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March 30th, 2017


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10:24 pm - Help me lazyweb.
Yikes, I haven't made a post in a while. OK, first New!Content! in a week.... tell me about music players.

Yes, yes, "a smartphone", I know that one. Phones *suck* as music players for me because the controls are on a touchscreen, which tends to lock, making them COMPLETE ASS while driving.

I want a device that plays music with:
1) a standard stereo out that will go to my car's stereo in.
2) at least 30GB of storage
3) CONTROLS THAT I CAN OPERATE ONE-HANDED WITHOUT LOOKING AT THEM. I don't care if I have to look at it to select a specific track or podcast or something, but I want to be able to reach down from the gearshift and, at the very least, manage play/pause/forward/back, by touch alone.
4) Controls that let me choose specific tracks, playlists, podcasts, etc if I *am* looking at them.

Nice to have: Syncs to the old version of iTunes that I've neutered down to the way I like it and that I use to sort my music.

Basically, the perfect device that works exactly the way I want it is the 6th generation iPod Classic, which, since it's a perfectly good tool that fills an important niche that the iPhone doesn't, Apple no longer makes it. You can get them on eBay for, like, $800 and fuck that. It's actually the device I've got right now, but despite lasting WAY longer than any Apple product normally does, it's starting to fail on me (it crashes and the battery life isn't great any more).

So. I'm not spending $800 for a used device, or even for a "new in box" Apple device manufactured in 2014. Apple's batteries are legendary, and not in a good way - my device living as long as it has makes it an outlier. Who makes a device these days, that plays music through a stereo jack, with controls that can be operated by touch?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Original at http://theweaselking.dreamwidth.org/4800056.html, there are comment count unavailable comments there.

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:glaurung_quena
Date:March 31st, 2017 03:38 am (UTC)
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"since it's a perfectly good tool that fills an important niche that the iPhone doesn't, Apple no longer makes it."

IIRC, they stopped making them because they could no longer get the IDE hard drives that they were using in them. Yup, the never bothered to upgrade the innards to SATA. And then when the IDE drives stopped being made, the ipod classic was no longer selling well enough to pay for the redesign.

That said, if you have not yet replaced the hard drive in your ipod with a solid state card, that may revive it. IIRC, it involves a 1.8" IDE to CF adapter, and then optionally a CF to SD adapter. There are scads of instructions on the web for doing the upgrade, and people who sell kits for the job.

[User Picture]
From:glaurung_quena
Date:March 31st, 2017 03:42 am (UTC)
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Aha! I found the link I couldn't find earlier: https://www.iflash.xyz/ sells ipod upgrade kits with all the parts needed, provides complete instructions, and is probably your one stop shop if you decide to try it.

[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:March 31st, 2017 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Nice. No iTunes sync but looks like it does everything else I want handily.

Thanks for the link.
[User Picture]
From:argonel
Date:March 31st, 2017 11:31 am (UTC)
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The Sandisk Sansa MP3 players may be worth looking at, but they appear to fail on the capacity issue capping out at 16Gb of storage. The Clip Jam model advertises that it has a microSDHC slot so that one should get you to 40Gb by having 8 internal + 32 on a card.
[User Picture]
From:skington
Date:March 31st, 2017 12:44 pm (UTC)
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Thinking laterally here: does voice control help, if you can say e.g. "Siri, next track" and keep your eyes on the road?
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:March 31st, 2017 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Sort of no: I've never seen a voice control system that's worth a damn when you try to use it over, say, loud music or the sound of a conversation on a podcast. And if I need to pause the music in order to pause the music, that's a problem.

A friend of mine swears by the voice controlled stereo in her Focus, but she's also got on-wheel controls so she can whack "pause" with her thumb before issuing commands.
[User Picture]
From:skington
Date:March 31st, 2017 12:53 pm (UTC)
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OK, how about the "assistance for the blind" feature where you can run your finger over the screen and it says which button your finger's currently on, and then you can double-tap or something to actually press the button?
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:March 31st, 2017 01:24 pm (UTC)
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I've actually used Apple VoiceOver extensively and, um, it's bad for a couple of reasons.

First: There is absolutely no audible or tactile difference between selecting a button and pressing the button. So you've selected pause and it reads out "pause". You then tap again and it says "pause" again. Did it PRESS pause, or did it just re-select Pause?

This is admittedly less of a problem when you're dealing with music controls than when you're trying to type an email or put in a wi-fi password.

Second: The behaviour on the lock screen is less than ideal, and the need to fiddle with swiping to unlock *then* finding the right button *then* whacking it takes an uncomfortably large amount of time and attention compared to reaching down, grabbing the device, pressing the middle bottom button, and going back. The latter is like shifting gears, the former is.... more complicated.

Third: I've actually tried something like that! I grabbed an Android app that plays music, has an option to stick basic playback controls *on* the lock screen, and reads the buttons out to you. I found it really frustrating compared to the physical controls on the iPad.
[User Picture]
From:pappy_legba
Date:March 31st, 2017 01:16 pm (UTC)
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How about bluetooth-over-airwaves instead of an aux jack? I use this-- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003PPGOC0/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 -- which has good connectivity and nice physical buttons.

EDIT: I haven't used the telephone functions, but the music controls work well.

Edited at 2017-03-31 01:17 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:March 31st, 2017 01:55 pm (UTC)
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Oooooh. That looks decent, and the price is right. It's an FM transmitter, so you set the car stereo to the right frequency and listen in?

I'd be curious to see how the multipoint bluetooth handles multiple devices with music players open, but for that price it's worth checking out.

Doesn't ship to Canada, but y'know. I can work around that.
[User Picture]
From:pappy_legba
Date:April 4th, 2017 12:02 am (UTC)
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Yeah. The little knob lets you tune the radio transmitter. I'd think it's obvious, but I've seen people miss it: tune the radio to blank static and tune the transmitter to match, not vice-versa.

I never played with the multipoint much, just re-pair whenever I want to switch players (which isn't often).
[User Picture]
From:peristaltor
Date:April 2nd, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
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First and foremost: Good job! Insisting on touch-only is key! The eyes must be on the road! And I say this as a professional driver with an 18-year safe driving record, something in which I take great pride.

I'm shocked at the cars that don't allow for touch-only. (Looking at you, Prius; seriously, going through a menu to turn on the defrosters?!? Fuck that noise.)

I'm notoriously cheap myself, so haven't been shopping, but....

Have you tried getting the battery replaced on your existing device? Replacing the drive and battery sound a lot cheaper than plunging in to new, untested stuff.

Is it possible?

(I'll have to do that with my Shuffle, soon, as well, alas.)

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