The sound quality is adequate without being stellar. (For $20, what do you expect?) I like that it uses a single AAA battery rather than contain some kind of rechargeable battery which, like as not, would run out of juice at inconvenient times.
I also bought a 2 GB SD card ($15) to plug into the thing. So right there I can store 3 GB worth of music on this thing. Only beef there is that the SD card sticks out about 1/4 inch. (Again, for $20, what do you expect?)
Windows Vista had no trouble configuring itself to allow me to copy files to and from the thing; it can function as a 1 GB flash drive as well as an MP3 player.
When I first switched it on, the volume was set at maximum. Bad default! Bad!
The Ipod Shuffle was selling, last week at work, for $60-ish. The sound quality is probably a lot better, but it's not expandable and uses an internal NiMH battery which has to be recharged.
So I spent about $35--what the no-name-brand MP3 player I saw at work cost--and got the player and an expansion card. It's good to shop around and be patient.
* * *
We took aluminum to the scrap yard today. I got $30 for my used catalytic convertor. It's not a very large one and size does matter, so WTF--it's $30 more than I had. It means that I paid about $40-50 for all those car parts....
* * *
Thanks to a link on Chizumatic I ended up looking for Futari H, which is the no-holds-barred story of a newlywed couple and their sexual learning curve. And I found it here, where you can read the entire damn thing on-line. But be warned: it is extremely NOT safe for work or small children because it shows everything.
The manga is being published by TokyoPop (!) so you could buy it from Amazon or somewhere.
It's like there's a manga story about everything these days. There's the story about the woman raising an autistic child, and there's this, which TokyoPop calls Manga Sutra (aren't they clever), and there's the OL Shinkaron which is in English for Japanese who want to learn English, and....
All kinds of crazy stuff out there.
But Futari H is pretty good, story-wise. It's not art for the ages but it's a fun read.
And, by the way, there is also anime of this, which has been released in the US already. I'd complain about being behind the curve, except that I don't really follow the hentai side of things, so it's to be expected.
* * *
Thinking about this, though, I have to realize that the device I'm listening to was science fiction about 10 years ago. In 1998, you were doing well to have a couple of gigabytes of hard drive space in your computer; and that took a hard drive that's physically bigger than this thing, which is about the size of three 9v batteries laid side-by-side. (Smaller, actually.)
I saw, somewhere on the Internet, a picture of an older 1 GB hard drive in a museum--a big one, from a minicomputer or a mainframe--and a hand holding a 1 GB Micro-SD card alongside it. The Micro-SD card is less than 1 cm square, and less than a millimeter thick.
Heck, my other MP3 player is a CD-based type, bought new in 2002. Six years ago.
But the MP3 format wasn't widespread, as far as I know, before 1998--in fact it only really got its start in 1995, although it had existed since 1991. It looks like WinAmp was what really boosted the MP3, starting in 1997, which gibes with what I remember.
So go back 10 years, to 1998, and this little box that plays MP3s would have been the ultimate in coolness for personal audio...but at the time, the technology would have been much bigger and more expensive (and required more power).
20 years back--1988--it might have been possible, barely. It would be big and run only on AC, but it could be done. Go an additional 5 years back, though, and it wouldn't be; by 1978 it would be completely out of the question.
Every time I try to imagine going back to the 1970s I conclude that they can have the 21st century when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.