. We all know this is a foolproof business model. It is loaded up to the gills with more of that tasty DRM that everyone loves.

The first thing he did was plug it in to the mains. Then he tried to take it apart. I think we have a potential Darwin Award nominee, folks. Then he had trouble turning it on.

The device has a 400MHz XScale CPU and 64Mb of RAM. It can play videos on its 320x240 screen. It performs well, apart from the artifacts and frame drops.

The device has cables coming out of every side but one. The good news is, you can add blue LEDs and make it really sexy.

Battery life is 22 hours for audio and 7 hours for video. The device weighs as much as a can of coke.

If you scroll to the bottom, you can download a 23Mb video. I'm too bored to watch it, maybe someone else can post a summary of that.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...