View Full Version : iLiad MP3 Player


The GreatGonzo
07-31-2006, 01:30 PM
Since my two-week vacation on Lake Michigan is coming up and since I had planned to listen to books as well as read them -

can anybody point me towards a simple MP3 player that will work on the Iliad and doesn't require major (or even minor) hacking? Or are we not quite there yet and I need to wait for a couple more software upgrades?

DHer
07-31-2006, 02:19 PM
Wait for release 27.9 or higher for this.

With the current software release the iliad is unhackable, there's no legitimate way to run your own applications and iRex didn't even finish developing their viewer software, let alone add in new stuff like an mp3 player.

And guess what? They don't really plan to increase their development speed nor do they plan to accept (or even tolerate) us trying to do their job.

At the moment i'm seriously considering to send the iliad back in the repair box and ask for a refund instead of a reperature. If they keep the 75€ i already paid for repair - i'm really in a mood that i don't really care, at the moment.

Btw: we had an console mp3 player up and running, on v2.4. Finding and compiling one with a GUI would have been possible for sure.

arivero
07-31-2006, 02:28 PM
Wait for release 27.9 or higher for this.

With the current software release the iliad is unhackable, there's no legitimate way to run your own applications and iRex didn't even finish developing their viewer software, let alone add in new stuff like an mp3 player.
.

I have received today an email from Irex addressing my protest, and at least they keep claiming they will release a development kit. So well, at Xmas we will have MP3. Perhaps before, if they put some openzaurus module to get sound from html or pdf (yep, in theory pdfs support sound too).

I'd not say the machine is unhackable; just we do not have accumulated enough free man-hours to address the quest. It is possible a serial port is available somewhere (most probably they plan to login via serial to repait you machine, Dher) and then the only issue is to crack the root password. And there are some extra bugs in mozilla and Xwindows we could try, but we do not have the knowledge nor the information.

VillageReader
07-31-2006, 02:47 PM
Question from the non hacker dummies. iRex has a developer site. Are they not allowing development if you register there? Seems to me they want a modicum of control to ensure bad stuf doesn't get into the wild.

Maybe.

jæd
07-31-2006, 02:52 PM
I have received today an email from Irex addressing my protest, and at least they keep claiming they will release a development kit. So well, at Xmas we will have MP3. Perhaps before, if they put some openzaurus module to get sound from html or pdf (yep, in theory pdfs support sound too).

What did they say about availability...? Are they still on track for a Q4 release for the SDK...?

arivero
07-31-2006, 03:22 PM
Question from the non hacker dummies. iRex has a developer site. Are they not allowing development if you register there? Seems to me they want a modicum of control to ensure bad stuf doesn't get into the wild.

Maybe.

Irex seems very apple-ish. They will allow development but they will wait a time to allow it (as it happened in the Mac 128/512K) and then will keep some business tricks (for instance I guess clicking in documents will open the application they specify and some other kinds of minor, patronising, control).

jæd
07-31-2006, 05:12 PM
Irex seems very apple-ish. They will allow development but they will wait a time to allow it (as it happened in the Mac 128/512K) and then will keep some business tricks (for instance I guess clicking in documents will open the application they specify and some other kinds of minor, patronising, control).

Well... From what we all had to declare, it would seem that the o/s isn't completely finalised yet. Its hard to do in-house development on a moving target... It would be even harder to expect third-party developers to do such a thing...

Which is why I'm going to wait for the SDK. As we have seen Irex can chop and change anything at will, and relying on anything with the Irex won't prove to be fruitful.

arivero
07-31-2006, 05:29 PM
For the mac, the reference docs were fully covered of confidential tags, and we were expected to get a LISA machine for crossdeveloping. A MacBASIC was developed, seen at version 0.99 and then retired due to an agreement with microsot. The really "final" machine was the MacPlus, two years later.

joblack
08-02-2006, 06:57 AM
some companies are really very idiotic - instead of supporting the customers they kick them ... not very professional indeed ...

DHer
08-02-2006, 08:30 AM
Ok, it seems like the situation is going to get better fast. In a, well, not completely sober state last sunday morning i wrote a slightly angry email to iRex asking for a refund instead of a reperature. (i also said a not so nice thing about a way to flash the device and gpl violations) Well, they didn't trash it but i got the following response.


We will offer a development tool environment at no costs to our iLiad users that will suffice for most development needs. More details about this SDK will be announced on our developer website and it is expected to be available by September.


In addition we will launch a community forum shortly where we hope to have an open and constructive communication with the community and where we will try to support the third party developers and assist them with their technical questions.

I can offer to refund your iLiad if you want. The total amount will be the price you paid for the iLiad minus the repair costs, the transport costs and the handling costs.

Alternatively I can also offer to repair your device and return it to you as soon as possible, since you have already paid for the repairs.

I sincerely hope that you have some patience to wait for what we have to offer to the community.

Please let me know what you would prefer to do.


That's the kind of communication i was always hoping for. A date for the SDK and the promise of a forum for direct contact with iRex officials.

Alexander Turcic
08-02-2006, 08:57 AM
We told them that we'd welcome any iRex employee in our community.

And guess what: first they agreed. But then the idea was refused, apparently by someone from the upper management, and my only guess is that they didn't like the idea of having no control of what's been said here.

I must say I am more than slightly disappointed that they didn't even bother to put us in their links collection (http://www.irextechnologies.com/links) - despite everything our members have done to increase their sales and to smooth out their frequent miscommunication.

DHer
08-02-2006, 09:44 AM
hm. manybooks and a video review as links from iRex, but not mobileread? That's really weak.

And concerning the forum: I think they would be the first company to declare an external forum as the official iRex Technologies forum. As you said, no control over what is said and done. But that really doesn't mean that they couldn't have one or two spokespeople join us and keep us informed.

Alexander Turcic
08-02-2006, 10:11 AM
Yup, the idea was not to be an "official" forum (that would have been also contrary to our plans), but to have iRex employees voluntarily participate here.

R2D2
08-02-2006, 10:57 AM
Hmmm...maybe we have to give them some time to sort their stuff out.

Alexander Turcic
08-02-2006, 11:41 AM
Hmmm...maybe we have to give them some time to sort their stuff out.
Good advice, R2D2. We should keep in mind that iRex is a small start-up and not a conglomerate; as such, we shouldn't except them to do everything immediately right.

Still, I had to share my disappointment with someone ;)

DHer
08-02-2006, 12:46 PM
yeah, for sharing disappointments the Iliad subforum is just the right place.

Have you considered participating in the official meditation thread?

Alexander Turcic
08-02-2006, 12:52 PM
Have you considered participating in the official meditation thread?
How could I have forgotten! :D

firekat
08-02-2006, 01:09 PM
I am not a hacker but I can certainly understand the frustration of people with these skills. In some aspects the concept and implementation of programmable electronic device manufacture and marketing is still in it's infancy.

The point is that most hackers/programmers see a new device as a blank chalkboard/whiteboard and an opportunity to use the tools that they have to get what they want out of the new device. It seems that they see manufacturers of these devices as just toolmakers, facilitating what they want to do with the device. The manufacturers want to control all access to the device. They don't want to be thought of as just a hardware supplier. They see opening up the device to further functionality as a potential loss of revenue. A hacker could come up with functionality that was not thought of by the manufacturer and sell it. I don't see this happening in this small community here on mobileread but on the outside world it is completely different, hence companies are very guarded in what they will do with their devices and just how open they will be with it.

A tool manufacturer sells you a screwdriver. They want you to use it only as a screwdriver. They don't want you to use it as a chisel, scraper, driftpin, alignment tool, prybar, etc. They want you to purchase all those tools, not just the screwdriver.

Look at the way that Apple has hobbled their devices. If you want something or some further functionality from them you either give up or wait until they build another one that will satisfy your needs/desires. It is their branding. They make you want/need it, tell you how happy you will be with it, and then when you want a little more they tell you that you don't really and are going against the group and how superior their product is inspite of it's shortcomings. One thing that I do have to give them is that their stuff usually works - without fault. You just can't do anything with it other than what they will allow you to.

I can commiserate with the frustration. I am trying to maintain a positive "glass is half full" attitude. But at times I can get pessimistic, think that iRex is just going to dump this thing as is, and will either sell the company off or just give up.

We are not a very patient lot. We all want it NOW!!! After all we did get iRex to pre-release this device contrary to their initial plans. We did get very upset with their lack of communication or a percieved sense of miscommunication. In the end they do appear to be working with us - to a certain extent and to whatever degree they desire. The thing is it will all take time.

The sliding release times of the other e-ink devices tells me that there is more to these devices than what might initially meet the eye.

C'est la Vie! (Excuse me if I spelled this wrong)

I am hoping that it will all work out in the end - I just want it RIGHT NOW!

Maybe we need to start another meditation thread?

P.S. As I was penning this after I finished I noted the subsequent references to the meditation thread. Boy things move fast here!

R2D2
08-02-2006, 01:22 PM
Maybe we need to start another meditation thread?

I just checked: There is plenty of positive energy left in the current meditation thread. So no need to start a new one. ;-)

jæd
08-02-2006, 01:36 PM
They see opening up the device to further functionality as a potential loss of revenue.

...

A tool manufacturer sells you a screwdriver. They want you to use it only as a screwdriver. They don't want you to use it as a chisel, scraper, driftpin, alignment tool, prybar, etc. They want you to purchase all those tools, not just the screwdriver.

Irex have already said they will supply a SDK to developers... They've even moved the release of the SDK forward... What more do you want...?

Look at the way that Apple has hobbled their devices.

Um... Have you ever tried developing on Apple, or for Apple...? Not only do they provide developer tools, they do it (via Xcode) at no extra cost for a basic environment. OS X is also a very good base to start developing due to its Unix heritage...

firekat
08-02-2006, 02:21 PM
Like I said, I am not a hacker/developer. But I do own an iPod. Try hacking or developing for that. The device is completely closed off. Apple attempts to jam that stupid iTunes down your throat so that they can sell you their sonically substandard "DRMed" music. They have even taken the Quicktime player and attached it inexorably to that bloatware. Finding the download for just the Quicktime player the last time I checked was not an easy task. The iPod was reponsible for getting me into MP3 players. I was using a Minidisc player which is very good but the MP3's are better if you use the best compression format and bit rate. Back to the iPod - it's not up to the hype. The audio quality of my Palm T3 with Aeroplayer installed is far in exceedence to the iPod and it can play a number of different superior formats that the iPod cannot and will not ever support.

I have a PC running Windoze and I have my own strong negative sentiment with that. I have a second hard drive for a dual boot Ubuntu but I just have better things to do with my time than wrestling with getting Linux to properly run on my machine, additionally it will not run the Windows based software I run of which there are no replacements - period. I have at times threatened to get a Mac, but considering that it as it the case in Linux it does not run the software I need and the cost of replacing all the hardware AND software (if it was available), makes it prohibitive.

The senitment of my post was not a complaint, it was just a potential justification of companies actions and that we have to exercise a bit more patience. I will be interested to see how "open" the iRex SDK will be for you developers. I am hoping that it will be WIDE open!

Good Luck To Us All!

jæd
08-02-2006, 02:35 PM
Like I said, I am not a hacker/developer. But I do own an iPod. Try hacking or developing for that. The device is completely closed off.

Um... Well, you can use Ephpod or GtkPod to put songs onto it, and there is even a full (Linux based) replacement os for it. (Which can run Doom on later models). So I'm not sure its closed off... And it too late to write the illiad off as closed source, and yes, as a developer I will wait and see how the SDK turns out...

deadite66
08-02-2006, 02:36 PM
rockbox have had a attempt at hacking the ipod
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockbox

firekat
08-02-2006, 02:55 PM
I have checked out the alternatives but my model is not supported (it's only about 2.5 to 3 years old) and the last time I checked some of these alternatives have very limited functionality. That of course says nothing to the fact that the iPod's audio output quality is pretty poor, this is a hardware issue. It certainly isn't up to the lowest expectations of most audiophiles.

To my knowledge there is no SDK for the iPod and all these stated alternatives came about by the hard work and reverse engineering of all you very talented hackers/developers and has nothing to do with Apple's cooperation.

I can put music on the iPod and it is fuctional in a limited fashion. I will never buy another iPod.

I similarily do not see the iLiad as closed off either. All I said is that we all need to exercise a little patience!

It was not my intent to put a stick into the hornet's nest! Jeez!

ali
08-02-2006, 04:24 PM
To my knowledge there is no SDK for the iPod and all these stated alternatives came about by the hard work and reverse engineering of all you very talented hackers/developers and has nothing to do with Apple's cooperation.


Dude, the key point is the reinstall. There's a rescue mode (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93651) on the iPod plus free software to reinstall the thing if you break the OS of your iPod. So far, iRex states that you void your warranty and have to pay 75 euros for a reinstall.

To translate it: Imagine you'd have to pay that much each time you reinstall windows on your desktop PC. Would you try out new drivers? Play with registry settings? Install lots of software? Try some programming yourself?

DHer
08-02-2006, 04:34 PM
well, check out http://gpl-violations.org/faq/sourcecode-faq.html


Please note that this is of special practical importance in the case of embedded devices, since the executable program(s) need to be somehow installed onto the device. If the user is not given a way to install his own (modified) versions of the program, he has no way of exercising his freedom to run modified versions of the program.


I guess this translates into a GPL violation in case they offer no software to flash the iliad.

I really hope (for them) that there will be a flash utility, so i'll be the only one who had to pay for this basic service. But, at the moment, a running iliad in the hand is better then a GPL violation on the roof. (Or what's the right way to express this?)

The GPL is really viral, when i come to think about this...

b_k
08-02-2006, 04:37 PM
Dude, the key point is the reinstall. There's a rescue mode (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93651) on the iPod plus free software to reinstall the thing if you break the OS of your iPod. So far, iRex states that you void your warranty and have to pay 75 euros for a reinstall.

To translate it: Imagine you'd have to pay that much each time you reinstall windows on your desktop PC. Would you try out new drivers? Play with registry settings? Install lots of software? Try some programming yourself?

/me gnaws his desk.
this disqualifies the iLiad for every idea of experimenting with it.

I hope this thing about the 75 EUR reinstall will change.
Otherwise we can just hope someone will find a way to reflash the device without opening it (like for JTAG). There must be a way.

b_k
08-02-2006, 04:43 PM
well, check out http://gpl-violations.org/faq/sourcecode-faq.html

I guess this translates into a GPL violation in case they offer no software to flash the iliad.

I really hope (for them) that there will be a flash utility, so i'll be the only one who had to pay for this basic service. But, at the moment, a running iliad in the hand is better then a GPL violation on the roof. (Or what's the right way to express this?)

The GPL is really viral, when i come to think about this...
Thats why someone came up with LGPL. But if you decide to use a Linux system and modify it you acknowledge the GPL. They could have choosen another OS, i think there are other options.
But does another OS come to your mind (except BSDs) that runs on such a broad collection of different hardware?

the next paragraph is more interesting i think.
Sometimes, the process of installation is not facilitated by scripts, but by some other means (such as executable programs). The GPL text only mentions the word "scripts". But when reading and interpreting the license, it is clearly understood that the license doesn't specifically only mean "scripts", but any kind of software programs that are required to install a (modified) version of the compiled program.

KILI
08-02-2006, 05:49 PM
We told them that we'd welcome any iRex employee in our community.

And guess what: first they agreed. But then the idea was refused, apparently by someone from the upper management, and my only guess is that they didn't like the idea of having no control of what's been said here.

I must say I am more than slightly disappointed that they didn't even bother to put us in their links collection (http://www.irextechnologies.com/links) - despite everything our members have done to increase their sales and to smooth out their frequent miscommunication.

Yo all your enthousiatic hacking nerd geeks (like me) check this out...
http://www.irextechnologies.com/jobs/development
They are hiring our kind over there....Sry to say embeded is not my cake but maybe on of you could do some development remotely for them (lol)....

If you cant beat them.......

Alexander Turcic
08-04-2006, 05:09 AM
I really hope (for them) that there will be a flash utility, so i'll be the only one who had to pay for this basic service. But, at the moment, a running iliad in the hand is better then a GPL violation on the roof. (Or what's the right way to express this?
Not sure if they updated their GPL notice or if its been there before, but iRex states (http://developer.irexnet.com/gpl) that they will provide everything necessary to rebuilt the "full iLiad software":

iRex will comply 100% to the GPL by providing all source codes including the modifications made to open source applications. For software developed by external companies and iRex’ code that uses IP we will provide the binaries so the full iLiad software can be rebuilt

Even if they don't release the flash tools - with the full software (sources) at hand I don't think it'll take long for someone to release his own flash program.

arivero
08-04-2006, 07:17 AM
Not sure if they updated their GPL notice or if its been there before, but iRex states (http://developer.irexnet.com/gpl) that they will provide everything necessary to rebuilt the "full iLiad software":

iRex will comply 100% to the GPL by providing all source codes including the modifications made to open source applications. For software developed by external companies and iRex? code that uses IP we will provide the binaries so the full iLiad software can be rebuilt

Even if they don't release the flash tools - with the full software (sources) at hand I don't think it'll take long for someone to release his own flash program.

Well, the point of Dher is that the reflash process must be documented too. But it seems that the spirit is permeating in the iRex team. (It is expected to be present at the engineer level, of course, but it is good when/if it "upgrades" to the whole company. I guess it is inhibited because they were afraid of losingvaluable partners

DHer
08-05-2006, 02:46 AM
I think this paragraph is new.

And it's great :)

I guess hacking season will be on again.

Edit: just reread it. You think by rebuilting they mean "rebuilting on your home pc" or "rebuilting and putting it back on your iliad"?

Alexander Turcic
08-05-2006, 10:15 AM
I'd ask this way: What's the point of rebuilding the OS if they don't provide you with the tools and instruction how to put it back on your iLiad?

arivero
08-06-2006, 01:02 PM
I'd ask this way: What's the point of rebuilding the OS if they don't provide you with the tools and instruction how to put it back on your iLiad?
Yep, the spirit of the GPL is about Stallman's "four freedoms", and it implies to be able to incorporate any modification. It is a pity that RMS is not a hardware guy, and thus things become fuzzy when our kind of gadgetry becomes involved in the game.

narve
12-01-2006, 03:18 AM
Now that we have the compiler toolchain and the .sh capability, does anyone feel like porting a mp3-player? It may not be that difficult, but I don't know (I am a programmer, but neither C nor Linux nor close-to-the-metal, so I have noe clue about this)

pdam
12-01-2006, 04:52 AM
..getting back to the question of the thread - this link to a working mp3 player may help:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=33713&postcount=2
you'll need the shell script installed etc