Bembel-B Blog

2008/08/25

Auvisio Alarm Station PX-4000: What a failure!

What is an alarm clock good for, if it doesn’t keep the correct time?! Zarro! 0:00!
Auvisio Alarm Station PX-4000
So I decided to get a not too expensive MP3-enabled Radio Alarm Clock and ordered Auvisio Alarm Station PX-4000 from the German mailorder Pearl for 49 EUR. Looks like I bought the last one, because now it’s not available anymore. :] Well, whatever, I’ll continue with my ramblings.
The awaited package arrived on Friday and already on Saturday I knew this piece of plastic and metal is pure rubbish. First I was surprised about the quite rather nice sound quality (even though a bit harsh on the highs), but a few hours later I found the clock to be out of sync some minutes. It’s running about 8 minutes too fast per 24 hours! What a joke!
Another big downside is the inability to set the volume for your MP3 alarm. It will just play at full volume, letting you wake up with an heart attack and waking up the entire house and probably neighbors of half the street too. :) Additionally, the FM radio receiving is pretty bad. Even the strongest channels have a loud hiss and other static.
The manual mentions upgradeable firmware with the software on the CD-ROM. But my package didn’t come with a CD-ROM. In the end I doubt that a firmware upgrade will fix the badly calibrated quartz of the clock.

Conclusion: Don’t buy this thing, as nice as it may appear to be from the specs! Unusable clock, unusable alarm, unusable radio. Not very good for being a radio alarm clock. :P
I didn’t find much on the Internet about this device, only one short review and a magazine review I’d have to pay for. So I’ll return it and try one of Pearls other MP3-enabled radio alarm clocks.

2007/04/29

Preparing MP3s and Cover Art for SanDisk Sansa e200 Portable Audio Player

Last year I purchased a flash based 2 GB DAP SanDisk Sansa e250 to join my good ole 20 GB HDD player Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Firewire. Sadly the Sansa is quite picky when it comes to ID3 tags.

SanDisk Sansa e200

By experimenting and reading up I found out how to retag my MP3s using Linux (and probably also Windows using Cygwin) so that they all will be fully recognized. I also found a procedure to nicely resize cover scans which can be displayed when playing a corresponding track.

Prerequisites

For ID3 tagging I’m using the command line application eyeD3, as it handles ID3v2.4 and – yes – it’s commandline driven. I made an RPM for Fedora Core 5. The original spec file didn’t work because of using the wrong python version. I’ve put my edited spec file and the RPM into my box.net share.

To handle the cover scans I use ImageMagick.

Preparation

For better performance one should copy the files to be uploaded to your player somewhere on your harddrive.

Copy your MP3s to some working directory and finally cd into it

mkdir -p ~/wrk/mp3new
cd /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _electronic/Aphex\ Twin/Aphex_Twin-...I_Care_Because_You_Do-1995/ /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _metal/Colonel\ Claypool\'s\ Bucket\ of\ Bernie\ Brains\ -\ Big\ Eyeball\ in\ the\ Sky/ /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _metal/Primus/primus-pork_soda-1993/ /windows/g/mp3
cd ~/wrk/mp3new

Retagging

The Sansa preferres ID3v2 tags over ID3v1 and can read up to ID3v2.3 tags. But it doesn’t seem to like some of the special fields possible with ID3v2.3 and therefore these will have to be removed. The following steps may seem a bit complicated, but it’s the only way to do the cleanup with eyeD3 currently.

1.) Convert to v1.x

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --to-v1

2.) Remove v2

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --remove-v2

3.) Convert to v2.3

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --to-v2.3

4.) Remove v1

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --remove-v1

To make things easier, I’ll try to condense all this to one single command next time. So stay tuned..

Cover Art

My procedure will only keep the front cover scans, where available. If you’d like to keep other images too, you’d have to follow the alternative procedure 1b/2b instead of 1a/2a.
Please note: even png images will be renamed to folder.jpg ImageMagick will correctly recognize them as pngs when converting.

If you’d prefer not to use folder.jpg for the resized cover images you may instead use Album Art.jpg as filename.

1a.) List all jpegs and png files. Then manually delete all unneeded files!

find -type f -and \( -name "*.jpg" -or -name "*.JPG" -or -name "*.png" \)

2a.) Rename cover images to folder.jpg

OLDIFS=$IFS ; IFS=$'\n' ; \
for fn in `find -type f -and \( -name "*.jpg" -or -name "*.JPG" -or -name "*.png" \) -not -name "folder.jpg"` ; \
do mv -v "$fn" "${fn/`basename "$fn"`/folder.jpg}" ; \
done ; IFS=$OLDIFS

1b/2b.) Alternative: To keep other images as well, you’d have to manually rename (or copy to keep the original) the front cover images to folder.jpg

3.) Proportionally resize cover images to max 200 x 200 px

OLDIFS=$IFS ; IFS=$'\n' ; \
for fn in `find -type f -name folder.jpg` ; \
do mogrify -verbose -resize '200x200>' "$fn" ; \
done ; IFS=$OLDIFS

I must admit this isn’t the most elegant way. Maybe I’ll manage to make some little GUI and trying to automatically chose the front cover image files. We’ll see..

Uploading to the Player

Nothing special here. Just plug in your Sansa in MSC mode. Then move the files to the player.

mv -v * /media/Sansa\ e250/MUSIC

If you’re replacing files on your player, you’ll have to purge the tag database in order to let the player recognize the changes.

rm /media/Sansa\ e250/SYSTEM/DATA/PP5000.DAT

ChangeLog

[070923 Fix backslashes (“\\” markup was meanwhile rendered as “\\” and not “\” as before.]
[080120 Add “Sansa e200” category and link to it.]

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