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WFMU is a public radio station in New Jersey that has great eclectic programs . For instance, one show plays old Edison wax cylinders. The station also has an excellent blog, called Beware the Blog. I was reading a entry on it about high-end MP3 recording equipment, and in the comments section, someone mentioned the Archos Jukebox Recorder, a 20Gb MP3 player that you can buy for about $250. The interesting thing about this device is the alternative operating system for that’s been created by a community of Archos users. It’s called Rockbox. The commentor says “The replacement interface can even play games like tetris and solitaire. (It can announce menus by a robotic user-configurable voice…it can even play videos that are converted to a special format – though on a small LCD the results are far from satisfying.)” This sounds really interesting. If you’ve had experience with this system, please tell me about it by posting in the comments.

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


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Comments

  1. John_Resig says:

    I own an Archos Jukebox Recorder and have been running Rockbox for sometime – it’s a rather nice OS (compared to the pre-installed one). A couple nice features include: The ability to read text files, easy playlist creation, and songs resuming where you last left off – all of which is missing from the standard OS. If you have any questions concerning how well it operates, I’ll be happy to answer them.

  2. _fool says:

    i’ve got one of these bad boys too and am thrilled with it. warning, it is not about outshowing the ipod–it is heavy and bulky. it IS about tinker-ability (you can upgrade not only the amount of ram in the thing if you’re good at soldering, but also change out the hard drive in it for a bigger one–standard off the shelf HD). it also records and has digital audio in and out in addition to the analog. and the device is built like a tank–rubber bumpers on the model i have (jukebox recorder 20, not the “FM” model) protect it from most falls to the concrete. oh, and it takes standard rechargeable AA batteries so you can swap out anywhere in the civilized world.

    and that’s just the hardware–the software is awesome, open source, almost too-featureful (yeah, watching videos on it…well…i guess it was one of those “because it’s there!” kind of moments), well documented, and incredibly configurable. dislike it or want to support some new feature? the source code is available as are build instructions for windows and linux, at least.

    two thumbs up. i hope mine never breaks, because they don’t actually sell the model i have anymore and while things like the gmini from archos are also cool, they lack the features that turned me on to this unit (indestructible, upgradeable, commodity-battery-powered, supported by the rockbox software =)). fortunately ebay has a huge supply of the things for less than MSRP (which was $250).

    luck++;

  3. gk3 says:

    I’ve had one of these for a number of years now. I’ve never even seen the original firmware interface, since I immediately loaded Rockbox on it the minute I opened the box. One great feautue I’ve come to embrace with the rise of podcasting is bookmarking. Whenever you stop a recording in the middle it asks if you would like to create a bookmark. The next time you start up it will start from that bookmark, if you desire, or give you a list of preview bookmarks to start from. Great for hour long podcasts!!

  4. archos says:

    I love the archros av420. It’s great for recoding TV shows direct from your TV. It get my thumbs up.

  5. RSingel says:

    I own one of these and have had some fine luck with ye olde Rockbox.

    Its got a fine line-in, a great voice recorder and my OS is open source!

    It ain’t no Ipod, but that’s a good thing in alot of ways.

    That said, I use it more as a computer peripheral at work than as a mobile gadget.

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