Personal Music Players - I need to scratch an itch

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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#1
First of all, I do have a preference for personal music players, the Sandisk Clip+, which supports .flac, has a simple UI, long battery life and a microSD slot.

BUT:

I want to manage music players for other people. Remotely.

Over the weekend one of my customers paid me in part to put a bunch of music on his phone. And my mom and one of my aunts are in the same completely helpless boat. I've made full-color documents explaining how to do it, but since they're both lost at the concept of files, it's a lost cause.

I've looked at what I can do with Google Music and Amazon MP3 on Android, and neither of those things goes as far as I need something to go.

Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#3
What I was thinking was that, say, Amazon for example would have a "push music to device" feature. But it doesn't. The ideal would be something that talks to an internet service and allows an administrator somewhere to queue files to download onto a device while it has an internet connection. I suspect there are legal reasons why such a service would not exist, but I suspect I'm not the only 20 - 40something who regularly has to walk old people through putting music on their players and phones.
 

Handruin

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#5
What I was thinking was that, say, Amazon for example would have a "push music to device" feature. But it doesn't. The ideal would be something that talks to an internet service and allows an administrator somewhere to queue files to download onto a device while it has an internet connection. I suspect there are legal reasons why such a service would not exist, but I suspect I'm not the only 20 - 40something who regularly has to walk old people through putting music on their players and phones.
Well, it sort of does push to the device, but only if the app is opened (at least from an iPhone perspective). I see a list of my music from amazon after I've either purchased or uploaded from my computer. You could remotely upload music to the amazon cloud storage and then the app will play that music. Granted you would need their account information, but it's still somewhat of a remote management.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#6
Could you just use Subsonic? It doesn't push music to their device it streams it from a server.
That is making the assumption that they're someplace where they'd have wireless internet access. From my observation, the sort of person who needs something like this is the sort of person who would never connect their device anyplace but at home since they probably don't know how to do that either.

Handruin said:
Well, it sort of does push to the device, but only if the app is opened (at least from an iPhone perspective).
The whole problem is that the user needs to take affirmative actions that are more cumbersome than "click on something one time." These are also going to be people who will have a very hard time distinguishing between information contained "in the cloud" and information stored locally. At least on Android, Amazon MP3 doesn't prompt users to download content just because it's available. It's perfectly content to leave everything on Amazon's servers.
 

timwhit

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#7
Could you setup Dropbox to automatically sync and a music player that looks in that directory by default for music?
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#8
That's an interesting question. Maybe?

Actually, I could see building an online service around this, or scripting it around Dropbox/Skydrive/Google/Amazon cloud storage.
 

MaxBurn

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#9
Interesting problem. First issue I see is dropbox doesn't appear to support SDcard storage on android. If only 8gb of music maybe it's OK?

Supposedly once on the phone the android media scanner would pick it up, no action necessary. That's the way it worked putting a folder of music on my SDcard from the computer, but I don't know if the scanner will work inside the dropbox folder.
 

Handruin

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#10
Could you setup Dropbox to automatically sync and a music player that looks in that directory by default for music?
Small issue with that is unless the person pays for more space, the limitation on a free account is something like 2GB. Most MP3 players these days hold more than that.
 

Handruin

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#11
That's an interesting question. Maybe?

Actually, I could see building an online service around this, or scripting it around Dropbox/Skydrive/Google/Amazon cloud storage.
Can you come up with more detailed requirements. Might be a fun project to try. Amazon AWS could host it and grow as needed if it ever got to that point.
 

timwhit

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#12
Small issue with that is unless the person pays for more space, the limitation on a free account is something like 2GB. Most MP3 players these days hold more than that.
My phone came with a bunch of extra Dropbox space. I don't know if this is the norm though.
 

MaxBurn

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#13
My phone got that too, 48gb free for two years.

Also if you use the dropbox photo uploader they increase your storage in 500mb increments as you fill it up. Up to 8gb now free. That seems like a deal they will kill soon, it was supposedly to test out their beta photo uploading service.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#14
I'm thinking about this. The big problem I see for something along these lines is that I'm kind of talking about media files that would be accessed by more than one person, the "administrator" and the "owner." That probably doesn't work in any legal framework in the Western world.
 

MaxBurn

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#15
Don't see what the trouble is, people can hire others to take care of their belongings.
 
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#17
If it's handled in an organized and systematic way, content owners will scream "piracy tool", just like they do for every other damned thing.
That is possible. The only thing I can think of to help would be to manage "lockers" for people; a folder that stores their music and their playlists. If they use iTunes to purchase stuff it should sync there, same with Amazon or whatever. If it came from physical media, you should probably keep those with the locker.

Of course this would mean that you have many copies of the exact same files, so some file system level dedupe would be helpful.
 

MaxBurn

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#19
Right, or some small difference in metadata or tags. Much better to have each users files separate.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#21
The more I talk to the people I need this for, the more it sounds like they just want someone to work Amazon's music service for them. I actually send feedback suggesting such a thing and I did actually get a non-canned reply about it.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#23
They basically said "We try to make it so people who are not technically adept can use the service we have already but we'll look in to it."

There are tools for managing mobile devices and the apps they have installed but I haven't seen any that allow for arbitrary file sync services. Google Apps for Business has a nice administrator console but it doesn't even support push app installations to Android. That surprises me.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#24
Did anyone notice that Amazon recently added a digital version of every physical CD you've purchased from them in the last 15 years to your Cloud Player library a couple weeks ago?
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#26
No one is making a 4" Android device with large uSDXC and water resistance. I see a market for that device as a media player, either as an entry-level kid-safe device or an easy-to-use music player, especially for exercise use. I love the SanDisk Clip+ to death, but looking at what people will pay for a 160GB iPod vs. what something like an Asus ZenPhone 2E (which is too big IMO) + a big storage card costs and I'm thinking that it HAS to be possible to get something like that built.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#28
I'm thinking of people with kids and people who work out, especially out of doors.
When I go for sufficiently long walks, I carry a small - let's not say purse but satchel - that has a waterproof interior just in case it rains. It seems like a useful feature to me.
 

LunarMist

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#29
Does it rain and snow frequently in your zone?
The SanDisk Clip+ is long gone. Mine are still working but batteries are on borrowed time. The SanDisk Sport (replacement) is crap.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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#30
You can still buy Cliips. They're out there to be had. They just don't do everything I want a player to do. Bluetooth support for wireless headphones and an OS that will talk to Pandora/Spotify/Play Music/Doubletwist would be a major improvement.
 

LunarMist

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#31
I think they would have olden batteries. Anyway, it's a shame that there are no newer MP3 models worth a damn.
I don't want to haul around a big, expensive brick of a phone and drain the power instead of having something tiny, lightweight, and relatively cheap with a long battery life.
 
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