As a stand-up, I record a lot of live shows so I can sit in the dark and listen to myself while smearing Wesson Oil all over my freshly shaved body. For a long time I used a MiniDisc recorder, but Sony’s copyright protection made it a bitch to import audio PLUS the mic constantly picked up the spin of the disc itself. Then, for a brief period of time I tried the ol’ Belkin snap-on mic for the iPod. I thought this would be amazing, but truthfully it was "meh." The mic didn’t pick up larger rooms well and for some reason it wouldn’t even record half the time. On top of that, it doesn’t work with the iPhone which was really what I wanted for convenience purposes.
Finally, I had the good fortune of reviewing a device on AOTS that rocked my sound-recording world. The Zoom H2 looks like an old-timey radio mic but its capabilities are decidedly new-timey. It’s light, powerful and cheap—three things that are awesome. Front and back mics give you 360° recording at up to 48kHz/24-bit wav which you can snazzily convert to 5.1 Surround. If that’s too "uppity" you have the option of recording mp3 up to 320 kbps. A compact detachable stand, an SD slot with as much memory as an SD card can hold (I use a 2G which holds about 25 hours of mp3 recording at 160 kbps which will sound like CD quality to the non-engineer) and an easy to use interface make it perfect for your performance or lecture grabbing. Also, when I connect it via USB to my Mac it pops up like any other hard drive and the files pull right off. Easy peazy.
Slap all that together with the $179 price tag and you’ll wish it had a vertical Human Interface Port to accept your lovin’.