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Julia: 1, Cool Electronic Devices: 0 September 17, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, life.
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The swath of destruction has begun…

I have been really enjoying one of the toy’s I got myself for my 40th birthday: the Toshiba Gigabeat S — a video/mp3/wma player with 60 gigs of disk. I have my whole music and a good section of my video collection on it. It has been getting most of its use during the late night Julia-feedings. Usually the occur at about 2 or 3 in the morning (just as I’m getting ready to go to bed).

Last night Julia managed to wrap her leg up in the earphone cable and give a good kick. The Gigabeat flew off the couch and onto the floor. Only a 1.5 foot drop, but apparently enough to kill the hard disk. When I turn the thing on now I just get a picture that says “please return to manufacturer for repair.” Bummer. It wasn’t a cheap toy (though I see that it has already dropped in price, grrr!). I bet fixing it will be 50% of its original cost.

If you want a quick review of this device:

  • Hardware works great (seems a little fragile).
  • The picture area is small, common on these things. Perhaps the next generation will fix that. Best for viewing movies and TV shows you’ve already seen.
  • The software interface is also really nice. A friend of mine, a iPod fanatic, liked it, and was a little surprised to hear who had written the interface.
  • Music is categorized in the usual way, genre, artist, album, etc. But there is no categorization for video. When you download some 80 or so video shorts and movies this is pretty painful.
  • The software conversion on the host PC needs work. I have a bunch of video recorded using MP4 codecs (like XviD) and there is no default easy codec that will do the transcoding and down-sizing. Elcard is what I ended up using and it worked well.

It made it 9 weeks. I’ll let you know how good Toshiba Customer Service is (I’ve not had good luck with their portables).

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