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Old 05-07-2006, 11:40 PM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Arrow Notes for Linux users

Hi all!


I decided to create a thread to gather info about using a Sansa e200 on a system other than WinXP

(not that I'm particularly against it...I just don't have it on my computer and I refuse to pay big bucks for it when my comp is already 6 yrs old and probably not going to last much longer)

I use Ubuntu Linux, so my posts will be related to that.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2006, 11:47 PM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Default PHOTO CONVERSION QUEST

I'm not buying the "the only way to do it is to use the Arcsoft converter," if only b/c there's got to be a way to DO exactly what the Arcsoft software does....and if that's true, then the Arcsoft converter isn't the only way after all.


But it's been rough going. For the curious, here are some specs that my system gave me about the sample media:

PHOTOS : 72 dpi (tho I think this is just the default for my image software, GIMP)
176 x 224 pixels
RGB (16 bpp) color depth
Bitfields compression
.BMP extension

THUMBNAILS: all same, but 33 x 42 pixels

ALSO: all photos in landscape orientation should be rotated 90 degrees Clockwise


However, when you resize and save your photos (and their thumbs) to the same folders as the samples, they still won't play.
Aha! Gimp is not doing any compression. Will see what I can do about that.


I'm wondering if the converter doesn't write to an index file of some sort when it moves the images onto the player?
My next experiment to check this out: I'll take an image off the player and then try putting it back on.

UPDATE: it doesn't seem to: I can copy a sample art image on the Sansa and the copy displays okie-dokie.

---
Quote:
Thank you for contacting SanDisk Technical Support.

Well, the purpose of the Sansa Media Converter is to convert the photos/videos to a size and format that the player can read.

If you convert them yourself somehow, then you can copy and paste them to the player.

If you are interested in this, I can try to find out the exact sizes that it converts the files to. Videos must be .mov and pictures must be .jpg or .bmp for the player to read them.

Best Regards,
Jason L.
SanDisk Technical Support
---


HERE'S SOMETHING REEEAALLY INTERESTING: I removed the thumbnails folder from my Sansa, and replaced it with an identically named empty folder. When I restarted my player and went to photos what happened?

The thumbnails were still there. But when I connected to my computer, the folder was still empty. I think this means that the Sansa seems to be able to generate on-the-fly thumbnails if the full-sized file is readable.

I wonder what the purpose of the thumbnails folder is ?

Last edited by Chammi; 05-08-2006 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 05-07-2006, 11:58 PM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Thumbs up LOADING MUSIC IN LINUX- A How-To

Switch your player to MSC mode. Since WinMedia isn't available for Linux, you probably won't be using MTP mode at all.

Ubuntu recognizes you player and mounts it (assigns it an address on your computer so that you can access it) on your desktop as "Sansa e250" or whatever the actual model number is.

Nautilus opens it automatically. Copy your MP3s and unproitected WMAs into the folder marked MUSIC. It doesn't matter if you copy whole folders or create subfolders in the MUSIC folder. The player will read your files no matter what.

If you used a music manager (like Amarok) to get album art and you copy the folder that has the album art and the music in it, your album art displays no problem.

Otherwise, you need to put the music in a folder along with the album art that it goes with.

Once you're done, unmount the device (right-click on it and choose "Unmount Device" This is similar to ejecting it in Mac or Removing it Safely in Windows)

The player's display should change from "Writing" to "Connected"

Unplug the player. It restarts, indexes the files and you're ready to go!

--
I want to stress that the music functions of the player work PERFECTLY in Ubuntu Linux (I can't vouch for any other flavor). It's only loading photos and video that is difficult to do. Since I don't know of any music stores that work with Linux, I can't test out how loading DRM music works. I guess you'd have to find a Windows comp to do this.

Last edited by Chammi; 05-08-2006 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:08 AM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Post FIRMWARE UPGRADES FOR NON XP USERS

Some users have noted that the firmware (like the Arcsoft conversion software) is only available as an EXE file.

Mac and Linux cannot run these files natively.

I think your best option is to find a buddy, friend, relative, roommate, whatever.. and load the firmware using their machine.

Don't forget to switch to the correct mode (USC i think) and REMOVE anythign else connected to the USB ports on the computer (dunno if that means keyboards too, but probably safest)

You probably also would need to be an administrator to pull this off.. so that rules out most computer lab/library etc computers

--

Yes, it's true that there are programs out there that let you run Windows EXEs on a non-windows computer, I don't recommend trying them. Here's why:

1. Due to the technical nature of firmware and the way it really needs to be able to predictably interface w/ your USB hardware

2. The risk you face with an improper install (suddenly owning a very expensive paperweight)

3. Flashing firmware is a pretty infrequent thing. It shouldn't be too much of an imposition to "borrow" someone's machine for it.

--


***please note that I have not tried updating my firmware in any way (a bit frightened by reports I'm getting, but also b/c the player works fine enough for me right now and also b/c I'm planning to return it to the big box retailer I got it from and order it for $50 less online now that I've evaluated it and decided I like it.) so I can't vouch for any of this, but I would appreciate any comments people can add.
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2006, 12:10 PM
becominglumberg becominglumberg is offline
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Default SuSE works too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chammi
Switch your player to MSC mode. Since WinMedia isn't available for Linux, you probably won't be using MTP mode at all.

...
--
I want to stress that the music functions of the player work PERFECTLY in Ubuntu Linux (I can't vouch for any other flavor). It's only loading photos and video that is difficult to do. Since I don't know of any music stores that work with Linux, I can't test out how loading DRM music works. I guess you'd have to find a Windows comp to do this.

First, this player in MSC mode is just a standard flash drive, so any distro should be fully supported (well, any descent distro).

More importantly, there are MTP libraries for Linux, although they are not widely used. I believe both the Amarok and the Rhythmbox team are working on it for future releases.

What we really need for Linux support is a knowledgeable person for transcoding who knows how to properly transcode to a .mov that is smaller and rotated.
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2006, 04:39 AM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Lightbulb Listening While Charging

I'm sure someone has already mentioned this, but I just discovered this week that MTP mode is more usefuol that I'd thought. Here are two good way to use it:

1) Normally, the Sansa responsibly checks for new media after it's been connected. But what about when you haven't added anything new? If you want to charge your player but NOT have to wait for it to refresh its database when you unplug it, switch it to MTP mode before you plug it in.

2) Several people have complained that they can't listen to music and charge at the same time. I find that if I switch my player to MTP mode, it continues to play over the headphones while the charge icon appears. The screen also goes black (for those who are annoyed at the player's screen being on constantly while charging).


This is all using Linux on the computer and Firmware 12a on the Sansa. Your mileage may vary.

It's annoying to have to switch it back and forth between MTP and MSC modes, but I think it's even more annoying to have the player reboot when I haven't added any music.


****UPDATE: The player has just stopped playing and is now showing "connected" and behaving just like it would in MSC mode. The charge icon is no longer showing, just the full battery icon. I guess once it's finished charging, the screen comes on and the music stops. But I'm still willing to work from there. I mean, once it's charged, why would you need to keep it plugged in?

Last edited by Chammi; 07-07-2006 at 04:42 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2006, 09:30 AM
becominglumberg becominglumberg is offline
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Chammi-
Have you had any more luck converting videos for the player? (I have yet to be able to do it, but I have also been busy moving from SuSE 10.1 to Ubuntu 6.06 under GNOME, so there is a bit of a learning curve.)
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  #8  
Old 07-21-2006, 01:14 AM
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Chammi Chammi is offline
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Default

heh.. actually, I've been dealing with my own issues, I upgraded to Ubuntu 6.06 LTS and it's a lot less stable than 5.10...so I'm trying to decide whether to roll back or not... and everything is on hold right now while I move to Japan. But I'll have some time to play with it later on.

I returned my e250 w/ ver 10 firmware and got a 260 with ver 12 firmware. Interestingly, though I'd had no problems with the 250 (I'd just decided to go for 4 GB instead of 2), I've gone through 2 4GB players. It seems that the batteries are coming dislodged. I have to open up the player and re-seat the battery periodically. I thought it was just a one-player thing, but the replacement is doing it some too. grrr. But it's not a total loss. It's just annoying.

~~Chammi
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  #9  
Old 07-29-2006, 02:14 AM
hallgreng hallgreng is offline
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Regarding video convertion, I think that I have it about 99% done:
Code:
mencoder INPUT.MOV -ovc lavc -af format=s16be -oac pcm -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg -ofps 15 -ffourcc mjpb -o OUTPUT.MOV -of lavf -lavfopts i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_frames
The only thing stopping me is that the sansa (e270 here) will only accept signed 16-bit big-endian audio in its video files (s16be). For the life of me, I cannot (despite the audio filter used correctly in mencoder) re-encode the audio to big-endian. I dont get errors, warnings, or have any problems -it just doesnt convert and goes on its merry way doing everything else. None of my output videos have thus far been playable on the sansa.
For the curious, s8le works fine, so I know the flag is input correctly.
Also, the "i_certify_that_my_video..." may create a problem with the output quality of a working mov, but we'll only know that once we get a movie to load.

So, if any of you are able to convert the audio into signed 16-bit big-endian PCM, let us know ^_^
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:27 AM
LKRaider LKRaider is offline
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Lightbulb Me too!

Hello! I too am a linux user :: Ubuntu and Xubuntu Dapper here on both desktop and notebook respectively :: and a new sansa owner :: e250 ::

I think is great you guys are trying to make full use of it under linux, because that is what I will be aiming for aswell !

In my mind, I would like to convert videos and copy songs (converting from other formats when appropriate) as easily as possible from a GUI on my distro.

For this, the first steps would be, of course, discovering the correct formats used by the player (easy for the audio :P ) and seeing what tools can do the converting work for us. ( I am testing PAC atm )

Following this I am thinking of maybe developing a wrapping GUI around these tools to make a centralized interface app that would make using these tools very easy for anyone (like my dad, who has a sansa too, heh).
I am thinking in Python for this, since I am beginning to learn it now


What do you guys think?
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  #11  
Old 08-27-2006, 10:50 PM
neogeo neogeo is offline
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Chammi,
How do you switch modes? and should I put cover art in the folder with each cd's music? what format for coverart and/or naming convnetion? running windows xp but plan on switching to ubuntu by the time I have my sansa e280. thanks for your efforts.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2006, 04:12 AM
zaphyr zaphyr is offline
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I bought my e270 a week ago, and am thrilled to see there is a linux thread here! I'm gonna try out the tips here when I get home from work today.

I have one question though. After I transferred an album over yesterday, a lot of files, including the new album, has changed to UNKNOWN on the player. Also when I try to play any of the new mp3's the player freezes, not even holding the power button down for 15 secs helps.
I read that using chkdisk can be used on Windows, is there anything we can use on linux? fsck perhaps?
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2006, 02:46 PM
netmasta10bt netmasta10bt is offline
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Quote:
I read that using chkdisk can be used on Windows, is there anything we can use on linux? fsck perhaps?
The Linux equivelant is fsck.msdos for a FAT16 filesystem as used on the Sansa e200.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'UNKNOWN'. Do you mean they are showing up in as Unknown in the Artist display list? If so you can use id3tag (part of the id3lib package) to mass update your id3 tags.
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  #14  
Old 09-01-2006, 02:46 AM
zaphyr zaphyr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netmasta10bt
The Linux equivelant is fsck.msdos for a FAT16 filesystem as used on the Sansa e200.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'UNKNOWN'. Do you mean they are showing up in as Unknown in the Artist display list? If so you can use id3tag (part of the id3lib package) to mass update your id3 tags.

Yes, they show up as unknown in the album/artist list, and only the filename is shown not the tag. I know the tags are ok, because I have personally gone through my entire collection and fixed all tags. I hate it when mp3's dont have proper tags.

Anyway, I connected it to my computer at work, running windows, and fixed the problem with chkdisk
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Old 09-16-2006, 06:04 PM
LKRaider LKRaider is offline
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I still cannot convert the video correctly. I tried many things, and just now I posted a support request at Sansa. Maybe they will help... who knows.

Here is what I tried with ffmpeg:
Code:
ffmpeg -i temp.avi -b 256 -f mov -vcodec mjpeg -acodec pcm_s16be temp.mov
The temp.avi being a 160x208px 30fps file. I don't know what the player judges as being a "correctly converted" file tho, and I believe it would be capable of playing the output from this command.

In a nutshell: the firmware is stupid. Why they do so much checks instead of just trying to render the file is beyond me.
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  #16  
Old 09-21-2006, 08:51 AM
jotsetung jotsetung is offline
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Default album art

hi,
i am also using the sansa in linux (actually i should say i was using it, since it hangs while refreshing the database after i copied files to it... perhaps some problems with the mp3s (i also saw that i copied for mistake some ogg files to it...)). nevertheless, i wanted the player to display album art during playback, therefore i searched in the internet for a handy tool and found "albumart" (http://louhi.kempele.fi/~skyostil/projects/albumart/) which downloads album art from amazon and various other sources, allows to add the images to the mp3 tags or to store it using a custom file name (Album Art.jpg for the sansa) to the directory where the mp3s are, very nice.
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  #17  
Old 09-22-2006, 03:15 PM
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mr_manny mr_manny is offline
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In order to get around some firmware/settings limitations of the sansa, It sounds like I could try splitting-up the encouded file into 20min segments?

avisplit works pretty good for avi's (obviously).

I haven't tried ffmpeg, but am eagure to checkout one of the following mencoder output avis

mencoder original.mpg -vf scale=220:176 -o output.avi -oac pcm -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg

or

mencoder original.mpg -ovc lavc -vf scale=220:176 -o output.avi -oac pcm -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg -ofps 15 \
vcodec=mjpeg -of lavf -lavfopts i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_fram es
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:10 AM
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Smile

A few hints for linux users (Scripts are for BASH, Ubuntu users have fish afaik?):

Album Covers:
* should be jpeg's or bmp's and must be named 'Album Art.jpg' or 'Album Art.bmp'
* you can copy covers for all albums in your collection at once with the offline copycover script for amaroK:
Code:
cd /
python ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/scripts/copycover/copycover-offline.py
* amaroKs copycover script works fine but produces png's ... can be converted with this simple script after you copied your albums on the device (if you do it locally you will have to leave the png file in its place):
Code:
find $mountpoint/music -name '*.png'|while read file; do n="`echo "$file" | sed -e 's/png$/jpg/g'`"; echo "$file -> $n"; convert "$file" "$n"; rm "$file"; done
ID3 tags:
* Seems to dislike ID3v2.4 tags written by latest TagLib version:
If you tagged your MP3's with amaroK or any other tool that uses TagLib and all your mp3's are under UNKNOWN - use something like mp3dings to write ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags (if somebody finds a more convenient tool that does the job, please let me know)
* You changed tags and re-transerfered the files to the device and the changes don't get updated in the collection:
Delete all files in $mountpoint/system/data/ and the collection will be correctly updated the next time it boots.

Video:
I need help with that =(
if somebody finds working mencoder option, please let me know =(
UPDATE:
while this should probably work:
Code:
ffmpeg -i ~/files/2.mpg -r 15 -s 176x220 -f mov -vcodec mjpeg -pix_fmt yuvj422p -acodec pcm_s16be -ar 11025 -ac 2 -vtag mjpa outputfile.mov
it doesn't at all.
I came further with mencoder:
Code:
mencoder ~/files/2.mpg -o outputfile.mov -oac pcm -af resample=11025 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg -ffourcc mjpa -vf rotate=1,scale=176:220 -ofps 12 -of lavf -lavfopts i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_frames
This plays, but the colors are wrong(one half of the screen wrong colors, second half grayscale).
The reason is the wrong pixel format.
The above results in yuv420p.
The required pixel format is yuvj422p.
mencoder only has the option format=422p, which is yuv422p and doesn't play at all.
So if somebody has enough knowledge, go hack on MPlayer and implement yuvj422p. Please =(

thanks in advance =D
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  #19  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:11 AM
SZF SZF is offline
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To the post above:

Here's a more efficient tagging program: EASYTag and/or TagTool

If you look in the Synaptic Package Manager, look for "easytag" and/or "tagtool".

EASYTag can put pictures in your tags so they can be on your player, TagTool shows you the difference of v1 and v2, so if you don't have any v2 info you can put it all in. I like TagTool more, but hey, that's just me. I use them both actually.

EDIT: I just remembered one called Cowbell (search "cowbell" in Synaptic), but it doesn't check any versions... But it has a nifty tool for using the internet and filling out most of the info, at least.
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  #20  
Old 12-15-2006, 04:04 AM
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Norgolam Norgolam is offline
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After lots of experimenting, here is what I am using:
mencoder -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg:vbitrate=150:vhq -vf rotate=1,scale=176:220 -ofps 15 -ffourcc mjpb -oac pcm -srate 11025 -format s16be -of lavf -lavfopts i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_fram es in.avi -o out.mov

This produces a video that mplayer will not play, but, shockingly plays in the Sansa. It is very distorted though.... half appears grayscale I think... the other half has color/position distortion. No audio either.

One obvious problem is mencoder is refusing to encode at s16be... it's giving you s16le instead... as somebody pointed out earlier in this thread.

Key options that every mencoder command should have and why:
-vf rotate=1,scale=176:220
Why: rotate 90 degrees clockwise, proper resolution

-ofps 15
Why: required spec 15 fps

-ffourcc mjpb
Why: Running mplayer -v -identify on the Sansa's demo vids shows this format (MJPEG-B .... **not** straight MJPEG). No, I don't know the difference

-of lavf -lavfopts i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_fram es
Why: lavf (ffmpeg) is the only output format that can make the resulting file Quicktime, another spec requirement.

-oac pcm
Why: Running mplayer -v -identify on the Sansa's demo vids shows this format.

I feel like I'm so close to working video on the Sansa ... yet so very far. I'm wondering if this isn't a bug in mplayer and/or mjpeg.

Has anybody gotten the Sansa Media Converter to successfully emulate? I tried it in my somewhat older version of Crossover Office and it failed (perhaps because it also required DirectX 9 and I tried installing that and it inexplicably vanished towards the end of the install?).

Further thoughts/discussion appreciated.
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