Jukebox mania

I am now the proud owner of a Creative Nomad Zen Xtra, thanks to being extremely lucky (perhaps undeservedly so!) So I've been messing with it a bit.

The device itself is extremely nice. The scroll wheel thingy is a bit awkward to use, especially with the case on, but I've few complaints so far. I don't know how it fares against an iPod; my last MP3 player was a CD-based koss thing that got zapped by a static charge when it was so cold outside the air in my flat was dry to the point of pain in my nose...

Storage capacity is very high; I don't think I have enough CDs to fill it! So far, Xenosaga II OST went on. USB transfer is extremely quick.

This device pretty much prompted me to finally set up USB under Linux, because I hate booting into Windows (with Windows 2000 not being supported so much, I'm always worried I'll get contaminated by some nasty worm or something; I do install system updates, but I don't run Windows all that often, so I tend to be quite a few updates behind).

Overall, it was a bit painful, but that's my fault for insisting on compiling my own kernel. Setup went like this:

  1. apt-get install gnomad2 (lots of gnome libs get installed--maybe I should rewrite this thing in pure GTK or something...)
  2. Run the program; complains it can't see the Nomad. Hmmm.
  3. Install the libnjb utilities. They, too, complains.
  4. apt-get install hotplug. Still doesn't work. Darn.
  5. Read the USB howto. They mention the USB filesystem. Hmm, don't recall setting that option.
  6. Download 2.6.9 kernel, since a recompile is a good excuse to update to latest kernel.
  7. make menuconfig and realize that indeed, hadn't set the CONFIG_USB_DEVICEFS option. Set it. Also set up the hotplug support (CONFIG_HOTPLUG). Remind self that options that affect one another aren't always grouped...
  8. Rebuild, install kernel package, reboot. Plug device in.
  9. Start gnomad2; it finds device right away! Success!
  10. Find out that gnomad2 has support for transferring data files as well as music. This means I won't need to boot under Windows except to update firmware. Hmm, maybe I can try to hack firmware; then again, maybe not, as a goof could really ruin the device.

That's pretty much it.

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