Offtopic: Electronics


I have been extremely busy the last week/month with work but I guess the paycheck should be good with the overtime.  This post is going to be about what I carry around in my pants: my old Sansa Express mp3 player, my new A737 cellphone, and my flashdrive.

I like the setup for what I carry around at the moment.  It’s not perfect in any way but it works for me.

2 gig Lexar flashdrive (FireFly)


  1. Small compact flashdrive
  2. Programs installed work from flashdrive
    • Trillian Anywhere:The basic idea behind Trillian Anywhere is to install Trillian on a flashdrive and then change all the file paths in the config from F:\Program Files\Trillian\(etc) to .\(etc) so if the drive letter changes from using on different computers, Trillian can still access the files it needs to operate.
    • mIRC:I don’t like Trillian’s IRC chat interface so I use mIRC for downloading and chatting through IRC.
    • WinRAR:Still my favorite archive manager even if it nags a little.
    • Audacity:Can be used to edit audio files and do LAME encoding with the LAME encoding dll. Used it a lot from altering my mp3’s into ringtones since my phone has a 300kB limit on ringtone size.
    • Tag Scanner 5.0:Very easy and useful file tag editor. Also can get tag information for songs and whole albums. I used it a lot to organize my mp3’s tags so it would be more organized on my Sansa Express. Also, used it to remove the album art tag since I don’t really need that on my Sansa.
    • VLC media player:My second favorite media player right behind Media Player Classic + Combined Community Codec Pack. However, MPC + CCCP can’t run from a flashdrive so VLC is a god backup media player. I have used it to get stream information and transcode on occasion before I got Avidemux and GSpot.
    • GSpot:Small program that is good for telling what codec and other important stream information for media files.
    • Avidemux:Wonderful program for video transcoding and simple editting. Can open probably almost any video format including .flv (has a seperate .exe for QuickTime it seems) and can encode in many video formats like Xvid, H.264, H.263, etc… and many file formats like MP4(works on 3GP phones), AVI, MKV, etcs. Also can be used to add subtitles to video files as well as deinterlace, resize (bilinear, bicubic, lorenzo3), resample the fps, crop, pad, etc. It’s a great program I’ve been using to encode videos for my phone.
    • CDisplayEx:An interesting little program good for viewing picture files in an archive file. Mostly used for the manga I downloaded weekly.
    • FastStone Image Viewer:A nice program for editting pictures on the fly. Not quite Photoshop but has a lot of commonly used editting features like resize, crop, rotate, and save in several formats. I’ve been using it to edit pictures for wallpapers on my phone.
    • FireFox:I’m addicted to tab browsing and not that big of a fan of IE.
    • uTorrent:Why do I have a torrent program on my flashdrive? Why not?


  1. I use up 2 gigs way too quickly with the video/audio/image processing I can do.

1 gig Sansa Express (final firmware)




  1. FM radio
  2. Expandable microSD/microSDHC slot
  3. Can be used as a microSD USB reader
  4. ID3 tag support
  5. Direct USB plugging


  1. 999 song limit due to firmware
  2. Shuffle is seeded by the same number each time
  3. Other general firmware related bugs
  4. SanDisk has discontinued this product so no more bug fixes D:
  5. Tends delete non music files if the database is updated so I have to remove the microSD card before I unplug the Sansa from the computer
  6. Need to disconnect and reconnect everytime I change the mircoSD card when using it as a microSD reader

Overall, it’s an ok mp3 player that fits my needs. I really like the USB design and the microSD slot. I wish SanDisk would release the drivers for opensource since they don’t support it anymore. Either way, I’m still able to use it as an mp3 player and a tool for getting files onto my cellphone’s microSD.

Samsung SGH-A737




  1. Can play video
  2. Can play music
  3. Can run java programs

Cons (Video):
Video has to be specific and Samsung doesn’t really tell you in the manual. After emailing Samsung, I got a reply that states it supports the following…
* H.2633
* Windows Media
file formats:
* 3GP/3G2
* 176 x 144
frames per second:
* 15
* 20
* 25
* 30

Personally, I can confirm that the H.263 , the 3GP/3G2, and the resolution are right. In addition, MP4 works as a file format and I have tried video with an FPS of 24 and 30 and they worked though I did resample with Avidemux for all videos I put onto my cellphone. 

Also, the full screen view is bit weird. There are about 20 vertical column on the screen that seem to just mirror pixels adjacent to the column and gives straight lines regular jags in them. Additionally, full screen mode takes up more resources and can lag  for a few files I had. I encoded all live action video with H.263 with a quantizer of 5 – 6 and for animated videos (StarcraftII trailer, AMVs, Gundam00) I used a quantizer of 4 – 5. Oh, and the phone does support AAC audio for the video files.
Cons (Other):

  1. Ringtones have a file limit of 300 kB.
  2. Java programs have to be installed over WAP. You can transfer the .jar and .jad by bluetooth, cable, or microSD but the phone will not support them.  In other words, you have to use AT&T’s data to get Java apps. That or unlock/flash the phone.

Overall, I’m happy with my Sansa Express, Samsung A737, and Lexar flashdrive. I also bought two Kingston 2gig microSD cards for $9.55 each and they are working great with my phone and mp3 player.


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