I listen to lots of podcasts, often in harsh conditions to which I wouldn’t want to expose a hard-disk-based device. So flash-memory-based gadgets are an attractive choice. Their capacity isn’t an issue for me because once I’ve listened to a podcast I just discard it. There’s no need to manage it as part of a collection that lives on my computer, or is synchronized to a player. If I want to hear it again sometime, I’ll download it and transfer it again.
I also do an increasing amount of voice recording, when preparing for talks. Here too, less is more. I don’t need high quality sound, just convenient recording of speech that’s recognizable on playback. Again, this recording often occurs in harsh outdoor conditions. And it sometimes occurs spontaneously, in which case I want to be able to pop in a AAA battery and go. I’ve come to loath devices with proprietary batteries that are useless if you forget to charge them in advance.
Finally, like everyone, I use USB sticks to store files and move them from one place to another.
I’ve found one device that meets all three of these requirements brilliantly: the Creative MuVo. I’ve been a huge fan of this gadget since 2004, and have owned three models. First was the 256MB MuVo TX. Later came the 512MB MuVo TX FM, which doubled the storage and added an FM radio I never used. Before giving away the TX I owned both for a while, and on one memorable occasion I found a compelling simultaneous use for the pair.
True, the device has a tendency to flake out now and then, in ways that would confound most people, but I was always able to resurrect it with a firmware refresh.
Until now. The TX FM still works as a USB drive but the player is dead. Since I was going to Staples anyway I picked up what seemed like the obvious replacement, the MuVo V100, without doing any research. Bad idea, it’s dog slow on transfers:
At Creative’s site there are three pages of customer complaints about the MuVo v100 slow file transfer rate. No fix is currently available, though Creative customer service sends customers on a useless firmware download wild goose chases and neglects to mention that the snail-like transfer rate is a well-documented problem. [Amazon customer reviews]
Sheesh. I’m taking it back, ordering another TX FM instead, and wishing that somebody would provide that excellent bundle of features in sturdier package.