Dr Mike J Smith
I regularly record either lectures I give in the university or at conferences (see my homepage), as well as by guest speakers. After a bit of research I purchased an Olympus WS200 last year. Its a USB stick sized recorder with a detachable memory stick. It has an internal mic, as well as a connection for an external one, and runs on a single AAA battery. The quality of the recording is excellent although it uses WMA v8 which has caused me quite a few headaches. I don't like distributing audio using WMA because, whilst it undoubtedly is better than mp3 and well supported, it is a closed codec. So I have spent quite a while looking at painless (and simple) ways of dealing with the files.
In summary, I needed to find a transcoder to take it from WMA to MP3. If you put a search into Google you will find that it comes back with a whole load of "freeware", shareware and spyware guff. Not much help. So some more searching later I came across Switch by Australian software house NCH who specialise in audio products. The produce a free-to-use version of Switch which happily transcodes between many formats including WMA and MP3. So this did the transcoding for me.
I also have recourse to crop and split the MP3s I have recorded. Rather than having to save the WMA to WAV, edit and then save to MP3, I wanted to find something that would edit the MP3 directly. And that is exactly what I got with mp3directcut. It works out byte offsets for the mp3 file and can cut out segments, split files, paste new segments in etc. Not the prettiest interface but its fast and reliable.