Ever notice how hard it is to get something when you exactly know what you want ? Especially when you had it once and lost it ? Ever notice how hard it is to settle for whatever's available and you keep looking & looking, getting more depressed about the lack of choices ?
I'm not talking about true love, as much as these things might be be applicabl,e but just about an mp3 player. My needs were simple. It had to have at least 4 gigs of space, an enqueue feature, decent battery life, a standard USB cable and for less than 150 USD. My last mp3 player had all that and looked cool while doing it - a black Creative Zen Neeon2. It survived several long walks on rainy days, had no front controllers which meant I could operate while it was still in my pocket. But one weekend I left it at my office desk and come monday it was missing.
So, four months later, I started looking for a replacement - but they don't sell Zen Neeon2 in the US anymore. And every other player I found had a proprietary adapter - the iPod, the new Sansa e2xx, even the new Creative vision stuff. Nearly after a week of crawling through specs & window shopping, I finally discovered that the Creative Zen V plus had nearly everything I wanted (looks cheaper and *is* cheaper than an equivalent iRiver).
Bought one, plugged into my laptop and zilch happened. As it turns out, it uses a crappy MSFT protocol called MTP - so much for open interfaces. But that's where Amarok came to the rescue ! Amarok incorporates libmtp5, which lets me just drag & drop between Amarok collections and the mp3 player. Except, I had to apply the following patch to make it plug'n'play (launchpad bug #132392).
But the effort is worth it. Even Album art transfer from Amarok is completely taken care of. Mtp sort of sucks because it does the file transfer in user mode (freezing amarok) rather than kernel buffering that usb-storage gives. But on the flip side is that that unlike the usb-storage players, the usb charging will work even if the player is playing (as long as it is not mounted on Amarok). I'm sort of building a hack to submit my play counts to my last.fm account from the statistics returned by the mtp-tracks commandline client, but it doesn't give last played time to sort of fake an offline update for the correct time - the spam filter in last.fm blocks a bulk update of tracks at the same time.
Now that it's working, time to play with my next new peice of hardware ...--
The real trouble with reality is that there's no background music.