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  1. #1
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    Digital Music Player

    I'm thinking by buying my wife & daughter digital music players for Christmas & I'm looking for some advice.

    As far as I can see all players will play MP3's which I can create from my own CD's so the main difference (other than sound quality, usability, capacity, etc.) is in the type of music they can buy online. So far it looks like my choice is between an iPod, which can only play downloaded music bought from iTunes, or another player (probably Creative Labs) which can't play iTunes music. iTunes, of course, has the largest catalog-but the size of the catalog is really irrelevant. What's important is how much of the music in that catalog suits my (or my wife's or daughter's) taste. So far I haven't found a way to browse the iTunes catalog without downloading the software which I don't want to do on any of my machines until I've got some problems straightened out-maybe in a couple of months. (A little late to make my choice for Christmas, unless I get lucky with the problems.) Does anyone know of any other way to browse the iTunes catalog?

    For the other models, I'm tending to look at the MusicMatch & Wal-Mart online stores. I already have MusicMatch Jukebox-I've used it for several years for ripping my CD's-so I can browse those catalogs which is probably why I'm leaning towards the Creative Labs player. At least I know what's available for it.

    Of course none of these are available locally so I can't really judge the sound quality & usability for myself. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Oh, BTW, my wife's music interest is primarily country. I'm not really sure what my daughter's would be called-she's a typical teenager & her favorite band seems to change every week.

  2. #2
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    Re: Digital Music Player

    Stay "tuned" (pun intended) as more companies are announcing iTunes compatible players in the near future - next month or so - I am sure before the Christmas buying season - so I think you will have more to choose from.

    However - as an self-proclaimed audiophile - 600+ CDs - and as a "computer security expert" (or so I have my employer believing) I must warn that downloading music has become one of the best(?) avenues (along with porn, on-line gambling, and spam) for the proliferation of spyware, viruses, Trogans, worms, etc.

    Therefore, should you decide to proceed, you MUST take all necessary proactive steps to ensure the integrity of your systems. These include the use of:

    <UL><LI>Current/Updated Antivirus programs
    <LI>Software based firewall (ZoneAlarm for example - and yes they corrected the problems that a "few" very vocal users had in 5.0) - Microsoft's is woefully inadequate, even in SP2
    <LI>Hardware based firewall through the use of a router with NAT - a must for broadband users - many include dial-up support
    <LI>Spyware scannners (SpyBot S&D and Ad-Aware SE as minimums - with current signature files, of course)
    <LI>SPAM blocker
    <LI>Pop-up blocker
    <LI>And possibly the most important - disciplined safe computing practices including:
    1. <LI>Perform all Critical and Security Updates for the OS and other applications on a timely basis
      <LI>Maintain scaners with current signature files
      <LI>Scan all downloads BEFORE opening/installing
      <LI>Always delete email from unknown sources without opening or previewing first - just delete
      <LI>NEVER open attachments without scanning first- even from known sources - your contact's address could be spoofed
    [/list]I like to equate it to responsible driving, you don't just throw the keys at your kid and say to have fun, you teach them to buckle up and drive defensively!
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

  3. #3
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    Re: Digital Music Player

    Thanks. I just saw an announcement from Real that their download service would offer iPod compatibility. From what I've been reading the iPod would seem to be the best-if only it weren't limited to the iTunes service! I don't like the limitation on the number of computers either-I upgrade/rebuild our computers too frequently to be comfortable with that type of limit (I wonder if reloading it back onto the 'same' computer counts-and what determines whether or not it's the 'same' computer?)-but I can probably live with it since they let me burn each song to multiple CD's & portables. (And I assume that I can transfer it directly from a CD to a portable without it counting as 'loading on a computer'? Something I'll have to ask them, I guess.)

    I already practice safe hex, but I'm curious about one aspect of your warning-I'm talking about downloading from legitimate music sources, i.e. music stores legally selling copyrighted music, not P2P. Are you sure that's "one of the best(?) avenues ... for the proliferation of spyware, viruses, Trogans, worms, etc. "? It just seems to me that even one infestation, if it became known (and these days how could it not become known) would pretty much kill the store it came from.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Music Player

    The iTunes software for Windows has an option to "de-authorize" another computer. I think this is how you free up one of your allowed "clients" for local sharing, but I haven't tried any sharing so I'm not sure.

  5. #5
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    Re: Digital Music Player

    <hr>I already practice safe hex, but I'm curious about one aspect of your warning-I'm talking about downloading from legitimate music sources, i.e. music stores legally selling copyrighted music, not P2P. Are you sure that's "one of the best(?) avenues ... for the proliferation of spyware, viruses, Trogans, worms, etc. "? It just seems to me that even one infestation, if it became known (and these days how could it not become known) would pretty much kill the store it came from.
    <hr>
    Agreed - the major players cannot afford that type of publicity. I was referring to the P2P side of music downloads and I am glad that you seem fully aware of the dangers there. So many seem unaware or just don't care, until it is too late. As it appears that your are, at a minimum, an advanced computer enthusiast, it suspect it a given that you will impress upon your daughter the dangers lurking out there.

    I suppose it is only right that I mention there are legitimate P2P uses.

    One of my favorite expressions/analogies lately is this, "you don't just throw the car keys to a new driver and say have fun. You teach them to drive defensively and make them buckle up".
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

  6. #6
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    Re: Digital Music Player

    Good. I'll need to look into that as, if it does what it sounds like it should do, it will answer one of my significant concerns about these devices. Now if I could only find one that will work with all-or nearly all-the music stores.

    Whoa-just as I hit return for the above line I got some kind of message on my screen & (after hitting enter) it flipped back to the thread. Hope this didn't post twice.

    Anyway, to Bill, I like your analogy. A significant part of my work lately has been cleaning out malware downloaded by naive users. Yes, I've tried to impress on my daughter how dangerous things can be-but I seem to be continually caught between my desire to protect her & her conviction that since she hasn't suffered harm (because I've been protecting her) then the danger doesn't exist. Do I really need to let her get hurt to teach her a lesson? That seems so vindictive-but how else to get her to listen to me?

    So far I've simply told her that if she wants music she can buy the CD & rip it-but it's a damned expensive solution to buy an entire album when she only wants one or two songs.

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