Things that Just Don’t Work

Posted on July 22, 2006
Filed Under misc | 26 Comments




Things that Just Don’t Work

Originally uploaded by evilgenius.

Today is a day of trying to do simple things that just fail. Last week, some kind folks started a thread at Podcast Pickle talking about AmigoFish. I’ve resisted signing up there for over a year because I just never felt like joining, but I thought I’d do it in order to join the AF conversation. I created an account, added this podcast, but that didn’t give me access to the forums. Then I had to do a seperate registration step that kept failing. I tried and tried until I was finally ready to quit when at one point it just worked and I was logged in. I made my few posts and that was that.

Fast forward to this weekend, I want to respond again. I try to log in, and my password that is remembered in Mozilla isn’t working. I do the “forgot password” and I got the page you see on this post – enter your username and 6 digit code, only there is no 6 digit code. Sigh. I still don’t understand why I log into the system correctly, and then have to turn around and log in again to post to the forum. It’s confusing, I told it to remember me anyway and it didn’t, etc etc etc. In oh so many ways, it just is a huge drag to use the system. It’s a shame, because I really want to be a part of that conversation. Sorry folks who are kind enough to talk up AmigoFish on there. I’d love to participate with you but it is too much of a pain in the ass. Feel free to leave comments on the AmigoFish blog if you like.

My MobiBLU cube MP3 player has been acting up, failing to start with the buttons and requiring hard resets with a paper clip. I decided to update the firmware. The updater only runs on Windows, so I fired up my one Windows box and downloaded and installed the firmware updater. When I ran it, it hang for minutes looking for the device (which was already mounted as a lettered drive and which I could see via the file system.) The instructions say that if that happens, you hold down the play button, press the reset button with a paperclip for 5 seconds, release the reset but keep the play button depressed until you get a recovery screen. Wow. I did all that, a thing popped up on Windows saying that the “USB Recovery Device has been installed, reboot to make it active.” Dear god, what a pain but I did it. When I rebooted, nothing ever happened again. The installer looks for the device forever, the reset never again prompts any response, nothing every happens.

I’m about this close to throwing this piece of shit out the window. I strongly recommend against anyone buying the MobiBLU. It’s cute and tiny, but is a pain to use on its best day and eventually shits itself. There are a few rampant iPod haters on here (and it is only a matter of time before the exact same anti-iPod rant gets commented on this post as I’ve received one dozen times already) but my Shuffle was fun to use and caused me zero problems up until the day it failed catasrophically and stopped mounting on the computer. The mobiBLU was never fun to use and caused ongoing problems for a long time. I’m half tempted to pull the Shuffle out of the drawer and see if it magically works now. If the mobiBLU can’t be updated and continues to act finicky, I’m thinking about going for the slap cheapest MP3 play that takes SD cards as its media.

Thus far today, I’m pretty sick and tired of things that Just Don’t Work.

Update: I installed the mobiBLU updater on my wife’s computer, followed the instructions to the letter. When I did the reset and it entered recovery mode, I pressed “Update”, then the program bombed out with a “semaphore time out period expired” error message. Now the device is completely dead, won’t mount or turn on or anything. I guess that’s that, end of the line with this device. Thanks Hyun Won for dispelling my stereotype that Korean consumer electronics tend to be shoddily made pieces of shit. I strongly recommend that people avoid this manufacturer.

Update 2: Thanks to Jared in the comments this device is back alive!

Comments

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26 Responses to “Things that Just Don’t Work”

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  1. Podcast Pickle Woes at The AmigoFisher on July 22nd, 2006 1:41 pm

    [...] I tried to continue the conversation about AmigoFish on the Podcast Pickle thread but just gave up because it is too much trouble to use PP forums. I gave it the good old college try, I’m appreciative to everyone’s input and will keep reading it, but I can’t respond over there for all the reasons I list here. It’s a shame, but I’m not dumping any more good time after bad trying to do simple things. [...]

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  3. Johan on July 22nd, 2006 11:28 pm

    Probably too obvious… but you can use the iPodUpdater Software to reset your Shuffle software. I had to do that once when it wouldn’t mount either and that fixed it.

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  5. dave on July 23rd, 2006 8:21 am

    Johan, I really don’t understand how you fixed a problem where the computer isn’t recognizing the presence of the Shuffle with the Updater program. Just to be sure, I tried it and like you’d guess, the Updater is telling me to plug in an iPod to be updated. Because, like, the problem I’m trying to fix is that the computer doesn’t know it is there which means the Updater also doesn’t.

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  7. tiltededge on July 24th, 2006 6:31 am

    I think the Creative players are best. I would never buy a device simply because it is smaller or the most fashionable. I think the shuffle probably shorted out when you unplugged the USB.

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  9. Ken Kennedy on July 24th, 2006 9:08 am

    I’m with you on cheap and simple, Dave. The player I’ve had the least problem with over time was a dead simple, no internal memory, CF reading hunk o’ plastic. It just works. No bookmarking, no screen, no pause even (that and it’s size [due to the CF card] are the reasons I’m not using it as my primary player now), but on the plus size, I’ve never had a problem with it at all. No firmware updating, no USB fritzing, nada. Doesn’t have any of that stuff to break!

    I’m using my iPAQ now, b/c of SD card support, pausing, and ability to record responses to podcasts, but I would love a super simple SD card based player to use when running. If you find one, make sure you post about it.

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  11. Ken Kennedy on July 24th, 2006 10:47 am
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  13. dave on July 24th, 2006 11:32 am

    Ken, I’m leaning towards the Lexar LDP line as I study more up on the options. The LDP 200 is the low end, and the 600 has an integrated FM transmitter, which if it really worked well and obviated the need for those cassette adapters would be pretty cool. I’m following them on eBay, and I think I can get a 200 for

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  15. tiltededge on July 24th, 2006 4:18 pm

    Too bad your player didn’t last a little longer because I’m thinking built in wifi with the added ability to read streams would be something we could all use at home.

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  17. Ken Kennedy on July 25th, 2006 6:09 am

    Oh…that Lexar LDP line looks good! Keep us up to date on how it goes…I might be up for one of those myself.

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  19. Rob Gibson on July 25th, 2006 8:06 pm

    Hi, Dave. I bought a no-longer-made Motorola M25 off of eBay for $35 and put a $20 1GB SD card in it. I got the M25 mostly to download WMA encoded audiobooks from the county library. I have listened to all of one on it so far.

    However, I enjoy using Mary’s 2GB iPod Nano and iTunes SmartLists much more than loading things on the M25.

    Anything stopping you from ponying up the cash for a 4GB Nano? Masochism? :-)

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  21. Rob Gibson on July 25th, 2006 8:09 pm

    I like http://www.anythingbutipod.com/ for discussion about current media players.

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  23. Rob on July 25th, 2006 8:23 pm
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  25. Rob on July 26th, 2006 7:52 am
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  27. dave on July 26th, 2006 8:28 am

    Rob! Good to hear from you. The Nano and neat and all, but I’ve got a problem with the pricing of that niche. It’s too expensive for me to be comfortable using it as my ubiquitous device always in my pocket, and too low capacity to be the thing that contains my entire library. Since I had several shuffles and none lastes longer than 7 months before failing to mount, I’m not really considering buying the $200 version of the same style device.

    Last night I bought a Lexar LDP-600 for $50 on eBay. It probably has some of the same firmware limitations as the 200, but since I’m using it almost entirely as a podcast listening device where I load up, listen once and delete that doesn’t really bother me. If this device doesn’t work well, fails soon or anything like that my next device will be something I build myself out of plans in MAKE magazine.

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  29. Rob on July 27th, 2006 2:04 pm

    Well, I must admit that Mary recieved the iPod Nano as a gift. It probably would not have been acquired otherwise.

    I have encased its artsy industrial design in an Incase Sports Case to protect it while it’s bouncing around in purses, car drink holders or at the YMCA. That’s worked out well.
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/comments/incase-neoprene-sleeve-and-sports-cases-for-ipod-nano-ipod/

    Since the selfinduced emabarassment of admitting I have listened to only one recording on the Motorola M25, I have set up its Rio-based playlist software in a symbiotic relationship with iTunes. For no other reason than not knowing any better, I have been using iTunes on Windows to retrieve podcasts and now my M25 will retrieve MP3s landing in the podcasts directory.

    I do enjoy the Smart Playlists. I am not sure yet how to share the resulting playlist outside of iTunes. One I set up for a commute to work goes something like “If Podcast is true & Time

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  31. Rob on July 27th, 2006 2:05 pm

    I do enjoy the Smart Playlists. I am not sure yet how to share the resulting playlist outside of iTunes. One I set up for a commute to work goes something like “If Podcast is true & Time

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  33. Rob on July 27th, 2006 2:06 pm

    Well, I must admit that Mary recieved the iPod Nano as a gift. It probably would not have been acquired otherwise.

    I have encased its artsy industrial design in an Incase Sports Case to protect it while it’s bouncing around in purses, car drink holders or at the YMCA. That’s worked out well.
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/comments/incase-neoprene-sleeve-and-sports-cases-for-ipod-nano-ipod/

    Since the selfinduced emabarassment of admitting I have listened to only one recording on the Motorola M25, I have set up its Rio-based playlist software in a symbiotic relationship with iTunes. For no other reason than not knowing any better, I have been using iTunes on Windows to retrieve podcasts and now my M25 will retrieve MP3s landing in the podcasts directory.

    I do enjoy the Smart Playlists. I am not sure yet how to share the resulting playlist outside of iTunes. One I set up for a commute to work goes something like “If Podcast is true & Time is less than 21:00 & Date Added is in the last 7 days & Last Played is not in the last 7 days & Kind contains aud “

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  35. Jared on July 27th, 2006 5:38 pm

    I had the same problem Dave had, and I figured out how to fix it, since I couldn’t find anything on it.

    Here’s how to fix that “semaphore” problem.

    If you’re getting this error, install the CD software that came with the DAH-1500i, that’ll install the firmware that was defaultly on the product (100.100.105), when installing that, a popup comes up that says “the Recovery file is newer than what you’re installing, would you like to keep the newer one, click NO, so everything’s back to where it was. So, continue with that. Now, make sure it’s working properly, and that it turns on and mounts, and has allocated memory. Now, install the 100.100.122 firmware setup. This’ll overwrite that file you said “No” to. Reboot. Now trying installing the x.x.122 firmware, the way you were trying and it should work. It’ll read

    Current firmware: 000.000.000
    Firmware Upgrade: 100.100.122

    Hit start! If you see “Allocating table”, that’s a good sign!

    Then you’re good to go!

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  37. Justin on August 9th, 2006 9:56 am

    just a quick note to say a huge thank-you to jared! i almost cried when i thought i’d killed my lovely little cube after getting the semaphore error and it not switching on :( but then i googled and found this page, and it’s alive again now… and on the new firmware too! you rock!!!! :]

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  39. Mike on August 18th, 2006 8:43 am

    Also, you can get the files from the Drivers folder (instead of firmware) this has .105 in it for the windows 98 platform, but I ran setup on my XP worked great. when you run setup answer No like above and this will install .105 and THEN once it works you can download the FIRMWARE from the same area and install it. Very cool, Jared

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  41. Jennifer on September 8th, 2006 6:23 pm

    EG and Justin..Thank you SO MUCH…you guys totally saved my ass!! I was having problems with my Mobi..decided I would fix it by updating the firmware and ran into the same stupid problem you guys did. I feel soooo lucky I found your website or I would have been totally SCREWED!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! -Jenn

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  43. Jordan on September 29th, 2006 2:35 pm

    Wow, thanks to the folks who posted here. I wouldn’t have been able to resurrect my girlfriend’s shitty pink cube without you!

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  45. Michael on October 6th, 2006 5:52 pm

    Thanks a lot for the info. My mobiblu has been on the fritz for over a month and this has been the only source so far that explains how to fix it. Now if only the Mobiblu website was this helpful.

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  47. Kira on October 25th, 2006 9:03 am

    Thank you!!! My son was in tears last night about this stupid thing. He had earned his own money and spent it on this so you can imagine his disappointment with it. Anyway, thank you for posting this!!!!

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  49. David on February 10th, 2007 7:02 pm

    I followed Jared’s advice but I think I did something wrong – my player is now completely dead! :(

    Not even USB mode works. A shame really. Be careful folks.

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  51. Jared on July 31st, 2007 9:08 pm

    A year later and this site is still helping people! I’m glad, and David, you must’ve done something wrong for it to be totally unrecognizable to your computer, could be a USB input problem and/or battery problem. I’m happily still using my cube, no problems as of yet and it’s been a year!