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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lost in Translation.

On Friday, I finally joined the 21st Century and bought a MP3 player. I was looking for a USB thing that can read my cell phone SIM card thing, but no luck. CompUSA seems to not have them. At least the store I went to had none.

Anyhow, while looking at shit that plugs into USB ports, I saw these MP3 player things that look like those pen drive devices. So the gears started to turn. Why buy an I-Pod when I can just buy a slightly large 2 gig USB pen drive that plays MP3 files? So I get one. It plugs into the computer exactly like a USB pen drive thing, and can be used like a regular pen drive (you can put anything on it) AND it will play MP3, WMA, and WAV files. It also supports SMV movie format, whatever the hell that is. It is also a digital voice recorder, a FM radio, and if that is not enough it will record FM broadcasts, up to the 2 gig capacity of the drive. That is a lot of shit for only $60. Hell a 2 gig plain USB pen drive may cost almost that much - and it will not play music files!

After buying the thing, I had to play with it in the parking lot before driving off. This is one way trash piles up in the truck. I opened the package, took out the device, put in the AAA battery, and then tossed the packaging in the back seat where it shall remain till sometime in the future when I clean out the vehicle. Whenever that may be.

What I found was that I could not really figure out how the hell the device worked. There is only a "play/pause" button, a hold switch, volume controls, and a "mode" selection sliding switch thing. Not too complicated here. But when I tried to use it as a FM tuner I could not figure out how to set the damn station.

Now HERE is the funny part! I get home and read the instruction manual. WAIT! IT GETS BETTER! The manual almost made me pee on myself. Lets start with page 1.

NOTE - I am not making ANY of this up. This is what is actually written in the manual.

Main function (me here, these are only some of the "main functions")

FM frequency modulation inside the player with receiving about 30 broadcasting station

Support recording FM radio

Microphone recording inside player

Convenient catalog files and menu guide administration

Support 6 music format such as heavy bourdon, pop, jazziness etc and user-defined music

WHAT THE HELL? Maybe I am just getting old, but what the hell is "heavy bourdon"? And what is a menu guide administration? But it gets better! Here are some things the manual says you SHOULD NOT DO.

It's not allowed to send MP3 files to others without our authority (that offend against safety of international version right).

Vibration of walking or doing sports will not affect playing music, however falling down of be clashed by heavy thing will damage player and affect the playing effect. meantime, avoid and liquid pure down to or bedew it.

Not put the player near hot thing or under the sunshine, excessive rust, damp, rainy water. Meanwhile, stressed by heavy thing will also damage it. Put it on the uneven surface or in the too much hot airproof train will damage or reduce the lifespan of player.

Me again. WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?! I speak and read English, and I have no idea what any of that means. If I do not know what a "hot airproof train" is, how can I avoid placing the player on or near it? Does this mean that if I am on the subway and the AC breaks my MP3 player is toast? Ill remember this next time I am in New York. And I should avoid damp rainy water? As opposed to what? Dry water? I like how they covered all the bases by saying "hot thing". This covers irons, wood burning stoves, exhaust manifolds, hair driers, open fires, fire breathing dragons, and hot chicks.

This is the BEST PART!

Note the usage of earphone.
When driving, on bike, or driving any motorbike, it should not be used in those condition for your safety. Walling or crossing the road, turn the volume up will bring you an accident. On that potent dangerous spots (building ground for instant). keep alarm and not use earphone.

Prevent ear damaged.
Not turn the volume too much loud, ear professor suggest that it's will bad for your ear listening to loud volume for a long time. If you feel uncomfortable, please turn the volume down or stop using it in time.

ME AGAIN! That is all from the manual. Well not really, this is just all I am going to post here. Who the hell did this company hire to proofread their manual? Tarzan? Tonto? Frankenstein? President Bush? That "me rove you rong time" hooker from Full Metal Jacket? And what is an "ear professor"?

OHH I forgot to mention the company and their slogan!

Centon, Memories that last forever. DO realize you guys are selling MP3 players and not digital cameras right?

Obviously this manual is the result of translation software. And to some degree, reading it gave me a little tiny insight into how the Chinese language works. I am assuming that this player was made in China, along with everything else.

But this is just bad marketing. Someone should tell this company that if you put out a shit manual, people will assume your product is also shit. So HIRE SOMEONE TO PROOF READ YOUR SHIT! This applies to ANY company. Want to sell something to China? Hire a Chinese person to proof read your documentation. Do not rely on crappy translation software - or else this is what you get.

All things aside, the MP3 player itself is actually good. It works. I am using it now. And it was cheap as hell. It does not seem to care where my MP3 files came from. It did not ask "did you download these from a P2P network" and force me to lie and say "of course not! What do you think I pirated all these files"?

It is small (only slightly larger than a regular USB pen drive), you can use it like any other USB drive, and the coolest part? You can choose what color you want the back light to be. You can pick red, dark blue, green, amber, dark purple, light blue, or light purple. I went with green.

So if you need a 2 gig USB pen drive that plays MPs files, has a built in FM tuner, is a digital voice recorder, comes with a fun to read manual, AND only cost $70 bucks, go to CompUSA and snag a Centon. They also have 1 GB units for about $20 less. But what the hell - you may as well get the 2 gig.

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Blogger Meow said...

Hahahaha ... I've had a manual like that before.
Glad the thing works, though !!
Take care, Meow

Blogger Kristen said...


If there's any way you can get a picture of it, you should submit it to

I have 2 mp3 players: one is 512MB for workouts, and the other is 20GB for travel and days when I'll need more than 2 hours of music with me or a variety of podcasts and music (train rides).

The mp3 player I have was better than the iPod shuffle for a long time because it's the same size, but it has a display that shows the name of the song. I'm not sure, but I think the shuffle has started to do that. If not, then mine's still better and it was only $50.

Blogger Kristen said...

Oh, and try ebay for USB cables for your cell phone.

Blogger Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

I hear you buddy. I'm not up on all that music playing jargon but I know about poor instructions.

I recently ordered a spoiler for my car and the installation instructions consisted of 4 hand drawn pictures. I think cheapness is a clue to what the instructions will be like

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said... rules! I so need to get to Japan.

Blogger Badoozie said...

why must you torture people with this lingo, why don't you just finish me off with a gun...ok...with that being said, buy an ipod

Blogger Fuzz said...

Translation software ? So thats how they write these things. They're usually good for a laugh and you can usually figure out how to use it eventually.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All your base are belong to us.

Blogger Morganor said...

I made the error of buying the same mp3 player.

It sucks badly. there is no "resume" feature.

that was a waste. Not to mention the really bizarre earbuds.

Blogger Morganor said...

oh yes.. just to cap it off. Here is the e-mail I got from what passes as tech support:

Thank you for contacting Centon, your incident number is 17506.

Unfortunateley your 2GBMP3-001 is not capable to stand such feature that
will allow you to stop/pause a song and play it right exactly where you
left it on.
We are very sorry for any inconvinience caused to you.


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