What "Better Than Radio" is:
It's my poor-man's MP3 substitute. I have a couple dozen tapes, all the same brand, all labeled identically so they all look the same. Each tape is filled with random songs that I like-- and will probably never ever hear on the radio. I keep them all in a bag, and then just grab one at random. So I never really know what song is next, but I know it'll be something I want to hear instead of what's on the radio (which seems to be most of the time these days).
Why Better Than Radio is better than an MP3 player:
1. NO DIGITAL SKIPS, JUMPS OR STUTTERS. EVER.
2. Last time I checked, an MP3 player still couldn't make sure you rotate your songs so that you don't hear the same artist more than once an hour, or assign "light" or "heavy" rotations so a specific song pops up more or less frequently. However I bet this will change soon, if it hasn't already.
3. It's signifigantly cheaper.
4. It's never incompatable... tapes I made years ago will still work in tape players that come out years from now.
5. It won't crash my computer if I try to listen to it and type an e-mail at the same time.
6. That ol' human touch. Sure, the machines can make random picks of your music, but they can't keep a mood going through multiple songs. With this system, I still don't know what's going to play next, but it almost always flows from what played last.
Why MP3 Players are better than Better Than Radio:
1. It can be hard to find the time to actually get these tapes done... once you download a song into an MP3 player, it stays there.
2. MP3 Players are finally reaching the point where they're portable and can hold lots of songs. The Nomad Jukebox 3 is the size of my portable CD player, and has a 40 GB version that holds a staggering 8000 songs.
3.The sound quality... after all, mine is on good old analog tape, as opposed to digital sound.
About that Nomad Jukebox 3... it really looks incredible, I was totally blown away with how much power it had, yet stunned by the lack of flexibility it seemed to have in the way of mixing and matching your playback options. Now I only got to read the manual online, maybe it would be different if I got my hands on the real machine, but it seemed to me the best it could do was pick 1 random song out of your playlist and then stop playing, or shuffle the entire playlist ad nauseum, meaning it would repeat the same tracks over and over. I mean come on, this thing has a 40-Gig hard drive; we can't make a program to go with it that says "Okay, that track's done, let's check that one off and ignore it until we finish playing the remaining 7,999 songs"...??
Well, give it another 6 months... The hardware is where I want it, so I'm sure someone will think to add the software I want with it too.
After 2 years of not posting anything, here's a look back on 2004 with my pick for the album I got the most enjoyment out of all year long.
Better Than Radio
A Platypus Power Page.
More mindless, heartfelt, and soon-to-be-neglected ramblings by Christopher (Fer) Goodnough, FerGonzo27@aol.com