Sandy Chen

Finding the Perfect Music Player

Posted on: January 31, 2010

Last week, my friend Andrew Currie helped installed Linux Mint onto Ryan’s laptop. Ryan’s not the most tech savvy guy, so installing Linux may or may not have been a good idea to begin with, but no matter, Andrew and I were set on giving it a new face, because Ryan had been mentioning that his laptop took forever to load, and its speed gets noticeably slower as each season passes, along with a few other little things that were problematic.

We had to give it a new hard drive, because the old one had issues with it, and any given moment, it could just crash. I honestly can’t tell you the process of installing Linux Mint onto the laptop, perhaps Andrew Currie would care to indulge on this.

Since bringing it home, Ryan’s been fidgeting around with it. His objectives with this laptop were to:
 
1) Surf the net
2) View documents that he brings home from work such as Powerpoint and Excel
3) Download, play music, and sync it to his iPod, which was given to him as a gift just prior to Christmas

Ok, so with these objectives, the first two were met with no problems. The third, however, proved to be a hell of a task for Ryan. Long story short, Ryan as no longer willing to invest his time any further with what he already spent on trying to figure out how Rhythmbox worked. By Saturday evening, he was so frustrated with it that he declared complete abandonment toward his laptop, and raised war on this poor iPod that barely did anything wrong except not have any music on it. So with that, I decided to make it my mission, since my desktop is still running on Windows OS, this was the perfect opportunity to start getting to know Linux, nothing better than baptism by fire, plus I enjoy a good challenge! So Ryan wants to play music on his laptop and put music on his iPod, I was going to make it happen if it was the last thing I do.

With the help of Andrew, we decided that perhaps there was something wrong with Rhythmbox, and therefore, let’s uninstall it and find another player.

Uninstalling it was easy, click on Software Manager, and type your search, and you can uninstall it a blink of an eye. Here comes the interesting part: I had no idea that within Software Manager, you can search for software that you wanted to install. As a female, the best way to describe it would be to flip through a Sears catalogue and ticking off the items you want, and the best part, all of it was free!

So here we are, music player-less, browsing through the list, first up, Songbird. We picked SB because Andrew has the experience with it and likes it. Installation complete, but how do we sync up this iPod? Find an Add-on, duh! So I did, but for some bizarre reason, still can’t do it, Songbird isn’t recognizing or picking up the iPod…oh well, let’s move on.

I uninstall it, and went back to the catalogue, Banshee was up next. I liked Banshee’s set up, it seemed really user friendly, I would definitely keep if, if I didn’t have this iPod issue I needed to resolve, seriously, why can’t I sync this damn iPod? Like Songbird, Banshee doesn’t want to recognize it either! Sigh, no luck, so we move on again.

At that moment, I contemplated on reinstalling Rhythmbox and finding out how far we can go with it, but wait, Andrew sees that perhaps Amarok would be our saviour! So, full of hope, I install it, boy does it take long to install in comparison to the other players we’ve tried so far, but hey, great big file could mean great big thing right? I start the application up, and omg, it sees my iPod and wants to talk to it! Woohoo! But wait, my attempt to import my music files into the player fails miserably! I would have tried to figure out what was wrong with it, however, the set up and navigating around the program was complicated that I don’t even bother, because if I’m finding it hard to navigate around already, I’d probably be seeing this laptop in pieces if I gave it to Ryan to use.

I do a little further reading, then finally I decide to give Rhythmbox another shot.

Perhaps this was the Tech Goddess taking pity on me, but the second time around, it was so easy! It’s as though whatever beef previously it had with Ryan or myself had completely disappeared. 

One of the biggest problems with Rhythmbox is that if it sources the music directly from the music folder you’re asking it to import from, and you decide to relocated the music to a different folder, Rbox becomes discombobulated and doesn’t like that. So I guess the key is to keep your music in a consistent folder and don’t move it. If you must move files around then make sure you update your imported files.

As for the iPod, as soon as i plugged it into the laptop, Rhythmbox found it, but it won’t sync on its own, you have to manually do it, takes a little longer I guess, but not at all complicated.

In this small session working on the Linux OS, I discovered that it is definitely worth your time to learn Linux if you’re the type of person who enjoys a challenge, and have some patience. The option to be able to customize your computer and make it uniquely your own is definitely quite the reward I look forward to. However, if you’re the type who likes to be smacked around, be told exactly what you need, and then be charged an arm and a leg after each bitch slap session, I suppose Windows is definitely the way to go for you 😉

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3 Responses to "Finding the Perfect Music Player"

By coincidence I happened upon a related post this morning:

“Linux on the desktop is not hard to use. It is different to Windows or Mac OS X, but not hard. Unless, of course, you’re keen on plugging in your fifth-generation iPod and syncing it with your music library. Then you’re down the proverbial river. The same is true of a range of other devices that use proprietary drivers to achieve their full potential.

But that’s not the fault of Linux. It’s the fault of product makers who can’t be bothered to make drivers available for Linux when they issue new releases.”

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Currie, Sandy Chen. Sandy Chen said: Finding the Perfect Music Player for Linux Mint Laptop: http://wp.me/psOvj-u […]

Apple locks down their hardware so much it just becomes a pain to get anything that is not made by Apple to work with it. I guess that’s how they make their money… Personally, I try to ensure hardware will work in Linux before I actually buy it. It takes a few Google searches but the rewards are worth it. Also standards compliant hardware makes life so much easier.

My MP3 player is basically a glorified USB stick. It’s made by Sony so the sound and hardware quality is very good. It plugs right into the USB port and shows up like any thumb drive. Simply copy/paste. There isn’t even a cable to forget or lose 🙂

A little Googling before I bought my laptop now means that every bit of hardware works out of the box in Linux. No downloading or installing drivers at all. I can throw any Linux distro on it and it all just works. Pretty sweet!

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