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Music Downloads

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Technology Essay: the iRiver H140

By Danny Spindler

Today, digital music has taken over the music industry replacing formats such as compact discs, cassette tapes, and records. One of the most popular ways to collect and play digital music is the mp3 player. Music in the format of mp3s has become much more popular than other methods of playing music including CDs, creating a great demand for mp3 players; therefore there has become a variety of mp3 players available to purchase. The iRiver is one model of mp3 player that is very beneficial to those who own it, especially students of UCSB. The iRiver H140 brings students a useful digital music player that possesses superior sound quality; excellent features including a built in FM tuner, voice recorder, and 40 gigabyte hard drive; and its ease of use featuring a simple navigation system and a black lit screen for use in dark areas. There are many other redeeming features of this model including its ability to play music in several formats (including mp3 audio and WMA audio) and the ease of transferring music from your computer to the device. The USB2 connection it offers makes transferring music files from your PC extremely fast. The iRiver H140 is also very cost effective making it very affordable to the average college student. All the features and abilities of the iRiver make it a necessary purchase for UCSB students who want more technology that takes up less space.

Before the iRiver was available on the market, students had to use various gadgets to perform everything that the iRiver can do all in one piece. Students used to carry around a CD player plus several CDs which was an inconvenience because of the size and weight that it added to the students load. This was especially inconvenient for those riding their bikes from Isla Vista to campus. Many students would also have to rely on other ways of transporting files from their computer. The most common method for this was the floppy disc which had a small capacity and would take a long time to load a small amount of data. If students needed a voice recorder, it was always something that had to be purchased separately and also had a limited recording capacity. Now that the iRiver is available, students need not rely on several inefficient devices to perform to do these things.

The first thing that students will want in an electronic device like this is something that is very usable and navigable. With a lack of time on their hands, students do not want something that will take forever to figure out how to use. The iRiver's simple design allows any user to pick it up and use it without having to be heavily tutored on it first. There are few buttons and the unit can be controlled mainly by a central joystick. Users can scroll through files of music conveniently stored in folders by artist name. Users can create their own filing system on their computer as well, giving their units a more personal touch. Those that find themselves in darker areas will find the large black-lit navigation screen very useful as well. Anything that is not immediately obvious can be simply explained in the instruction manual. The fact that this player can support several types of audio files is another advantage. Digital music does not always come in the form of an mp3. Often they are in the WAV or WMA format. Instead of having to convert these types of files to mp3's, the iRiver allows you to load music onto it in these other formats (Machrone). This adds to the usability, as busy students may not know how or not have the time to convert the files. Loading music onto the player is a simple process as well. As soon as it is hooked up to the computer via USB2 cable, the user simply drags the music file from the computer and drops it in the iRiver folder. The USB2 connection allows for fast file transfers which is very important for students who are in a hurry. This will save valuable time and because of the large storage capacity students do not have to guess if everything they need will be able to fit. Ease of use is important to new devices like the iRiver so any user is able to fully enjoy its capabilities.

One aspect of this player that will attract students most is its abundance of features. Most digital music players will simply play MP3s and do nothing more. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, most students will want more if it is available, and with the iRiver, it is. First, the iRiver H140 has a 40 gigabyte hard drive which will hold approximately 1200 hours of music ("H140"). This player not only holds music but also has the ability to store data files that one might have on a computer. This amount of storage space gives students the ability to carry around as much music and computer files as they please. The iRiver can also store voice memos with its built in microphone. This replaces the need for a mini voice recorder, as some students find them useful. One option this brings students is the ability to record lectures, as many students find it helpful if they can go back and listen to the professor again as opposed to taking copious notes. If the user ever runs



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