Around Christmas time I was given a discman-style CD player but after a couple of months it’s already broken. The latch that holds the spring-loaded door snapped off, so now the door won’t stay closed. This probably has something to do with it accidentally being dropped twice, although I tend to think that it would’ve broken prematurely anyway. This is particularly true since the design of the player dictates that to replace the two AAA batteries with a new set you must open the CD door, take out the CD then open the battery door. So, rather than take it back to the shop and complain about the crappy design of the player (and somehow convince them to swap the player for a new one – with all the problems of the old one), my challenge now is to find a convenient way to hold the CD door closed but still let me open it easily (at least once a day). Blutak works but probably won’t hold if the player gets bumped. I had an idea of using some sort of velcro strap on it, but that’s probably a bit too elaborate. Besides, where do you buy velcro anyway? Electrical tape should be good enough. We’ll see…

The above has convinced me that investing in a MP3 capable portable CD player and having it last for any real length of time is probably a bit of a stretch. Too much mechanical wear and tear.

MP3 players that play from flash memory are looking better and better. The concept of an audio player with no moving parts is pretty amazing really. I wouldn’t have imagined that 10 years ago, although 10 years ago I had no idea about MPEG audio compression either. Right now though, I’m not really convinced flash memory MP3 players are all that cost effective. Maybe when they get to sub-$100 for a 512 Mb player then I’ll be more enthusiastic. Hopefully by then they will all record from either a mic-level or line-level source at a high bitrate (128 kbps) or better, so I can use it for recording my guitar stuff. At the moment it seems like you need to pay a lot if you want to record audio beyond voice grade quality. I haven’t really researched that much yet.

This 512 Mb player looks tempting…

Something else I need to research is whether you can still get flash memory MP3 players that accept removable cards, eg. CompactFlash. I wonder about the lifespan of flash memory. If the memory goes faulty on a player with internal memory then it’s game over for the player. No pun intended.


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