The last time

I have decided once and all to end my dependence on re-ripping my music CD collection. I have completely revamped my strategy of digital music and organizing it. The reason is simple: I want flexibility in the future. When new formats come out, I want to be able to instantly convert my collection to them.

Why this sudden change?

I recently discovered with horror (i.e: blowing up my ear drums) that my iPod when connected to my car stereo does not use Sound Check. As a result, I constantly have to switch the volumes of songs.

I also recently decided to start using the LAME 3.97 Beta with the -v 2 quality setting for encoding my music. However, all of my old music files were encoding using a wide-range of settings and versions of LAME.

For now on, this is the process I will use for digital music:

  1. Rip CD’s using Exact Audio Copy and encode directly to FLAC (with setting 5)
  2. All FLAC files are stored on my 120 GB external hard drive.
  3. Using foobar2000, add all ReplayGain tags.
  4. Convert these FLAC files to MP3 using the LAME 3.97 Beta encoder, with the resulting MP3 files already preprocessed with ReplayGain (essentially skipping the step of using mp3gain)
  5. Add the resulting MP3’s to iTunes 6 with Sound Check enabled.

With all of that, I will no longer have to worry about re-ripping my collection. If some hotshot new AAC VBR encoder is released for example or if some miracle results in OGG support with the iPod, I can basically start up foobar2000 and have it output to the new format overnight while I’m sleeping. With how fast computers are today, I estimate it would take at most a day to convert from FLAC to any new format.

I’m psyched about this. Guess I am going to be busy over the next few weeks getting my collection ripped one last time.

Stop podcasts from appearing in iTunes Library

Like many people, I was annoyed to find out that with iTunes 5 (and now 6) puts podcasts in your music library, which doesn’t make much sense.

Well I found a way around it, which is so simple I never thought of it till now.

  1. Open your “Library” in iTunes
  2. Go to the “Edit” Menu
  3. Click on “Show Search Bar”
  4. On the search bar, click “Music”
  5. There you go, no more podcasts in your library!

The cool thing is, iTunes remembers what item you have open on your search bar. So you can close iTunes and not have to worry about clicking that music button every single time.

So simple that it was too obvious.

Google Reader

When I got home from a long day at work, I discovered that Google has finally released their take on a RSS reader: Google Reader (via Photomatt).

It was a little slow when I first tried it (the famous Slashdot effect multiplied by thousands of other web surfers) and was throwing up errors somewhat often. However just now, things seem to be a lot more stable.

Google Reader is very similar to Gmail in many ways, but in other ways it is very different. I love the way you can easily scroll through feeds using up/down buttons. By far it seems like the easiest RSS reader I have seen yet to go through a mass of new entries in just a few minutes. Loading times right now seem to be pretty quick and should only get quicker.

I also love the quick search you can do to find a feed you are looking for. In classic Google fashion, it is usually very good at finding what your looking for. Easy to subscribe to feeds and easy to organize them using tags.

Feedlounge was a great stab at an AJAX feed reader, but I am very impressed by this early version of Google Reader. Feedlounge for whatever reason made scanning a large list of new entries really hard. I just never got comfortable using it.

I also like how Google Reader opens a link in a new window (or in my case, tab thanks to Firefox). Feedlounge doesn’t do this while Bloglines did.

So I just imported my OPML file and all of my feeds after a minute or two showed up. Looks like I am going to try this out for a couple to weeks to see if I can switch to Google Reader full-time.

One thing is for certain, I have no reason to use Bloglines anymore.

Engaged

September 30th, 2005 is a date I’ll always remember, along with my new fiancee Katie. That is when I proposed to my future wife up in North Conway at our hotel.

After about five minutes of listening to her scream and freak out, I asked if she said yes. She said “Yes.”