Posts Tagged ‘rockbox’

RockBox: Make your old MP3 player cooler than it ever was

Rockbox is an open source firmware for mp3 players, written from scratch. What does that mean? It means you can take your old mp3 player (like my 1st gen iPod mini for example), install Rockbox, and make it cooler than it ever was in the first place. How cool? Cool like playing “Doom” on my 1st generation iPod Mini, that’s how cool.

First gen iPod Mini running Doom

A closer Look

Contrasted so its easier to see

Aside from the slightly impractical Doom gaming there’s some pretty neat stuff you can also do with Rockbox installed. Here’s just a peek at some of the stuff you can make your old device do with Rockbox:

  • Re-skin your player’s interface with downloadable themes
  • Run applications like alarms clocks, text editors, or battery benchmarking
  • Play games like Doom, sudoku, and solitaire
  • Edit playlists directly from your player
  • Access and view files on your player

Rockbox main menu

Rockbox plugins menu

So what do you have to do to achieve this level of coolness? You pretty much just have to connect your mp3 player to your computer and download the Rockbox installer and follow the instructions. Once downloaded, just extract the Rockbox Utility program and run it. It should then guide you through the steps necessary to get up and running.

Autodetect is your friend when configuring. Chances are if autodetect doesn’t work for you, you either don’t have a compatible device (supported devices) or your computer doesn’t recognize it. If you do encounter any issues, Rockbox has a user’s forum where you can search for troubleshooting info or ask questions of your own. Aside from that, I have a few tips here in case you run into any of the same problems I did.


  • Make sure that your computer recognizes your device as connected before attempting to install Rockbox. Try unplugging and replugging in your device to get it to show up.
  • If you get proxy or network errors it means Rockbox can’t download the necessary files to complete you installation. Stop goofing around at work and try it when you get home. ;)
  • If you get a popup that says “Your configuration is invalid” chances are that your device mapped to a new drive or that you don’t have it plugged in.
  • During the Rockbox installation onto your player, you might get an error that says “Failed to add bootloader”. Make sure you have selected the right device and version for the Rockbox install.
  • If all else fails, do a factory reset of your player and try the install again.

Have fun Rockboxing! Be sure to if you find it valuable.

Shit My Twitter Says: Xmas Edition

This is my list of favorites from Twitter for the past week. Be sure to take a look at not just the links, but the people posting up the great content. Some heavy hitters on the list this week.

Quake 3D Environment running in Flash

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Aerys shows off Minko, their tool for developing 3D applications for the Flash platform. This demo in particular is cool because they were members of the Adobe “Molehill” 3D API prerelease program.

Take a look to see the future of 3D in Flash, in a very familiar format. That’s right, Quake 3D right there in your browser.


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AutoHotkey is a free, open source utility to let you hotkey just about anything in Windows. Let’s you streamline and customize your Windows experience as much as you want. Here’s a brief list of hightlights:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks.
  • You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Create custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars.

Control Your Computer With Your Brain in AS3

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Sean Moore blogs about his exploits with NeuroSky’s Mindset headset, a USB device that actually reads brainwaves (EEG) as user input. It comes complete with a free, open source API for developing your own applications that use the headset. Also there’s a sort of brain emulator that allows you to develop against the API without even buying the headset.

Check out this blog post, and his previous one on the topic, to get a look at this incredibly cool technology.

Write high quality unit tested AS3 for fun and profit…

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A great assessment of unit testing resources, particularly as they relate the Actionscript 3 programming. The insights on the high points and pitfalls of test driven development are well worth the read.

“As with all code, complexity is easy. It is the default. Elegant simplicity is much more difficult.”

jQuery Mobile

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From the framework that made Javascript tolerable comes a version specially built for the unique needs of mobile developers. Enter jQuery Mobile.

My favorite part about this framework, other than the familiar syntax, is the upfront honesty about its compatibility. Check out the compatibility chart on the “Platforms” page for more details.


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Rockbox is an open source firmware for mp3 players, written from scratch. What this means is that you can load open source, totally customizable firmware onto the supported MP3 player of your choice. This includes the following (with many more unstable ports):

  • Apple iPods (lots of versions)
  • Archos
  • Cowon
  • iriver
  • Olympus
  • Packard Bell
  • SanDisk
  • Toshiba

So what can you do with it? You can customize the interface, use themes, watch movies, or even play Doom. Yes, Doom on your MP3 player. Badass.