Thursday, July 20, 2006

Audacity + Rhapsody (or Napster)

Did you know?: Using Audacity, you can record the music you listen to with Rhapsody or Napster. Install Audacity and then change your input from the microphone to the "Wave Out" device and you are ready to go. Then, queue up your desired playlist in Rhapsody or Napster and let it play. Hit the record button on audacity and let it run through the songs on your playlist. When it is finished, stop recording in Audacity and then go back and find the start and stop of each song. Select the proper portion of the recording and export that selection in either .wav, .mp3, or .ogg format. Do this for each song in your playlist and, Viola!, you now have a digital copy of the music you were listening to. The quality is as good as the service streams to your machine, which makes Napster the better choice for recording like this due to its higher audio fidelity. However, Rhapsody sounds pretty good too. I find either sounds good enough to crank up loud on my car stereo. I certainly can't tell the difference between these recordings and CD quality, though there doubtless is one. I have never had a terribly discerning ear when it comes to audio "quality".

It takes a bit of effort, but this is a great way to recover your long-lost music - especially if tracking it down through the traditional file-sharing methods has proven fruitless.

Now, naturally, this is not something they want you doing, and the legality is shakey at best. However, there are those who believe that they have a right to a digital copy of music they purchased on physical media. This holds true even if the music in question was John Schneider's Greatest Hits that they purchased in 1985 and lost in 1987. Such individuals feel quite comfortable procuring the music from that album in digital form by whatever means necessary.

I'm not saying I support such things (though I lean toward their side rather strongly). All I am saying is that you can do this, and it is really quite easy.

One importnat tip - turn off windows sounds by going to the Control Panel/Sounds And Audio Devices dialog in the start menu. Select the Sound tab and then select the "No Sounds" sound profile for windows sounds. This way you won't get windows beeps and blurps in the midst of your favourite song.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Bringing you up to speed...

I haven't written in a while, so I thought I would update you all on the latest achievements in my life:

1. Got a new PDA phone - the Sprint 6700. A nice review is here:

I chose this phone for several reasons. First, I wanted to ensure that I had a keyboard of some kind. I could have gone with the Motorolla Q or one of the older Treo-style keyboard devices, but without exception those PDA phones sacrificed some screen pixels to provide me with the keys. The slide-out form-factor of the 6700 allowed me to keep my precious pixels and get a better-sized keyboard to boot. The only cost was the thickness of the phone, which I must say is rather unweildy at something like 2-3" thick...

2. I bought an XBox 360.

Being a game developer by trade, this was an easier purchase to justify than it would be for ordinary mortals. ;) My fiance doesn't particulary believe that I really bought this for "research" purposes, and neither do I to be honest, but the bottom line is that I need to keep up on the latest gaming platforms and if that means iH ave to suffer through endless hours of exciting gameplay, well... so be it.

3. I bought 3 or 4 new hard drives.

I can't seem to stop buying hard drives. Every weekend some store is selling some hard drive for a rediculously cheap price. My last purchase was a 400GB hard disk for a measly 120 dollars. Whoa. How can I possibly pass that up? The result of purchasing several new drives is that I have displaced several smaller, older drives that had previousy been in my USB encolsures (of which I have four). I am getting to have quite a stack of hard drives on my computer hardware shelf.

4. I bought 2 new network-storage "units".

I bought a netgear network drive that can hold two separate hard drives and present them as a network share on your local area network. This was a good way to let me use some of those new hard drives I had purchased without displacing existing drives. I also bought a DLink network storage device that only holds one drive but can daisy-chain 2 additional USB enclosures shoudl I so desire.

5. I bought a Nintendo DS Lite

This little bugger is great! I don't know why I waited os long to get one - because it is a great handheld gaming platform. I just wish that they had used one large touch-screen instead of two separate screens. Whomever thought that was a good idea should be taken out and shot -- umm... unless it was the same bloke that fought for the use of the stylus and the touch screen - in which case he/she should just get a stern talking to.

6. I bought oodles of PSP games

I bought a PSP a long time ago, but I keep buying new games even though all I ever seem to really play is Untold Legends 2 (or whatever the second one is...)

7. I bought a room air conditioner that doesn't work.

Damn thing. I'm taking it straight back to Home Depot as soon as I get around to it....

Well, that's about all the major purchases I made. I am hoping to buy, in the future, the following:

  1. A PSP LocationFree unit - to let me record, view, and manage television programs from my PSP or PC.
  2. A PS3 when I can mortgage my home (I'll need a home to mortgage first).
  3. A Nintendo Wiiiiiii (how many i's are there in that stupid name?)
  4. A new PC - at least parts of one. My current PC seems to feel the need to reboot constantly and to turn off all my USB hubs and lock up. Annoying!
  5. Get a media PC set up in the living room so that I can watch all those divx recordings of my DVD collections that I have gathered through my use of newzbin, giganews, and newsleecher.

That's all for now. Tune in for more frequent updates - after all there are at least 3 people that read this blog ... and for that mighty readership I must make certain sacrifices and keep things updated regularly.

-Michael Moore (Seattle, WA)