It's always tough to come back from vacation, especially on a Monday, which is already a day of dread in its own right. So much to catch up on. So. Much. E-MAIL. But, on this Monday, there is a bright spot, which is that I received plenty of compelling questions and comments for this column during my absence, and I appreciate every one of them. This week, I've decided to focus on a couple of relatively simple items because (a) my brain is still out of the office and (b) I think the simplest tidbits can be the most useful at times. So, here you have it: how to recycle your old gadgets; and what's the deal with the new Creative Zen players?
Q: Can you tell me the best way to recycle used headphones? Are there hazardous or difficult materials (e.g. magnets, rubber coating on the wires or at the plug) that one needs to be aware of?--John, via e-mail
A: That's an excellent question. While I'm not sure exactly what the hazardous waste quotient is with headphones, it's best to recycle them just like any other electronics. The EPA has a Web site with some good resources on how to recycle electronics based on your location.
Q: I just saw this device while wandering around the Creative Web site, the Creative Zen X-Fi, and I'm absolutely just drooling right now! What can you tell me about it's release date, and when can we expect a review on it?--John, via e-mail
A: Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get my hands on a review sample of the X-Fi yet--despite my various efforts, which have included, but are not limited to, begging, pleading, nagging, and veiled hostility. I do know that the player is--or at least was, as of this posting--available and in stock on Creative's U.S. Web site, which means the release date has come and gone. I'm happy to report that we were finally able to secure a meeting with Creative this week and should receive an X-Fi, as well as the new. Check back later this week for the reviews. In the meantime, whet your appetite with the specs laid out below.
MP3 Mailbox Monday is a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, please state as much in your e-mail.)