rockbox rox

One again, the open source community has salvaged otherwise worthless hardware, abandoned by the original manufacturer to a lifetime of almost usefulness, crippled by inadequate software. See, I had this idea for Tivo for radio, and then one day I was in Compusa, and I saw the Archos FM Recorder, a little i-pod-like device that included digital I/O, an FM tuner, and a little pre-buffereing feature while listening to the radio that would allow one to record from the begining of a song that's already in progress. I had to try it, so I got one. And was sorely disappointed. The thing would crash all the time, it took forever to do anything, battery life sucked, and worst of all, playlists were limited to a handful of tracks.

So, it goes on the shelf, and I drop $30 on a cheapo mp3-cd player, which is great, though the extra 15 minutes it takes to burn a CD versus transferring some files over USB2.0 can be annoying, but oh well.

Enter the Rockbox group. They started out making firmware replacements for the standard Archos jukebox mp3 players, but finally got around to making one that's compatible with the FM model. It's sweet. Now I have a decent playlist management system, plus lots of nifty features I didn't have before, like tetris, and pitch shifting.