So my daughter just started college and I took one of my printers down to her dorm and set up a queue for it on her Linux laptop. I also gave her my Cruzer 256MB memory stick while I was there so she can easily move her homework files around. This gave me an excuse to get a new 1GB memory stick (I'm always thinking).
I stopped at the local Walmart and picked up a new 1GB Cruzer. It's a little smaller than the old one and has a retractable USB port. I plugged it in to my laptop and it automounted like usual and I found a few Windows garbage files on the file system which wouldn't do me any good since I don't use it so I just blew them away, no problem. Of course the first thing I did was install DSL (Damn Small Linux) on it.
Well, I was at work and I decided I wanted to copy a couple of files off of a WinXP box so I put the stick in the machine and it chugged away for a little while and I saw two new items pop up, a new CD drive and a removable drive. This U3 logo flashed on the bottom right of the screen for a second and then the machine blue screened! I thought "what kind of crap is this?!?". I did a little research and found out U3 is on a hidden partition on the memory stick and appears to be pretty common on a lot of these devices:
Of course this is a Windows only thing. Us Linux users and Mac users don't have to put up with this malware and the USB stick just works as it should. This thing creates a bunch of registry entries without even telling you that it's going to do it. Fortunately there was a program on the site I linked to above that I could run on that Windows box that would remove the hidden partition and reformat the memory stick with the full 1GB available. I still had to go through and delete a lot of registry keys manually. I must have done this to my old Cruzer as well but I don't remember having to do it. Maybe I never plugged that one into a Windows box!
This reminds me of this iRiver music player I bought a while back. I bought it because it was able to play Ogg files. I get it home and realize I can't just mount it like any other file system to copy my music to. It used some stupid MS based picture transfer protocol (MTP) to transfer the files. It required Windows media player in Windows and in Linux you could get gphoto to transfer the files. So, I certainly wasn't happy about this at all and on top of that I found I could only get about 512MB of files on it rather than the 1GB it said it was supposed to have. Then I noticed it had the stupid "Microsoft Plays Anywhere" logo on it and realized I had some DRM infested piece of crap on my hands.
Well, after a little research I found there was a UMS (allows it to be mounted like a drive) version of the firmware outside of the US. I flashed it and now it worked great. I fired off a nasty message to iRiver shortly after about what I thought of their "Plays Anywhere" DRM crap and their choice of protocols. It apparently loses the ability to play DRM infested files after the conversion but I look at that as a positive thing. I also was able to use the full 1GB after the conversion. Now I just did a search to see if things are still the same and I must not have been the only one to complain because it looks like iRiver now officially supports both MTP and UMS and you can switch between them. Good on them I guess.
New Official Supported Conversion:
http://www.iriver.com/html/support/faq/ ... sp?idx=387
http://www.iriver.com/html/support/faq/ ... sp?idx=375
I just want to get plain old devices to use for what they are intended without all the Windows malware and extra garbage! Is that too much to ask?!?!