May 302007

After years of sitting on the sidelines, I’ve taken the plunge and gotten a digital audio player.

iPods don’t interest me. While I appreciate their slick interface, I’m not the least bit interested in iTunes (or other online music services). And the fact that they don’t play Ogg is a deal-breaker for me. I use a Linux desktop (GNOME) and Ogg is easy for me to use, high quality, and completely unencumbered.

The requirement for Ogg narrows the field quite a bit. Narrowing it further, I’m interested in a flash-based device. So for some weeks I’ve been considering the Cowon D2 or the iRiver Clix. But ultimately the iRiver S10 won me over. The multimedia capabilities of the D2 and Clix don’t interest me; and the S10’s form factor is quite attractive.

I received my S10 yesterday. The functionality and quality are top-notch. And Nautilus makes it easy for me to convert selections from my library of FLACs to Oggs on the S10.

I am very happy with it. But here are the few things I don’t like:

  • Unless you’re using a playlist, files play in the order of their FAT entries. I’d have preferred/expected alphanumeric order. The included software includes the facility to reorder the entries (and thus play order) however you like; however…
  • The included software only works on Windows. I realize that providing software that works on Linux is probably expecting too much; but I was expecting a Mac version. This software isn’t absolutely vital; but the FAT entry reordering is very useful and the software is the most convenient means I’ve found of creating playlists. (Though so far I haven’t found myself messing with playlists.)
  • The included software seems not to work at all unless it’s run by a user with Administrator privileges. Lame. Really lame.
  • No case was included; nor does anyone appear to make one. Hopefully that will change. An armband would be especially handy.
  • The “D-click” navigation is a pleasure to use; but it means that the player can’t really be operated while stored somewhere that’s at all a tight fit—like, for instance, pockets in jeans. If there is some way to lock the interface, I haven’t discovered it yet.
 Posted by at 9:59 pm
May 022007

My primary development box, hinge, has seen a bit of an overhaul lately. Most significantly, I snagged some Opteron 285s that were refurbished units (i.e., system pulls) from HP servers for $325 each. These replaced the 242s that I originally built hinge with. Twice the cores and a full 1 GHz faster—quite an improvement.

hinge is housed in a Lian-Li PC-V1200 case. I got the “Plus” version, which includes a blower fan. These blowers seem prone to get noisy after several months. I replaced the blower the first time this happened. Bad fans do happen. But recently the replacement got pretty loud, too. So, figuring these blowers are all destined to make noise, I’ve decided to see how the box fares without it. It does have two 120 mm intake fans; I figure it shouldn’t be that big of a deal for exhaust to be passive.

Unfortunately, I was faced with the realization that the machine was still pretty damn noisy. The primary culprit was the power supply—an Enermax EG651P-VE. The fans on the Cooler Master Vortex TX heat sinks I installed on the new CPUs were contributing to the problem as well. Another thing I really disliked about the Vortex TX heat sinks is that installing them required completely removing the motherboard—they don’t work with the stock mounting bracket for K8 CPUs.

I decided I’d listened to this thing long enough. I’ve now replaced the heat sinks with Hyper TXes; they’re quieter and they use the stock mounting bracket. And the power supply has been replaced with a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610. Problem solved; this machine is now very quiet. But now the other machines in the room sound loud.

 Posted by at 6:36 am