FedEx SmartPost: What a terrible service!!

I normally do not ship much and try to either use UPS or USPS to send my packages. I have also used FedEx in the past with relative success. However, now the big names have come up with a way to be completely irresponsible for their service and in the process make it “cheaper” for its users. Announcing Fedex Smartpost. I really wonder how executives at these shipping companies can come up with this horseshit and put it into production without performing a reality check. I see Fedex Smartpost as a way for Fedex and USPS to completely deny any accountability for a package shipped through this service, thus reducing overhead normally associated with extra checks and balances to control loss and/or mistakes. This makes everyone concerned look really, really bad. They need to hire better marketing and managerial folks.
I was shipped a small package through this service and somehow it got lost in the shuffle. However, now Fedex has no way of tracking it, nor does USPS. They both asked me to visit the others’ website/phone support to get it resolved. I shudder to think what would have happened if this package was expensive or had an insurance claim of some kind. Needless to say, I will never ship anything again (or have anything shipped to me) with any “Smartpost” type service. I really like accountability and would like to think that my carriers are responsible enough and reliable enough to want be accountable since they sell reliability and their business models are based on reliability of service. If anyone reading this was thinking about using Fedex Smartpost, I would strongly suggest against it. Save yourself the hassle and the line of flaming dog poop that these people are offering and pay a few bucks extra to use a better service.

Rhapsody 4 and Sandisk Sansa e200 series

I recently upgraded to Rhapsody 4 from Rhapsody 3 since I was having trouble transferring playlists to my Sandisk Sansa e260 and created a large mess. Rhapsody would not start after upgrading to 4.0 and everything would lock up or freeze. This was after trying to uninstall Rhapsody and install it again from scratch. Rhapsody online help was poor to say the least and did not help at all. However, after reading some forum posts and trying to use my programmers’ thinking cap, I made it all work and work much better. I now can transfer playlists directly to my device without any rigmaroll and everything seems to work smoothly and seamlessly. I do like the new interface a lot better than the old one. It is cleaner, more intuitive and is simpler to navigate. No more “mixer”.

Before I go into this, this advice comes with no warranty or promise. If this completely breaks your computer and everything else, I am not responsible. please proceed at your own risk, especially if you have purchased songs on your system from Rhapsody. If you have purchased songs from Rhapsody and have them stored on your system, I am not sure how cleaning the DRM will affect your music. Please contact Rhapsody tech support for a better answer. This method only works well if you JUST use Rhapsody to go.

Here is what I did (this is considering you had a previous version of Rhapsody installed and nothing seems to work, program will not start):

  • Install Rhapsody 4 from the installation file but uncheck the box that says start Rhapsody after install
  • Unplug your device and close rhapsody (and WMP or any other DRM program) if it is running
  • Open up a command prompt (start->Run->type “cmd”->Enter key)
  • CD to the Rhapsody program files directory
  • Use the RhapDrmClean.exe program to clean the DRM files
    • type in RhapDrmClean -hx -hxstore -clean_phd_keys
    • Type yes a whole bunch of times as Rhapsody asks you if you are sure
    • Close the command prompt
  • Now that all of your DRM components are clean, open Rhapsody, log in and set it up again
  • You will have to re-license your device to get it to transfer music
  • Now you can drag and drop playlists onto the device and the lists themselves are transferred
  • If the device is not found, follow the same procedure you used before (when installed for the first time) to find and install the device.

I believe that there are a whole bunch of DRM updates in Rhapsody 4 and it conflicts with everything that Rhapsody had setup on your machine prior. The installation program does not seem to take care of this for you and it needs to be done manually. I am transferring all my music to my Sansa e260 as I type this. I love the fact that I can transfer playlists using Rhapsody now, it was a source of major frustration in the past.

Sandisk Sansa e260 Review

Sandisk Sansa e260I recently sold off my iRiver H120 on eBay and replaced it with a Sandisk Sansa e260 from Amazon for about $120 including shipping. As a side note, Amazon is simply wonderful. They are fast, courteous, and have price matched their own site and refunded me the difference in the price of the product since it went down. That is how to handle customer service.

Anyways, the Sansa e260 is definitely a good product. It is small, mostly lightweight, sleek and the screen is very clear and bright. You can upload songs, pictures and videos through the Windows Explorer or use a program like Rhapsody of Windows Media player to upload/control your music and create playlists etc. I primarily bought the Sansa to avail of the Music to go from Rhapsody and it has definitely been a pleasure and I am enjoying every minute of it. However, this is a review of the Sansa and I will stay away from talking too much about Rhapsody.

The scroll wheel is very smooth and works well with the software. I do have a problem with the smaller buttons around the scroll wheel since my fat fingers cannot get around to them too well but I think I have a feel for it now. The sound is very clear and loud (there is a loudness setting on the device beside the volume) and the player runs on the provided Lithium Ion batteries for approx 18 hours (more like 15 hours with frequent turning on of the LCD). I am not as fond of the headphones that come with the Sansa, but that was a given. I own a pair of Phillips set of sound isolating headphones that I love and will continue to use. Many of the features of an MP3 player are well manifested in the Sansa e260 including basic navigation, sound controls, equalizer, playlists shuffle etc. One note about playlists is that if you download a playlist from Rhapsody, the only way to get that playlist onto the player is to sync the device through Rhapsody.

One of the annoyances is the only way to charge the Sansa is by using the provided USB cable and it does not come with an extra wall charger. The other peeve is that the radio uses the provided USB cable as an antenna so if you want to receive FM transmissions that are a little faint, they are very noisy without that cable (the cable does not have to be plugged into a computer).

Overall this is a nice player with a lot of features and a small price tag. I look forward to finding lots of new music and enjoying it with Rhapsody and the Sandisk Sansa e260.