carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Well, that's probably a bit generic, I should say Linux Music Players.

After I repaired my development Linux computer, I was left without a good music player program.

Previously, I've used Xmms, which had a very similar interface to WinAmp, even going as far as using the same skins (for version 2.x only, though), and I've also used Xfmedia, the old, past-official media player for the Xfce desktop environment.

What these two programs had in common was a very simple user-interface, and neither made any attempt to organize or maintain your music collection themselves.

Unfortunately, Xmms is so old the libraries it requires are no longer easy to obtain and install, and every single fork of the project that brought it up to date has veered right off the path and ballooned into managing far too much.
Xfmedia, on the other hand, is so broken it won't even run, and nobody is maintaining its code anymore.

While there are a number of music and media players in Ubuntu's software repositories, the majority of them want to at least keep track of your music themselves, which really rubs me the wrong way.
I've already organized my music the way I want to see it (and I remember where everything is, so far), so it takes a certain amount of time to find my music again with a new interface.

The part that annoys me most, however, is that most Linux media players don't have a "small mode" that shows only the current track info, and the playback controls.

They've wasted so much screen space with their playlists and their music store info, that they take up most of the screen.

Xfmedia and Xmms could be collapsed to fairly small sizes, so I could put them in a corner of the screen and set to be always on top of other windows so I could see what the current track was, and pause it quickly if I had to leave the room.
(my keyboard doesn't have the so-called "media keys", with separate buttons for play/pause and stop)

If anybody knows of a Linux (or cross-platform) music player that doesn't try to take over my music collection, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Unbricked!

Mar. 28th, 2011 01:31 am
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
After playing around with the software I'd used to brick my MP3 player last time, I managed to figure out how fix it again, so I now have a usable MP3 player again!

It's a Samsung YP-K3 JAB/XAC model MP3 player, and oddly enough, has two "levels" of firmware.
The lowest level seems to be the actual firmware used to run the device, while the second level provided a graphical interface to interact with.
(as evidenced by the fact that version 3.09 has four versions of the second level, each with a different interface colour, and the additional fact that it doesn't like firmwares of different sizes than the one for its particular version)

After I'd tried to upgrade from 3.09 straight to 4.10 (skipping 4.03 and 4.06), along with the requisite reformatting to a Windows filesystem, it had worked just fine before the first couple of reboots, after which the display turned a solid shade of blue and reverted to using the MTP protocol.

It took me a while to figure out that it had reverted to the older 3.09 revision, though once I'd figured it out, I loaded the matching second layer file, and it worked again!

I've finally loaded almost all my music back onto it, leaving off only the music that I never bothered to listen to, which saved me a bit of space, as I've been hanging on the edge of less than 1GB of free space for a while now.

I'm actually quite relieved that it's working again, as if it hadn't, I would've had to buy a whole new media player, costing at least sixty dollars.
(for me, that's about two week's worth of work. I really need to get a better-paying job)
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
I was trying to upgrade my MP3 player's firmware to something that had more features, and I think I bricked it.

It was a Samsung YP-K3 JAB/XAC model, with 4GB of space, good battery life, and an unusual connection protocol that gave me some headaches with Linux compatibility.

It was called MTP, for Media Transfer Protocol, an expansion of a previous protocol used for digital cameras called PTP, for Picture Transfer Protocol.

At the time I purchased the player, which was at least three, maybe four years ago, Linux support for MTP was very poor, and took me quite a while to find even one program that would cooperate with it.
(it's much better now, and I even have a nice stand-alone program that does the job, but was curious as to the additional features)

I probably should have tried gradually upgrading instead of jumping to the latest release, as I'm not sure it's going to be usable any more.

I have tried to downgrade back to the version it came with, but without success.

I guess this means I need to buy a new player...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Okay, this is getting unusable now.

My years-old Samsung YP-K3JAB model 4GB MP3 player is now seriously on the blink.
I used to have some issues when loading music onto it and had to double- or triple-check that files were actually copied before unplugging the device, but now it's not even letting me use it for more than about twenty seconds, just long enough for my OS (doesn't seem to matter which one, I've tried Win7, WinXP, as well as Ubuntu Linux, with the same results) to recognize the device, load drivers, pop up a data transfer program, list all the music that's on the device, then stop responding.

Trying to reset the device merely starts me over from the very beginning of the mess...

I'm honestly not quite sure just what I want to look for next, I just know I want to steer well clear of RCA and Apple.
(I've had some poor experiences with RCA's products, including having to go into EVERY SINGLE SONG I put on the device, as it would sort by track title, NOT by track index, like it was supposed to, and I can't quite stand Apple enough to be able to buy any of their overpriced, under-warrantied gadgets)

I might try to stick with Samsung, but will keep my options open.
I'd like to stick to the 4GB and up range (on the lower end is just fine, I only have about 3GB, so 4GB is good expanding range), and I really don't need video capabilities just yet.

Does anyone have any suggestions for media players to look at?
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Seriously, there are some things that Linux just can't get right.
Granted, they are rare occasions, but they do happen.

Witness, for instance, MTP support.

MTP stands for Media Transport Protocol, and is a digital protocol for storing music and pictures (along with playlist information) on storage devices such as MP3 players.

Current Linux software that supports MTP usually only support adding and removing music, with claims of supporting playlist information (I don't care about pictures), but either only support adding and removing music from playlists and not updating them (ie, changing the order the music is listed in) or completely breaks the playlist data.

When Linux fails, it can fail rather hard...

I have to resort to using Windows to fix the playlist issues, and can't even use my Windows XP Pro install as the drivers to support my Samsung YP-K3 don't quite work, which means I have to resort to using Windows 7 Pro.

Now, I shouldn't really mind having to resort to Windows to do something Linux is supposed to handle, but it still means I have to stop whatever I'm doing, save all my current progress, and reboot over to another OS, update the playlist data, then decide if I want to switch back to Linux or play some game on the Windows side.

Most of what gets me is all the work involved in stopping whatever I happen to be doing down to a state I can shut Linux down with.

So far I've tried a great deal of Linux software over the few years I've had the device, and even over the various versions each has had, none of them have really had all the features working correctly.
(the most annoying being the playlist incompatibilities mentioned above)

I guess for the moment I'm stuck using Windows for a job that Linux is supposed to do... -.-

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Carl Foxmarten

August 2017

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