Feeds

Psion WaveFinder saved by software that works?

Yes, we know it's too late as well, but still...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Psion's WaveFinder digital radio system, launched almost a year ago, is a good idea in theory. Plug the weird blue combination box and antenna into a USB port and you get a cheap route into DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) that allows you to listen and record as you sit by your PC. Except that you'll probably get to do a lot more sitting by your PC and a lot less working at it, because Psion's WaveFinder software is the IT equivalent of an inadequately tested elephant tranquiliser, complete with unfortunate and unexpected side-effects.

The Register's WaveFinder was unplugged many months ago, and given Psion's apparent inability to produce lean, mean, reliable software for the device (granted, the company has other more pressing problems these days), it looks like it's missed the digital audio boat. At time of launch the WaveFinder could have been established as a component of PC bundling deals (in the same way as printers, digital cameras and scanners are), but it hasn't happened. Psion had enthusiastic reps from UK electronics chain Dixons (enthusiastic by the standards of reps from Dixons, anyway) at the launch, but today Dixons lists only one machine with a WaveFinder bundled, and it's out of stock.

But why are we going over this ancient history? Well, a few weeks back I was mailed by Steve Todd, who said he'd been sufficiently annoyed by the general uselessness of the WaveFinder software to impell him to write something better himself. He aimed for simplicity, modest CPU, RAM and resource requirements, an interface that could be tucked out of the way, a recording timer, and fewer glitches and crashes.

Naturally I said I'd take a look at it, and a series of "remember me?" emails from Steve later, I have. Steve's WaveLite is currently in production at version 1.0, and he's currently in beta on future versions. The software uses the same RadioScape VIADAB API as Psion's WaveFinder software, with licensed or freeware compiler, components and development tools, and an MPEG playback library licensed from XAudio.

It's been developed under Psion's nose, with beta group discussions taking place in Psion's own WaveFinder forums, but Steve says he hasn't heard a word from Psion officially. You couldn't exactly call this a green light, but it's not red or even amber either, and it'd be a lot smarter for Psion to adopt Steve and his software than to give him grief.

One obvious advantage of adoption would be that the Psion drivers and WaveLite could be distributed together, whereas at the moment you'll need Psion's WaveFinder drivers installed first before WaveLite's any use to you. And if you've any sense you deinstalled them months ago when you chucked the WaveFinder into the back of the cupboard.

Never mind, find the CD, install, and then install WaveLite. As promised, it is indeed a lot slimmer than the Psion software; Steve says a third as much CPU and memory, and that seems plausible enough. At the moment it doesn't do data stations and station lessage text, but it does do timed playback/recording with repeating events, unlike Psion's software.

It also, for reasons I can't altogether fathom, seems able to find more DAB channels than Psion's software does. Signal strength in my part of London seems to have gone seriously off since the WaveFinder went into the cupboard last, and now the Psion software can only apparently find four, whereas WaveLite gets what looks pretty much like a full set.

Right now, WaveLite is probably only of interest to people who've already got a WaveFinder. You can still get them in some stores, but there are clear signs that you'd be better off looking in the bargain bins. It would be nice to think Psion might make a consumer comeback with a version 2, but it looks highly unlikely.

If you've got one, or can pick one up cheaply, then you really ought to ditch the Psion software and go for WaveLite instead (for starters, it's still being developed and supported). It's available for free as a 30 day trial, after which it operates with reduced functionality. Registering for £25 gets you back up to full functionality. ®

Steve's site

Related Stories from happier days:
Psion mounts £299 digital radio land grab
Broadband for free: radio kills the digital stars

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.