Monday, September 13, 2004

Windows Media Player 10

A month ago I ranted about Windows Media Player (9 at the time), and how it had lots of potential, but also had lots of things that were just not polished.

Shortly thereafter, Microsoft released WMP 10. I upgraded right away, hoping that it would address some of the annoyances with WMP9. After using it for a few weeks, I'm dissapointed to say that the most compelling reason to upgrade is the Energy Bliss visualization.

The biggest change (as far as IPod-less Steve is concerned) is ostensibly a more streamlined interface. Most of the interface changes are not really a big deal (things like moving the 'tab' buttons from the side to the top). But one change I do like is the inclusion of the 'Now Playing' list in the library tab. That makes it much easier to build a playlist on the fly.

However, my biggest gripe with Windows Media Player remains the cd-burning interface. In WMP9, I couldn't burn anything but data cds using Nero's fast burning plugin. I'm not sure why, but there didn't seem to be a way to burn just a regular audio cd. Amazingly enough, this has gotten worse in WMP10; I can't burn any type of cd.

It just complains that no cd-burner/dvd-burner could be found, and won't let me do anything. How lame is that? I can burn just fine in Nero and a million other programs, but WMP refuses to recognize it. I assume the problem is related to the fact that Windows XP won't let me burn cds in explorer either. For whatever reason the driver for a NEC-2500A must not be flagged as a cd burner.

This all came to a head last night when Linzy wanted to burn a couple audio cds, and couldn't understand why she had to hunt all over filesystems trying to find mp3s to burn in nero, when there was clearly a 'burn' tab in WMP. All things considered this is a perfectly reasonable expectation. Especially since the burning functionality looks like it would work perfectly on my work laptop. I can easily choose between audio and data cds, and burn whole playlists, dynmaic lists of songs, everything.

Why can't I do the same at home!

I should also mention that I don't have any sort of portable mp3 device, so a lot of the changes they added into WMP 10 to support device synchronization are completely useless to me.

[ Incidentally, I noticed that the ridiculous auto-playlist criteria for Duration is still a drop-down list of seconds: 30,60,120,180, 240, 300, 360. It sure is nice to be able to find all my songs that are exactly 240 seconds... ]

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