Not affiliated with them at all, but my office uses Freelancer dot com. There are a number of people who'll do decent transcription for about $30-35 per recorded hour, which really isn't bad. It'll take me about 3 hours per recorded hour to do transcription (and I *hate* transcribing), so if I can save a day of mind-numbing work for 60 bucks, it's usually worth it to me.
I second the dr-40 (or H4n) and VideoMicro combo. for now, you can use boom mount the recorder just above your subject (you can't ride levels with it floating in the air, but you'll be a heck of a lot closer to your subject than an on-camera mic). When you upgrade to a budget shotgun, now you've got XLR inputs.
*drop the $30 for a Redhead windscreen for the recorder. It'll save you a lot of frustration
VideoMicro is light, doesn't need 9v batteries, and is really inexpensive. For nat sound, it'll cut your handling and wind noise significantly.
As someone who keeps looking at those panels, how does the mount hold up? Not having any kind of yoke to hold the weight evenly, and dramatically moving the center of gravity whenever you have to tilt the panel is the one thing that's kept me from buying one.
One thought on the offline files. Sometimes (or most of the time) when I edit from an external drive and open a project, files will show up as missing, but right click - link (or locate) media, find one file, and the rest of the files on that drive will populate.
Agreed on the 'buy an audio recorder' suggestion, but I'm assuming this is something you need to solve right away with very little budget.
(1) the Solo seems to need AC power, so you're going to be tied to an outlet, and
(2) the Solo seems to be designed to feed a computer NLE
could you just bring a compatible laptop along, plug the Solo into laptop via Firewire, and get a nice dual system setup? That's assuming you have a Firewire port on a laptop, but would cost basically nothing.
With just a bit of red gaff tape, all of your lenses can be L.