Groove Even More with your Sansa months ago I posted a mini review of my SanDisk MP3 player. Since that time I’ve added a Belkin device that allows me to listen to the Sansa in the car (and simultaneously charge its battery) which is great on road trips.

One of the few complaints I have with the Sansa is adding music to it from my computer. This isn’t so much a problem with the Sansa, it’s actually a Windows thing. The process of “synching” any MP3 player with a Windows computer involves using Windows Media Player. You can avoid it by downloading some other application, but I found a different approach that seems to work better.

Instead of changing the software on my computer, I changed the software on my Sansa.

Rockbox Jukebox SoftwareRockbox is an open source alternative for MP3 players from SanDisk, Archos, Olympus, iRiver, Toshiba, and yes, even iPods. It is a bold attempt to make music players easier to use, more customizable and add versatility.

Rockbox for the Sansa e200 Series

It works quite differently from the firmware supplied from the factory. But managing the songs on my Sansa has never been easier. And after a short learning curve the playlist options available are greatly improved. And you can even download plug-ins that allow you to play games!

Radio Milan on eMusic and iTunes

Just in time for Christmas!

Now you can download Radio Milan music from iTunes, CD Freedom or eMusic. Sign up now with eMusic and you can even download them for free!

Live Insects on the Night Shift TV ShowThis album is a live set recorded on the KTUL television show “Night Shift.” Songs on this set include classics like Forget Your Orders, Sofas in Motion, So Many People, Space-Age Pumps and Vampire 4 U. Download your favorite track or the whole album- such a deal!

These recording were made in 1984 when the band lineup was Tony Dapolito- vocals, Scott Miller- lead guitar, David Burdick- rhythm guitar, Rex Brown- bass and Les Mobley on drums.

And for those of you that still need something tangible to hold in your hand you can still order the Jim Anthology on compact disk. For the latest updates and samples from the analog music vault visit Radio Milan on Facebook.

Download 25 FREE songs at!

Groovin’ with the Sansa MP3 Player

I finally broke down and bought a decent MP3 player. After living with it for 3 weeks I’m happy to report my SanDisk Sansa E260 is a winner.

Sandisk Sansa e260 4GB MP3 PlayerBut the best part? It only cost me $40!

So what’s the catch you ask? It’s a factory refurb. Anyone that reads this blog knows I like to shop the reconditioned aisle (see Olympus E-410 Digital SLR). For these lower prices you get a shorter warranty, and usually have to download your own manual (but most electronics no longer come with paper manuals anyway). Typically these units are new returns that befuddled consumers, or gifts people didn’t want. The factory inspects and makes any necessary repairs, then makes them available through certain retailers, such as

The Sansa e260 4GB Digital Multimedia Device is the flagship product of the SanDisk audio line. SanDisk (get it? like without a disk) is one of the pioneers in flash memory- jump drives, SD media, etc. This player is flash-based so there are no moving parts. The design is nice looking, but more importantly, it works. The controls are simple and easy to use, even if you’re not looking at it. The back is metal with a weird heat-treated look and is supposed to resist scratches.

A new Sansa e260 will set you back about $120. Not a bad deal at all considering what you get- 4 gig of storage, a Micro SD slot in case you ever fill up 4 gig, a nice 1.8″ color display, FM tuner, voice recorder, 20 hour battery and a convenient one-plug-does-it-all USB connection. It supports MP3, WMA and Audible formats for music, plus it will store photos and video if you’re so inclined. So far, I am not. Another nifty feature, although I haven’t tried this yet, is recording from the FM radio. It claims to handle it on-the-fly, so preserving those important NPR interviews for future reference is now possible.
Portable Speakers for Sansa C200 & E200 Series MP3 Players
The Sansa connects to a USB port on your computer with the supplied cable. After turning it on and plugging it into a USB port, it was literally only one click to transfer all of my music from my PC to the e260. The port on the bottom serves as input/output to synch your music library and is also the charging receptacle. The only other connection is the typical 1/8″ stereo jack on top for connecting to analog inputs. If you need to charge the battery when away from your computer there a variety of inexpensive charging options available. Ala the iPod, there are also a variety of accessories available that connect to the bottom of the Sansa, such as speakers, chargers, clock radios, etc.

The Sansa is a great choice, an affordable alternative to the iPod. If you don’t mind the shorter warranty and downloading your manual the refurb option makes a good deal even better. Offering over 60 hours of MP3 storage (more if you opt for Windows WMA format) the e260 will serve most users well for a very long time.
MP3 Players at

This Recorder IS Handy: Zoom H2

Handy Recorder might be a silly name, but the Zoom H2 digital audio recorder is anything but silly.

I was looking for a way to record audio on the go, mostly with video in mind. The most common options are wireless microphones. But a really good one is expensive. And since we would be using it around machinery (ie; spark plugs) I worried about interference with the radio signal.

Then one afternoon I picked up a copy of Event DV magazine and saw an article about the Zoom H2. The specs rolled off like a wish list: built-in mic, external line or mic input, USB interface, no tape, no moving parts, weighs like… nothing. It even has a guitar tuner! What’s not to like?

We ordered one up. When it arrived I put a new battery in my trusty clip-on mic from Radio Shack and we were ready to go.
To record audio on the Zoom while recording video on our camcorder requires us to synchronize the two for our final product. This is really pretty easy to do with computer video editing software. It’s a similar process to synching a two-camera shoot.

To simplify this feat we use a $2 clicker from the local pet store (you’ve seen them before- like they use to train Border Collies). The click makes a huge spike that’s easily visible on the two audio tracks. Move them so the spikes match up and your sound is synchronized. Once we’re rich and famous maybe we’ll get one of those cool clapboards like the Big Boys use!
The sound is great, it can store days of audio and uses AA batteries. For under two hundred bucks we’ve got a fully portable audio system that can be used standalone or with a clip-on lapel mic. So far it’s worked out great for our nascent video productions, and we’re coming up with new uses almost every day.

I’m planning to use one at work to record conferences. Last week a buddy told me he attended a concert at the Cain’s Ballroom. A guy down in front was holding a Zoom recorder over his head to catch all the action.

This darn thing really is pretty handy.