Mp3 Players

Several months ago Calvin lost my iPod Nano. I’m not sure how but it’s gone and he was the last person seen with it. I have a work iPhone that I’ve been using to listen to podcasts and library audio books. However, I really need to get my own. I’ve always been annoyed with how rigid Apple can be and as time goes by, I’ve been getting more and more annoyed. So, I decided to try replacing my iPod with something else. I mainly used my iPod for podcasts and audio books. The audio books are library subscriptions from Overdrive so they needed the ability to do WMA DRM. I don’t need a huge amount of space because I don’t keep the podcasts or audio books indefinitely so 4 -8 GB seemed like a reasonable choice. Plus, I prefer smaller players.

After researching a bit, I decided either the Sandisk Sansa Clip or the Sony Walkman would fulfill my needs. I was leaning toward the Sansa Clip but wanted to touch it in person so Jaeger, Calvin, and I took a field trip to Best Buy. In person, the Sansa Clip screen looked too small. So I instead started comparing the Sansa Fuze+ with the Sony Walkman. I was pretty sure the Sansa was Overdrive compatible but wasn’t as sure about the Sony player so I went with that.

I bought the Sansa Fuze+ but when I got it home, I saw that I had gotten the “+” version which had significantly worse reviews that just the plain Fuze. Most of the users seemed to complain about the touch interface which I had some concerns about in the store. I hadn’t opened the package yet so the user reviews convinced me to return it and get the Sony Walkman instead.

Well, the Sony Walkman was a disaster. In many ways, I like it. I think the interface is reasonable and Overdrive transfers audio books to it beautifully. However, even though it’s supposedly Windows 7 compatible, I couldn’t get it to work right on my computer. I spent at least 6 hours trying to get it to work correctly. The only way I could get it to work was by telling Windows it was a USB drive. This kind of worked but it was cludgy and the (minimal) software that came with it didn’t recognize it as a valid device. Windows Media Player did but I discovered, to my surprise, that WMP does not have podcast capabilities. Eventually, I got it mostly working using Winamp. However, then I realized that the Walkman didn’t have bookmarking capabilities. That is, if I paused an audio book to listen to a podcast and then went back to the audio book, it’d make me start at the very beginning of what is usually a 60-90 min segment and I’d have to painfully fast forward until I reached the spot where I left off. I spent 12 hrs (8 of them asleep) convincing myself that I could live with this. However, by mid-day today, I had regained my sanity. To my surprise, but delight, Best Buy took back the Sony Walkman and didn’t even charge me a restocking fee in spite of the package obviously being opened.

I’ve mostly resigned myself to getting another iPod Nano. I did look for other mp3 players that had bookmarking capabilities but the reviews were pretty lackluster. However, I’d really rather not get one of the new Nanos. My main complaints are 1) they’re too small and 2) I don’t like touch screens. My iPhone’s touchscreen I tolerate because work pays for it but it’s not my favorite way to interact with devices. So, I’m considering buying a used Nano instead. Still not sure . . .

On a completely different topic, I think I’ve run out of useful books to read about selling houses. (You may recall from previous posts that we’re seriously thinking of selling our house in a year to 18 months.) I’ve now read around 8 books on the subject and they’re starting to repeat each other so I’m going to quit for now and just read a refresher course when the time gets nearer. My favorite books on house selling that I’ve read are:

  • Seven Steps to Sold by Donna and Shannon Freeman – Nice general overview written in a friendly tone.
  • Home Staging that Works by Starr C. Osborne – Discusses all aspects of how to make your house look it’s best to buyers.
  • How to Sell a House Fast in a Slow Real Estate Market by William Bronchick – This book had more detailed steps than the Freeman book. It would probably be especially useful for “For Sale by Owner” info. He offers info such as it takes 100 people walking through your home to get 10 serious buyers to get 1 buyer in a position to make an offer (i.e. marketing is very important). He also provides tips for various aspects of marketing such as when taking pictures of the front of the house you want it to be at a 20 degree angle instead of straight-on.

Calvin Moment

  • Today when I took Calvin to the park another child was filling my hands with bark chips and telling me it was “banana pie.” Calvin overheard this and picked some of the chips from my hand and pretended to eat them. I think this is the first time I’ve seen such abstract pretending from him. Normally, he will use our cell phones and pretend to talk on the phone or pretend to be driving a truck. However, the prop always is intended to represent what he doing.

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