Archive for Features

Touch Screen vs Tactile Controls

touch vs tactile Touch Screen vs Tactile Controls

One of the big technological advancements in the last few years has been the introduction of touch screens into consumer electronics, such as MP3 players. If you really look at the specs of the most popular players today, you see a lot of old tech with a touch screen on top and a few UI tweaks to go with it.

While some people love this new method of controlling a player, there are also a lot of people who can’t stand it and swear by hardware controls for all it’s worth. Slow, clumsy and superfluous are some of the accusations that come from that side of the camp. Are touch screens really that bad, or is it time to let go of the static plastic knobs sticking out of everything? Read on for the pros and cons of the various control methods.

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Guide to Audiobooks on MP3 Players

audiobook guide Guide to Audiobooks on MP3 Players

Those that know me know that my MP3 player has more podcasts and audiobooks on it than music. I’m out and about a few hours a day and have a job on the side of the studies which is more or less a muscle memory job. Listening to the same music over and over would drive me crazy, so some years ago I started using podcasts and audiobooks to keep myself entertained instead.

When it comes to getting audiobooks, you have several options, from libraries to audiobook services online. Then you have to select a player – if you want Audible support, you need a player that can support it and so on. Then there are players which have special audiobook sections that give you extra options regardless of what format the book is in, while others treat audiobooks as music. Read on for a guide on how to get started with audiobooks.

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MP3 Player Buyer’s Guide

mp3 buyersguide MP3 Player Buyer’s Guide

The market is getting more and more saturated with various player models that share the same basic features and navigating this jungle of players is a difficult task. Way too often there are topics in the forum asking for the “best” player. There is no such thing. I doubt you’ll find two people on the planet who’s lives are exactly identical and with different lifestyles comes different MP3 player needs.

One player does one thing well, but that other player does something else better, and that third one has an awesome feature that might be useful. How do decide what feature is most important for you personally and what features should you even look for? Read on for a guide on how to decide what’s important to YOU.

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Glass Screen Durability Test: A Lesson on the Mohs Hardness Scale

Browsing around the forums I see a few people purchasing screen protectors for their MP3 players that have glass screens. Some might say better safe than sorry but these screens are much more durable than one would think. Below I put a few of these glass screen players though some rather harsh scratch tests, well beyond what the vast majority of users might experience.

screen durability main Glass Screen Durability Test: A Lesson on the Mohs Hardness Scale

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How To Make Your Own Super Cable

supercable main How To Make Your Own Super Cable

Yesterday we joked about a manufactures getting together and releasing a single transfer cable to alleviate the need to buy all kinds of different cables. Some bought this April first joke until they saw pictures of this massive cable below the fold.

While a single cable will forever be a pipe dream and the proprietary vs standard debate will go on, you can easily and cheaply whip up your own “MediaWire” as seen in our April fools post. Read on to make your own.

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Top 5 MP3 Players of 2008

top 5 2008 Top 5 MP3 Players of 2008

In the year 2008 many great new MP3 players were released. Sizes shrunk, capacities got bigger, and screens improved. Since there are so many choices among the anythingbutipod MP3 players there never is a “best” or one-size-fits-all. Features, form factors and capacities are too widespread to make a general recommendation for everyone. This top 5 list chooses the best of breed or those players that really brought something to the table in 2008. These 5 players will be a great pick for the many or a prefect starting point for all looking for a new MP3 player.

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How To Make Your Own Dock

how to make dock avatar How To Make Your Own Dock

I’ve lived in my hobby shop for large parts of my life. Some of the readers on here might have seen the giant wooden Zen Stone and I’ve also done bigger projects like the D2 Jukebox dock and other wood projects. A lot of people ask me how I do these things and while some of them require a certain knowledge of electronics, the wood part of each project is 99% knowing what machine to use and how to use it.

Both Grahm and myself love docks for everything, unfortunately few players and gadgets have docks available. This is where the woodworking really comes handy, as you can make whatever you need quick and cheap. It looks more difficult than it is so in an effort to help people make their own docks and stand, here’s a guide on how to make your own docks and stands.

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ID3 Tag Basics

id3 ID3 Tag Basics

ID3 tags have caused people problems for years and the first jump from CDs/folder based MP3 players etc to something that sorts by ID3 tag leave a lot of people in shock when the player says “unknown track” for all their music.

ID3 tags are basically information tags inside the MP3 file that tell the player all sorts of things. It can be as simple as artist and album or as complex as having 20 high resolution images of the cover and booklet inside the same MP3 file. Read on for a roundup of this feature and a how to on tagging your files.

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Zune Marketplace Vs Bittorrent

zune bittorrent Zune Marketplace Vs Bittorrent

Zune made an awesome addition to the Marketplace subscription today. In addition to the all you can download subscription, you are now able to download and keep 10 tracks per month even if you cancel your subscription. The way I see it is kind of like buying a album every month and getting a free subscription.

As Ina Fried at CNet points out, this is a move by the Microsoft and the labels to drum up subscription rates since they are lower than what they hoped. But subscription is not the only thing hurting in terms of music sales, physical sales are declining faster than digital downloads can keep up.

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Audio Format Roundup

audioformats Audio Format Roundup

With the move to digital music there was no longer just the physical media one had to worry about. As the years have passed more and more formats have emerged and no player on the market is capable of playing them all.

The term “MP3 player” is only good as long as the music format is actually MP3. DRM has had it’s part in confusing people and creating incompatible players and the more “high end” formats like FLAC and Vorbis are unknown to most consumers and ignored by many manufacturers. Read on for a “what’s what” on audio formats.

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