The Penalty of Stability Part 1

My big birthday/holidays gift for 2005 was a Creative Zen Vision. First, I would just like to say that this thing is one kick ass video player. Now that I have said that, I must now say that I only know this from watching the default videos on the player. Here’s why.

At first I thought I left the software at my parents house where I opened it first. It took me a day to realize I should check the cardboard cushion that the screen was resting on in the box. Sure enough, hiding underneath was the software, drivers, and manuals. First crisis averted.

I just loaded the drivers cd into my computer, eager to get everything up and running so I could watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on this marvelous video player. To my shock and horror, the autorun software popped up saying that my version of Windows is not compatible with the Zen Vision. Feeling my irrational fury building, I checked the box. Sure enough under Minimum System Requirements it says ‘Microsoft Windows XP’. Yep thats right, no other operating system is listed. I am currently running Windows 2000. I’m running Windows 2000 because its stable. I know. You must be saying to yourself, “But Windows XP is stable and better,” and to this I will agree but only the latest version with the latest service pack. I add to that the amount of time I spend online and the all the crap I download. It can sometimes cause some instability in many systems and has on other boxes. Not this one though. This one has remained stable since its last upgrade, ridding itself of the plague called Windows Me (though ironically the only OS that ever ran my multimedia keyboard correctly). As the saying has always gone, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Well, it ain’t broke, but I got a new toy I can’t play with, so it needs some fixin’.

I am sitting here migrating 80 GB of data from my harddrive to my server in preparation of a system wipe and reinstall to XP. I am less than excited about the thought of having to reinstall all these applications. On a side note, though, it will be nice to finally get remote desktop on here and I think I’m going to skip the Office re-install and instead opt for the suite and give it a run. No time like a reload to test new software.

Creative's New Contender

Ah Creative. Just as I am starting to write a blog entry that completely slams you and your ineffective ability to market your products, you show us another nugget of gadget goodness.

I will share my complaints before I go into their latest offering.

Creative has some top notch, quality products in the portable audio market. They have declared war on Apple and it’s dominating market share.
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Yay Literacy!

So this is the first post in a new category I’ve created. Gadget Fetishry. Pretty self-explanatory.

The most recent piece of gadget pr0n that has caught my attention is the Sony Librie EBR-1000EP.

Basically its an e-book reader. Fundamentally, its a device that will allow you to read texts, manuals, novels, manga, comics, etc., on screen so sharp and crisp that it will put many monitors to shame and has a weight equivalent to a lightweight book (300 g/10.6 ounces).

I believe it was released about a year ago exclusively in Japan, with no word on any type of international release. The device’s popularity has been steadily growing overseas. A group of Librie fans calling themselves the Librietarians have set out to make the Japanese device more useful through software developement and have released a firmware upgrade. Recently the MAKE:blog on MAKE Magazine‘s website posted an article on how to upgrade the firmware on the gadget to the new version released by the Librietarians. This basically upgrades the device to English since most of its user interface is in Japanese.

This upgrade fixes one of the largest cons to the device. That said, it still has its faults. The Librie reads a specific type of e-book standard that was created by Sony and a number of content publishers. This format renders the e-book useless after a two month period, more or less creating a rental type of system. This is unfortunate, but you can still read plain text files. Considering I have a number of books in just a text file format, this would still be useful. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before the format of the e-book is broken and we’ll be able to read pdfs and files in other formats.

I would say the largest con of this device is its prohibitive cost. In my research of the device the prices range from US$419 and up. Even at this price its a still a tempting prospect considering the amount of time I commute and read on the subway.