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  #1  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:20 PM
tom87 tom87 is offline
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Unhappy A summary of the Fuze's podcast difficulties

Since a few people are having trouble using the Fuze to listen to podcasts, I thought it might be useful to post a collection of the various issues.


First, the good:
I find that automatic bookmarking of podcasts and audiobooks to be a fantastic feature, and others seem to like it as well. I was unsure of whether I'd like this feature, and I love it. (I'd still like to be able to set manual bookmarks, but I can live without them.) But it seems to me that after this breakthrough in design, Sansa didn't really think the rest through and debug it.


The bad:
  1. The Fuze doesn't rebustly read ID3 tags for podcasts. For example, podcasts that my Creative Zen V loads, displays, plays, etc, with no problem don't even show up on the Fuze. In fact, I've never had my Zen V not load a podcast, but this happens with about 10% of the same podcasts on my Fuze.
  2. Deleting podcasts messes up the podcast menu, making it a hassle to delete multiple podcasts.
  3. Deleting a podcast causes the current one to stop playing. Not a huge deal, but it would be nice if one could delete while listening (as one can with the Zen V, for example).
  4. Lack of logical podcast ordering (maybe there's some logic here, but no one seems to have figured it out).
  5. No ability to easily skip tracks – track skipping must be done exactly as track selection which means you have to stop and look at the player – dangerous while driving and difficult and unpleasant when exercising. All other players I've used have a convenient track skip, as the Fuze does for music. Why not with podcasts? Especially with automatic bookmarks, where loosing ones place isn't much of a hassle. (This is further compounded by weird behaviors that seem designed purely to defeat any attempt to skip tracks: FF to the end of a track doesn't help skip the track because the player loops to the beginning when it reaches the end – whereas RW will stop at the beginning and not loop. Without the looping, holding the FF until the end of the track could effect a skip. Also, when the player's paused, one can skip tracks using FF, but then it cycles through the tracks at such a lightning speed that one can't skip a single track, or select a particular track as they fly by. I see no purpose for this function; and still Pause then a momentary FF press doesn't do anything so why not make it skip a single track?)
  6. Others list “no folder browsing”, but I'm not sure what they're looking for with this (and I like browsing by ID3 tags, so long as they work – I don't care if folder browsing is added, but I'd be unhappy if it's at the expense of ID3 tag browsing).
  7. Some people, including myself, are unable to get playlists to work with podcasts. I don't know if anyone's done this successfully.
In response to several of these problems, others have said that these things aren't such an issue, or that they like it this way, or there's some fix one can do using third party software. All I can say to this is, how acceptable this is depends entirely on an individual's needs for the player: their OS, the number and length of podcasts they listen to, how often they like to skip tracks or skip the last 30 seconds of a track (which are often credits, etc), whether they need to listen to tracks in a particular order (as, for example, with serialized stories), whether they primarily use the player while driving or exercise (where it's difficult to stop and study the player) etc, etc. So personally I think to comment and say these things aren't problems and we should just get over it is misunderstanding the issues. Although it is interesting to hear others' usages and solutions, just because this isn't a problem for you, doesn't mean that it isn't a problem for someone else.


Either way, it seems worth collecting these issues so others who listen to podcasts can judge for themselves whether they can make the particular compromises demanded by this player, and I have some vague hope that Sansa will read this and fix these deficiencies and make my player useful to me.

Last edited by tom87; 08-31-2008 at 08:22 PM. Reason: change to a problems summary thread

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  #2  
Old 08-27-2008, 07:19 PM
ROMzombie ROMzombie is offline
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So, let's say you are half an hour into a two-hour long podcast file, and you accidentally hit the scrollwheel in your pocket. Would you want to have the player skip to the next file then? I know I wouldn't. It's even worse if it's an eight-hour Audiobook file.

UI is a weird business. People use devices in different ways. To move between files, just call the context menu (Down), hit "Back to Podcasts" (Select) and select the file (Scroll, Select).

The problem with deleting files returning you to various submenus is a known issue, hopefully to be fixed in the next firmware update.

  #3  
Old 08-28-2008, 10:16 AM
billfz46 billfz46 is offline
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You can put your podcasts in the music folder. I understand that if the Genre is labled "Podcast" it will bookmark them like when they're in the Podcast Folder. I don't know if it will treat them the same way otherwise. I'm going to try it, hopefully it will work.

  #4  
Old 08-28-2008, 10:58 AM
billfz46 billfz46 is offline
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I guess I was wrong. It doesn't work. I can't figure out where I read that too. I've did so much research on mp3 players before buying the Fuze that I must have gotton it confused with some other player. Sorry!

  #5  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:15 AM
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Andreas Andreas is offline
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ROMzombie is spot on with the reasoning for the FF button not to work and I'm lad its that way. Also i think you're severely overstating how much a nuisance it is to do it manually... I use nokia podcasting on my cellphone for podcasts due to it being totally computer independent, and there too i have to change manually. For me the process of switching tracks means stopping my treewhacker, moving the harness that it hangs on, getting to the cellphone pocket on my work pants, going to podcasts and finding a new song and then put shit back on again. With a podcast averaging 45 minutes I can't exactly say it's that much a hassle for me, certainly you can take a 40 second jog break to simply pick it out of your pants and change the track.

  #6  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:28 AM
tom87 tom87 is offline
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Billfz46 -

Good idea and thanks for testing it. What happens? Does the player just list the podcasts in the music folder as though they were in the podcast folder? Are you using MTP or MSC mode (and do you think this matters)?

I wonder if I were to load the podcasts into different playlists, could I then use FF to advance through the playlist? (I've never used playlists before so this might take me some time to test -- until now I've been using a program I wrote awhile back that renames the podcasts, sets their album names, and resets the track numbers to my liking, so I've never bothered with playlists before.)

  #7  
Old 08-28-2008, 11:55 AM
billfz46 billfz46 is offline
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I changed a podcast's file's Genre to "Podcast" and put it in the music folder. When I searched for it, it didn't show up anywhere. I guess if it has a "Podcast" Genre it has to be in the "Podcast" folder to be listed.
If you don't put a Genre or use other in it's field, you can put it in the music folder and play it like any other file. I guess you could create an album by labeling all your podcasts with an album title.....Podcasts perhaps? This solves the skipping/ff problem, but you lose the advanced bookmarking function.
I'm still going to research where I read that when I get a chance. Maybe I missed something. I don't have time right now to experiment anymore. More later perhaps..... Good Luck

  #8  
Old 08-28-2008, 12:12 PM
tom87 tom87 is offline
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Yes, Cptn Moderator, I see now that you are right. I thought I was very annoyed by having to stop my exercise over and over to skip podcasts, but now that you say it's not annoying, I realize it actually isn't. No, it's fun! Thanks for telling me.

Actually, I suspect our different perspectives on this are much more due to our different usages and needs of the player than the suggested reasons: that ROMzombie knows more about UI design than me, or that I am placing an unreasonable demand on the player (as it is a very common feature in other players).

In fact, your and ROMzombie's insistence on being dismissive, obscures the reality that there are probably solutions that would suit both our needs. I just want some way to be able to skip tracks without looking at the player: like double click of FF, or Pause then FF click, etc, would all work. (And I think many people need this functionality even if you don't. And both of you are making claims to justify your positions that simply aren't true: ROMzombie acts like it would be a disaster to accidentally skip ahead a track, but with automatic bookmarking, this wouldn't be a problem at all -- one would just skip back. Cptodegard acts as though all podcasts are 45 minutes long, which is simply not the case, and compares the difficulty of skipping tracks to one involving heavy machinery and protective equipment and this an unfair comparison.) Since there are solutions to this problem that are mutually useful, adding the functionality that I need without any additional problems for you, I don't see the need to so patronizingly dismiss my difficulties with this player.

If you disagree, try walking in my shoes for a bit... load a bunch of short podcasts on your players, say 30 of Slate's Explainer podcasts (usually about 5 minutes each), and go for an hour long jog or drive in traffic (must be one of these, so it's difficult or dangerous to look at your player), and have it be your goal to get through all of them during the course of the drive or jog, by listening to the interesting ones and skipping the others, but for all you must listen to the topic. ( I used to do this and similar things with my old player all the time and it was very easy.) If you try this, I'll be very interested to hear whether you found it annoying or not. Just being patronizing and telling me that I'm wrong, well, isn't very interesting or thoughtful.

Really, I can tell you that without the common feature of the ability to skip tracks, the player is useless to me, and a waste of money and time. I'm not exaggerating, and I don't have a poor understanding of user interfaces. The player simply makes unusually difficult something that I need to do often, and assumed would be possible with this player.

Last edited by tom87; 09-01-2008 at 08:39 AM. Reason: to make consistent with change of thread and consistent with earlier post

  #9  
Old 08-29-2008, 09:48 AM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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Sorting podcasts by ID3 tags is a horrible idea. Some podcasts are missing ID3 tags, while others might have the tags slightly different, then they might be put in another place. I regret buying the Fuze because of this. When will Sandisk come out with a new firmware that gives the choice of navigating by folder? I thought a new player that has more memory and a card slot would make things easier. Instead it has brought plenty of frustration. Now it is hard to be sure that all podcasts are tagged properly and in their proper order. My old one gig player that sorts by folders is greatly appreciated now. The lack of a replaceable battery is another minus. With the Fuze one needs to monitor the battery life and charge the player when necessary. Using a AAA battery, carrying a spare, and not worrying about how much power was left in the battery is so convenient.

On the plus side though, the Fuze has great sound quality, and played every mp3 and WMA file I tried so far, including 16 kbps mp3 files and 12 kbps wma files.

Last edited by JK98; 09-08-2008 at 06:53 AM.

  #10  
Old 08-29-2008, 03:10 PM
OddBob OddBob is offline
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I run podcasts (and everything else) through MP3Tag before putting them on the Fuze. Considering how screwed up the tags can get, it's kinda mandatory.

  #11  
Old 08-30-2008, 03:53 PM
tom87 tom87 is offline
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Personally, I like ID3 tag sorting for podcasts. The problem is that with the Fuze, it doesn't work. With the Creative Zen V and Zen Vision:M, for example, it works great, and has a lot of flexibility. But whatever the details of the system they choose, I would say making it so that it works should have been the first criteria.

For example, just today I tried to load the Slate Gabfest, which I've listened to every week for at least a couple of years. These are certainly well put together, technically competent podcasts, not put together in someones bedroom, etc. ID3 tagging works great on the Zen V, yet the track doesn't show up on the Fuze. (My guess is that Sansa doesn't support the full ID3v2 standard.)

Maybe MP3Tag would help, but I'm not running Windows, and anyway, it shouldn't be necessary, imho.

  #12  
Old 08-31-2008, 08:16 PM
tom87 tom87 is offline
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A quick note to say that I've changed this thread a lot to be more inclusive of all of the problems with using the Fuze for listening to podcasts. These issues are summarized in the top post.

Last edited by tom87; 08-31-2008 at 10:32 PM. Reason: fix typo

  #13  
Old 09-01-2008, 03:00 AM
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Moved to the firmware section and stickied. These issues are firmware issues and Sandisk have been known to listen to ABi users in the past.


I dont have a fuze, but I have a clip which is similar. Do the fuze in any way mark podcasts as old once youve listened to them? My grief in using the clip for podcasts was that I couldnt keep track of what I'd listened to or not and so i deleted podcasts i hadnt heard etc.

Another thing im stealing from my experience with nokia podcasting to request on sandisk players is the ability to sort podcasts in channels. This can of course be done both by folder browsing and by artist ID3 tagging. The ideal thing in my opinion would be to go to the podcast section, get a list of artists aka shows you listen to, with a subtext saying how many new podxcasts there are in that channel. New podcasts would of course be episodes not yet listened to, refer my first point.

  #14  
Old 09-01-2008, 01:29 PM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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The autobookmarking is just the place in the file, not the file name. If I want to listen to podcasts for a while, stop to listen to some music, then return to podcasts, I need to remember the name of the podcast I was listening to, and how to find it. it would be nice if there would be a return to podcast function , and a return to audiobook function so that after listening to music or the radio, it resumes in the place of the podcast or audiobook file I was listening to, so I don't have to remember the name of it, or how to get there. Marking podcasts and audiobooks as read when they are listened to completely would also be nice, and the ability to choose a mode to listen to only unread podcasts or audiobook files, or to listen to all files in that category.

I would also like to see the variable speed playback enhanced. Right now it looks like the fast spped is only around 25% faster and there is no pitch correction. I would like to see it expanded to from half to double normal speed, and have pitch correction. I like listening to lectures on my pc at 1.4-1.7 times normal speed. I would like to be able to do this on my Fuze.

I guess what I really want though is a choice between navigating by folder or by ID3 tags.

I also want a larger font for the elapsed time, time remaining, and clock. With such a large display, there is no reason why these must be so small. The progress bar is centered in a light colored band. Why not have it at the top of the band, so that the numbers can be in a larger font? I purposely chose a player with a larger display since I didn't want the displayed items to be so small. I would also like to see a percentage battery power remaining rather than the battery icon.

The blue light around the scroll wheel becomes annoying after a while. It also decreases battery life. Imo there should be a setting to disable it.

When deleting files on the player, it is very easy to delete the wrong file. I would like to see the file title on the confirmation screen(delete file yes or no?) so that you are sure that you are deleting the file you want to delete. I almost deleted the wrong file a few times.

I would like to see the back button become useful a larger percentage of the time. Often when I press it, nothing happens.

I would like to see an icon on the screen indicating that the equalizer is not set to normal.

When an artist is chosen, the player should give a choice of seeing a song list or an album list, and of toggling easily between the two.

Last edited by JK98; 09-21-2008 at 09:25 PM.

  #15  
Old 09-08-2008, 07:00 AM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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I tried placing some podcasts on the micro SD card with the genre Audiobook, and the player treats them as if they were in the Audiobook folder of the main memory, allowing fast playback and auto bookmarking. I like the idea of transferring podcasts to the micro SD card rather than main memory, as flash memory wears out eventually after being written to many times, and it is a much better idea to have files that you change frequently placed on the memory card rather than in main memory.

  #16  
Old 09-23-2008, 07:54 PM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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On your pc, does the file show up in the podcast folder of the player when you have the player connected to the pc?

  #17  
Old 10-01-2008, 06:36 PM
[steve] [steve] is offline
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Another problem- If you speed up or slow down a podcast, after the screen turns off the sound gets a lot of static and sort of distorted. Not a huge deal, 'cause I doubt many people use that feature, but it would be nice if they fixed it.

  #18  
Old 10-04-2008, 12:48 PM
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The guy apparently only came in here to rant and hasn't been online for over a month. The new firmware released a few days ago fixes some of the issues. If someone wants to restart this thread based on the new firmware and MAINTAIN it then please do, but since the thread starter isn't active and the thread needs maintaining I'm closing it.

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