Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Music Media

Reverse-Engineering The Creative Nomad Jukebox 131

indole writes "As it enjoys a large, growing, user-base, the Creative JukeBox still suffers from Creative's ugly corporate obstinateness. Despite the pleas of its users, an SDK has not and will not be released to the public. A nice little initiative is growing out of the frustrations of creative.products.nomad to reverse-engineer the Nomad Jukebox USB protocol and hopefully design some more functioning software. The Protocol Refrence v0.1 is up and due for an update very shortly. Hack away boys."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Reverse-Engineering The Creative Nomad Jukebox

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...if you're experiencing sound quality problems with the Archos, you're on a really old firmware revision. You should upgrade -- the relevant files are on the Archos website.

    It's not hard, either.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was under the impression that most of the concerns surrounding the "closed" nature of the nomad are due to SDMI compliance. That's why you can't retrieve music once it's been placed onto the device.
  • I was under the impression that most of Creative's hardware is rebranded hardware from third parties. Creative's PC-DVD Encore [creative.com] package is basically a rebranded Hitachi DVD drive, along with a rebranded Sigma Hollywood Plus card (Creative DXR3). Most DXR3 Windows 2000 users have had to use the Sigma H+ driver over the past year as Creative was unable to get a working W2K driver out of Sigma that they could rebrand as their own.

    It may very well be that Creative knows absolutely nothing about the Nomad Jukebox except how to rebrand it and market it.

  • If you can't find the SCSI emulation, that's your problem. But if you need help getting the IDE system to give up a drive so it can be picked up as SCSI, look no further than LILO. "append hdc=ide-scsi" works for me.

  • The RIO has drivers in the kernel. I don't know if they work, but I've seen them enough trying to get 2.4.1 & USB working for the last 3 days...

  • I'm not the person to ask, as I can't even load modules on my 2.4.1 kernel yet.

    It looks like there are symbols in arch/i386/lib/mmx.o that the modules can't find. Fucking weird.


  • make doesn't bail out at all - after I install & reboot, insmod bails out on pretty much everything with unresolved symbol errors. I'll try fucking around in the USB section and see.

    and it's worse, because I'm being a dweeb and using Win2k's bootloader, I have to reboot to the 2.2.18 kernel so I can mount the windows drive (as the vfat module wouldn't load in 2.4.1) so I can update window's copy of the boot record of the drive I'm booting off of.

    really fun.
  • Doesn't Vorbis come with a virus-infected license that scares a lot of hardware/software vendors from touching it?

    No. Vorbis is distributed under the GNU LGPL, a Free Software license. The maintainers of xmms, freeamp, and winamp all have had no problem with the license. I'm even working on a hardware implementation for my CS project course and there has been discussion about pending hardware implementations by others on the development list as well. The license that applies to Ogg Vorbis has not been an issue for any of us.

  • I saw something like this at Fry's the other day. $200, and it looked kind of like a docking station with a CD player attached. I guess the idea was that you could use the CD player to rip audio CDs without a computer, and then transfer the mp3s to an mp3 player (flash-based). I didn't see the mp3 player that was supposed to dock to it, but it did look like an interesting idea.
  • Well there's a difference. Copyright law, which is what prevents him from playing music someone else holds a copyright on and getting away scot free is generally only constitutionally permitted to be concerned with copying and public performance. And even then, not always.

    BUT if he's copying it for his own purposes, it's doubtful that this is much of a conflict with copyright law. Certainly the space shifting argument worked well enough for the Rio.

    And he's right of course. He didn't license it. He never signed or agreed to a license; he merely paid for a CD. His inability to legally copy the disc for profit, etc. stems not from any license (nor is a license necessary for authors to prevent it) but from law.
  • The amusing thing is, theres something on DVDs which looks like a license and you have to watch every time you play the disk (unless you have a good DVD player). It's the notorious FBI warning. Asides from basic copyright law, the kind that doesn't need to accompany the work in question, that's the only legalese you'll see. Nothing on the outside of the package, nothing on the inside, no "by viewing this disk you agree that it is licensed not sold, etc."

    Since we 'agree' (for small values of agree) to that, how can a copyright holder enforce other provisions, like reverse engineering or 'authorized players only' ? Will the EFF try this tack during the appeals ?

  • Now someone decides that although it does what you have said it will it dosen't do what they want it to. They buy it, reverse engineer it, and publish their results on the web for all to see. (The BAD part)

    Becasue of this you start to loose market share. People no longer need you program to do what it was designed to becasue it has been reverse engineered and released in the holy name of RMS and all things open-source.

    How would this person magically start "losing market share"? This is like saying a sound card company loses users when someone releases linux drivers for the card? If anything, this hypothetical person would GAIN customers, since there is now MORE software out there that works with his hardware.

    No one is stealing anything here.

  • Because FireWire is a radically superior technology, with a huge selection of devices available now?

  • Check your URLs, crew!
    A more working link [aracnet.com] to the pdf version, and a link to the homepage which includes a MS-word version(!)...
  • Dah, the slashdot-system ate my second link 'cause I put Href instaed of href (I think) (Hey slashcode coders!). It should have been http://www.aracnet.com/~seagull/NJB/protocol/ [aracnet.com]...
  • User 312184 wrote [slashdot.org]:
    In this case, a company has created something.
    As creators, they own it, and they can do what they want with it.
    If they refuse to improve it, that is their prerogative - without them, the thing wouldn't exist, so surely they should be given the freedom to do what they like with it, without fear of hackers undermining them?

    You are wrong with your second sentence; although they created it, as buyers we have the right to do as we please with it (almost).

    when a company such as AOL releases a products, it knows that its users will not try to undermine it by reverse engineering, rewriting, or open sourcing it
    Remember Instant Messenger wars ??

    Not improving a product is tantamount to suicide; in evolution failure to improve and adapt results in death. Also the whole industry, like hackers, competes by making better products than their rivals. For example, bigger, faster disk drives emerge normally due to small steps forward, not giant leaps, which occur only rarely.

    In most respects hackers do not redcue the value of a product to zero (except maybe CueCat). By extending the functionality and use of a product they often extend its lifespan, ensuring more sales for the company and thus more profit. However, what really p**ses a hacker off is having a door slammed in his face, and the result is that the hacker is non too subtle in axing the door to pieces.

    If you want an example of a responsible attitude to hackery, I suggest you look at the Tivo, who appear to have quietly provided help to the hacker community around it, on condition that they make no attempt to break TiVos revenue stream from subscription. I have no idea if they are going to succeed, but I think that Tivos handling of the hacker community should be the way all companies respond.

    P.S. Someone Mod the parent post up; if it's a troll, its a thought provoking one.
  • Are these or any others available with firmware upgrades? I have a Philips version of mp3 cd player and i was disappointed to see that firmware cannot be updated, thus i can't ever play Vorbis files.

    I'd be eager to see if anyone releases a mp3 cd player that will allow firmware updates for their decoders.
  • RE:I've never had a problem with tracks stopping in the middle

    There is a problem with bad frames in mp3 tracks causing a song skip, it tends to be from downloads where an error has crept into the file.

    Anyone,its fixed in the firmware released today

  • http://www.aracnet.com/~seagull/NJB/protocol/proto col_0_2.pdf
  • I just got my RioVolt last week (CD-R/CD-RW based player) and I must say that it's WAY better than those other three you have listed. While it may be a tad more expensive ($180 shipped), it's definitely lightyears beyond the rest.

    Read C|Net's review of the RioVolt [cnet.com]
    Read MY review of the RioVolt [youknowwhat.com]
  • I've got a nomad 1 64Mb... I tried to run the software under Wine, but the damn thing is using a VXD to access the parallel port ;-(

    So I was not able to intercept the data under windows...

    Does anyone know how I could intercept the data stream ? Any information on the Nomad I ? (I know that it is just a repackaged YEPP).

    I *really* want to transfert files under Linux... But Creative seems to be totals assholes; They said on the newsgroups that they where working on something for linux, but we've got nothing...
  • Speaking to the pause between tracks problem, this went away as soon as I upgraded my Nomad with the latest OS upgrade. You can find it on Creative's sight.
  • another dumb question --> Does anybody know of a portable CDR/CDRW that will play mp3's from 32kb to 320kb, vbr as well?

    I encode most of my newer files now with Lame using the VBR option to 320k, and usually result in files with an average of 224k, but some spots do hit 320k, and I haven't seen any player yet that will handle this... I am seriously considering getting an MZ-R70 instead of something with a hard drive etc. Even though it would be a little more inconvenient to get the files on the thing, I could have discs to switch out depending on my mood, and not have to worry about killing a hard disc.
  • now, let me get this right. i go and buy a creative nomad. then i see that it doesnt support my OS. what should i do? why, do what hackers have done for ages. REVERSE-ENGINEER it! linux wouldnt be here if hackers didnt.

    if creative wants control release a SDK. if not then dont cry when hackers fix the oversight.

    ask for paying for software that is diffrent. i will glady pay for quality software, and good games.

    us hackers will play with any technoly, dont cry if it gets played with. that means we LIKE it.


    The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..
  • Of cource, in stead of buying an SDMI compliant closed device with poor battery time and large dimentions. You could get a similarly functioning device like the Archos Jukebox or NEO 25 that can be mounted like a common drive off the usb port. And don't obstruct the user in any way on how he should handle his files.
  • That's not a bug, that's a feature.

    The beauty of a HDD player is that you don't need to carry anything else, no CDs, no memory cards, no MDs.

    Transfering the data to the drive is painless, and done only rarely.

    Under no circumstance should the jukebox be your only copy of the music, you should have backups. I keep cd-r backups, but unlike mp3-cd players I don't need to carry them around.

    Also any pc on the up&up got a usb port today. With my Archos unit i can plug it into any pc and get access to my files.
  • Where exactly is Creative telling you what you can do with the Jukebox after you buy it? Not releasing the SDK != Preventing you from figuring it yourself. If Creative sets some lawyers out to stop this project, that's a different story. As far as I can tell from what I see, Creative is taking a "we don't support 3rd party developers, but we'll let them be" stance, which is better than many other companies.
  • Is this true?

    I know I was a little disgruntled when I couldn't transfer my mp3s from the Nomad to my PC. However after an update of bios and software they allow you to do this. I didn't try another PC though, just the one I used to put the mp3's on my Nomad.

    However, there's a catch - you can only transfer the mp3s you put on it, not the "protected" ones preinstalled.

  • There are a number of reasons why after much digging I choose the Archos 6000 over any of the other 'jukebox' mp3 players. Briefly, they are:
    • It's "just a hard drive" when connected to a PC or Macintosh -- no proprietary software is needed to manage your collection. In addition, you can store and transport files other than MP3s, too -- documents, applications, whatever.
    • You can copy MP3s (and any other file) OFF of the drive, as well as onto it. Contrast this, for example, with the PJBox, which only lets you put files onto it (Yes, really. [pjbox.com])
    • Good Mac support, including apparent interest from Archos in supporting playlists exported from "iTunes"
    • Upgradable with almost any 9.5mm IDE drive (like this $160 IBM 20GB model [googlegear.com])
    • Only $350.

    There's a discussion board about the Archos here [yahoo.com]. I've had mine for about two weeks, and I'm very happy with it.


  • You can see how here [tomshardware.com].

    I swapped my 6gb drive out with a 20gb and it works fine.

    The only downside is when the Jukebox starts up, it takes a couple minutes to create its database file (why this couldn't be cached in the flash mem, I don't know).

    The Nomad Jukebox isn't perfect, but it's one of the better hard disk-based players out there.

  • Yeah! Why no mention of this as a main Slashdot story?
  • Because I had no choice.

    I bought the SB32 to upgrade the old SB8bit which seemed like a good idea at the time.

    I bought the 3D Blaster because it was the ONLY 3D Accelerator out at the time I could afford (3dfx cards were twice the price and that didn't include the second 2d only card).

    And I bought the SB Live because Aureal went out of business without ever releasing good W2K drivers. What are my other options? Yamaha? I don't think so. If there's one company I hate more than CL Yamaha might be it. What other chips are out there that are even competitive for the price? None, so I bought a Live card. Am I happy? I can't afford high end audio as much as I'd like to. No, but at least I have sound.

    It's the same damn thing with Microsoft. I use Microsoft because I have to, not necessarily because I want to or enjoy it.

    Now, if you're going to call me an idiot. At least have the balls to use your real name AC.
  • Creative truly IS a horrible company. Sure, the Sound Blaster cards run very well in Linux now a days... but way back in the day when Sound Blasters were new, programming them was a completely different thing. You see, even back then Creative was really obstinate in giving out information on how to use it's cards to the lowest common denominator developers, as such finding information on programming the SB cards was futile at best. Most of what you could find consisted of information that eventually tricked its way down from larger companies who Creative more happily worked with, or from library writers who made crappy generic sound libraries that never worked as well as they were intended.

    Eventually the information got out though and people were programming the SB cards and they became the standard they are today, but Creative never really got better.

    I've purchased a few cards from them since my first SB, and I've been dissapointed by everyone in some way. I won't even talk about the clusterfuck that was my 3D Blaster video card. That thing was a joke. But even the SB32 PNP is such a difficult card to get running on any machine. Hell, they don't even have good drivers for Windows 2000 for their SB8->SB32 line of cards!? Why not Creative? Do we *REALLY* owe you more money? Hell, the only reason you even innovated at all in the last four years was thanks to Aureal, Yamaha, and the other chip makers FORCING you to. What have you show us consumers that makes upgrading to SB Live cards really worth it?
  • Apple's (great) iTunes also supports the NJB, so it's not a case of Creative only allowing people to use their (crappy) PlayCenter software.

  • #1: What MP3 players support USB 2.0 yet?

    #2: What motherboards support USB 2.0 yet?

    I have yet to see it implemented anywhere. So why single-out Apple?
  • Also, I totally forgot to mention. The Archos is a whole lot cheaper than the Nomad. It costs $350, whereas the cheapest I've seen the Nomad for is $450, but it's typically $500. You get more bang for your buck with the Archos.
  • I'm sure it's a matter of preference. I prefer the cd-rw one because the media is useful on anything that supports cd-rw. For example, my PC, my apex dvd player - and my portable mp3 player - can all play music off of the exact same media.

    Being lighter, they are a bit more conveniant too - and they are even expandable. If you buy a HDD based player, youre either going to hack it and void the warranty to make it expandable, or you need to buy a new one to hold more data. (for example, when your collection exceeds the size of the device you bought).

    You just can't beat the price per megabyte of the cd-rw players in expandability. The player costs about $100, plus the media at 30 cents a disc. This equals 103.00 for 6 gigs worth of storage. And whats the best price of the 6 gb nomad?

  • It's sarcasm. Usually sarcasm is missed by the moderators, or modded down as flamebait, it's nice to see something sarcastic get modded up.
  • I think the PJB is more 'open' than this is. There are some tools available to help, I believe as well. I once owned a PJB 6 gig mp3 player shortly before the Nomad Jukebox one came out. I returned it and got the creative labs one mostly for the recording aspect, to record my band's practice sessions.

    The PBJ had a far greater interface... I could usually manage to operate it without looking at it, in my pocket, whereas the Nomad Jukebox is very difficult to operate and not intuitive, as far as music players are concerned. When you hit "back", it should go to the begining of the song, but this one goes to the previous song. You have to save your playlists, or see them occassionally and semi-predictably get lost when you use other functions of the Jukebox (such as the recorder). Saving your playlist with good name is fun.. it's about as hard as entering your name on a high score coin-op video game, but imagine using annoying buttons and having to delete a 14 character name first.
  • If you weren't one of the few people who bought this the first day it came out, you could have checked numerous discussion groups (mp3.com had some user info about this thing) and found out about all the shortcommings first. If you're going to spend this much on something, it might help to do some reasearch.

    Having owned the PJB first, the Nomad Jukebox is very annoying to use, for all the reasons.. It's not very ideal to use on a crowded subway for instance, since it's quite a painsaking process to do anything on it. I've been using it has a portable storage device quite a bit recently, renaming files to .wav and moving them over, and renaming them back. It works great for recording live shows and my band practices, where I have a little time to prepare. The recording quality is pretty good too, and I still haven't played around with all the settings that much.
  • In a perfect world no, but people are trying to sell crap all the time.. it's up to consumers to check out what they're buying, and it's nice when they let others know.
  • Apparently the codecs in these players can be updated to support new music formats. What's involved in writing a new codec to support, say, Vorbis files?
  • Just read a review of a forthcoming player today that will do just that. It's called the MiSEL and it looks to set the standard for CD/MP3 players.

    The Review is available @ Dmusic [dmusic.com], the best review site for mp3 hardware I've seen. (If anybody knows of any more please share them with me!)

    It'll be interesting to see the next wave of player by more major brands such as RCA. I just wish they could break the $100 price point and include a function to play *.m3u files.

  • Once the proticals and software is fully understood and "hacked" there will be no reason to call it crippleware. We will be able to do almost anything with the data, including sending the "protected" data back to the computer.
  • I actually created a usbdevfs driver and client for the nomad ii mg about a month ago.. its not exactly fully complete (the only thing that doesn't work is the memory card. the internal memory works but i dont have any smart media cards so it would be pretty hard to reverse engineer. hehe.)

    Anyways it was really not hard. It took me a few days of usb snoopy to figure out the protocol. I never really got around to posting anything about it but this story reminded me and I just did up a little webpage now. http://nomad.ipflux.org [ipflux.org]
  • You mean something like this?

    http://www.casio.com/corporate/pressroom.cfm?act =2 &pr=2973

    They also have GPS, camera's, and the like in wristwatches also.

  • "To other people, they might stick it in their cd player and call it noise techno "

    You could use this `argument` to justify anything!!

    `Its not murder! Its performance art!`
  • But how can one company that has such a clue when it comes to drivers for the SBLive have it so wrong on this device?

    According to a poll held by ALive! [singnet.com.sg], Creative is in serious need of a clue regarding the SBLive! They have been promising "official" Linux drivers (with binary components like the NVidia drivers), but have not delivered. The open source drivers are effectively a clean room development, and lack basic features such as MIDI playback (the last time I checked.) Liveware! 3.0 was very ordinary and does *not* support EAX 3.0, and there has been no sign of a new version (perhaps even with EAX 3.0!) for at least a year. The APS 2.0 drivers appear to be dead in the water.

    Other than buying out the competition and producing yet another minor tweak to the SBLive! hardware and bloated PlayCenter software, very little appears to be happening in the SoundBlaster division...
  • Do the Linux drivers fully support the 300SE now? I rembemer trying them last year, but they tended to mangle my songs (placed in wrong bitrate, causing songs to play faster then normal, cut off songs, etc).
  • I test drove one of these at an expo and I wasn't too impressed. I had a hard time navigating the menus/controls. If I had a chance to read the manuals it may have been easier. The one true draw back was the sound quality, which was poor at best. There was absolutely no bass, and the louder the volume the more distorted it got.
  • The only problem I've found with this is that I don't always burn my CDs the way I want to listen to them. One day I might want to listen to a variety of music, but with CDs I have to switch out the CDs to get the tracks I want. With the jukebox or HD player I can create a playlist from the library of music already on the player, like you said 100 CDs worth as opposed to 50 or 100 CDs in a case.
  • Or this [creative.products.nomad] for the newsgroup.
  • if anyone else knows of any mp3 players that are decently priced and does everything the mpTrip does if not more, please let me know.

    WELL ... more :) ..: Play VCDS! The Napa DAV-310 [mp3playerstore.com]...

    I know .. it's a store..(not mine !) but it's gat lots of info :) ...

    ..Never Trust a naked Busdriver..

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, I concur, the Archos is a fabulous unit. I own one myself, and despite initial flaws in the operation of the unit, the cheaper price, friendlier customer service (new firmware updates are being released quite frequently), and the fact that you can use the 6 gig Archos unit as a portable USB hard drive! If anyone is interested in purchasing the unit, I strongly suggest they look to the forums on the AJB 6000 on mp3.com and/or http://www.neomp3players.com
  • Three hour battery time?

    IMO pathetic.

    It's relatively easy to buy CD players that can run 70+ hours on a pair of AA's. My little MD player can run close to 10 hours on a single good alkaline AA.

    Sure it's not as handy as having 6GB of MP3s but it appears they need to work on their power engineering.

    Unfortunately the first revision of hardware often has bugs but they shouldn't have released it without a good beta test program.
  • FWIW, I had similar problems with tracks ending in the middle etc. However, upgrading the firmware (to the version that adds .WMA support) has fixed all the glitches as far as I can tell, and it also adds the ability to seek within a song (which I think was ridiculous to leave out in the first place).
  • Actually the latest firmware and software let you grab mp3s out of the box and back onto your PC.
  • I highly recommend the Diamond Rio. It has drivers in the kernel that work very well (on sourceforge [sourceforge.net]), a graphical (gtk) file manager thingy (here [sourceforge.net]), and there's even a utility to change the startup animation! (here [so-net.ne.jp])


  • I DON'T drag linux into every thread on slashdot. it's just that it's both relevant to this conversation, and useful information. If you ran windows full time and you had to reboot into linux every time you wanted to change the songs on your mp3 player, wouldn't you start to find it annoying? i sure as hell would get kind of miffed by having to reboot into windows for it.

    Linux is my operating system of choice, separate from any "Free the Source!" ranting pseudo-philosophers. i would want to be able to use the player in linux, and i really don't think that should be too much to ask.

    as for the oppenness of its communication protocols, i fully acknowledge that it might not be practical for the company to make a linux client. that doesn't mean they need to make it difficult for anybody else to make one on their own. openning their protocols is a sign of support and good faith toward those that wish to use their products in linux, and while i would be willing to use a product with reverse-engineered drivers, i would rather give my money to a company that doesn't shun me, my operating system, and the community around it.

  • or even a station wagon full of mag tapes...
  • It might hold _your_ entire music collection, but 6GB comes out to roughly 100 CD's, which is about 1/8th of my collection. I could carry 5 times that in my CD bag.

    From my point of view, the CD players are the way to go. I just don't want to be saddled with some crappy transfer utility and I've already got many of my CD's ripped to CD-R's already.

    Of course, different products for different customers. It depends on what you want or need.

  • No, but using the Case Logic sleeves (jewel cases are for losers), I can carry about 50 CD's of MP3's in a small bag. That's about 30GB of data for about $25. Try that with a hard-disk (at the same price...). Yes, there is some inconvenience when you have to change CD's, but ultimately, you get more flexibility with a CD device at less cost and only sacrifice a little convenience.

    Again, it's only a matter of preference, but I'll go with flexibility any day of the week.

  • How about the PA-1? Anyone working on supporting that? If not, e-mail me and we can start.

  • This unit can't even hold 1/10th of my mp3 music collection. 6GB isn't that big, but it is a nice size for a portable collection. (I don't listen to much classical or jazz when driving the car, for example). The fact that these things look like they can be hacked to hold other laptop HDs makes them more promising in my eyes.

    I have 80GB. and increasing as we speak. All my files are encoded at 256k [belgacom.net] for archival purposes. I use Lame -b 256 -ms -h -p and then I don't need to worry about crappy sounding mp3s. Plus, hard drives are so cheap, you might as well encode as best as you can once and not worry about it.

    What I want to know is if any of these portable mp3 players play 256k mp3s, since I don't want to downsample my already-encoded mp3s due to further loss in quality.
  • Huh?!? According to dmusic.com [dmusic.com] it's the worst one. Have you actually looked into any of the others?
  • If you have 6GB (or more, such as 20GB which can be had with the PJB-100 or NEO 25) you don't need a computer to change the media either, since you don't need to change the media. The unit can hold your complete music collection. That is the decisive advantage of these devices.

    I know they are expensive for now, and thus as a trade-off one might rather go for CD-based MP3 players. But I'm sure that for those that can afford it, and in the future for everyone, HDD based MP3 players are the way to go.

  • There is fast forward and rewind. You need to install the (Creative-supplied) new firmware. A few of your other problems will also be solved this way. Go to nomadworld [nomadworld.com].

    Just FYI.

  • The nomad is nice, but a tad expensive. You can get a very nice cdrw-mp3 player for 100-200 bucks. The cool thing is, one cd can hold over 15 hours worth of music. CD media is dirt cheap too, at around 30 cents a disc if you buy in bulk. So you get unlimited capacity, you don't have to connect the player to a computer to change media (if you have it all on cd-rw you just put in a new cd with 15 hours worth of data before you leave each day). It skip-resistant and probably even weighs less than the nomad too.
  • "I for one am sick and tired of big companies trying to tell me what I can do with X, Y, or Z product after I've already purchased it. "

    If you purchased it, do what you want. If you only licensed it however....
  • I actually have both of these, the DAV 309 and the 310. They both suck ass. I couldn't do anything without it skipping. I could be walking and the player would skip. It also would not find mp3s if the file extension did not end with ".mp3". The player was not very responsive. Navigating through tracks was very difficult because I didn't know where any mp3s were due to the lack of ID3 tag support. I was able to watch VCDs, which was cool. I now have the Nomad Jukebox and it never skipped, I can goto to whatever track I want easily, make playlists, and I don't have to worry about changing CDs. The only big draw back is that batteries don't last very long.
  • The Diamond Rio 300/500/600/800 came with the shittiest software ever. Now the protocol has been hacked for all of them. I'm the author of Riorio [uwaterloo.ca], an alternative software for the Rio 500 in windows. It allows you to upload from the Rio to the computer (fsck the RIAA) and do all sort of stuff you couldn't do with the standard software.
  • Creative is a strange company, parts of it want to be open, IE the live and dxr2 drivers for linux. On the other hand, you have the legal killing of Aureal, and now this. Some real split personality problems in that company.
  • Now that is very cool and the drivers are GPL. Honestly since I don't want a MP3 player I've not looked at or read anything much about these things. But how can one company that has such a clue when it comes to drivers for the SBLive have it so wrong on this device? In any case this one from Compaq looks pretty sweet.
  • The PJB-100 has been hacked to do all sorts of stuff, including upgrading the hard drive inside to 20 gigabytes.

    And so has the Nomad. See Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com]

  • But the disadvantage of a HDD-based device is that the music is stuck on the machine unless you transfer it off the drive. With a CD-based solution, that same MP3 CD will work on any PC, as well as your CD player. So you can tote around your entire music collection and be able to use it on your portable device and on any PC you run across (ie, at work, etc), which is really nice.
  • As much as I hate the RIAA, you're incorrect. You purchase the physical media, but not the data. That's copyrighted. (This is the whole point of copyright.)

    IANAL, so keep a few grains of salt handy.

  • The Archos looks good on paper but the sound quality is horrible compared to the NJB. Also, with the latest firmware and Playcenter software the jukebox can store non-audio files.
  • Several people have said that they find the Nomad overpriced and not that great. If you're in that catagory and you have a cd-burner then you might be interested in the following cd/mp3 players: There are others, but heres a selection. Now all we need is a company with an eye for design (like Sonys very sexy cd players) to come up with a good looking one with all the features you come to expect thesedays.


  • Yeah yeah, the moderators will hate me for this, but really it hasn't gone far enough.

    I for one am sick and tired of big companies trying to tell me what I can do with X, Y, or Z product after I've already purchased it. Hell, some companies [*cough*MPAA*cough*] want to tell me WHERE I can do things with their products [what? you don't live in region X? well, sorry, all your region X DVD's are useless, you can suck us off now]. I had liked Creative Labs, but this little jukebox issue has made up my mind to never purchase from them again. All companies who willingly support content access restriction must be eliminated, the sooner the better for all of us. I was going to buy more CD's, I was going to get a DVD player [the tech itself is plenty cool], but the lawsuit happy morons can all starve to death for all I care now. If you solve your problems with lawyers, you aren't worthy of my time or money.

  • Two points:
    • I've read this same commie troll before. Get some new material.
    • You have to buy a particular piece of hardware in advance of 'hacking' it. It's yours to do with as you want, once you get it. Think CueCats.

  • Do you fuckers really have to drag linux into every fucking thread on /.? I mean Jesus H. Christ! If there were a story about limp penises, someone would ask if the limp penis supported kernel 2.4.x, or if Limp Penis 1.0 would be outwardly compatible with sshd. Christ, give it a break.
  • Out of all the mp3 players i've seen on the market (i even fell victum to purchasing the RIO --- i know, shoot me now) the MPTrip is still the best buy i can find. All the other big name mp3 players out there are way too over priced and the mpTrip is less then $100 US. The thing i like about it most is the fact that it plays MP3 CD's, Audio CD's and even compliation discs. Not to mention it actually has anit-shock technology that works. But this is just my opinion, if anyone else knows of any mp3 players that are decently priced and does everything the mpTrip does if not more, please let me know.
  • by bmetz ( 523 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @09:54AM (#435471) Homepage
    Have you guys thought about the hipzip [iomega.com]? It shows up as a USB storage device when you plugging it in -- meaning you mount it, put any file you want on it, and unmount it. That's it. No silly software, no hacking. Did I mention that it's the size of a deck of cards and each 40meg disk for it is $10?

    They even have a full set of linux drivers on their page! Stop giving money to companies that obviously aren't willing to work for it. Iomega is. Hell, if you look in the credits on the player, the Red Hat logo comes up ;)

    PS: Search the Ogg Vorbis mailing lists for 'hipzip'. You'll find that they have a beta version of their player firmware that supports Ogg Vorbis as well!

  • by Saint Nobody ( 21391 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:39AM (#435472) Homepage Journal

    So the question is, which portable mp3 players have linux clients? and which are open protocols? those are the first two questions i'd consider before buying one.

  • by William Fold ( 45891 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:01AM (#435473)
    Whoa. I haven't had any of the problems you have mentioned.

    My batteries worked fine after a 12 hour charge - they last about 3 hours though. I charged my second set with an external charger that I already had, and they worked fine as well.

    As for the no fast-forward or rewind - this bothered me too - however get the latest update from http://www.nomadworld.com [nomadworld.com] and you will get this functionality!

    Not to mention the ability to transfer mp3's off of your Nomad to your PC. This bothered me as well - unfortunately you can't transfer "protected files" such as the ones that come pre-installed. Only the mp3's that you put on yourself.

    I love my NJB...
  • by Baki ( 72515 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:01AM (#435474)
    Just a warning w.r.t. the Treoplayer:

    It is distributed by the same company, but has completely different origins (i.e. not Compaq research like the PJB). Thus, the Linux SDK for the PJB won't work for the Treoplayer. If one ever appears remains to be seen.

    On paper it has the same characteristics as the PJB, but is cheaper. Shorter battery life though.

    One of the strong points of the PJB is it's excelent sound quality, even if you connect it to a hifi installation the difference at 128kbps is hardly and at 192kbps is not audible. This cannot be said from any other MP3 player (due to excellent encoding/decoding from Fraunhofer and to good D/A components in the player).

    Whether the Treoplayer matches this quality remains to be seen; I think not (it won't be cheaper for nothing, even when sold by the same company). But if you're patient, you might want to wait until it is on the market to see how it really compares to the PJB.

  • by doubleyou ( 89602 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @09:10AM (#435475) Homepage

    Use the Archos Jukebox 6000 instead. It has a few similarities to the Nomad: it's an MP3 player built onto a ~6 GB laptop hard drive, which interfaces with your PC via USB.

    However, there are a number of differences which make it better IMHO. The Archos appears as a FAT32 formatted drive with a drive letter, to which you can drag and drop your MP3 files and directories (yes, that's right: directories, nested as deeply as you like). The Nomad has a proprietary closed means of getting the music to the device, and you need to use their special software to do it. And since the Archos is just a USB hard drive to the computer, you can use it to store more than just MP3s. The display for the Archos is smaller than for the Nomad, but full text of the song title (ID3 tag info) will scroll past, so that's no sticking point.

    Windows 2000/98 treats the Archos as a USB storage device, loading the appropriate drivers for that. This is at least a degree closer to being hackable than the way Creative does it. I think most linux hackers would prefer to write a driver for a generic USB storage device than write a driver for a proprietary device with a narrow range of usefulness. Also, Archos, or the people who they license their USB bridge technology from, may be more willing than Creative to open up their interfaces for writing open-sourced drivers.

    Here's some links:
    Archos website [archos.com]
    Review of Archos Jukebox 6000 at Fun MP3 Players [funmp3players.com]
  • by XJoshX ( 103447 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:01AM (#435476) Journal

    I'm glad you're happy with your MpTrip, but I don't think that I would consider it the best from what I heard.

    Check out Dmusic [dmusic.com] for reviews of all the hardware mp3 players. For CD/mp3 players I believe that the classic cm415 is the highest rated one that you can go out and buy. (only @ circuit city, less than $100) There are several that should come out in the next couple months (cross your fingers). One is claimed to play mp3s off a cd, and be able to rip cds to its internal harddrive much like the nomad. (or PJB for those who prefer the nicer things)The weird thing is the company claims it will be in the $200 dollar range!!!
    To bad it won't probably happen..

  • by Stoutlimb ( 143245 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:41AM (#435477)
    Not knowing USA law, is this against the DMCA or other progressive digital laws the United States has?

    ... Just an inquisitive idiot ...
  • by juerg ( 228182 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:16AM (#435478)

    Does anybody have a recommendation for a similar product without all those shortcommings?

    Check out the Personal MP3 Jukebox, for example on thinkgeek : http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/things/3474.html [thinkgeek.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:01AM (#435479)
    1) Umm, the Jukebox isn't that complicated. The manual pretty much covers anything. This is after all a fairly SIMPLE device for playing music.

    2) Yeah, I have the same problem. I don't use the jukebox as a battery device. I use it as a portable music station. I have a plug for it in my car, a power plug at work, and a power plug at home.

    3) I never even listened to the pre-loaded music, but I have a ton of "concept" albums, where the tracks blend fluidly into each other. In every case, I've never heard a gap between my tracks (since the songs never really end). Winamp always has a slight gap between tracks... and its noticeable... I've never had a problem with the Jukebox.

    4) Ummm, there IS a fast forward and rewind. You press the "next track" and hold. This is very similar to most stereo system cd players. And for rewind, you press "previous track" and hold. It'll start to rewind.

    5) I've never had a problem with tracks stopping in the middle. My guess is there's something about that encoded file it doesn't like. I would probably consider this a bug, and you should try to create an mp3 that does this and send it along with a bug report to Creative Labs. I've already filed two bug reports with them concerning their lousy software, and have received confirmation that these are bugs that'll be addressed.

    6) I agree. The case was lousy. I didn't even know I was getting it when I bought the thing so it wasn't a big loss for me.
    I think the product is amazing. Has front and rear line outs. Headphone jack. DOES store 6 gig of mp3s, and if you know what you're doing you can very easily upgrade the laptop hard drive in the thing to a 20 gig IBM drive. Out of the shortcommings you mentioned, I've never experienced the major two (pauses between tracks, fast forward). The other stuff really are just personal gripes based on your usage. My usage is different and I have no problem with how the Jukebox functions in those areas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:06AM (#435480)
    Um No...
    You said:
    In this case, a company has created something.

    As creators, they own it, and they can do what they want with it.

    Uhm no... They own the design, and own the protocol as their proprietary knowledge. I own the product if I buy it

    If they refuse to improve it, that is their prerogative - without them, the thing wouldn't exist, so surely they should be given the freedom to do what they like with it, without fear of hackers undermining them?

    Yes If the manufacturer refuses to improve the product or event to support it, that is their perogative. It comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. Creative, in this case has to analyse wether it is worthwhile for them to participate with the part of the user community that wishes to get better use out of the product.

    The only time that any third party is undermining the producer is if they decrypt or reverse engineer the thing, and sell that information, or another product that uses the reverse engineerd information. If I decrypt and/or reverse engineer something, and use it to improve how I personally use the product, am I doing harm? I think not. If I share my knowledge (at no cost) with other people who own the same product and have the same interests, am I causing harm or detracting from the companies revenues? Again, the answer is no.

    I think people have to be responsible here - these people should see that their actions are damaging things for everyone, and that they should not just rip other people's work off

    Thease people are not stealing anybody elses work, they are trying to understand and therefore get better use of a product they bought and paid for. Creative's lack of participation to the user community in divulging the USB protocol, or in participating with users who want to improve things is IMHO just another form of poor customer support.

    Companies like Chilton regularly purchase new cars, dissasemble them, and re-assemble them. They then make money off of the sale of the books they write as a result. They have not stolen anybody elses work.
  • by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@wayga.QUOTEnet minus punct> on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:02AM (#435481) Journal
    The latest firmware of the NJB allow you to take music off the device and back to your hard drive, but only if it doesn't have any digital rights management set up. Your collection of MP3 files can be shuffled back and forth from the NJB, but some WMA files can't.
  • by spludge ( 99050 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:40AM (#435482)
    From all accounts the Creative Jukebox is not as good as the PJB-100. Not only that but the PJB has good hacking support! The SDK which is open source and available for linux is continually updated by Compaq.

    The PJB-100 has been hacked to do all sorts of stuff, including upgrading the hard drive inside to 20 gigabytes. You can even talk to the PJB developers on the mailing list [yahoo.com].

    If you are worried about the price of the PJB-100 then I would wait for the treoplayer [treoplayer.com] which will be out near the end of this month. The Treo includes all of the advantages of the PJB and is only $399 and has a smaller form factor.

  • by GreyFish ( 156639 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @08:02AM (#435483) Homepage

    I'm the guy that started the effort to reverse enginner the Rio600, A couple of weeks ago I kicked off a project to support multiple mp3 players under linux/whatever:

    See here [pointless.net].

    So far we have info for, or access to:

    • Rio500
    • Rio600
    • Nike PSA[Play
    • Nomad II mg
    • Nomad Jukebox (via seagulls website)
    • Lg Soul.

    So join the mailing list if you have a player you want supported!

  • by Hazzl ( 161889 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @08:29AM (#435484)
    We don't license music. When I purchase a CD, it's mine. There are no license agreements that I have to fill out, there is no disclaimer that I don't own it. I purchase a CD and have full rights to do whatever I want with it, in my opinion.
    Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but don't expect that to hold up too well in a legal argument. Just try broadcasting that CD of yours at your local radio station and you'll have lawyers all over you before you know it. The artists have the right to put their works under whatever license they choose to. And if they choose to sell all their rights to a record company that's tough luck for all the fans but that's life. Of course, now that artists may have a chance to distribute their works without the help of major record companies and still make some money with it all this might change. It's exactly this change that the record companies should be very afraid of, because people are just not going to need them the way they did before. And in business, if people don't need you, you die.
  • by b0z ( 191086 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @07:42AM (#435485) Homepage Journal
    We don't license music. When I purchase a CD, it's mine. There are no license agreements that I have to fill out, there is no disclaimer that I don't own it. I purchase a CD and have full rights to do whatever I want with it, in my opinion.

    On the other hand, if I licensed music this would work fine too. In that case I would have the ability to go buy a tape, or pull out some old eight track tapes, and exchange them for the CD's with whatever record label I had to deal with. Licensing could work well for that.

    What it boils down to is that the RIAA wants to have their cake, eat it, then take your cake and the cake from the bakers themselves. It's just a scam and should be dealt with by the government just like any other pyramid scheme since the consumers can't do much about it. And "not buying their products" doesn't help because we don't have the support of a large number of people. The RIAA companies would simply forget about our money.

  • by Leon Trotski ( 259231 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:48AM (#435486) Homepage
    Creative's ugly corporate obstinateness is not the only problem with the Nomad. I bought one some time ago and was thourougly disapointed. Here are my main beefs with this thing:

    1. The manual which comes with this product is very poor and does not go into detail about ANYTHING.. It is a small booklet and leaves you with a billion questions.

    2. Battery problems. Just like the manual said, you must charge your batteries for 12 full hours before using them. I charged mine for over 12 hours the first time (did it over night while I was sleeping), and then in the morning I took my jukebox out for a walk with me. The batteries died in a half hour. Lovely. I decided to check out the support newsgroups on this product and apparently I am not the only one who had this problem. It was suggested that I try the 2nd set of batteries that comes with this jukebox. So I did. However, there is no indication on this product as to the status of your batteries charging, you just have to GUESS and ASSUME that they are in fact charging! There is no "meter" which shows you the progress. After 12 hours of charging my 2nd set of batteries, I turned on my jukebox and it read 85% charged... I guess I'll have to accept it. The support group tells me that even though it says 85%, that it really means 100 %. How lovely. How much did this thing cost again? ANd why are so many other people in the support newsgroup experiencing battery/charging problems?

    3. Sometimes there are huge pauses between tracks, while the jukebox loads up the track into memory. (very annoying.. it's like a 10 second wait until your next track; mind you not all the tracks experienced this delay, just the pre-loaded music that came with the jukebox)

    4. No fast forward or rewind, you can only skip to the next track, or go back to the previous one.

    5. Some of my tracks just completely stop playing in the middle, and it moves on to the next track. Yet, the same file will play fine on my pc. And no matter how many times I reboot the jukebox, it will stop playing this file after a minute, as though it got corrupted.

    6. The carrying case that comes with it is really not a convenient way to carry it around for walking or listening on the bus, because you cannot access any controls on the jukebox without taking it out of its case - not even the volume! And why I should go out to a store and buy a special case for this jukebox is beyond me, considering how much this thing already costs!

    The support group tells me that my 1st set of batteries may be defective, and that I should try charging them in an external charger. Why should I go out and buy one?! My bottom line is that for the money they are asking for this product, it better come with EVERYTHING i need!

    In conclusion, the only thing amazing about this product is the fact that it holds 6 GB worth of mp3s. That's all. There is nothing else out of the ordinary, and in fact, everything else about this product is ordinary. Even the EQ settings and spatialization is nothing special.

    Does anybody have a recommendation for a similar product without all those shortcommings?

  • by SpanishInquisition ( 127269 ) on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:30AM (#435487) Homepage Journal
    Pirating a device designed for pirating.
    You hackers have gone too far.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 13, 2001 @06:29AM (#435488) Homepage Journal
    Try this link [aracnet.com] for a working version [aracnet.com]

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission