The COWON iAudio 7
Firmware updates for the iAudio7 are available from the support link at cowonamerica.com. To install one, download it to your desktop and extract it. Plug in the player to a USB port, and drag the firmware to the Root folder of the player. Then, unmount the player, and it will power off. Turn it back on, and it begins to install the firmware update. When it's done, after about 20 seconds, it turns itself off. When you power it back up, you should see the new firmware installed, indicated by the new version number on the boot splash. Firmware updates are a good idea, as the player always is being tweaked by COWON with improvements. However, a firmware update deletes all content on the player prior to the update. So, be sure to have a backup of your content on your computer or an external drive before updating. If you don't think the update is worth the hassle, just don't do it, the player still will run fine.
This, obviously, isn't the only multimedia player that functions with Linux. In fact, COWON's D2 player is a good choice if you want a larger 2.5" screen, but it's also a larger player, so there's a size trade-off. Another player worth considering is the iriver clix, which now can be used as a UMS device, unlike last year's model, so it too can function on Linux. The reason I chose to buy the iAudio 7 is that it had the most bang for the buck, and it slips into my pocket very easily. I have the 8GB version, but the 4GB and 16GB versions give everyone a wide range of choice for personal storage needs, and they're all priced competitively. Not to mention, a 16GB Flash drive player of any sort is rare, though more are coming in the near future. It also gives me some peace of mind, using a player that supports open-source codecs. The best part is not having any DRM restrictions on how I can use the player for my own personal use.
I mentioned my desire to have longer battery life at the start of this article. COWON claims its internal lithium-ion battery will last up to 60 hours on one charge. This claim is based on using it almost exclusively for music playback. Video playback will knock this claim down to about 40 hours per charge. Regardless of how you use it, it's a superior amount of battery power when compared to the competition. It also accounts for why the iAudio 7 is about three times thicker than an iPod Nano, but that's a trade-off I don't mind making. It's still relatively thin, as I measured it to be only .75" thick. The COWON iAudio 7 is a mini-marvel of a media player that also lets you cast your vote in supporting products that function in an open-source environment, and that environment just got more inviting with this player.
COWON America: cowonamerica.com
i7remux-0.1 Download: www.powerwebvideo.homestead.com/files/i7remux-0.1.zip
Philip Raymond has been using several Linux distros during the last four years. He has worked professionally as a Broadcast Technician for 34 years, the last 23 at WFLD-Fox Television in Chicago. He also is the Webmaster and co-creator of thepulsechicago.homestead.com, a Web site focused on the Chicago music scene, past and present. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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