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What's in My Dell DJ

I hope you've all tried Lsongs, the open source music manager that we released a few weeks ago. Before Lsongs, digital music on desktop Linux was a complete disaster. Separate programs, each with their own interface, were required to play CDs, digitize music, listen to streaming radio, organize playlists, or burn CDs. Lsongs brings all of that functionality into one easy-to-use and intuitive program.

One missing piece was an elegant connection to a high-capacity, portable MP3 player. I contacted Apple about supporting their technology, but I was rebuffed. I guess Apple is intent on applying a closed strategy to their music initiatives, so users can choose any software and any player - as long as it's from Apple. It will be fascinating to see if the same strategy which has relegated them to less than 5% marketshare in the PC business has more success in the music arena. We turned our attention to the Dell Digital Jukebox, which under close inspection, is a great value when compared to the iPod. According to Apple's site, the iPod 15 gigabyte model is $299 and the 20 gig model is $399, while Dell DJs are $199 and $279 for similar products.

Check out the Dell DJ
We modified the Linspire operating system, as well as the Lsongs music manager, to give consumers a Plug & Play experience with the Dell DJ. Users can simply plug the unit into the USB port and it is automatically recognized. From there, Lsongs gives them an easy-to-use interface to drag and drop individual songs onto the device. Or they can use the synchronize feature to mirror the songs in their Lsongs library onto their Dell DJ.

I typically go running with a tiny handheld MP3 player, which holds just a few dozen songs, but when I travel and I want to take a larger collection, the Dell player makes a lot of sense. Even the smaller 15GB unit will hold thousands of songs, so I've got music for whatever mood I'm in, and will never get bored. Here are a few of my current favorite songs:

Alan Jackson - "Remember When" This guy is more than just a cowboy with a hat. He's half of a husband/wife songwriting team that writes poignant lyrics. Yes, there was a time when 30 seemed old...

Baby Bash - "Suga Suga" The opening line says it all, "So tight, so fly..." for this smooth R&B song featuring San Diego's own Frankie J.

Groove Armada - "Inside My Mind (Blue Skies)" I stumbled onto this song when I bought a compilation CD from The Gap. (Or was it Banana Republic?) I know, I know, silly way to find music, but whatever works!

Counting Crows - "Big Yellow Taxi" It's rare that a remake improves on the original. I think they did it. Anyone want to disagree with me in the message board?

Nine Inch Nails - "Terrible Lie"  When I feel a bit on the edge, there's nothing like NIN to push me all the way over.

Rascal Flatts - "These Days" This country trio comprised of second cousins has captured the essence of meeting that old friend who may have wanted to be more then a friend.

J-Kwon - "Tipsy" Move over Nelly, there's a new young hip hop phenom from the Loop (St. Louis).

Icicle Works - "Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)" Ah... the 80s - my teen years. Not to mention a classic one-hit wonder.

Incubus - "Drive" This normally loud and heavy band proves they have another side and remind me to take life as it comes.

Those are some of my favorites, now tell me your favorite songs.Remember, the Dell DJ holds thousands of songs, so you can have a vast music collection, in a device that weighs about the same as 2 CD jewel cases, and with Lsongs, loading your entire music collection to the jukebox is a snap.

-- Michael

To read more of Michael's comments visit "The Call" at where this week he talks about the "Skype Hype."
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