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Hard Drive Hack On Archos 6000 MP3 Player 62

Richard Holdman writes: "A few weeks ago the Archos Jukebox 6000 was realeased and only comes in a 6GB version. For those wanting to upgrade to a larger drive you might want to check out this page. It explains how to take your Archos Jukebox 6000 apart and install a 20GB hard drive. Be warned though, it will void your warranty." Or, you could pick up a Toshiba Libretto on eBay and pop in a 20GB drive for an MP3 jukebox you can telnet from.
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Hard Drive Hack On Archos 6000 MP3 Player

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Juan Epstein sucks my many penises!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That archos is only 4.5x3x1 inches big. You have to use a lap top hard drive. 20gig is the biggest 9.5mm drive they make at this time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have a toshiba libretto 70ct, i bought it about two years ago and about all it's good for is a portable mp3 player, especially for a car.
  • I suppose this is kinda dumb and irrelevant, but if you ever get your laptop out and use it in a public place, have you noticed how so many of the ladies strolling by just love the Libretto?

    Yep, mine gets attention from women and technophiles (both sexes). The only problem I have is that it's getting too slow. I could *really* do with one of the newer ff1100V models to replace my aging 50CT, but I haven't been able to find one in the UK. JPD are the only people I can find to import a Japanese one, and they're quoting extortionate prices for it :-(

  • Emphasis on the word "might" because you won't know until you've spent the money. Playing MP3s using Linux might give poor sound quality.

    I've got a machine that plays MP3s fine under Windows 95, but under Linux the exact same MP3s sound scratchy and staticy. I've also got a laptop running NT that has similar but slightly different sound quality issues.

    Now I know there are /. readers who have great sounding MP3 players that they built out of components they found in the trash or bought for $0.35 on eBay. I submit that these folks are simply *lucky*.

    The folks designing MP3 players like the Archos, Nomad, and NEO25/35 are presumably testing different components and configurations, using the good and discarding the bad, and mass producing the end result. This is something simply cannot be done systematically by one person who wants one MP3 player cost effectively. There's no way to buy low cost components and get guaranteed good quality. Even a "no questions asked" return policy will leave you out $10-$20 for every component that doesn't measure up.
  • by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:12PM (#1420185)

    I've tried several varieties of MP3: ripped with cdparanoia and encoded with bladenc and lame, downloaded from, downloded from Napster.

    I've used mpg123 and XMMS as players.

    In an MP3 discussion on Slashdot (about 1.5 to 2 years ago) I asked what cards people had good results with because my Soundblaster16 didn't sound very good under Linux. I replaced it with a Creative Ensoniq AudioPCI because that card was specifically recommended for use with Linux.

    The problem has also survived two versions of Mandrake and possibly Red Hat 5.0, although I'm not sure if I was trying MP3s back then.

    It's not a big deal really. I just play regular CDs in a regular CD player. The CDs accumulate in the back seat of my car and every couple of weeks I clear out the pile and put them back in the racks.

    I may eventually buy a NEO25 just to lend moral support to the people who are consumer friendly enough to not only allow the user to upgrade hard drives, but specifically sell a driveless version for people who want to supply their own.
  • I think that's a bit harsh and, well, untrue :)

    But huge mix CDs, live bootlegs etc, do take up a lot of space.

    You also rapidly fill up a lot of disk space when you start ripping all of your old and new CDs to put them in one large collection. That's what I do.
  • Hmm.

    One of my machines uses a simple ISA Soundblaster 16 and it sounds just fine, I have it connected to my living room stereo.

    Don't know about the AudioPCI though, but a friend of mine has it and never complained.

    So really, your case sounds mysterious to me. As I said before, there's nothing in Linux itself that leads to bad audio quality. It's alway the application and the soundcard, but the operating system should not affect it...

  • I don't know about the US, but here in Germany, you'll have to pay royalties at Gema [] for that.

    It isn't a lot of money, but still, it's money for something that a company does not really need to do, so most companies here don't play "real" albums on the phone while you are waiting.

    This is the main reason why (here in Germany) most "on hold" music is royalty-free. There are special music royalty-free collections for this purpose. Usually, these are short melodies and most of them suck.

    A friend of mine has composed a few more interesting royalty-free tracks for this purpose. These are often instrumental tunes or even songs made for one particular company, sometimes featuring the company's name. Still, they will also go on your nerves after a short time... :-)

  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:41PM (#1420189) Homepage
    I've got a machine that plays MP3s fine under Windows 95, but under Linux the exact same MP3s sound scratchy and staticy.

    Two possible reasons:

    - Your MP3s have defects (I have a couple, too, because I got them through a German TV-channel offline distribution system, don't ask) and your Linux MP3 player cannot cope with them, while your Windows player can do some error-correction (WinAmp is known to accept MP3 files with defects).

    If you think that this is the cause, try different mp3 players. But more likey, I assume that

    - Your particular soundcard is not supported as well in Linux as it is in Windows.

    Unless you mention the name and version of your soundcard, your anecdotical evidence is just that: anecdotical. Here's my anecdote: I have half a dozen of computers running with all kinds of hardware inside, each having a different soundcard. One of them is not supported at all under Linux, another (an old Ensoniq Soundscape) shows the symptons you describe, all others sound exactly as good or bad as they do with Windows. At least to my ears.

    From a technical standpoint, a MP3 file will sound the same on the same soundcard, there is nothing that Linux per se does "wrong" with MP3 and nothing that Windows does "better".

  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:47PM (#1420190) Homepage
    I used to own a Libretto 50ct. A great product.

    (I want it back desperately, especially because of some of my thesis files left on the harddisk when the laptop was stolen from a hotel room... sniff.)

    However, its sound quality is poor with a lot of background noise from the mainboard circuitry and the harddisk. It features a not-quite-standard 2.5 mm headphone jack that requires using a bulky adapter (I always feared that I might rip the audio jack apart if I touched that adapter while plugged in). Battery time was 60 minutes, rarely more.

    I haven't compared more recent models of the Libretto, but I doubt that audio quality was the engineers' main concern.

    So yes, there's a good reason to build a dedicated MP3 player with a harddisk to overcome these problems.

  • I've never really seen much to make those bigger MP3 players worth buying just yet. It seems to me like for the same or maybe a little more money, you could have a laptop that's only slightly larger and does a whole lot more.

    Now, one of the little cheap ones like the Rio 600 [], that I can see, sort of. But until those big ones get down into the $200 range, I don't see much use for them save for the early adopters and people with too much money to buy toys.

  • hey what about vorbis any players that do it in hardware ?

    the rio does MS$ sound as well

    any other players for other codecs ?

    (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • I've tried this... the sound output on the Libretto has a lot of background hiss. It's okay for driving when there's already a lot of noise, but that's about it.

    And running the Libretto power supply from an cheap inverter (in a car) generates so much 60Hz noise on the output that it's useless there too.
  • 22khz ought to be good enuff for an on hold solution, though... what kind of phones are you using? :-)
  • Who do you think make the 20G hard drive, toshiba of course. Go to the adorable Libretto [] page and check for installation of 20G hard drives.

    Old subnotebook you say, 2 years has passed and nobody has come up with a smaller subnotebook compare to my libby110. Those Sony stuff are just fancy looking.

  • After buying an average of 8 CDs a month since 1988, I have over 1100 CDs. After spending months ripping to MP3, I have 70+ GB sitting on SCSI drives (I put each album in it's own folder with an Artist (year) - Album Name format to make it easy to select a directory in Winamp).

    I'm now trying to get MisterHouse [] to read that many playlist :-)

  • A firmware update to what?

    It seems that many projects, especially the hobby ones floating online, are using a specific-purpose DSP designed for mp3 decoding- the MAS3507d, the STA013, etc. I'd argue in a heartbeat that this is a mistake, and that a general purpose DSP can be significantly cheaper with still enough power to do mp3, and can be updated by software to decode other formats (limited by the power of the DSP, of ocurse). Of interest, I know that the RCA Lyra uses this approach.

    I too own a $99 MP3/CD player, the CM-415, and am quite happy with it.

  • But if they're having a dedicated DSP do the decoding, then the BIOS will only control things like the user interface and the addressing of the media, not the method of the decoding.
  • Then why does the MAS3507d require the user to have no program or any other data sent to it on the I2C bus, and it'll just start decoding when the frames arrive on its input? And why does the STA013 require only configuration registers to be sent to it beforehand- not an entire program?

    These are the DSPs I'm talking about, and while I'm sure they have a general purpose core deep inside, there's no way to access it directly.

  • Yes, I was specifically thinking about your project when I mentioned the STA013 as one of the DSPs that the hobbyist projects use. I'm a huge "fan" of your project, I guess you could say :)

    I know you're gonna call me crazy, but I _swear_ I've seen the TI DSP.. TMS320VC549 as cheap as $15 in individual units. I had found the match on, and I think it was FAI that had the match (but there isn't one now)

    As for the license rights, how much is it per unit? I hadn't taken that into consideration, and didn't take the flash into consideration either; not knowing how large the program would be, I can't judge on how much would be needed.

    So, you're probably right, at least for hobbyist projects. (As in, not done in massively large quantities)

  • Seriously - it encourages the use of a vastly insecure legacy protocol amongst users, which is unforunately popular enough. Telnet is deprecated by SSH, which is nearly as ubiquitous and just as cross platform as Telnet, in addition to allowing X authentication that's possible to understand, and, or course, a reasonable level of security [though even SSH isn't perfect]. Most large environments these days are beginning to put Telnet on their list of banned procols, even within their internal networks, now that router manufacturers have discovered SSH. Vote with your dollars against the ones that haven't.

    I'd like to think the Slashdot guys have enough sense to avoid installing Telnet clients and servers on their machines. God knows most Linux distributions don't, but then again, they install sendmail and wuftpd on workstation machines anyway, and generally love daemons which run as root.

  • Or, you could pick up a Toshiba Libretto on eBay and pop in a 20GB drive for an MP3 jukebox you can telnet from.

    The story referred to Telnet casually, endorsing its common use. The above post was not off topic.
  • A while back I replaced the 850 MB 8.5 mm drive in my Libretto with a 3.2 GB 9.5 mm drive. You have to take the case apart and remove a couple of little clear plastic spacers, then the 9.5 mm drive fits in just fine. Nowadays you can get 20 GB drives in this size. 850 MB was kind of cramped. But I have enough room on the 3.2 GB drive for both the Win95 that came with the box and a Linux installation as well.

    I learned how to add a 9.5 mm drive through this excellent, illustrated page by Dr. Xin Feng []. The link on the adorable Libretto page doesn't work, Dr. Feng moved his stuff.

    Since you have a Libretto, another must-see page on his site is this one [], which describes how to make an external battery pack for your laptop using real cheap lead-acid camcorder batteries which will run your Libretto in full-power mode for about four hours. With only $50 worth of batteries, I can use my Libretto all day long in the field.

    I suppose this is kinda dumb and irrelevant, but if you ever get your laptop out and use it in a public place, have you noticed how so many of the ladies strolling by just love the Libretto? Weird, but repeatedly women have stopped and told me they think it's so cute! Maybe that's why that web page is titled adorable Libretto []. Something worth thinking about, for you single guys; if I were still single I'd think I might take it down to the park, find a well-shaded park bench, and hack away...

    Yours WDK -

  • Or, you could pick up a Toshiba Libretto on eBay and pop in a 20GB drive for an MP3 jukebox you can telnet from.

    Hmmmm... isn't the Libretto a relatively old subnotebook? I highly doubt you could put in a 20 gig hard drive. I tried to put a 12 gig drive into a friend's laptop (P133) and it only showed up as 8. I'm guessing the Libretto is saddled with the same limit.

    Awww, but what the heck, while we're dreaming anyway, I want one with a 12Ghz processor, 64 gigs of ram, 6 pcmcia slots, and USB 8.0... and let's shrink it to the size of a dollar bill. =-)
  • Unfortunately most 20GB harddisks are 9.5 mm high. That size does not fit in a Libretto. They can only use 8.5 mm disks and the largest I have seen is a 6GB.
  • by Kreeblah ( 95092 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @10:43AM (#1420206)
    using it to play "on hold" music on a company's automated button-pushing phone number? Some of the music (like for United Airlines) never changes, and it gets old, fast. I think one of these with a hard drive would provide enough music to handle a lot more customers. Sure, it sounds stupid, but when you're on hold waiting for someone, do you really want to hear "Please hold . . . your call is important to us." (30 second gap) "Please hold . . . your call is important to us."
  • Does anyone know of a comparative review of the Archos, Nomad, and NEO 25/35, and other type devices? I would prefer one that has at least a 4-6 GB hard drive, good quality contruction and sound, and can play both to headphones and rca outs for my car stereo inputs (I could use a 3.5mm -> rca converter, but that would lose quality, wouldn't it?). Thanks,

  • How do I add a 20G HD to my PJB100?

    In all seriousness, I have 100's of CD's. I'd be glad to dump my 50+ CD stereo jukebox. Press the "xmas playlist" button and I could sleep through the entire holidays.

  • Jeez I'm up to an 8GB mp3 collection.... and that's just what I've downloaded.
  • The problem with that is half the people that call up aren't going to like what's playing. To try and satisfy the largest number of people possible, you end up with some sappy, slow, washed out, politically correct music that no one wants to listen to.
  • It seems like a waste of a 20 gig HD. I mean, I can't even see why you'd even need six gigs of mp3s on the go, let alone 20. A discman and a CD burner seems like a far more sensable alternative.

    Does anyone even know 20 gigs worth of songs? That's a hell of a lot of music.

  • bugg writes
    It seems that many projects, especially the hobby ones floating online, are using a specific-purpose DSP designed for mp3 decoding- the MAS3507d, the STA013, etc. I'd argue in a heartbeat that this is a mistake, and that a general purpose DSP can be significantly cheaper with still enough power to do mp3, and can be updated by software to decode other formats (limited by the power of the DSP, of ocurse).

    Mine is one of those players [] you mention. I used the STA013 chip. There's a few compelling reasons to use the STA013 or MAS3507D. First of all, you get a really high quality decoder without having to write code, which is difficult and requires the expensive ISO standard (I paid $170 for it). Witness the poor performance of the NJB on slightly corrupt MP3 files that winamp and the STA013 can play just fine (and Creative spent a lot). The free MP3 decoder software all uses floating point. Floating point DSPs are very expensive. A second motivation is that the STA013 and MAS3507D use less power than a general purpose DSP chip. Third, these chips include the royalty paid to Thompson, which you don't get if you write the code yourself. Finally, I do not believe there is a MP3-capable programmable DSP chip that's "significantly cheaper" (at 100 qty, say) than the STA013. Perhaps you will reply to this and give a part number of a programmable DSP (don't forget the cost of external flash memory if it doesn't have built-in in-circuit upgradable flash memory).

    Perhaps WMA and Ogg will be a big deal someday, but so far, the vast majority of people I've had contact with want cool user-interface features. Of course, I'm working to get there, and it's a damn good thing I designed the board to be flash upgradable!

    Someday maybe MS will force WMA on everyone, perhaps right after their antitrust case is dismissed? But consider the a closed-source upgradable design is worthless if the company holding the code doesn't spend the time and money to create the upgrade. How likely is it that you'll get Vorbis decoding from a commercial closed-source implmentation??

  • I've ripped every album I own and have about 35 gigs worth of mp3's right now (this includes all the live/rare/acoustic stuff i collect too). Not really difficult to fill 20...
  • "not much larger than a laptop"??

    surely you jest. or simply don't get it.

    you can't take a laptop everywhere - easily, at least.

    I was recently called to wait for jury duty. I was stuck in this large room for hours and hours. nothing to do, nothing to read (there) and no idea how long until I was called to go do something. at the time, I had a portable cd-based mp3 player. the disc and batteries would get me by for about 10 hrs. I had a feeling that they wouldn't keep me there that long ;-)

    would a laptop run for 10 hrs, while playing thru its sound port and accessing the drive pretty regularly? doubt it.

    similarly, in a plane, taking a long trip, many many continuous hours of playback is well appreciated!

    there are places for laptops; and there are places, still, for long-play audio devices.


  • I also own the neo25 and have the neo35 on order.

    the neo25 is almost perfect. it has an OK battery life, it has a very usable display, it reads fat16 and fat32 OPEN formats. adding a hard drive does NOT void the warrantee, and it uses standard notebook drives.

    I put an 18gig drive in mine and as soon as the 32gig drives hit the common market, I'll get one of them. I have over 700 cd's encoded on my large disk at home, and I could easily fit all my most-used mp3's into a 32gig drive. that's about 7000 songs. enough for about 3 weeks of uninterrupted non-repeat playback!

    and the price was right, too. its about $300 for the player sans disk. add an 18gig drive and that's about $200 more. $500 for about 300 cd's worth - not too bad...


  • don't you mean ssh?? oh, it's timothy, sorry :)

    I'm not ashamed. It's the computer age, nerds are in.
    They're still in, aren't they?
  • by manichawk ( 154084 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:15PM (#1420217)
    There are several reasons why I recently decided to buy a Archos 6000 over a libretto / laptop:

    1) size - the 6000 is small enough to put in your pocket! Imagine trying to use a laptop to listen to music while rushing around a busy town or city centre...
    2) battery - the 6000 now ships with two pairs of rechargable batteries, one charged pair lasting over 5 hours. Can any (non-transmeta) laptop hope to last that long which so much hd access? No.
    3) cost - at $350, the 6000 is still the cheaper option, and the fact that it can be used as an external USB hd as well as a good mp3 player is an added bonus.

  • Well, think of the cost. In the $200 range you can get an MP3 player with 64MB of space. For $500 you can get 6GB of space. Now, think about price per MB, and the hard drive MP3 players make much more sence (that's the reasoning I used when I bought my nomad jukebox).
  • Why not just take a P-90-133, install Linux or a BSD, and use one of the many cool mp3 server programs, like MP3SB []?

    Personaly, I just use a P-100, 24M ram, and a 20 Gig HDD for my mp3's... telnet, web, wap, ir, lcd - it suports them all, plus I can upgrade it anytime I want.

    Why waste time hacking a comerical product when you can make your own for less?

  • Yup, and you could use this [] nifty little device to patch the whole thing in. Not that bad, if you ask me.

  • I have a Toshiba Libretto, and have a 12gb drive in it. I more use it as a mobile movie player, but I think I have a good gig or so of music on there...
  • I tried to put a 12 gig drive into a friend's laptop (P133) and it only showed up as 8.

    That's an older BIOS thing. I've got an old P200 that sees my 13GB as a 8 but Linux sees it as it is and it works fine. I know that when I bought a Western Digital hard drive a while back it came with a floppy that fixed the >8GB problem.

  • []

    I don't think that this link mentions that, if you're so inclined, can clone your old hard drive to the new hard drive using dd or similar utility, but there's a lot of information in the PJB100 group at egroups. The Toshiba is the only hard drive bigger than 6 gigs that will work.
  • i figure 2 gigs/day so.... a 60 gig hd could hold a month of mp3's. holy shit. Now the only problem is finding egnoug mp3's to fill it up.

  • You can do this already, and not invalidate your warranty. Check out and email them. I think it's $300 for the new drive (they give you back the 6g also), transferring the data across, and shipping back to you. You can also do it yourself, there's some resources on the web, using dd under Linux :> Happy hacking.
  • I tried to put a 12 gig drive into a friend's laptop (P133) and it only showed up as 8. I'm guessing the Libretto is saddled with the same limit.

    A lot of older systems have this limit, I'm not exactly shure why. I know someone that had this problem with his compaq but he found some workaround, check deja or maybe even the toshiba site or something like that.

  • Maxtor and IBM and others have really really big hard disks, like, 80GB+. Why'd they pick only 20GB?

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • ... damn 2.5" hard disks...
    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • I just got a Nomad II and Creative says that it will be able to support any future audio formats through firmware updates. There is already an update to support the WMA format.

    "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
    (I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

  • well, of course it is possible. I just bought a nice cheap 99$ mp3/cd player though, to keep me busy until I can save up for a nice big HD based player... just temporary tho... I don't know of any players that do this. You could hack a firmware update if you really wanted to do this, of course. I dunno if it would be worth the hassle though...
  • I have a nice 14 GB collection, and I know i could fill up 20 GB. hell I could fill up 100 GB... those things look really cool by the way... i wonder if I have 350$ in the couch cushions.... lol
  • Well, many of the flash-based and hd-based players have flashable BIOSes. The Rios for one, and I think the nomads.. I know there's quite a few that support firmware updates
  • I am a DJ and I have ammassed a huge collection of music via ripping my own cds, I have around 90 gigs of goth/industrial/darkwave/noise and if I didnt have it ripped I would have 900 cds or so. That is way too much to carry around, its much better to have it on an external firewire drive and hook it up to a laptop running amp and you have so much music at your fingers its silly. I couldnt play music any other way, cds are a good way to transport the data before you get them to your harddrive. Bands like Velvet Acid Christ even encode older un released albums in mp3 format on their new albums as a dual session cd. This is a great thing, I just hope they use LAME. And if your wondering how someone could get 20 gigs of music, its easy, its called High School. There isnt any other good use of time than to bring a laptop and use the schools T3, or to rip classmates cds. Too bad for most people in my area that their taste in music is a bit lacking.
  • It surprises me how rugged hard drives must be when used in such appliances. Grab an ordinary hard drive, bump it around a little bit, do a surface scan and you'll be surprised at how many bad sectors were created in the process. I'd still rely on solid-state or optical storage, albeit solid-state is too expensive and too small.

    By the time prices for DVD burners have leveled, surely DVD-R(W) will be a better choice -- expect that to happen at least a year and a half from now, however.
  • You have to realize that there seems to be two different groups of mp3 collectors. There are people that collect songs, and people that collect albums. Each of them has a different perspective on what a reasonable size collection is. 6 gigs for the song collector is more than enough. When you are collecting individual songs, you can stick to the hits and can be very efficient about what you have in your collection. However, for the album collector, the largest hard drives on the market are not big enough. I used to be part of the first group. However, I have started to collect bootlegs and rip the cds that I own just for the convienience of having them just a few clicks away. The amount of hard drive space my collection now requires has become enormous.
  • So thought I a couple of months ago. But I've been quite selective and somehow managed to acquire 4GB+ in a short time without trying too hard. When you have broadband internet access it is quite easy. When you run across someone who has a fast connection and has something you might want, the temptation becomes to grab it while it's available. With DSL and an appropriately fast source I have downloaded entire albums in less than 5 minutes. Cable can be even faster under optimum conditions, much less the connections some university students enjoy.
  • Really, do we need the 20Gigs? Maybe.. However, the bigger thrill involved is voiding your warranty, and at the end, if it still works, being able to just tweak.
    I wonder how many of you have never taken the case off of your machine.. I almost considered getting a new $150 case for myself for Christmas, just because I tweak so much... Isn't that the whole motto? :)

  • by TDScott ( 260197 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @10:40AM (#1420238) think of enough tracks to make up my paltry (that's paltry as in small, not poultry as in chicken) 1.7GB collection.

    How on earth do you amass 6GB of tracks, let alone 20?!
  • I know we all love our pet audio compression formats, but guess what? MP3 still rules the day. I know Tompson and Fraunhofer (sp) are still getting their royalty their bite this, but until the vorbis project is completed and in sidespread use the chances of any standalone unit being produced in the near future are slim to nil.

    I'm all in favor of new and improved formats but it is very hard to replace de-facto standards (read VHS, M$ Office, etc)

    The simplest act of surrealism is to walk out into the street, gun in hand, and shoot at random
  • I have a friend at my workplace who claims to have 20 Gig of MP3s. I learned this when I happened to mention to him that his inch-tall stack of CDs was a lot more music than I would ever listen to.

    I have a membership with some music club that offered me a bunch of free CDs if I would buy a certain number. I bought my required number, but I haven't even bothered ordering the remainder of my free CDs.

  • Could this be a possibility for a small compact webserver?

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson