Soliciting Networking/System Configuration Advice I

This is a discussion on Soliciting Networking/System Configuration Advice I within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; <<retitled and moved to tech -- fixing my own bad>> I had been kinda researching an MP3-player kinda thingy. I ...

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Soliciting Networking/System Configuration Advice I

    <<retitled and moved to tech -- fixing my own bad>>

    I had been kinda researching an MP3-player kinda thingy. I ended up going with this.

    The goal of this is for my wife's birthday: a thing to have all our CDs, pictures, and some home videos; plus some net surfing, PDF viewing, TV recording.

    Now it's a little too late to advise me of better offerings, since I picked one up at Sam's Club the other day. The point of this thread is to solicit advice for a geezer who has never owned an MP3 player as to links, guides, etc., that might assist me in my attempt to present her with a nice techno-gift.

    Any tips, suggestions, and what-not are greatly appreciated.

    BTW, I've ripped my 300ish CDs to mp3 with CD-DA X-Tractor already and downloaded them to the device; and already loaded it with all my pictures and a couple of videos I'd made. I'd had issues recently with a WiFi attempt at a local Caribou Coffee, but it didn't do much since the device doesn't support flash (unless I need to download an update).

    I'm trying to clean up the pictures with either Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Album Starter. I'd already burned a pile of DVDs, but is there a preferred method of re-ripping them to mp[?]?.

    Is there such a thing as making a "picture playlist"? Something such that I can group a single set of pictures into various categories and slide-show that without copying the pictures to new directories?

    And also BTW, I believe I'm using XP with Media Player 11 to sync.

    Plus I'm looking to upgrade the household via a wireless router (already purchased, as yet unconfigured -- no NIC card on PC#1 which is headed upstairs, so I may want new PC advice as well).

    Okay, too much on the plate already. I'll narrow things down as replies are posted(?).
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

  2. #2
    Math wizard
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    I use an MP3 player, for at least a year. It's not one of the newer ones, mine just plays music.

    For all the videos, pictures, and other things, you should look into getting one that either uses flash memory (more expensive but expandable), or one with a large capacity, like 50 GB minimum (probably more, depending on the videos, quality, and compression ratios).

    When you get an MP3 player (or portable player since it's not just for MP3's), you're likely going to get a USB cable. With this, transferring things is as easy as using some copy paste on the files you want to transfer. Have two windows of Windows Explorer running in the background. One window is for the path to the portable player and the other contains the source files. Select the source files and copy them. In the window with the portable player's contents, paste what you copied. By using copy paste, you keep your originals in case something goes wrong (and you have backups as well).

    As to the router, this isn't strongly in my familiarity zone, especially wireless. Some computers have onboard NIC (as mine does and many other new ones I see (motherboards that is)). You should see an RJ-45 jack in the rear of the computer, usually where USB cables plug into. If you don't have such a jack (a regular phone RJ-11 jack won't work - that's for dial-up and fax type stuff), you'll need to buy a NIC card. They are quite cheap, but installing them requires knowledge on how to handle PC hardware. The most important thing is that internal hardware (like video cards, NIC cards, and processors) is static sensitive so, before messing with it, you should always discharge your body's natural static build-up before handling it. From there, you just need an available PCI slot (most likely case), and a mounting screw. The screws are very small - about 3/16 inch long (excluding the head) and usually fine thread. The card can only go in one way. I've custom-built my computer and have knowledge with this sort of stuff. If you're unfamiliar with it or don't want to risk it, you could always take it in to a computer center and get the pros to do it instead. Of course, installing drivers shouldn't be difficult.

    If needed, you can usually return something and get a replacement.

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    Well you can be confident that you've got a good product there. I personally own a Gmini 402 and completely swear by it. You'll find the embedded OS's on those things are absolutely fantastic and as for features, you usually discover them as you go along (much like any OS). I know for sure there is a picture slideshow feature with music, though I'm not sure of a picture playlist.
    A word of caution though on the Archos' A/V line is that your wife has to be somewhat of a tech-junkie to fully appreciate a gift like that, otherwise all the features might be a little overwhelming which often results in reverting back to the familiarity of the ol'school CD Player (which might work out well for you anyways... ).

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.
    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    For all the videos, pictures, and other things, you should look into getting one that either uses flash memory (more expensive but expandable), or one with a large capacity, like 50 GB minimum (probably more, depending on the videos, quality, and compression ratios).
    It's 30GB. All the pictures & CDs came to about 15GB. Some of the pictures will likely get culled from the device.

    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    When you get an MP3 player (or portable player since it's not just for MP3's), you're likely going to get a USB cable. With this [...]
    I'm familiar with that kinda stuff. PC#1 is Win2k and due for an upgrade. PC#2 is WinXP and not available for tinkering.

    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    As to the router, this isn't strongly in my familiarity zone, especially wireless. Some computers have onboard NIC [...]
    I've been inside the box of PC#1 before, after lightning took out my original modem and sound card. And when installing a new hard drive. My question was more along this line: I got the wireless router, but PC#1 doesn't have a NIC card. Oops. But I'll want the router anyway to do what I want.

    [edit]BTW, other parts this is the router; this is my modem.[/edit]

    Now PC#3 was a $30 Win98 box that I blew the power supply recently. I'm planning on replacing it with PC#1, so it will be remote. So instead of a wired NIC, I need to look into one that has both(?). Wired for immediate testing on PC#1, and wireless for eventual usability remotely. I've done next to no research on this matter yet, so this is part of the advice I am soliciting.

    Quote Originally Posted by @nthony View Post
    Well you can be confident that you've got a good product there. I personally own a Gmini 402 and completely swear by it. You'll find the embedded OS's on those things are absolutely fantastic and as for features, you usually discover them as you go along (much like any OS). I know for sure there is a picture slideshow feature with music, though I'm not sure of a picture playlist.
    Yeah, I'm trying to iron out the kinks myself in advance. It seems quite nifty thus far.
    Quote Originally Posted by @nthony View Post
    A word of caution though on the Archos' A/V line is that your wife has to be somewhat of a tech-junkie to fully appreciate a gift like that, otherwise all the features might be a little overwhelming which often results in reverting back to the familiarity of the ol'school CD Player (which might work out well for you anyways... ).
    Hmm. She's pretty non-tech. Again, that's why I'm trying to figure it out in advance and have it a little more ready to hit the ground running. I'm doing little things like erworking the directory structures to make things easier to find and what-not.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    30 GB could be okay, but you may later run out of space. Seeing the flash animation of it's features, it looks to be a very interesting product. How much is it? The price isn't mentioned anywhere that I can see.

    Does your PC #1 have onboard NIC? If not, you may want to look into getting a NIC card for it. Here's a high-rated NIC card for only $10 (shipping included). NIC cards are very cheap.

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    I've retitled this thread and moved it to the tech board, fixing my own bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    How much is it? The price isn't mentioned anywhere that I can see.
    It wasn't cheap; $370, I believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    Does your PC #1 have onboard NIC?
    Nope, something I [re]discovered during the setup attempt.
    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    If not, you may want to look into getting a NIC card for it. Here's a high-rated NIC card for only $10 (shipping included). NIC cards are very cheap.
    Thanks. I'm looking into that and some stuff at Best Buy at this very moment (more or less).


    Why not Minot? Freezin's the reason!

    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Sinkula View Post
    I've retitled this thread and moved it to the tech board, fixing my own bad.It wasn't cheap; $370, I believe.

    Nope, something I [re]discovered during the setup attempt.
    Thanks. I'm looking into that and some stuff at Best Buy at this very moment (more or less).


    Why not Minot? Freezin's the reason!

    Although I'm unfamiliar with the middle-end latest models, $370 seems a bit low for the specs that thing has.

    Why use Best Buy anyway? From what I've experienced, the prices (ignoring shipping) are 50% higher than some other stores for the exact same product. That's your decision though, not mine.

    As a side note, some NIC cards, for some dumb reason, come with a floppy disk instead of a CD. If you get such a NIC card and don't have a floppy drive, you'll almost certainly need to download them off the drivers manufacturer's website. Floppies are otherwise obsolete but even a purchase made in February or so of 2007 (!) had a NIC card containing only a floppy. I just thought I'd point this out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    Why use Best Buy anyway? From what I've experienced, the prices (ignoring shipping) are 50% higher than some other stores for the exact same product. That's your decision though, not mine.
    I shop some places, I buy at other places. I'm funny that way. I shopped for the stuff at Best Buy, I bought at Sam's Club. Best Buy is close to home and gets me pointed in a direction. I'm still a "look at the box" type person.

    Quote Originally Posted by ulillillia View Post
    As a side note, some NIC cards, for some dumb reason, come with a floppy disk instead of a CD. If you get such a NIC card and don't have a floppy drive, you'll almost certainly need to download them off the drivers manufacturer's website. Floppies are otherwise obsolete but even a purchase made in February or so of 2007 (!) had a NIC card containing only a floppy. I just thought I'd point this out.
    PC#1 is a dinosaur with a floppy drive. But thanks for the mention.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Hm. Is a USB network adapter more of something I am seeking?

    [No specific brand preference, just easy access to propaganda.]
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    That might work, but if I'm seeing it right, each computer will need at least one available USB port and if you don't have the needed USB cables, you'll need to buy some. Here's a guide to help decide between getting a NIC card and an RJ-45 cord or what you're referring to:

    NIC card - are you comfortable installing a NIC card into the computer, or, if you aren't, comfortable with the fee associated for a tech to resolve it? Also, do you have an extra RJ-45 cord long enough to get to that computer? What is the total cost (Total cost = NIC card + RJ-45 cord + service fee + tax + shipping; use zeros for things that don't apply)? Are you willing to pay for this amount?

    USB network adapter - do you have at least one spare USB slot for every computer that uses the router? Do you have spare USB cables long enough to reach them? What is the total cost (total cost = USB network adapter + USB cables + tax + shipping; use zeros for things that don't apply)? Are you willing to pay for this amount?

    If you want the best deal, sum up the costs for each variant and take the one with the lowest cost. 7&#37; tax, for example means multiplying the total (before any shipping) by 1.07, in case you're not sure how to compute it. That's my tax rate (city and state together), but it varies a lot.

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    Test

    This is a quick test posting drom the wireless Archos device.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    This is a quick test from the PC that used to be USB-connected to the modem.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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