Keeping up with Music Media 108

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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108 thoughts on “Keeping up with Music Media

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  • thatcrab

    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.

  • Jon

    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.

  • Villager

    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?

  • Villager

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

    Ur really thinking in the box aren’t you?

  • thatcrab

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

  • Jon

    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.

  • Villager

    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.

  • Phil

    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.

  • Phil

    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.

  • Phil

    “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.

  • Phil

    “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.

  • Villager

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


  • Phil

    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.

  • thatcrab

    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.

  • Cryptonym

    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!

  • glenn_uk

    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.

  • thatcrab

    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.

  • Villager

    “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)!

  • thatcrab

    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.

  • Cryptonym

    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.

  • CheebaCow

    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

  • DomesticExtremist

    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.

  • Clark

    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.

  • Mary

    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.

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