I'll get back to the homework later, I guess.
In other news
I broke down and bought the Sony NW-MS9 Network Walkman. So far, without even using it once, I'm already disappointed.
All information on the box, on the website, etc indicates that it uses native MP3 format files, no translation.
Bzzzt... Anything that you want to put on it must be converted to Sony's proprietary ATRAC3 format. That, plus the severe MS Windows bias has me thinking of returning it, without even trying it out yet. I have plenty of time to consider this given that the battery takes a whopping 7 hours to charge (for 10 hours of use...something does not compute there).
Having the MagicGate stuff alone was a reason to hold me off from buying this initially (MagicGate, in short, is Sony's attempt to prevent you from using Magic Sticks and other devices from swapping songs...I don't really care since I've encoded most of our CD library myself).
Sony seems to be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the MiniDisc (which was fantastic initially, but as MP3s became more popular it quickly lost luster). I bought an Aiwa MD player in the fall of 1998, enjoyed it for about 18 months, then got tired of recording music to it in real time. Sony has since come out with an MD player that it advertises to be "mp3 compatible" which simply means you convert your mp3s to a proprietary format (not ATRAC3 from what I can tell), and then record them in real time to your minidisc. Argh.
I'll let the battery complete charging and see how the sound quality is (another irritating gotcha was that there's a separate charger for the battery. It makes sense that they don't have *any* DC charging ability in the player (it's quite small) but irritating nonetheless.