Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Built It One Piece at a Time: The Amazingly Durable Rio S10; This American Life

I got it one piece at a time And it didn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town

I'm gonna ride around in style

I'm gonna drive everybody wild

'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

By Wayne Kemp, copyright 1976, performed by Johnny Cash

March 13, 2003: cnet news reported that a $329.99 1GB SD card will be available in the third quarter.

According to the inverse ratio of the original Moore’s law (roughly, memory doubling in the same space every 18 months) the price of that card should have halved every 18 months. Let’s see, we’re in the third 18-month period since then. Let’s round down 329.99 to 320 because the math is prettier.

  1. half of 320 = 160
  2. half of 160 = 80
  3. half of 80 = 40.

I look forward to 2018, when memory is measured in quads and a 1 GB chip costs the same as a potato chip.

Actually, SD card prices are dropping faster than Moore’s law predicted, like Tiki Barber receptions before Tom Coughlin bought him a jar of pine tar. I bought a 2 GB card (2000 pictures) for $19.99 for my digital camera and remembered that my old Rio S10 from 2002 could take this card too. I had never considered buying an SD card before because of the expense. Now my old $79 10-song mp3 player can play over 300 songs on the same 2 GB card. I bought a new 1 GB card for the camera for $14.99 on the idea that I’ll be okay with having a 1,000 picture capability instead of 2,000.

I had never purchased an iPod so the SD card has opened up a whole new audio world for me. I actually own 2 Rio S10s. My daughter dumped hers after she got her first job and bought an iPod. She doesn’t live by Dad’s strike price of <$100 for technology. My friend Cicero Slim from Chicago calls me the poster boy for delayed gratification.

Rio transferring software is clunky. iPods work easily. You just think about a song and it’s transferred from hard drive to device. [Wireless SD cards just came out so this is almost a reality. You can now transfer pictures from camera to web without cabling into a computer.] Users who own both Rio and iPod claim that Rio software isn’t as elegant as Apple’s, but now there’s 3rd party software available to make the Rio process smoother. A significant Rio advantage over the iPod is that I can use 1 AA rechargeable NiMH. When iPod internal batteries die it’s soldering time.

What’s on my Rio? Regina Spektor, Wilco, Alison Krauss, Mel Tormé, Sweeney Todd, Harry Shearer’s Le Show, This American Life, Barenaked Ladies, Steely Dan, Bing Crosby, and room for more.

There were a lot of things in the 1990s that I heard about but never got into because I was too tired raising babies. One of the great public radio shows that started in during that decade was This American Life with Ira Glass. The weekly podcast is perfect for me because the content of the show is so high, that I don’t want to miss a word or note and I’m able to rewind. Mrs. 1OTT and I recently enjoyed a show featuring a woman writing a breakup song and enlisting Phil Collins to advise her. It is rare for Mrs. 1 and I to so thoroughly enjoy anything on TV or radio together. She’s Gray’s Anatomy and I’m Scrubs. Another outstanding entry featured violent criminals doing hard time performing Hamlet in prison. Almost every episode is good. I look forward to seeing the TV incarnation of TAL on Showtime (will either wait for the DVD or see via download).


Anonymous said...

Can your Rio S10 handle a 2 GB sd card and if so how?

Brian said...

Flip over the unit and take out the battery. Just above the battery housing is the card slot. Insert the card label side up. You should have just under 2 GB of storage.

I should mention I upgraded the firmware twice, in the order of announced upgrades, and this may be why the card works. I'm not sure if the original firmware, which was prone to crashes, could have handled a 2 GB card.

Anonymous said...

I have version 2.04 of mine and using Rio Music Manager 2.96 but the card with only fill up to 1gb and then I get an error that the player has run out of space. What version of Rio Music manager are you running? This may have something to do with it. Did you format your SD with FAT or FAT32? Thanks. Just trying to get this to work.

Anonymous said...

Sorry the version is 2.03 and not 2.04 (no such thing)

Brian said...

I'm running Music Manager 290 build 15 and firmware 2.03. The SanDisk card was formatted by my digital camera with FAT. When I took it out of the digital camera and put it in the Rio, it was read without any message to reformat, with almost 2 GB space. Maybe other 2 GB cards will work differently.

Anonymous said...

My rio s10 keeps saying that it is full after i put the 1st gb of music on the player. where you able to put almost 2 gbs worth of music on the chip? if so how?

Brian said...

I loaded RioFW-v1.84.exe and RioSSeriesFlash_203.exe in that sequence to upgrade the firmware. You must load 1.84 first. Different cards may work differently but I used a 2GB SanDisk.

Good luck and keep us posted. I'm also running version 2.90 build 15 of the Rio Music Manager but I don't think that matters. I'll guess it's the firmware that needs upgrading because whatever firmware you run was probably made to handle a limit of 1GB when Rio S10 came out. I'll also note that I can't get Real Player to recognize the Rio like it used to, but that's a minor annoyance.

Anonymous said...

I have version 2.03 right now and previously 1.84. Still does not work. Should I downgrade the firmware back to 1.84 and then again to 2.03 with the 2gb card inside? Thanks.

Brian said...

I don't know but it's worth a shot. Can you get a hold of a card reader to confirm the 2GB card size.

Anonymous said...

I did put it in a card reader and it shows the 2gb. Even the unit itself shows 2gb of space but when transferring , Rio Music Manager stops at 1gb.

Brian said...

Music Manager 290 build 15? What brand card?