Sansa e260 and Linux

I broke down and purchased a new MP3 player after the trusty iPod Mini bit the dust. Thank you Apple for including a wonderful 6GiB CF Drive though :) Moving right along I wanted to share my thoughts from a Linux users perspective on the Sansa e240, e260, or e270. Same hardware just more storage.

Pros:

  • Once the device has been set to UMS mode you can drag and drop files onto the device
  • Amarok will use it as a standard MP3 device. While not iTunes-esqu integration, it does offer a good music managment tool
  • Sandisk is/could be working with Rockbox which means I will soon have ogg and rockbox hotness
  • MiniSD slot on the side is great for added storage when 4GiB becomes too little. Maybe once the FOSS crowd starts on it I can actually download pictures or something from it
  • Voice recorder works GREAT. Use it all the time now when the Treo isn’t around.
  • FM Radio reception is pretty decent considering my home radio can’t pickup the same stations. As many of you know I listen to preachers and theologians on the radio a lot. Being able to record them as I walk in the building so I don’t miss it is great. Q: Why do MP3 players NOT throw in AM? Cons:

  • I think the scroll wheel on the front will fall of in a year. Check back later to verify
  • Why would you make the device need conversion of pictures to a NEW format? BTW, what is the format?
  • The device’s video conversion software doesn’t run in wine. I have searched for mencoder settings with no luck. So at this point, video is pointless
  • Playlist capabilities in UMS mode are as barren as a desert. The playlist format doesn’t appear to be standard pls format. Thank you Sandisk
  • News Flash to world, open standards would negate ALL OF THIS. Would I purchase again over the iPod? Honestly, at this point no. As crappy as the iPod is with open standards, it has become the defacto for MP3 players. That means that it works with all my nifty Linux proggies. I am going to wait this whole thing out because I feel the hardware is VERY capable and soon will have software to exploit that. The good news is that the gphoto2 crowd that developed the ptp implementation for Linux have also worked on MTP. MTP is a stupid Microsoft protocol that gives devices like these iTunes-ish type workings with playlist and ratings synchronizing. It appears libmtp is progressing along quickly and I expect amarok/banshee plugins shortly once the protocol stabalizes. Check here for status.

God Bless — Nick

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