Tech Toys: Creative's Nomad mp3 player

I use this primarily for books on tape (or books on mp3, as the case obviously would be).  Like the headphones above, this is a good way to still have some mental stimulation when you have mundane tasks to accomplish.  And I can go anywhere with this, so it can often make up for the lack of quality programming on the radio.  The battery can be charged in three to four hours and lasts fourteen.  Not bad.

In addition to audio books, I also use Natural Voice Reader to read text to a WAV, then convert it to an mp3 and drop it onto the player.  This is great with everything from news and research articles to whole novels.

How much music is 30GB?  Well, at roughly one minute per MB, that's 30,000 minutes.  To break that down, you could play it nonstop 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three weeks without ever repeating a track.  But you will need to recharge the battery in the meantime.  And sleep.  You need that too.

Also, with a 30GB drive, this player doubles as a hard drive.  This is simple enough to use given the USB connection and the fact that it is "plug 'n' play."  Personally, I have used this as a back-up drive for all my data when I had to re-install my hard drive following a terminal infection of spyware.

One feature I particularly enjoy is the ability to change the time-scale.  That is, you can play mp3s at 1.25x or 1.5x without any pitch shifting (i.e., it's faster, but your mp3s don't sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks).  While this might not be terribly interesting for music, it is absolutely incredible for listening to audio books, lectures, or any other speech.

The price was pretty good too, and it has dropped quite a bit since I first bought it.  I won't state a figure since will probably change before I even post this, but it sell for roughly half of what an Apple iPod of the same capacity costs.

Incidentally, why are people still wasting their time and money with flash memory players?  You pay the same amount for a tiny fraction of the memory.  Don't be duped!

I think it's still a bit slow to start up and to skip between tracks.  That hurts its convenience rating from my prespective.  I really want to just get it playing so I can get on the road.  When I start it up, I really don't want to watch it telling me that it's "rebuilding library" for a couple minutes.  I am usually ready to hop on my bike or in my car.  Guys, be "Creative" and fix this!

Copyright Ale[x]tronic.
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