Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2005-07-07
  From the net to the phone
While I do use my Treo a lot for the internet when I can stand the wait and even once in a while getting a phone call (how quaint), its killer app is as a media player. The built in apps do fine for playing MP3 (and you can store quite a few of them on a 1GB SD card), and TCPMP does great job playing back movies and tv shows I have saved. But I still had one gap in my coverage: streaming lectures and talks.

I had actually found the solution that could pull the streams and save them locally. Out of the three available options: Real Video, Quicktime and Windows Media; none of these will play on a Palm device, but at least windows media is the least of the three evils on the desktop, so that's what I choose.

I had had to play with oggDrop a few weeks back for work, so I thought I'd see if that could help. Unfortunately it wouldn't take WMA directly (as is the case with most freeware), but I happened to have another piece of software with a more commercial lineage, so I broke out Rad Video Tools.

Since these guys are a game company, they have all the real tools to handle any format, and their converter will handle all kinds of things including WMA sources, and even Quicktime (which is how I ran into them in the first place). So I dropped the WMA files onto it and it spit out a bunch of WAV files. Unfortunately, it wouldn't compress the audio, but I had enough space for the 100MB each one took (about 20:1 expansion over the compressed version). Then I dropped all the WAV onto oggdrop, which was quite happy, and it compressed them down to about 12-15MB each. So while 5MB each would have been better, 11 hours of audio is still only 174MB, which is spare space on a 1GB card after I stuff two 350MB TV shows on it.

While TCPMP does have a vorbis decoder, I hadn't loaded it last time I updated (there's a new update of TCPMP today btw), so I went searching far and wide and found another freeware program from Aerodrome called AeroPlayer. The curious thing about this SW is the player & ogg is free, but Aerodrome charges for mp3 & aac support (which are the formats supported by the builtin player on the Treo for free). Guess it made sense once apon a time, and its perfectly fine for my needs. The only thing left to do was to pick a skin for it since the default look wasn't all that pretty. While the art on some of the skins was pretty wild, I finally settled on winxp just because it used the smallest font.

So after hopping and jumping through a number of different hoops, we're jammin. At least as long as the battery keeps up.

 
Comments:
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I just noticed how old this post was, so I was wondering if you are still using the treo and what apps you recommend these days. I have a Treo 680 and am trying to resist going to the iPhone. Thanks!
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