I’ve not mentioned what I got for my birthday last week. It was only an iRiver. An iRiver H340 to be precise.
For those who don’t know, an iRiver is (apparently) a kind of spoddy iPod. Well it’s an MP3 player anyway. It’s supposed to be better than an iPod. It certainly sounds worse though doesn’t it? I wish Apple would have just trademarked having the letter ‘i’ at the start of product names just to stop all these embarassing companies trying to hop onto Apple’s kudos bandwagon.
Anyway, back to the player itself. I’m amazed at how great MP3s sound these days. I have totally missed this. Five years ago listening to an MP3 was like listening to music down the phone — now I can’t tell the difference! That partly put me off buying an MP3 player, but the long journeys made this too tempting for me to put it off any longer.
I did buy a portable CD player, but I had to head out with a selection of CDs with no way of knowing what I would be in the mood to listen to in eight hours’ time. And I had to carry them about, aswell as the CD player itself. I couldn’t take my bag off if I had to stand up in the train, and if I was sitting it had to go on the floor reducing that much-needed leg room.
My brother got an iRiver for Christmas and I’ve been salivating over it ever since. Imagine being able to carry my whole music collection about with me! Enough was enough and now I’ve got an MP3 player, just in time for university to end! Genius thinking there, but there’s always next year and whatever summer exploits I may get up to…
I can finally join the podcasting lot. Perhaps I can finally listen to those episodes of Blue Jam that I downloaded last summer. It would be perfect for those hazy early mornings. That’s not really podcasting is it? Well, it is, except with ten-year-old radio programmes…
For the past week I’ve been ripping my music collection. As you can possibly tell from the picture above, my music collection is large (possibly about 400 records at the moment, but I’ve given up ever counting) — I’m still on ‘J’ (yes, my music collection is arranged alphabetically — what of it?).
It’s been very interesting going through it all. I’ve rediscovered BabyBird — I was shocked at how much I could remember of it actually. I’ve had to ask myself, “Do I really need to rip Now 32 (one of my very first CDs, bought on the same day as my first CD player)?”, and “Will I ever listen to the Lightning Seeds again?” And I have to come to terms with the fact that my CD collection is now basically redundant. I love those fancy boxes! I’m still using them to play on my CD player though, so it doesn’t feel like one great big waste just yet.
As for the MP3 player itself, I’m impressed. Watch out, I’ve never used an iPod extensively (when I did, all I did was play the games on it) so I can’t compare the two. A major problem with the iRiver for me, though, is the gap between tracks. That can ruin a good album, and sometimes the gap can be three or four seconds long. My brother says there’s an option on his one to get rid of the gap, but I have no such option — perhaps I can get that in a firmware upgrade. Let’s hope so.
The FM radio is a nice bonus. It would be great if you could actually get any reception around here. I specifically got a portable CD player with a radio in it so that I could listen to the Today programme on the train. BBC FM radio reception isn’t too good in this house, but I thought surely reception would be okay for the train journey. But the reception is practically non-existant for just about the entire journey, even in Edinburgh. The only good spot I got was around Haymarket station. I’m always taking the piss out of Dundee for its complete lack of radio / television / mobile phone reception and even internet, but Fife isn’t much better. Pah. The FM radio is a nice addition if you can use it though.
You can also view pictures and text files. I don’t have a clue how I could ever use these though. The pictures look very good on it, but I can’t for the life of me imagine why I’d want to look at a picture on my MP3 player. Answers in the comments please.
The same goes for the text function. I would understand if I could view, say, PDF or Word files, but I can only view .txt files. The only useful .txt files I’ve ever seen are really boring pieces of code which I can’t exactly do much with on the train. Ho hum.
It’s also got recording features, and comes with a microphone aswell as all sorts of confusing leads to hook it up to your PC.
As for the controls, the first time I tried it (without reading the instructions), it seemed intuitive. Now I’m always getting it wrong. Maybe I’ll get used to it though.