Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have gotten a couple of recommendations to try Rhapsody-To-Go.

I have a Sansa View which is Rhapsody - compatible. So, I am trying it out for the free 30-day trial.

To be honest, so far I am not impressed.

One of the most impressive things to me (theoretically) is the ability to add a Rhapsody Channel to my portable device. A Rhapsody Channel is basically a set of songs of a similar style. For instance, you can pick a channel that is Punk Rock or whatever you like. You can even add your own songs, artists, etc to customize your own Channel. Rhapsody then only serves you songs that you are theoretically interested in. It works pretty well to my laptop, also I think Pandora does a better job of getting songs you might like. But, you cannot put Pandora "Stations" directly on an MP3 player.

But the process of adding a channel to my Sansa does not seem to be all that user friendly.

First of all, it is VERY slow.

Second of all, I have not gotten it to work, yet.

I am a computer professional, so it is not that I am an idiot, but I have gone through the process a couple time now (each try takes over 20 minutes, and if the process get interrupted, it starts all over again). So, I have yet to get the channel to work on my device. Part of my problem may be that I am doing this on a computer that has way too much stuff running on it.

And I am sure I went through the process, and Rhapsody still says "not on device". It does not tell me what went wrong. it appear that it did not really even try.

Another thing, the documentation on this part sucks. In the help I clicked on something for how to sync a channel to your device and what came up was how to delete a channel.

I guess it is possible that my device does not support channels, but Rhapsody added a little "Channel" section to my player, so it seems like it should work.

The reason I have so much time to do this is that I am scheduled to help deploy the application that I have been working on for the past several months to "production". My infrastructure person told me we were going to start at 10. As usual, he is running late. I do not really have much else to do. This has to get done and it is 11. I should not be surprised. This always happens. The infrastructure staff is way under-staffed.


Well, I have gotten Channels to download songs to my MP3 player, but the technology is certainly not very robust AND it is SOOOOOO slow.

It takes almost 5 minutes for the Rhapsody client to connect to my portable device. It apparently has to find and catalog every single song before it can do anything. To me, 5 minutes is an unacceptable time period before I can do anything with the device.

Then, it takes over an hour to download a channel to the device.

And quite often, the client crashes. Even if it does not crash, the application "freezes" long enough that you think that the program is dead. Usually, it comes back from that state, so that appears to be an issue of not managing threads effectively.

There is no way to set up the client to only update a channel when you ask it to, it seems to want to randomly update one or more of the channels every time I connect my portable device.

One of the guys who just raved about the Rhapsody service told me "eventually it will get better". I am sure that is true. There will be improvements made to the software to better handle the data transfer. However, I do not think I want to pay $15 per month to wait for improvements.

I might actually be willing to live with the limitations if they just made a few minor improvements:

  1. The client should handle asynchronous processes so that the client never seems dead for minutes at a time.

  2. I should be able to only update channels when I ask for them to be updated. I should also be able to configure a channel to download less content than whatever the program decides should be downloaded.

One thing I am a bit "concerned" about is finding a quick and easy way to get rid of Rhapsody content once my subscription expires. The client does not seem to want to tell me what is Rhapsody content and what is stuff I put on there from my CD collection. So, once my subscription expires, I am afraid there will be enough content out there that I will have to manually get rid of. Since I am leaning towards not extending the service past the 30 day trial, I guess I will find out in a couple of weeks.


I have decided to let the subscription die. Depending on how much I miss the songs I've already downloaded, I may change my mind after it dies and try it again. Maybe they will give me some deal to come back.

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