i too enjoyed the Playback podcast but feel some important questions were never asked. The question concerning the compression scheme left us to believe it is possible for us to use other machines or computers which could handle the amr/wideband format i think it was called. Is there some limitation as to software which would read that format? Would it be possible to copy the books for personal use only with this format I wonder?
I also frankly did not accept the explanation for why CDs were not seriously considered as the medium for recording. He kept saying the discs were fragile and easily damaged. I honestly do not see this as remotely true compared to cassettes which have a horrible track record in my view. The argument that the CD players are electro-mechanical is a better argument but then if they can make a case for cassettes for all these years and admit that every four years the entire stock of cassette recorders must be repaired it does not seem a serious consideration either. I have owned CD players without any mechanical or electronic failure nearly 25 years without a single one failing though during this same period I have purchased, borrowed and still lost nearly two dozen cassette players. having said this I do not object to the reasons for compact flash cards and the reduction of mechanical parts to eliminate mechanical failures. This is sound reasoning. Maybe those of us who use computers much of the time and populate these lists are not the typical consumer they are planning for, but I find some of the attitude displayed in this interview to be rather patronizing and devaluing of the abilities of the blind. The idea that there will be two models--the basic and advanced--with a much smaller quantity of advanced units being produced bothers me because of the assumptions made. I have no doubt that some people have trouble with the four track concept as it is totally outside the normal range of experience for most people with the exception of the blind. Using a CD player is probably a far more common experience and most people have had the opportunity to use them effectively before becoming blind. The same would be true for the compact flash device and the concern about the four tracks will not apply any longer. I think more people would use the advanced model than they seem to think. I also would love to see the download possibilities offered as an alternative for those of us who wish to use that technology. Again, I think there are many of us who would take advantage of that service and never have to involve the post office or even library personnel. I suspect that will happen eventually but it is too far down the line for me.