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Linux Multimedia Hacks by Kyle Rankin

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Sync Your iRiver with Linux

Use Linux to copy your songs and create the iRiver database.

Of the wide variety of “lifestyle” items that are competing for our disposable income, the personal music player is one of the most popular. Although many of us can remember the excitement of getting a personal cassette player when we were younger, the latest incarnation of music on the move is fully digital, and it can store your entire album collection.

A number of these personal music players are on the market, but one of the most intriguing is the iRiver series. Not only do these little boxes pack in upward of 40 GB of storage, but they also support a variety of different codecs beyond plain MP3. Some of you might be aware that encoding MP3 is actually a legally foggy area, as the codec was created and licensed by Fraunhoffer, and many free encoders are not properly licensed. A free MP3 alternative called Ogg Vorbis promises both higher quality and smaller file size. This format is gaining in popularity, and the iRiver, unlike the iPod, supports it out of the box.

To get songs on your iRiver, you need to rip your CDs to get the tracks onto the hard disk of your Linux machine, encode them as MP3 or Ogg Vorbis, and then upload them to the iRiver via USB. Optionally, you can then build the iRiver internal database for your MP3s (you cannot use the database for Ogg files). The iRiver IHP series of players uses a special internal database that stores all the details of your song titles, albums, ...

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