Keeping up with Music Media

by craig on January 8, 2013 2:06 pm in Uncategorized

I have escaped from the cardiac care unit after six days. Hurray! To be fair to the QEQM hospital in Margate, they give patients individual freeview televisions with built in DVD players, rather than the ridiculous Patientline rip off, and they don’t pretend mobile phones interfere with medical equipment (or bring down low flying aircraft, which they would were the entirely fake airline warnings true). I was able to patch my laptop through by using my phone as a hotspot, though unfortunately the phone data signal was weak to vanishing.

But one thing the experience did bring home to me was a problem with the portability of my music collection. I had downloaded my CDs on to my laptop and even purchased some music online. But I would like to put the collection in a still more portable format. The difficulty is I have over 14,000 tracks comprising some 1200 hours, currently in a windows media format.

I want an MP3 player but they don’t seem to have that much storage. I want a portable music player, as small and simple as possible, not something that phones, plays videos, connects to the internet or offers nutritional advice. I have great difficulty finding what I need as on close reading it appears that most devices don’t have a very high proportion of advertised memory actually available for music storage.

Any advice? I am constantly amazed that at least one well informed person on absolutely any subject you will name reads this blog. I don’t apologise for the lack of a proper post of commentary today – I am meant to be resting!!

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  1. You can get iPod classics, which have larger capacity than the touch or phone varieties. Alternatively, consider a Creative Zen player. I had one a few years back, and it was great.

  2. Creative Zen used to be the company that do “proper” MP3 players but they seem to only go up to 16Gb nowadays. I used to have one with 60Gb (a long time ago). This article seems to be helpful:

  3. Agree that the iPod classic would be good and well built. 80GB version is probably big enough for your 14,000 songs (I assumed a generous average file size of 5MB), although the 160GB one would ensure you can keep collecting songs for years to come. However, they are expensive (£200). Plus, personally, I hate managingmy media through Apple’s iTunes (especially on Windows PCs) so Microsoft Zune 80GB may be a better choice, and appears quite cheap: 120GB for £50.

    Get fully well soon, and keep the blog posts coming!

  4. Or pop over to Las Vegas!

    Glad to hear that you have been discharged so hopefully all is well.

  5. Actually, I may have got the price of the Zune wrong, it seems broken, sorry!

  6. Aaaargh, the return of the ‘torture laptop’ last used to discipline and disorganise the workforce at a certain Ramsgate abode, I know it well……

    Great to hear you’re out. Wonder why the Frontline club is scared of you? that they never invited you to share the platform.

  7. mike cobley

    8 Jan, 2013 - 2:25 pm

    Never a fan of Itunes, to be frank, but can thoroughly recommend the Sony Walkman NWZ series player – I have the A818 (8gb) but you can get the 16gb version too which is ample for hours/days of music. What I like about it is that you dont need to have a complementary chunk of software on yr PC in order to load it up with mp3s – sure, Windows will always offer to sync it to the media player but that option can be avoided. All thats needed is the interface lead to a usb jack, which recharges as well as allowing the movement of mp3s, folders, and pix and vids too. Check out the Amazon reviews for more gen.

  8. Have a gander at the Cowon X7 Craig.

    Fast file transfer from laptop,huge 160 Gb capacity,excellent battery life and reputedly oustanding audio fidelity quality.

  9. Ipod classic has loads of room, organises your music for you, is very straightforward to use. I’ve had my 80Gb one for several years, and the battery is still good for several weeks. I usually play it in the car as I go from job to job, listening to audiobooks as often as I listen to music.

  10. My solution is a Glaxy S3 phone, complete with a 64 GB microSD card. This stores at least 600 CDs worth, and it’s a good solution, with plenty of battery life (at least if you keep the screen off while playing).

    What you’re really looking for doesn’t exist any more – the reason is that, to choose from a large music collection, you really want a reasonable-sized screen.

    The ultra-compact players tend to have a terrible interface, or they’re nearly as expensive as a smartphone, just do less. Also, there’s not much space in the market for a dedicated music player, now that smartphones can weigh less than 6 ounces!

    Lastly, as a geek, I recommend staying well away from Apple (or iTunes) – this way, you keep your freedom to manage your files your way.

  11. Dave Kearsley

    8 Jan, 2013 - 3:32 pm

    Glad to know your discharged from hospital, and that NHS were at their best, now make sure you follow their advice and get yourself fighting fit again! I’ve not posted before but follow your posts, all respect and best wishes to you for this new year and many more to come :)

  12. Google Play will let you upload 20,000 tracks for free, and you can access them from any device with a working internet connection.

  13. ipod classic, as mentioned. my 12000 songs fit fine on the 120gb classic.


  14. @Alex

    ipod 200 quid!!!

    I bought one here in Taiwan 4 years ago and it cost 100 UKP and the price must have dropped further since.

    Is this rip-off Britain?

  15. I don’t know about that, Laurence… the less you involve google in your life the better.

  16. Hope you’re better young man. Bit strange popping you in the cardiac ward for a bad case of the piles but i’m no Doctor!! Ber dum dum tish – i’m here all week, tip your waitresses!

  17. I agree with Richard tho I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7 inch) with an external card. It plays both WMA and MP3 files…. Find it very useful for reading news and skype too. Very easy to transfer your music from a PC -just plug in like a USB stick. The tab cost about £170 and the ext memory was another £15-20.

    Hope you have a rapid and full recovery – best for 2013 :)

  18. Though you can wrap a larger shell script to process a batch of files for conversion from wma to mp3, with some safeguards, you’ll run into problems with bad filenames, those containing spaces and so, requiring fixing first, with that done then using lame and mplayer, the core of such a script might be:

    for i in $(ls -1 *.wma)
    lame -t --quiet /tmp/myfifo.wav ${i}.mp3 & mplayer -cache 1024 -ao pcm:file=/tmp/myfifo.wav ${i}

    This sets up lame listening to a named pipe (which is the scripts job somewhere to create if it doesn’t exist) then mplayer reads the source file wma, sending wave output to the pipe (note then no large intermediate wave file is created). The source wma file in each iteration is $i and the destination file created is called $i.mp3. Thus for a file called file.wma, you’ll end up with another called file.wma.mp3

    You should really examine if your want for large memory on a portable player is really all that important, beyond about 4G memory on such a device, the returns are diminishing ones. Is it really all that important when access to a greater number from a pc laptop, or dvd backup is so easy. Maybe consider a player with removable micro-SD cards or similar, but always accessible simply as USB storage devices, not tied to any proprietary os or transfer software; flash memory write cycles are however still limited and you wouldn’t want to be frequently changing the contents.

  19. I don’t recommend getting hooked on Apple products unless you can afford to do the whole set ipod, iphone and a Mac — they are all smoothly supported, but with a big price premium. Ipod drivers slow down many laptops. Also, the state of mobile phone technology now has rather eclipsed old portable music players.

    I recommend putting music collection on microSD card/s, these are the medium of choice for this, smaller than a postge stamp, they go in most digital video/cameras too, sometimes fitting inside a £1 case/adapter to fit the larger old legacy SD size. They will play in nearly all phones and decent mp3 players.

    A usb reader for microSD is handy and cheap for connecting to computer: (£3)

    64 gig microsd cost about £45, 32g about £25, 16g about 10, 8g and less costs around £5. Class 6 or 10 means a reasonable guarantee that the card will not be slow for reading or writing.

    This list is fine value, just choose size desired (eg 32) and class 10 is not much more expensive

    If you have a lot of CDs to convert then a nicer cd reader can be a very worthwhile investment,
    I cant make a certain recommendation but this cheap external drive has fine reviews,—Black
    Thats better than using a laptops burner, or a ropey old desktops. Some people will invest more on a top performer that copes with dirt and scratches. Good to get someone well equiped to scan your cds for a price.

    Someone should be able to recommend a smooth CD converter application for Linux, or Ubuntu or whatever probably has one already setup.

    We could look for a decent microsd based, long battery life music player/radio with an internal speaker for certain occassions, but its not so different from a modern phone without a sim card…

  20. I caught the new years cold virus today so im feeling a bit robotic. Very glad to hear you have escaped Craig ! Treat yourself nice 😀

  21. Your ‘windows media format’ is probably wma which is more or less equivalent to mp3 in file size. You don’t say what bit rate your tracks have been encoded at but assuming a reasonable quality of 192 kbps, you’re going to need a minimum of 100GB storage space just for present needs. Allowing for future expansion and/or better quality bit rates, you should be looking for storage space of at least 160GB. You’re going to need something with a hard drive.

    Many music players have hard drives, but due to the imperatives of consumerism, they aren’t designed to last. You might consider buying a portable hard drive which will be quarter the price and twice as durable. You can plug it into any player with a USB port.

  22. Free television! Wow! Anyway, glad to hear you are back in circulation if you’ll pardon the pun.

    I had heart surgery last year. The television provider at Solihull, Lode Lane, and at Walsgrave, Coventry – which was the same for both – a company called Hospedia, was a right rip off.

    The hospital surgeons and staff were a credit to the NHS creating a stark contrast between our publicly-owned hospitals and Hospedia, a private provider. Televisions on the ward were antiquated and did not work. The choice of channels was dire. People who were only in for one or two nights were the ones who used them. Most of those in for longer found other forms of entertainment.

    I think they’ve renamed Walsgrave hospital to something like Coventry University Hospital. Quite right too. Who wants to go in for major heart surgery when the hospital ends in ‘grave’?

  23. WMA files can be beyond the average computer users means to convert because they can be locked. If they arent locked then convert them to a much higher bitrate mp3 eg constant 256kbs (not 128) because the inaudible differences in the formats combine and become audible – tinny and squeeky, especially if you dont upsize them in the conversion. The effects can be bothersome even when hard to notice. WMA and even MP3 are not designed to be nicely convertable.

  24. I hate to poop the gadget party but I will. I am amazed that here, where people understand that big business is the root of evil, google and apple are suggested as possible solutions.

    I question why you feel the desire to have 14,000 tracks immediately available at all times in all places. Fourteen fucking thousand?!!

    Corporations kill. Consumerism kills. Listen to community radio instead.

  25. @Phil

    You are quite right, there are many organic MP3 players available. I myself have recently switched to one made of elk horns and amber assembled under a fair-trade agreement by the Navajo.

    As for 14000 songs, why not? That’s not unreasonable, less than 2000 albums. For those who have collected music with any sort of commitment, that’s not a lot to have to show after a few decades.

  26. Good music on the radio is a wonderful but rare find, community radio stations are rare too. I don’t subscribe to the advice that change starts with the individual in the present – with You. Now. – forfeiting everything that is produced wrongly and feeling complicit every time you don’t. I think that kind of demand locks quite practically most people into the problematic system. Change no matter how urgent has to be gradual and imparted to the system, not into a few exceptional heroes, into the outlooks of the many.
    Restraint and resisting the glamours and temptations at large is good but little more than as much as it benefits you individually. To benefit everyone influence well the many. Your individual now is paradoxically but practically less significant than compared to the affects on the manys now and future.
    In essence you can waste a lot of time on resources on frivilous and contentious products while still having one of the best effects on the many and the future, the inverse is true. Its a matter of degree and balance, and owning your own music collection for your own pleasure is a small degree compared to most.

    But I think these gadgets might become much more expensive in the future, and worry i should be stockpiling necessities more than just in case. Life goes on as it goes around in the meanwhile.

  27. @Phil

    Much music is the antithesis of mindless consumerism, i.e. art, my boy.

    Stop being so dreary. Community radio? They’re going to play Fela Kuti followed by Swans and then an interview with Ray McGovern.


  28. Phil, I mostly agree with you, but would say two things: one cannot entirely avoid corporate products in a corporate world, and the degree to which these things can be partly avoided varies from one person to the next.

    For example, I avoid iTunes, since I think it sucks users into a closed platform of music purchasing that I’d rather steer clear of. I’d prefer to purchase from a variety of sources, and in a non-protected standard format. Of late, I avoid Amazon because of their tax avoidance. But if want to run a smartphone it is either Android (Google) or Apple, even though there are progressive objections to both. I’m a fan of Linux, but use my work MacBook at home because (I hate to say it) it works much more reliably.

    Similarly I’ve mostly switched to the Co-op supermarket but sometimes Tesco, five minutes away, is the only possible option.

    There is a danger that we encourage people to inconvenience themselves so greatly – here I think of persuading people to dump their cars – that they give up on trying to change anything. Some, therefore, is better than nothing!

  29. @Kingfelix

    Sure you mock anti-consumerism as organic elk worship. Sure you cry about children lacking of water. Maybe you give to charity. But don’t interupt the consumrism fest that is 14,000 tracks aon demand that are all mine, mine, mine. I paid for them just like I did that shit xmas gift that the recipient laughed about for 2 minutes before throwing it in the bin. Consume, consume, consume away. There’s a good little consumer.

  30. Sorry a virus seems to have scrambled my expressive regions more than usual. Kingfelix – the vinyl record player seems positively organic today. Now those made impressive collections.

  31. @Jon

    Yes, it is impossible to avoid corporations. I use supermarkets as a convenience. But most of my food comes from local (as local as you can get to london) farms distributed by a relatively small company.

    But it is another thing to recommend apple and google to fulfill a need to have 14,000 songs at your fingertips.

    Why does anyone need 14,000 songs. They can’t all have a particular meaning to you. It is more often a corporate led consumner training festivel idolising idiot self serving musicians.

  32. @Phil,

    I only own 3,634 songs taking up 26GB, pretty much all of which mean something to me *. That said, my Phillips music player only holds 4GB, and I tend to be quite happy to delete stuff and copy new things as and when. But I can understand why technophobes may be less comfortable with all that hassle.

    I agree, avoid Google and Apple where you can, especially their products that lock you in to their advertising/purchasing walled gardens. But let’s not write off people who do use them as anti-progressive :)

    * Plus a few items winging their way now, including Bon Iver’s eponymous (second) album, which is breathtakingly beautiful. For any fans of folk/rock crossover, I warmly recommend it.

  33. Why does anyone need 14,000 songs?

    This is good point for using a tiny little £20 32GB sd card in your phone. Which will hold about half of them, keep the bulk organised in a laptop or desktops storage. I think a full size 500gig harddrive costs about £50.

  34. Kingfelix 8 Jan, 2013 – 8:30 pm
    “Much music is the antithesis of mindless consumerism, i.e. art, my boy.”

    Most music is exactly mindless consumerism.

    “Stop being so dreary. Community radio? They’re going to play Fela Kuti followed by Swans and then an interview with Ray McGovern.”

    You must listen to different radio to me. I like to be played great music that I have never heard before. That’s why my radio is tuned to resonance fm.

    But you keep your headphones and your david bowie poster. Obviously substitue david bowie with whatever gobshite you have postered on your wall. You know, next to your che guevera poster.

  35. Paradoxically Google is still one of the least bad players in the game. Though duckduckgo is a better search engine.

  36. @Phil

    “Sure you mock anti-consumerism as organic elk worship.”

    Wrong. And with your ‘little consumer’ jibe, the only sane response is to call it as I see it, you take the tone of a proper little prick.

    What I am mocking is that there’s much of a way to sidestep corporate products when it comes to modern technology. The alternative of ‘going without’ and engaging in a personal boycott, etc., while principled, only condemns one to not being able to fully participate in society as it stands.

    You are being too Citizen Smith about this, and sounding like those knobs who denounced Occupier because “How can they protest against the 1% while owning iPhones”

    It’s more complicated than that.

  37. FWIW the reference to an organic computer produced by the Navajo was a nod to the Sandbenders in William Gibson’s sci-fi masterpiece, Idoru.


  38. @Phil

    You keep doing that sociopathic thing of thinking you know me and my tastes.

    You don’t.

    What a total waste of this incredible opportunity to communicate with one’s fellow humans regardless of location.

    If we’re going to do the pop psychology diagnosis, you sound like the chap who didn’t get to go to university, hence your snide references to staples of student life. Bit bitter, are we?

    Really, can’t you do better than just being insulting? Seems not.

  39. Phil/KF, easy does it! You are both 90% in agreement, so let’s not fight pointlessly. Perhaps you should go halves on a Navajo peace pipe?

    @thatcrab – I’m a regular user of DDG, and their bang syntax is awesome, but Google (imo) still do a better quality search. I’m sticking with the Duck however, in the hope that their algorithms improve.

  40. Jon 8 Jan, 2013 – 8:50 pm
    “I only own 3,634 songs taking up 26GB, pretty much all of which mean something to me”

    In for a penny…

    See even that I find nonsense. What does a song mean to you? The sheer volume suggests not a lot. Are you sure your not confusing the comfort of familiarity with meaning?

    I find meaning hearing someone new saying something slightly different. Four skinny punks screaming down the pub. A chinese blues singer at the 12 bar. Considering the democratic nature of nose flute orchestras – each player has only one note. There, got that from community radio.

    I’ve never even heard of the swans.

  41. I will now leave you to it, as I don’t wish to continue a cycle of insults.

  42. @kingfelix

    You started the slanging mate. But that’s right run away. Typical chicken shit student poseur.

  43. Go and listen to your fav radiohead song. You know, the sad one with the great video.

    Who the fuck are the fucking swans anyway? Prick.

  44. I am not running away. You don’t seem able to/want to bring the hostilities to an end. Oh well.

    The worst I said to you in my opening post, which for you constitutes, ‘starting it’, was to use the word ‘dreary’ to describe your position. From that moment on, you have continually made judgments about my life and tastes, though without knowing the slightest thing about me, and have generally done your utmost to be unpleasant, For that reason, I saw fit to upgrade you from being dreary to being a prick. And since then, you have done everything in your power to prove me right with regards to your disposition, i.e., come what may, and despite my trying to draw a line under things, you continue to be a prick. What purpose that serves, I do not know.

    Now, not that it matters, but I will state this very clearly. I am not a ‘student poseur’, though I do work at a university. I am sorry if this invalidates my entire existence, as all the real men of this world disappear down a coal mine at dawn.

    Now, it’s very late in Taiwan and I must sleep, but if it makes you happier, bitter man, I will return when I awake and review whatever nonsense you’ve expelled.

  45. Come back and I’ll bite yer fuckin legs off

  46. @Phil

    Radiohead and Blur are the two bands I most dislike, so I am not sure what you are getting at.

    And clearly, if you, the all-knowing arbiter of all things, the omnipotent Phil, have not heard of Swans, then they must be rubbish, etc.


  47. Storing data yourself is so ‘the noughties’. This day and age, you don’t store and you certainly don’t buy (because even when you think you’re buying, you’re actually just borrowing until you die).

    The key phrase is: Data On Demand. Movies, music, porn (if you are into that) If its data, it can be accessed on demand.

    Check out spotify for your music. If you do want to do it the old fashioned way, get yourself a memory stick and fill it with 100 or so tunes to keep you going.

    btw, to convert your files to a different format, do a search for ‘Convert MP3s’ You’ll find a site that converts files in any format.

    Hope you get well soon.

    If you are bored and want to fulfill your desire to learn more about Syria, you might want to visit my Syria site

  48. I dont seem to be the only one with a lurgie at the moment.

    Jon, I didnt know about the bang syntax yet, i find duckduckgo a lot better at finding sensible references for some things, though not for programming. ‘Startpage’ Its subcategories down the right hand side are very handy.

  49. I saw Swans recently at Koko, Camden, in North London and they are an group that have to be experienced at least once in your life-time and were one of the key groups of the 1980s.

    Two essential albums of theirs are Children Of God (1987) and Soundtracks For The Blind (1996).

    Resonance is an interesting London-based community radio station that I first began listening to during the late 1990s when they were based in Tin Pan Alley near Tottenham Court Road.

    BBC6 Music produce two interesting programmes, The Freak Zone, and its sister show, The Freakier Zone on Friday and Sunday evenings.

  50. Luxurious music suggestion for Craig. £200 120Gigabyte player. Battery time 100 hours listening, 10 hours video.|cat:17846944|prd:17846944

    160Gig version for £250 available from other deshpickable suppliers.

    Something gets my goat – High precision digital binocular rangefinders – for Golfers! Cost 200 to 1000 quid. They are all the rage it seems.

  51. Dump the technology. Grab your wife, go buy yourselves a cheap pre-theatre dinner and then on to a live concert. Life’s too short to be sitting around with bits of wire stuffed in your ears. Here’s where we’ll be on Friday. Batteries not included.

  52. Thanks for that info Daniel, ill check that out. I recently became re-impressed by ‘The Sundays’ Amazing music to me.

  53. @Kingfelix

    Before this deteriorated I was absolutely not making any judgements about you. How could I? I had no idea who you are. I was making serious points about consumerism in a half baked fashion. That you took I was talking about you being a student or something was entirely you.

    Read through the posts. I am going to bite back at someone who calls me “boy” and “dreary”. Especially someone who won’t let ignorance stand in the way of poorly stereotyping community radio. Especially someone who talks of downloading 2000 albums as a sign of commitment. Especially someone who thinks music is the antithesis of mindless consumerism.

    After all that I had simply worked out that you are a twat. So I bit.

    “Radiohead and Blur are the two bands I most dislike, so I am not sure what you are getting at”
    Jesus harry christ. You are still thinking about you and your favs. This band are better than that band. She’s a better singer than them. The second album wasn’t as good. That vid is brilliant.

    My point has nothing to do with radiohead themselves. It’s about the way you consume what is put on yer tele. It’s about having a commitment to collecting music in such volume that the only meaning can be consumerism. It’s about how that commitment to consumerism translates into buying useless plastic shit for no good reason. It’s about how that useless plastic shit numbs your imagination and kills the african children you bleat about on blog comments.

  54. I though Radiohead was a poor choice, too easy because their merits are obvious, if not unique in popular music.
    You are too passionate about this Phil, that trail of blame was broad and brittle.

  55. How can the notion of ‘collecting’ music be anything except consumerism.

    You are being sold ‘cool’ things to turn you into a fucking consumer. You quote greedy millionaires instead of writing a poem. You buy fashions paraded by the vain to enrich corporations.

    Throw away the mp3 player and don’t ready ok magazine. Go watch a busker and learn the nose flute instead. Did I mention the nose flute instills democratic sensibilities. Listening to mp3 players isolates you, instills the facism of hero worshipping pop stars and thus kills the poor.

    Come back and I’ll bite yer fuckin legs off.

  56. I see there is still little danger of a diverse but harmonious thread breaking through :/

  57. Phil, i noted that patronising ‘my boy’ remark myself. That was the spark. I think you handled it well.

    On your larger points i tend to agree with you. May i add here the word ‘attachment’ to your arguments. That is to say carrying around 14,000 songs indicates to me a kind of unhealthy psychological process of possession, accumulation and attachment. This psychological structure spills over into other fundamental aspects of how we live our lives. And also kills creative (as opposed to re-creative) living and freshness.

    Even the weightless weight of 14,000 songs on the latest gizmo weighs heavy on the psychological mind and is dangerous to one’s health, ie the way i see health and sane living. Its quite simple really but people will complicate it.

  58. @Thatcrab

    I actually like a little bit of radiohead. Especially the sad one with the great video. Is it called “no surprises”? Very clever song which I consider almost modernist art (with the barely discernable lyrics that require close attention).

    Of course, I don’t listen to it over and over. I don’t require it to be available the moment I desire. I certainly don’t ‘own’ it.

    But you’re right. I am ranting. It’s been a bad day. A really bad day and I have let off some poorly expressed steam. Sorry. But I do mean what I amn trying to say.

  59. Ive busked ’till my fingers bled, over a hundred chilly nights and more days actually Phil 😀 . I can make a right racket im told. Hope to some more again when the feeling takes me.
    I dont think many people use mp3 players in the hollow way you are thinking of them. They should be a bit more expensive probably, but i think they are good technology. With a little speaker they are sociable technology, if you play then you can record to them, and listen to rare examples…
    We could say, piano and violin and lute and flute makers of yesteryear were wasting time and resources on their industry, while we all have beautiful voices and pots to rattle.

  60. Habbabkuk/Villager – I’ve deleted a comment from each of you. I trust the heated disagreement will burn itself out, but it doesn’t help if people take sides from the sidelines. Phil and Kingfelix are both excellent contributors, so let’s just assume that each took offence at some point where it wasn’t meant.

    Off to bed shortly, but do carry on with commercialism vs. art. We’ve done that debate here before, or at least something similar, but it’s a good one.

  61. Jon, so are you going to go back and edit out all posts with pricks in them? Or is it only when i call a fake king a Kingprick that seems to bother your sensibilities?

  62. Jon: “but do carry on with commercialism vs. art”

    Ur really thinking in the box aren’t you?

  63. Phil, Sorry its been a bad day mate. I41 find your comments particularly good reading.

  64. On Blur, that’s a tricky one. Albums “13” and “Thinktank” are, in my view, incredible pieces of work, and that they sit in the shadow of (imo much less valuable) commercial singles such as Girls And Boys and Parklife should be a frustration for music lovers. Whether one approves of the heroin consumed to write them may be another matter, but they’re dark and multi-layered, and not at all what new listeners of Blur generally expect.

    Actually, I could say much the same about Radiohead. Creep was one of the defining songs of my teenage generation, probably together with Smells Like Teen Spirit. But Nirvana was much more popular in my school, so to my discredit I viewed them with great suspicion.

    Beauty is where you find it.

  65. Jon: “but it doesn’t help if people take sides from the sidelines”
    (Do you have a way of hiding them into a closed chat-room?)

    You’re beginning to sound like a school-master now. Grow up into freedom, my friend.

  66. Well I don’t know much about all this highbrow music.

    But I knows what I likes.

  67. Jon 8 Jan, 2013 – 11:03 pm
    “On Blur, that’s a tricky one.”

    Sorry Jon but who the fuck cares? Bur/oasis. Osasis/blur. It’s marketing. Listening to a blur ablbum for the umpteenth time is a soul destroying past time. Go and watch thatcrab busking instead. Do anything instead. You are simply hooking yourself into consumerism.

    I recall blur being interviewed on the box a year ago. They were promoting some cd which included never before heard early stuff. Basically a load of old shit demos that were not good enough to release bfore there were mugs idolising them. The interviewer, miranda sawyer described it as a ‘gift’ to the fans. The band just smirked.

    It’s not enough to say they’ve a good tune or two. We need to consciously ween ourselves off corporate marketing.

  68. The world is full of good tunes. Why do you listen to the corporate one?

    Sorry, can’t help myself. It’s better than kicking the dog.

  69. Villager
    “That is to say carrying around 14,000 songs indicates to me a kind of unhealthy psychological process of possession, accumulation and attachment. This psychological structure spills over into other fundamental aspects of how we live our lives. And also kills creative (as opposed to re-creative) living and freshness.”

    Yes, yes, yes. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. Plus the corporate marketing and facism of idolisation.

  70. Interesting, if somewhat heated debate…

    Anyway here’s a bit of light relief y’all…:.)

  71. Thatcrab
    “if you play then you can record to them [mp3 players], and listen to rare examples…
    We could say, piano and violin and lute and flute makers of yesteryear were wasting time and resources on their industry, while we all have beautiful voices and pots to rattle.”

    Come on. Recording? 99.999999…% of mp3 players are used to listen to the same old shit over and over through headphones so you don’t have to talk to anyone.

  72. Jives, thanks for that. I especially liked the comment left there saying “Get stephen hawking on vocals for this one.”


  73. Resonance radio is way, way more than ‘interesting’. There is no other radio staion like it. It offers a diversity that is found no where else. It is not corporate propaganda. The quality of programmes is amazing. There are no professional’s talking gobshite and cutting the people off. You will hear opinion, music, drama, soundscapes that you have never heard before (unless it’s democracy now or max keiser or one of the few other syndicated shows). You can make a show yourself.

    If you’re inside the m25 it’s on 104.4fm. Otherwise:

    [Don’t judge it by the web site or the online archives. They are shit and unrepresentative. You have to listen live].

    OK Goodnight. And apologies for over commenting. The dog is happy though.

  74. I might listen to headphones for a while, on a bus, for a bit of a walk. I could make better conversation after a bit of audiotory uplift. I dont think people get too addicted to it, i think headphones can relax a person into more social state in public. Unless there are people talking over the shoulder about how they are so bad, or other intolerables which is all to common alas.

  75. Rather a fuller version of that script to convert wma’s to mp3, it is untested, I have no wma files to test with, something like it used work; if mplayer can play it, lame can re-encode it, the bitrate I’ve upped to cbr 192 j-s on the lame command line; it still requires sensible file names (no spaces or ‘odd’ characters etc), something like

    rename \  _ *.wma

    will convert spaces to underscores, but there will be other problem characters too, no doubt.

    Whats that? You’re using windows, oh dear!

  76. Phil: Don’t take it too personally. Unless you agree with “King” Felix at once, you’ll be treated so some condescension, quickly followed with “prick”, “tool” or something else decidedly witty (and phallic oddly enough), just before he decides to hoof it out of the discussion with his nose in the air. Real swell fellow.

  77. Cryptonym, Then they will all want ‘retagging’ too :/

    Fred, thanks for that. Reminded me of a tom waits song about piano player with no body ,just a hand, but i cant find the name, i deleted my bootleg copy sometime i was feeling cheap.

  78. Glenn_uk
    “Unless you agree with “King” Felix at once, you’ll be treated so some condescension, quickly followed with “prick”, “tool” or something else decidedly witty (and phallic oddly enough), … Real swell fellow.”

    That swell bit is funnnnee….!

    But Jon believes he is an ‘excellent contributor’. I’d really like to hear his criteria.

    Personally i found the “King”‘s icon (avatar is too good a word for those of us who understand its etymology) to have extraordinary resemblance to a knob (his word–add that to your list)!

  79. Fred, ‘table top joe’

    I dont mind google. Im hopeful for cogs turning. Get ready for the big comet this year, it could be meaningful to people.

    I often wish Jon would do more removal of the essentially pointless internecine frackas, which are only of intrest to the people fracking, if that for long. My own too.

  80. Should actually be two spaces between the \ and the _ (where it is spaces you wish to change)

    Comment software appears to be eating spaces after backslashes!

    Tags: v1 tags tagged on the end of an mp3 were harmless, with v2 things got a bit nastier. I’m not a fan of them, the directory name, combined with the filename should contain all the necessary information to uniquely identify the file; some players with vbr formats might require v2 tags/headers. Things like genre seem utterly pointless.

    Obviously this is not the direction the comments are taking so I’ll desist, just –you (or CM in this case) are not stuck with wma files, or aac or m4a etc. they are convertible.

  81. Phil, what do these oafs going on about swans and radioheads know about real music.

    I guess we weren’t born to follow.

    i dedicate this one to you tonight. hope it resonates:

    perhaps you and i should go to a concert together one evening…

    HMV Jon invited, and tonight, this one dedicated to him,

    Ladies and gentlemen, Richie Havens!

  82. And a follow up–dedicated to Technicolor, who’s missing and being missed…. You too Dreoilin….if you want to be a bird.

  83. Villager “Get stephen hawking on vocals for this one.”

    MC Hawking dropping bombs! (to the tune of OPP)

    “That’s entropy or E-N-T-R-O to the P to the Y,
    the reason why the sun will one day all burn out and die.
    Order from disorder is a scientific rarity,
    allow me to explain it with a little bit more clarity.
    Did I say rarity? I meant impossibility,
    at least in a closed system there will always be more entropy.”

    MC Hawking – Entropy

  84. ffmpeg should be best for bulk conversion.

    e.g. Open a terminal and type:

    ffmpeg -i [file.wma] -acodec libmp3lame -ab 128k [file.mp3]

    file.wma: it is the file you want to convert.
    -ab: audio bitrate in kbit/s. The default value is 64k.
    -acodec: it sets the codec to be used. In this case mp3.
    file.mp3: File name will be created.

  85. Well, I’m late to this thread because I’ve been doing a data recovery job, but my recent experience seems relevant…

    A photographer has decades of photo’s on a Western Digital 1TByte external hard disk which has become faulty. This external storage device consists of a bog-standard 3.5 inch hard disk, just like the ones fitted in desktop computers. It has a small circuit board within its case to connect the actual HDD to either USB or FireWire interface, and it is this interface board that has developed a fault.

    Easy, yes? Just take out the actual HDD and put it in the photographer’s Mac, right? No way! The poxy little interface board encrypts all the data, even if the user doesn’t enable encryption, so the only practical way to recover the data is to use the manufacturer’s data recovery service. They don’t advertise their prices (bad sign), and I doubt that they ensure your data (assuming its value to be merely monetary) for the inevitable two-way trip through the post…

    I think thatcrab’s advice is best. Get a dirt-cheap MP3 player that accepts SD-cards. 14,000 tracks might occupy the majority of 100GByte, but that will fit on three or four SD-cards these days. Additional cards are quite cheap enabling affordable duplicates for back-up. And it separates your data from your player hardware; should the player fail, you can put the cards straight into a new player.

  86. Oops; I mean “insure your data”, not “ensure”. Bit early for me.

  87. Gari Sullivan 8 Jan, 2013 – 9:37 pm
    I looked at your Syria site and found it most interesting, especially your interpretation of Assad’s recent speech. Although BBC and the like must employ many Arabic speakers, we are never made privy to the actual words spoken by the ‘enemies’ of the West. Thanks.

  88. From that wonderful exhibition of ceramic sculptures by May Ayres. God’s Wars.

    Not seeing, not thinking, and cut off from the reality, I think she was saying.

  89. Craig,

    You have a choice. Either go for a large hard-disk based player i.e. iPod classic or equivalent. This will set you back about £200. The advanatge is that you can stick all your music on it and then you don’t have to worry about it. They also generally have a nice interface.
    A good alternative is to buy a cheaper player which supports micro SD cards. This would probably cost around £30. You could split your music collection onto two or three SD cards. Advantage is it’s cheaper, and also when the player dies, you just put the cards in a different player. Disadvantage is that you have two or three cards to keep with the player, and also the screens and interfaces tend to be crappy.

  90. DomesticExtremist, 9 Jan, 5:45 am

    “Open a terminal and type:

    ffmpeg -i [file.wma] -acodec libmp3lame -ab 128k [file.mp3]”

    Is this advice really intended for Craig? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

  91. The mobile phone thing isn’t really a “thing”? I mean, I never turned my phone off when walking into a hospital anyway, but you’re telling me its all rubbish? *And* on planes? A fearful flight attendant once made me turn my digital camera off in case it interfered with the aircraft =/ I couldn’t afford to miss my flight, or I might have argued..

  92. I somewhat regret how I spoke last night. Mostly because my point was lost. I absolutely stand by argument but wish I had used fewer, better words. I forgot to never go online when angry at the real world and an afternoon of whiskey’s worse for wear. Life is short and messy.

  93. You have nothing to be sorry about Phil, your cutting the Kings throne to size was all in good nature and well argued.

    The celebrity shite we are being subjected to is just that, regardless of whether its the music industry, charity or film. We are even led to believe that these people are role models, have something we all should strive for, not just pretty advertising posters, all because they are driving consumerism.

    Hmm, whatever the politicians are peddling must be really good stuff cause this celeb formula does not apply to them at all, they can be unpopular as much as we like, still they get promoted as if they were popular.

  94. Clark

    9 Jan, 2013 – 9:10 am

    It really isn’t that hard. Craig can type after all.

    On the plus side, it’s free and open source and you finish up with a relatively unencumbered file format

  95. Phil, don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m not sure your point was lost. As for the words used, you were clearly instigated, and yes you will know better the next time. The afternoon whiskey doesn’t sound good though, if i may say so. Yes life is a messy business–human consciousness is a very messy consciousness. But alcohol, i’m afraid is no escape. Their is no backdoor to heaven. We need to recognise this mess for what it is. And sometimes it is better to just observe the ignorance than engage with it.

  96. Mobile phone & Spotify Premium account. You can stream it or download it to the phone. Anything so esoteric they don’t have you stick on the phone and it plays through the interface. Time to convert all those WMA files to MP3 though Craig. That really is a dying format.

  97. Noor-e-Hira

    9 Jan, 2013 - 4:53 pm

    Hey, Craig. Get well soon. :)

  98. and here i was all ready to give you a row for not telling us all about Iraq after you’d promised to in your previous post. Hope you’re better soon!

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