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The New Walkman Can Make a Difference in Your Life

This morning's NY Times does a nice review of this subject and I thought I would add my recent experiences to the article. What makes the MP3 format so popular is its ability to shrink a large audio file--say a four-minute song that took up 45 megabytes on a CD--into an MP3 file that takes up less than 5 megabytes and still sounds great to most people. Earlier this year I decided to finally take the plunge and purchase a hard-drive-based MP3 player. I was finally motivated by the new amazing storage capacity of the hard-drive-based MP3 players. I nearly purchased the major best seller in this market, the iPod, but I decided to opt for a far more cost-effective option.

Creative Labs is the company that mamkes Sound Blaster, one of the best sound cards for computers. Earlier this year they produced a 60 GB Nomad Zen. This device can record 16,000 songs on it. That is a few weeks worth of non-stop music or lectures. Since I am very frugal I went with the Nomad because at the time it was $100 less than the $500 iPod and:

  • Had twice the storage capacity of the iPod
  • Was $100 less expensive ($400 for the Nomad was a far better deal than $500 for the iPod that had half the capacity)
  • The battery lasted 40 percent longer (14 hours versus 10 for the iPod)
  • Had better sound quality

The downside was that the Nomad did not have the "cool" or "hip" factor associated with the iPod. However, this has never been a problem for me previously, as I usually am an early adopter of technology and don't mind standing out from the crowd. Since I purchased my 60 GB Nomad Creative Labs came out with an even better value, a 30 GB Nomad. This model only costs $259.

I opted for the larger 60 GB model as I also use the Nomad for one of its other nifty features. It doubles as a portable hard drive backup device. So I backup all my important files from my computers that I don't want to lose on the Nomad. That alone is nearly worth the cost of the device. It is the rare person that will need the full 60 GB model, unless you have loads of computer files to back up or many hundreds of CDs that you want to store, the 30 GB model is half the price and will work just fine.

The other two doctors in my practice also purchased one of the 60 GB Nomads and they also love them. It really is wonderful to be able to run or fly on an airplane or take a five-hour car ride and have an essentially unlimited supply of music or audio lectures to listen to. This technology is just awesome.

New York Times October 16, 2003

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