Post nights geek

…I started this post while I was on nights, so…err… yeah, make of that what you will. Now I’m sleep deprived (or depraved) instead.

So, whilst I’m starting to poke at my audit with sticks whilst I’m still on nights, I’m also having a toy with the concept of ceasing to have CDs and DVDs around the house. I’m not quite at the stage where I trust digital media in the way that, well, I trust little bits of plastic in which audio data is stored. But I’m quite honestly very done with DVDs. Or more accurately with unskippable, tedious PSAs about how I’m the spawn of satan if I were to have illegally downloaded a film.

Whatever my personal opinions on that, sticking an irritating unskippable PSA on the matter in my face when I’ve just PAID FOR THE DAMN DISK, well, it annoys me.

And then there’s the award winner, one of the millenium trilogy disks that won’t let you even skip the trailers. The fracking trailers are unskippable.

So, I finally ordered a cheap Blu-Ray/DVD/CD-Rom with which to extract the data from these disks. I didn’t want to use my laptop’s drive because last time I did extensive data ripping I upset several CD-Writers / CD-Rom drives. By upset I mean they died spectacularly.

So, cheap external reader it is.

As a component of this I’ve been looking at solving the audio playing problem somewhat, well, better. At the moment the little Viewsonic box does an adequate if unstellar job of playing music. It lacks depth* and feels a bit feeble. Also, to use it requires the telly to be on, which, frankly is an unsatisfactory solution.

So I’ve been looking for a audio-only, self contained media player.

My ideal is the rather ancient, but also rather nice slimp3 from Slim Devices. These, however, are rather uncommon. Irritatingly, one went on ebay for not-much-more than I’d bid, then someone listed one for more than twice the sale price of the one I didn’t win.

I’ve also considered later versions – the various early Squeezeboxes, and a Squeezebox classic.

I’ve also considered an O2 Joggler – which is quite a nice looking bit of kit. No VFD display on that though, so less pretty points.

Then it occured to me that I’ve still got some other bits of kit kicking around. There’s the illustrious iPaq 3660, circa 2001. That’s probably the nicest bit of kit, but it does lack WiFi. I’m thinking that I’ve got a PCMCIA sleeve for it though. So there’s that. The only problem is it runs PocketPC 2002. That’s the latest update it’ll run, it can’t run any later versions, which is a bit sad. It will run Familiar Linux. Except Familiar Linux is not available ’til October, for some obscure reason.

So I decided that I don’t want to spend money for no good reason, and I thought it would be good to use the SuperPad III. Off I went to find a decent UPnP client that’s free and in the android store. Whilst I’d happily pay for it, the Superpad III doesn’t do paid apps. Unfortunately, the free app looks to be somewhat shonky, and the paid-ad-supported-limited-free version of another app which does appear to work and is *way* faster, and is quite pleasant to use has some really irritating limitations in the free version.

However, conceptually it does work. Indeed, even the sluggish free version after a bit of fiddling worked reasonably well. Which means that this can be done for no cost**. The Viewsonic box plays HiDef media rather well, and the Android tablet plays audio adequately. Which means that when the drive arrives it will be time to sell the region free DVD player and the dead Blu-Ray. Which means no more disk hunting and a much better solution for audio and video. Yay :)

* in a wholly pretentious faux audiophile way.
** although just to wind me up the overpriced Slimp3 is back on ebay at the price I suggested I’d buy it for. However, the guy wants £15 quid for shipping a small metal box. I presume it will be hand delivered by a unicorn.

Author: KateE

Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at