Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Cartoon Screen of Death

On the way home from work last night, my music suddenly stopped playing. I removed my Zen Portable Media Center from my pocket only to see something I'd seen once before... something I dreaded: the Cartoon Screen of Death.

The Cartoon Screen of Death

I know this screen: it was the last thing I saw before I had to send it in for warranty repair after a few months of owning this thing about two and a half years ago. As you might tell from the picture, it means that the device is irreparably damaged and will never start again without repairs.

I tried several things, like charging overnight, opening it up and using the hard reset switch, taking out the batteries, and so forth, but just like last time, no luck. Well, the thing is three years old, scratched up, and behind the times, so it's not worth the $100-200 I'd probably pay minimum to get it fixed. So, it's time to get a new portable player.

It's looking like the Zune kind of wins by default. I get a slight discount at the company store, and I can leave my office for about 15 minutes and have one in my possession. I was looking at the tiny 2 GB Creative Zen Stone Plus for only about $70, the sexy U20 iRiver Clix, and the new 30GB model of the Toshiba Gigabeat, all rated highly and not available anywhere. I am quite addicted to listening to music on the way to and from work, I am very motivated to get a new player now, so that Zune is looking pretty appealing. I was also looking at the iPod 80GB, which has the added bonuses of being able to store my entire music collection and would let me play Cubis those three times a year when I would feel like playing a game on my music player. So would the Creative Zen Vision:M, but I've used a Zen before and it was as fun as being stabbed with needles. I decided that being able to have all of my music with me at all times wasn't worth the extra premium; for the price of a large-capacity player I could get two Zunes. And then, uh, share songs between them.

So, I think I'm going to get a Zune tomorrow. A nice black one. It's not my top choice of player, but people I know who have them enjoy them, and it will certainly be a nice upgrade from my current player at four times the size and two-thirds the capacity.

Last song started before my old Zen PMC kicked the bucket: Keane—Atlantic


Anonymous said...

Man, you are having wonderful luck with devices lately.

Um...don't know if the company store sells the Zune in black. Last time I was there - all they had was it in copper (brown is more accurate)

Travis said...

They're supposed to stock it in black, white, brown, and pink. Red should be in soon too.

I'm, uh, surprised there were any browns left, given how popular of a color brown is...

Jordan said...

If I got one, it'd probably be the brown one, actually. :-/

I don't even know why.

Unknown said...

Is gapless important to you? I would never had gotten an iPod (don't like on-the-go playlists vs. the better creative 'now playing' queue-able list), but the 80 GB plus a pretty good gapless implementation won me over.

And I've really come to appreciate the on-demand regenerative smart playlists. Not sure if the Zune has that.

Travis said...

Nah, I don't care about gapless playback or smart playlists. I maintain intricately-designed playlists of music, and I want to sync exactly those. Gapless playback would be a fine bonus if available, for those few albums where it's beneficial.

It is mostly moot now as I have purchased my black Zune and will have music on the way home tonight. I'm not sure yet if it has any of those features since I wasn't looking for them.