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Upgrade your MP3 playerFixing one device 'feature', such as region coding, is useful enough. BUt the best hardware hacks do a whole lot more. If you have a compatible MP3 player then flashing it with the open source Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) firmware could let you see some amazing improvements. These will vary depending on your player, but the possibilities include a 50% fall in boot time, playlists loading 10 times faster, longer battery life, new player features such as support for more formats (OGG, FLAC, AC3 decoding on an iPod), and non-audio extras such as games.Rockbox works with a variety of players, most famously Apple's fourth generation iPod (grey-scale and colour), fifth and upgraded fifth generation (video - 30 and 60GB models only), first generation nano and first and second generation iPod minis. But it also runs on some Archos (Jukebox 5000, 7000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio) and iRiver players (H100, H300 and H10 series), along with others from iAudio and Toshiba.The exact steps for installation vary depending on your player, but they're generally straightforward. With a colour iPod. you'd start by making sure it uses the FAT32 file system - that is, its been initialised by iTunes on a PC, rather than a Mac.If you're in doubt, plug it into a Windows PC with iTunes and it will offer to reformat it for you. It's safe to say 'yes' - assuming you've got a copy of all the files it contains - because you'll still be able to use it with Macs later.You'll need to upload some files to the iPod, and back up its firmware too. This will require some disk space, so make sure that it's not crammed full; we'd recommend 150mb to be safe. Then get along to the Rockbox download page (www.rockbox.org/download) and grab the correct firmware for your decide. Pick up the manual and the Fonts package, too.Now use a USB connection to plug the iPod into your PC, then extract the firmware file you've just downloaded to the root folder of the player drive. Do this correctly and the main folder should now contain a '.rockbox' folder and a file called 'rockbox.ipod'. Extract the Fonts package too, and you should now have a '\.rockbox\Fonts' folder. The iPod won't use these new firmware files by itself though, so we need to add a Rockbox bootloader to make this happen.Download the appropriate iPodPatcher tool (http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/ipodpatcher) for your PC, and the bootloaader itself (http://download.rockbox.org/bootloader/ipod/bootloder-ipodcolor.ipod) to a nw folder called C:\Rockbox on your PC.Open a command promt window, and enter this code to change to the new folder://cd c:\Rockbox//Ensure your Ipod is connected to the PC. and type://ipodpatcher --scan//The ipodpatcher will find your iPod and report its decide number, such as 'disk device 2'. Make a not of that number, as you'll need it next. Then enter the following - replacing N with the disk number you've just discovered - to back up your current firmware partition://ipodpatcher N -r bootpartition.bi//Now type the following - replacing N with the device number again - to upload the new boot loader://ipodpatcher N -a bootloader-ipodcolor.ipod//When the upload has finished, disconnect your iPod from the PC and it should reboot, letting you try out Rockbox. See the manual for more on how to use it. If you have problems, you can always go back to the old system - jjust conect the iPod to your PC, delete the 'rockbox.ipod' file, and enter the disk number below in a PC command prompt window://ipodpatcher N -d//This will restore the firmware from the backup you created earlier, and you'll have a stardard iPod again.Well, that's the theory, anyway. In practice, it's at least conceivable that the initial backup didn't work properly, or there might be problems restoring it. So don't get too confident; like most hardware hacks, there's always the possibility things can go horribly wrong. You should only go ahead if you're happy to take that risk.QuoteTired of your old MP3 player? Revitalise it with the excellent Rockbox firmware. [arrow pointing to Creative Zen V ]
Tired of your old MP3 player? Revitalise it with the excellent Rockbox firmware. [arrow pointing to Creative Zen V ]
It's amusing how most of the recent "articles" about Rockbox seem to devote a large amount of space to reproducing the installation instructions for the ipod. instead of the author of the article actually doing some work and writing some original content. The instructions are also out of date by the time they are printed...
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