Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Adventures in Digital Music

Given the skyrocketing price of gasoline, I traded my Isuzu Rodeo for a Toyota Corolla. My favorite music is on CD in mp3 form, which won't jibe with the factory CD player in my new Corolla, so an upgrade is a must for me. This is leading to a familiar cascade of technology.

I've been quite happy with Yahoo's Y! Unlimited subscription music service. It supports transfer to portable devices. That left me thinking that if I had a portable device and a car stereo with an aux input, I could listen to music from Y! Unlimited in my car.

Enter Creative Zen Micro.

I picked it up last night at Best Buy. Overall, I have to say I'm quite pleased with this little device. It offers a nice user experience. As a developer of software, I've found that I have a lower frustration tolerance for bad user interfaces than the average person. The only possible regret I might have is not going for something with a bigger hard drive. I got a 5 gig player.

To get the Zen Micro to work with Y! Unlimited, I had to do a firmware upgrade which amounted to fairly painless download and installation from Creative's site. While downloading music I've run into a what appear to be a few glitches with the DRM, but I'm not sure if the problem is at the Yahoo end or the Creative end of the transfer. For the time being, I have been focusing on downloading entire CDs.

The last piece of the puzzle is the new car stereo. Given the phenomenal success of the iPod, I am really surprised by how few car stereo manufacturers have front-side auxilliary inputs. Should be a "Duh!" by now, no?

Pioneer got it. Another little company whose name I can't remember got it. Sony supports aux audio through the rear. This doesn't seem to make sense to me for an in-dash player. I don't want to run an adapter from the rear to some spot under my dash. At this point, I'm still surveying my options.


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