I have a Zen Xtra 30Gb 2.5" HD player that I've hacked with an 80Gb disk. I've just hit yet another limit. If you have more than 60Gb of tracks on the disk, it no longer plays playlists on the player. The playlists exist and you can see them and play them on the PC either in Creative's explorer, Windows explorer or in winamp with the PMP plugin. But the player won't open them or play them. This is after previous problems with the PlaysForSure (not!) firmware that has a metadata limit on the total number of characters in the filenames and ID3 metadata tags. Apparently this is a known problem with the Creative firmware. It stores the playlists near the end of the partition and the internal software can't open them, although the files can be accessed via the USB port. Some programmer somewhere put a hard limit on disk size by mistake and based on Creative's biggest production player being 60Gb.

And BTW. if you're in this situation, don't upgrade to WMP 11. It breaks PFS and Creative firmware updates no longer work.

The PFS firmware came out in 2005 and there's been no updates since. And there's still no way of downgrading the system back to the old NJB firmware.

This is so frustrating. I really want a Not-An-iPod that uses 2.5" disks and plays Rockbox; that looks like a USB mass storage device. I don't care about or want DRM. But I want to stash my entire collection in my pocket. This is possible. It's not particularly cutting edge. But nobody makes one. Now that 80Gb 1.8" disks are coming on stream, maybe it's going to be possible in the near future to switch. And 100Gb and 120Gb 1.8" disks are not far away but they're premium price. So perhaps somewhere in my future is a late model iPod hacked with a big disk and with Rockbox loaded.

I'm almost tempted to go back several generations and try and find an old Archos Jukebox on eBay.

Yet again, I'm struck that hardware companies should just get out of the software business. They're no good at it. It would actually make sense for them to fund the open source community (ie RockBox) and use that. And this is not just about Creative. Linksys/Cisco could do the same with their wireless routers as could Apple with WINE. There's a catch of course. FOSS is never going to support DRM and that in turn deep sixes any business model based on implementing DRM in order to get customer lock in.

So Just Say No To DRM!

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[ 01-Oct-06 9:33am ] [ ]