Well what a week it's been.  First off let me apologise for not updating for a while.  I'm sure many of you will have guessed that I've been pretty busy for the last few weeks and you'll here more about that soon...

Portable Media Centers finally hit retail this week, first from Creative and shortly Samsung.  iRiver also have a model on the way that PC Magazine took at look at a couple of days ago.  I've had the chance to play with the Creative model a little bit and I quite like it.  I watched a bit of TV on it and listened to some music and it seemed easy to use and the video quality looked good.

Windows Media Player 10 has been released as well.  I haven't actually spent much time using it as Media Center handles all my music at home and my iPod handles my music the rest of the time.

A little digression as I mention that I'm in the process of re-ripping all my music.  Last week one of my hard drives in my Media Center died dramatically.  I was sitting watching an episode of The Simpsons when all of sudden I saw a flash of blue on the TV and the PC rebooted and would no longer boot into Windows again.  I ran some diagnostics on the drive and discovered the drive was unreadable.  The diagnostic tools reported catastrophic read errors on every sector on the drive, so it appears the read head may have failed.  The drive was 1 year and five days old.  Thankfully there was a three year warranty on the drive and Western Digital shipped me a replacement drive straight away.  Thankfully all I really lost was a few TV shows, my ripped music and copies of my photos - I'm very glad I had copies of the photos stored on another PC!  Re-ripping all the music though is going to take a long time.  I'm ripping everything into WMA9 Lossless and I'll be keeping backup copies this time!

OK, back to the main subject.  The MSN Music Store also went live this week.  I've browsed through the store and there seems to be a good selection - I've found things that I've had trouble finding in local stores which is good to see.  I'll probably stick to CDs for now though.  I like having a physical copy of what I'm buying.