My sister got a new iPod for Christmas, so she didn’t need her old MP3 player anymore. She gave it to me. She was having trouble getting music to work on it anyway. She couldn’t tell me why, but I can usually figure these things out.
It was an RCA Lyra 1020, vintage 2002 or so. The nice thing about it is, even though it’s only got 128MB of flash storage, it takes SD cards, and SD cards are dirt cheap. I’ve got a 2GB one lying around the house I’m not doing much with. I have no problem picking up more.
It’s a mass storage device too. I just have to plug it into a computer and drag files onto it. Supposedly it came with an old version of MusicMatch Jukebox, (now known as Yahoo! Music Jukebox), but I didn’t care about that. For one thing, I’m running Linux. For another, I’m not downloading anybody’s POS music management software just because they tell me to. Ever. I’ve tolerated iTunes with the iPod because it works rather well for podcasts. That doesn’t mean I ever liked it.
Anyway, as I said, this thing looked like it would be really great to use in lieu of my lost iPod, since I could plug it into Linux with a standard MP3 cable, or copy MP3 files directly onto an SD card and play them on this little device. Handy!
Except, of course, it wasn’t that easy.
You see, this is an MP3 player that doesn’t actually play MP3 files. It plays “.mpy” files. I don’t even know what an .mpy file is. The MusicMatch software it originally came with had a conversion plug-in so you could transcode MP3 files before uploading them. Apparently this was some lame-ass attempt to keep people from transferring MP3s between computers with this device. You know, because apparently it’s hardware manufacturers’ responsibility to make piracy difficult by making their hardware as inexplicably crippled as possible.
And I’m guessing that’s why my sister had a hard time getting this thing to play music. She got a new computer last year, and I guess she never thought to dust off the old CD she got with the Lyra and use it to copy music over. Which makes sense to me, since it’s so much easier to just drag and drop.
If this little bit of technological garbage has any saving grace at all, it is that it plays WMA files unmolested. However, I have no use for WMA files and I’d rather not have to go to the hassle of coming up with some way of converting podcasts before copying them over. So this little piece of crap is probably going to collect dust in a box somewhere until I get around to throwing it out.