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SanDisk Sansa Album Art

Kids got a couple of SanDisk Sana e250 MP3's this Christmas.  Some things I like about it compared to the IPod Nano (cheaper, FM Radio) and some thing I don't (wheel isn't nearly as smooth, menu button is awkward and requires to hard of a push to activate).  It certainly wasn't plug-n-play on our Vista desktops.  The first key is to go into the settings and first change the USB mode to MSC so Vista can install the drivers.  You can later change it to MTP but if you start with MTP mode I kept getting a failure on setup.  Then I ran the SanDisk firmware updater (In MSC mode of course) to get the latest firmware.  For some reason, the highest I can get is 1.02.18a through the Firmware Updater even though the web site shows 1.02.20 being out. 

Album art isn't displaying for me for songs transferred from Windows Media Player 11.  I've read WMP 10 works fine but I'm Vista so that's not an option.  I've also read a firmware upgrade fixes the problem but it didn't fix it for me.  After transferring songs, I see .alb files in the Albums folder for my new albums but nothing shows up.  SanDisk user guide says you "may" need to put the album art in the same folder as the song.  (Can you believe they said "may need" in their user guide!)  So the fix seems to be to copy the .jpg to the same folder as the music and give it the name "Album Art.jpg".  However, if you just try to copy a .jpg file to the Sansa it'll say that type of file isn't supported.  Again, I've read post that the latest firmware fixes this too but it didn't for me.  So here's my steps to get Album Art on the Sansa e250.

  1. First find your album art.  You can use any image including one of your own.  For original album art, browse to http://www.albumart.org or I guess you can just use www.amazon.com assuming there's no licensing restrictions. 
  2. Right click on the image and "save picture as" to save it to your computer as "Album Art.mp3"
  3. In Windows Explorer, copy Album Art.mp3 to your Sansa placing it in the folder Music/<yourAlbum>.
  4. In Windows Explorer, right click on "Album Art.mp3" on your Sansa and rename it to "Album Art.jpg".

Depending on your firmware, you may not have to do the save as .mp3 and then rename to .jpg but I did.  Now when you play a song, you should see the album art.  Click the select button (center of your wheel) to see it full screen.

Enjoy!




AT&T Tilt Setup

I have my Tilt and so far have been pleased but it takes a little to really get it setup to take advantage of the productivity add-ons that make you want the Tilt.  Here's my process to set it up.

  1. Remove the AT&T "bloatware".  First perform a hard reset right off the bat by going to Start, Settings, System, and then select Clear Storage.  Enter the 1234 combination.  You can also do it with some key press combination but I found several posts where users had issues with this.  After the restart, it'll prompt that it's going to start configuring the AT&T apps after 3 seconds.  Before the 3 seconds is up, insert your stylus in the hole on the bottom of the Tilt to the soft reset.  Now you have a plain Jane Tilt with no demo/bloat ware.
  2. Go to http://www.gadgetech.info/treo/hacks/disableproxy/index.shtml and download DisableCingularProxy.cab and RestoreCingularProxy.cab.  Copy these files over to your Tilt and double click DisableCingularProxy.cab to install.  This will get your WiFi connection working without going through AT&T's MediaNet.  The other way is to just go in an disable proxy manually each time.
  3. Remove the AT&T Task Manager.  This may not be necessary but I read several posts that this delayed emails arriving and calendar event notifications.  It was easy and I didn't need it so I just removed it.  Go to Start, Settings, Today and then click Items tab.  Uncheck HTCHomeeplug.  Again, may not be neccessary, but I did it any way.
  4. Install Google Maps.  On your Tilt, connect to the Internet via WiFi or Data connection and browse to http://www.google.com/gmm/gps.html.    You should see an option to install Google Maps.  Download and install that app.  After the install, you'll find Google maps in Start, Programs.  It's the Compass looking icon.  Click Menu and Use GPS to get your location.  Tip:  If you haven't yet, use QuickGPS and Download to speed up the locating process.
  5. Install Microsoft Live Search: From your phone browse to http://wls.live.com and install it.  Similar to Google maps...some say it works better.
  6. If you aren't using th Push-To-Talk feature, then follow this post http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=1707732&postcount=127 to give you the ability to map the PTT to something else (like Voice Dial).
  7. Increase Performance for WiFi:  My wifi connection was extremely weak or non-existant on my Tilt.  My laptop would be at 99% signal strength and my Tilt would show "unavailable" or barely have any signal to my WAP.  The problem was not enough power for the WiFi on the Tilt.  Go to Start, Settings, Connections, Wireless LAN and select the Power Mode tab.  You can try the middle setting which did connect for me but was still somewhat week.  Selecting Best Peformance gave me a full signal matching my laptop card.  I'm sure this drains the battery but I don't leave WiFi on unless I'm using it.



Amazon Cell Phones - Deal or No Deal?

I'm was looking at getting an AT&T Tilt and Amazon.com at first glance has the most compelling offer but I'm not sure about working through Amazon.   While they have many high-end phones for 1 penny, they do have a catch...if you drop your data plan or are late on a payment in the first 6 months, they'll auto charge you $250 per phone.  Since I was getting two phones on a family plan, that scared me.  So, instead, I went with LetsTalk.com.  Their catch is you have to remember to send in your rebate info at a certain time frame but I felt a little better with that and their turn around time was awesome.  I'd be curious if others have had good experience or bad experience with Amazon.com.  Feel free to post your comments and let me know.  I'll update you in time on how Let's Talk handles their rebates.