Thursday, September 17, 2009

WTF, Sansa?

So my wife bought a Sansa player. It's not that she's anti-iPod, she used to use a Shuffle, but the price was right and she's not Apple-loyal. We put some music on it for her, but she wanted me to rip a few more albums, which I did. When we plugged it in to the ol' iMac to add those... nothing happened.

It wouldn't mount. The player should show up as a removable drive. I dug into the disk utilities and found that the computer could see the player as a USB utility, but it wouldn't mount it, even though it had in the past.

So I hopped onto Sandisk's website to try and track down the cause of the problem, and the first two fixes that popped up were most disconcerting. First, they told me that Mac OS is not, technically, a supported operating system. Next, they told me to update my Windows Media Player to 10 or 11.

Hold the fucking phone.

Isn't half the appeal of a Sansa that it's brand-agnostic? My brother-in-law swears by Sansa and will actively avoid anything with "iPod" written on it because he hates the fact that it's tied to iTunes. iPod's can only be used in conjunction with a proprietary bit of software, and when you try to install it, it also tries to install Quicktime on your machine, and he objects to that on principle. I get that. Sansa boasts a drag-and-drop interface that will work with any OS, and I absolutely see the merit in that. But when they really mean "use us in conjunction with Windows Media Player and why the hell weren't you using Windows already?"... I gotta call bullshit on that.

Because it's not like iPods only work on Mac. Now, I haven't used it in years, but I recall iTunes for Windows being a bloated piece of shit. But I have always despised Windows Media Player. On Windows machines I preferred to use Winamp, but I did have to install WMP once and it totally overrode my Winamp install. Even re-installing Winamp didn't help. Anytime I tried to open something in Winamp, bit opened WMP instead.

And Sansa has tied themselves to this in the name of brand-agnosticism? And then just randomly chose to not support Mac OS?

And here's what I find really bothersome. At the end of the day, it's a media player. It's a flash drive with a play button. How the hell is a USB peripheral not Mac compatible? Did they miss the bit where the U in USB stands for Universal? I refuse to believe that making it visible is harder than hiding it, unless you're trying to do fancy sync's tied to a specific media player.

But clearly no one is interested in that.



Bill Haworth said...

That is decidedly odd. I know on my original Sansa I had to change an option on the player itself to make it act like a thumb drive I could merely drag and drop files onto. However, my new Clip (which I think is the one you're talking about with Abby) I don't remember having to set any options - I plug it into my desktop's USB port and bingo-bango, it's ready to go. Obviously, my desktop is a PC and not an Apple, so I have exactly zero experience with the Sansa/Apple boundary jumping.

And no, didn't have to upgrade Windows Media Player to anything, as I don't use it either. I have been using WinAmp since time immemorial and don't see any real reason to change. Wish I knew the fix to your conundrum (besides replacing all those Macs w/PCs), but I sure don't. Good luck!

Kurt said...

It's either comforting or disconcerting that our experience has not been the norm. Haven't decided which.