Technology today, particularly mp3 players give us a wonderful opportunity to learn when we are on our way, wherever we are. I’ve been listening to Torah Tapes via walkman for a long time but the mp3 player is quite superior due to it’s small size, higher capacity and better fidelity.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein of Cross-Currents fame, wrote an excellent article in a recent edition of the OU’s Jewish Action which covers many of the basics of mp3 usage. Here are some of the key points from the article with some of my comments.
Rabbi Adlerstein purchased a small capacity IRiver for around one hundred dollars which holds about twenty hours of material, and runs on a single AA battery. Although it doesn’t have the coolness factor of the IPod, I also highly recommend the IRiver line for those who favor price and function over form. And as Rabbi Adlerstein points out you can easily record live shiurim if you purchase a model with the voice recording option.
The next part of the article maps out the four steps—download, reformat, splice, move—needed to take material from the Internet and transfer it to a personal player.
To download material from the Internet, you must right click on the link, select Save Target As… and download the file to your PC which takes less than a minute on a fast link.
To reformat the file to mp3 format, if necessary, Rabbi Adlerstein recommends a freeware program called Switch, available here.
Rabbi Adlerstein wisely recommends splitting shiurim into more manageable segments of five or six minutes each to easily find your place if you don’t listen to whole shiur at once. He recommends Mega MP3 Splitter which can be downloaded here.
For the last step you need to transfer your files to your player. You can link the player to your computer with a USB cable, and open the program that came with the device which looks like Microsoft Internet Explorer, only with two parallel sets of panes—one for the computer, the other for the device.
For more detailed instructions, please read Rabbi Adlerstein’s entire article here. And for free audio downloads, visit 613.org, simpletoremember.com, Classic Sinai, OU Radio or some of the other places mentioned in the article.