3 10 2006

Amarok is a great linux music player that ships with Kde.  It has a very cool interface, organizes your music in a very intuitive way, and has look ups for album covers and lyrics.  I really like the album cover feature, as I really haven’t set foot in a record store for more than 10 minutes since my son Liam was born. 

It will also talk to a variety of mp3 players, allowing you to add and remove tracks, and organize the contents.  Now, I bought myself a 30 GB Creative Nomad Zen Xtra about 3 years ago when I decided I was too cheap for an iPod.  All Creative players ship with this massive piece of bloatware that is supposed to organize and sync your player.  It is a memory hog, is slow, and is not stable.  And it only runs in Windows. 

Since switching to Linux, finding a good application to manage my mp3 player from Linux has been a massive pain in my ass.  Creative uses a proprietary file system and gives absolutely no help to the open source community in developing apps for use in Linux.  What’s out there has historically been at least a little unstable and bloated.  And god forbid you upgrade a library for whatever reason–there goes whatever application you spent hours and hours managing to get to work. 

Which brings me to the topic of this post, sort of. 

Up until about a month ago, I’d been using a program called Gnomad2 with my Zen.  It’s a good application, but I’ve never been a huge fan.  It is pretty slow, really doesn’t like directories with lots of files, and doesn’t transfer files recursively if there’s anything other than a music file in the directory (like say, an m3u playlist file).  Then one day, it broke.  I hadn’t changed anything, hadn’t updated anything, hadn’t done shit.  It just up and flipped me the bird.  I tried to fix it and failed.

Time to move on, I decided. 

Development of apps for Creative’s mp3 players has been pretty stilted, and a while there are quite a few out there, most of them haven’t done anything in quite a while. 

There is:

And maybe some others.

 With the introduction of Amarok 1.4, Nomad support was supposed to be built in.  I tried it a few times without ever making any effort, and couldn’t see how to connect it.  Then last week I read in the Ubuntu forums that the stock Dapper packages didn’t ship with Creative support. 

As a rule, whenever there’s a package available for an application, I’ll install the package instead of compiling from source.  It is easy and I’m lazy, and I have this illusion that there is probably better stability and support for a .deb package that is in an official repository.  Someone(s) smarter than me has built and tested whatever application it is, and it is most likely known to work.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be a package, right?

Fuck that.

I purged Amarok using Synaptic, downloaded the latest Amarok (1.4.3) and it’s dependancies.  I spent an hour configuring and making the files, and installed it without an issue, and got a neat little message saying that the package was being built with Creative Nomad support. 

 After trying to connect it for about an hour over two days, I finally figured out that my damn mp3 player had locked up.  I reset it, connected to my computer, launched Amarok, and…

It works.

Without fits or latency or being too bloated, it just.fucking.works.

I’ll write a howto in the next couple of days, because there was a little more to it than what I just described. 

But Amarok talks to my Zen with grace and style, and transfers files very quickly.

Try it, you’ll like it.






2 responses

19 11 2006

Care to put up a detailed list of sources and how to install? I’m basically in your boat…

3 03 2007

It is a times like these I wish I hadn’t been all clever and had just bought a iPod (instead of my Zen Vision: M). I’ve suffered at the hands of Gnomad2, done everything that was asked of me and still it crashes for no reason other than it just feels like it. So I’m installing the kubuntu-desktop in a fit of pique to try and get Amarok to recognise it.

Next time I want to buy a mp3 player, I’m following the herd. They know what they’re doing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: