Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Out Of Control Stick

I first started really listening to music early in high school. It was, not entirely coincidentally, the same time that I discovered the joys of a walkman, which had thus far eluded me. I had a long walk to the Q30 bus stop, which was normally where I met my friends. It is that section of the journey (through the golf course) with only the music to keep me company that no doubt laid the groundwork for the kind of attention that I pay to music today.

Prior to listening to music on the move, I'd never really paid much attention to it, except when I heard it in movies. It is not particularly strange given that context that I would have turned my attention towards film music, but it is also significant that travelling was the impetus for my attachment to music. It therefore stands to reason that portable music devices have since played a very important role in my day-to-day life.

I went through a steady stream of walkmen through the years, in general concentrating on the top of the line models. When discmen came out, I bought a really expensive one with the first version of anti-skip. I eventually abandoned it because it sucked the life out of batteries too fast to be worthwhile. Furthermore, I missed being able to make mixes. Oh, and I was exposing my CDs to the elements. This was the early 90s and CD burners weren't around yet, so I continued using tapes for a while. My last walkman had a nice little feature, which was a little control stick that let you play, fast forward, rewind, pause or reverse the tape.

I made my second leap into the portable digital world with a minidisc player. I loved that thing; the sound quality was very good and it was easy to edit and tag the tracks. It also had a control stick with a little readout on it, which I thought that was just the greatest thing ever. The only drawbacks it had were that while the MD could record optically from a CD (and sound fantastic) it could only do so in real time and that the MDs of the time only had the same capacity as a CD (i.e. 80 minutes). This latter issue was only a concern in that my collection had increased exponentially over the years and opportunities to listen became more common - particularly after I started working at my job. As a field technician, I not only commute every day, but I go from site to site, and there is plenty of time during the course of the day to listen to music. Space became an issue with the minidiscs, as I started walking around with a backpack full of them.

So I bought a mp3 CD player, first an unweildy Sony that I quickly sold, then with the iRiver, which was in use up until the Nomad, which is what I have now. The iRiver was great as you could play regular CDs with it (and it displayed CD Text) as well as mp3 CDs, and CDs were easy to keep. I just bought a CD book and put a bunch of mp3 CDs in them. The thing of it is that the iRiver also had a control stick with a display, and it used a very nice menu tree structure for navigating the mp3 CDs. The problem with this player was that you were constantly exposing the CDs to danger and the capacity of the CDs themselves.

When I went to look for a hard drive player, I found that there were very few models with a control stick. iRiver made a 40 gig player that had one, but it was disontinued by the time I went looking. I found that there were no other mp3 players that had control sticks with displays available. I ended up settling on the Creative Nomad, which is what I'm currently using.

I've had the Nomad for well over a year. It has served me well, but alas, 40 gigs of music is only 40 gigs. I haven't quite maxed it out yet, but I'm getting there. The time has come for a new player, simply because this one is just about at its capacity. I have therefore decided that I will stick with Creative. I have had no problems with my player at all, and while Creative's software sucks, there is a free third party download called "Notmad" which fills in many of the gaps that Creative's manager doesn't really do.

I like the Nomad. It is bulkier than the iPod but no larger than a tape walkman. I'm fine with its size because it allows me to pull music files off of it (which the iPod won't do), and I can use it on any computer that has the software on it. Steven has a Nomad as well (the 30 gig) and I can plug my Nomad into his computer and vice versa with no problems whatsoever. It was also half the price of the iPod with the same capacity. I have nothing against iPods, but they're too damn expensive and this does more.

I went online to look at the specs for some different 60 gig players today. I really want to get a 60 gig hard drive player, and I went tooling around looking for one with a control stick. There aren't any out there. I found to my annoyance that the generation of Nomad immediately previous to the one that I bought also had a control stick (albeit sold seperately). How annoying.

I think I'm going to end up settling for the Nomad 60 gig, simply because I won't have to install any new software for it.
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