So after a few weeks of using it, I have to say that I’m pretty happy with my new Creative Zen V Plus. After the pain in the ass of getting a Windows XP box set up to handle the syncing, all is well. I have Juice running on the box but have also installed Danny Boyd’s Happy Fish. I might cut over to the latter at some point and see if it will handle some things a little better. Although I haven’t used it as such, theoretically Happy Fish can use the MTP syncing to put the files directly on my device. That would be quite slick.
The device has enough capacity that I have all my audio podcasts and some of the video on it as any given point. It’s a little cumbersome in that I don’t know a good way to delete the listened files off the Zen quickly. When I first plug it up I spend a little time managing the files and deleting the listened files or moving the ones I want to permanently archive off to another place. It also takes a little bit of time to set up the master playlist. That’s how I keep things in roughly chronological order of old to new. I do occasionally bump things up higher if it is timely or I more want to listen to it. Right after the end of the World Series of Poker, for example, I moved all my poker shows to the top of the list to get the news and analysis of the final table. Overall, it is working as well as any MP3 player I have owned.
Getting videos to work on this device was a little trickier. The sync program will automatically convert on the fly and was working on something like 60% of the files. It was a pain trying to figure out why the others wouldn’t convert, so I just went brute force. I installed Super and now I take every single video that is downloaded and use it to convert to an AVI file. When I do this preprocessing step, almost every file will correctly convert. I’ve been watching Channel Frederator and Command N and such over my lunch hour today. I’m keeping about even with new stuff as it comes down. If I ever get ahead of that game, I’ll start working on my videoblog backlog. Between April 2006 and July 2007 I kept downloading all the vlogs I was subscribed to, but only watched Tiki Bar TV regularly. I’m so far behind on Rocketboom that I have about 50 episodes of it with Amanda Congdon that I still haven’t watched. Yowza!
In summary, if you are willing to do a little bit of hand tweaking, I’ll recommend the Creative Zen V Plus as a podcast consumption device. It’s not as simple as just using a video iPod but it is a hell of a lot cheaper. For a dork like me, I’m happy with it.