Edit Mp3 tags in Ubuntu with cowbell

14 07 2007

I posted here on what I liked for editing Mp3 tags in Windows. Unfortunately these apps don’t work in Ubuntu so I went looking for an alternative. While searching I wasn’t surprised to find several threads where people have been looking for the same type of thing. I ran across a few programs but none of them worked very well, IMHO, until I ran across a reference to cowbell someplace.

From the cowbell site

Do you ever pull your hair out trying to hand-edit all your tags with some arcane editor? Tell your inner OCD to take a hike because Cowbell is coming to town.

Cowbell is an elegant music organizer intended to make keeping your collection tidy both fun and easy.

Most of the editing I do is to podcasts so the album feature of Cowbell doesn’t fit in here. I need to edit each Mp3 individually which is easily done by simply dragging the file into cowbell and removing it when I’m done. Of course this could all be handled rather nicely if Podcast authors would simply tag their files in some consistent manner, but I guess this is where I need to tell my inner OCD to take a hike.

You need cowbell

Cowbell screenshot

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The TWiT Network and Audible.com. Smooth advertising

5 07 2007

I listen to several of the TWiT netcasts and it sounds like audible.com has signed up as an advertiser for most of the shows I listen to, such as TWiT (This Week in Tech) and Windows Weekly. While I’m happy that Leo Laporte was able to land what seems like a long term supporter I’m even more impressed with the delivery and conversation that occurs while a show is in ‘ad mode’.

Most other ad supported podcasts seem to have the canned ad that plays at some point during the show. While there is nothing wrong with this, it does eventually get the same reaction as a TV ad and the listener just zones out for 30 seconds or so.

What Leo manages to do is announce that it’s ad time and then he, and whomever else is on the show, start to toss around the books they would recommend. This typically results in a pretty decent conversation and the subject matter does not stick to the tech realm which is nice as well. For example, I learned today that Paul Thurott is a fan of the horror genre and Leo even noted that Stephen King is this eras Dickens. Who knew these guys liked this stuff? Not me. But wait, I’m listening to an ad and clearly should not be enjoying it this much!

Well done Leo and gang. Hopefully audible.com will stick around.

Oh, by the way,I like the other non advertising related stuff they do as well.  I just thought this was pretty unique and deserved some attention.

FastLadder – Don’t bother just yet

3 07 2007

I just learned about a new feed reader called FastLadder on Lifehacker. What excited me about the Lifehacker post was the following,

Fastladder has integrated search! It’s really fast and easy to use. I’m not sure yet how deep the search goes (i.e., I don’t know how many feed items Fastladder saves), but what’s there is really good.

Too many times when running through feeds in Google Reader I would like to search on something I know I read but can’t recall which feed. Alas there is no integrated search in Google Reader (silly, I know). So off I ran to FastLadder. The fact that I had to signup prior to even learning about the service was a bit offsetting but signup I did, which was quickly followed by uploading my OPML file.

Ok, uploading done. Where is the search field? Ahh, right where you would expect it to be, above the list of feeds. I do a search for FastLadder and get nothing. OK, I figure maybe I need to have at least read the post on FastLadder for the search to work. I run through the Lifehacker posts, yep, there’s the FastLadder post, and off to the search I go.

Again the search yields nothing.

This time I search for Lifehacker and it brings back the Lifehacker feed. This is no good.

Apparently the touted search feature does nothing but search the name of the feed you are subscribed to which makes it useless as far as I’m concerned. Ugghhh, how disappointing.

This is the first time I can recall that a Lifehacker post led me astray. I’m hoping I’m missing something and the search is really there but a couple of commenter’s  on Lifehacker pointed out the same thing. Guess I should have read all the comments first.

I’m back to waiting on Google to integrate searching into their reader.

Negotiating with Pirates?

1 07 2007

There was a nice post a few weeks ago around a story of a guy that wrote to a release group and asked nicely to have his software pulled from there distribution of cracked software. He was able to make the request because the email to the release group was in the cracked titles NFO. The story ends nicely with the RG agreeing to stop distributing the software. The whole conversation was very civilized.

It’s no surprise that this grassroots side of the pirating world exists where they seem to listen to and may actually care about the small time developer.

Where the conversation gets interesting, if not predictable, is in the comments to the post. The story had over a thousand diggs and has seen active commenting with the latest on June 26th.  The bickering back and forth about what should be pirated and when, under what circumstances and with what motivation is relentless, although entertaining.

At the end of the day it seems the software is still available in the torrent channels as someone posted in the comments. This doesn’t mean that the RG didn’t pull the software. It just means that once it is in the wild, well… it’s in the wild. Good luck stopping it.

How to stop warez pirates? Ask nicely.

Pirates aren’t evil? (this link points to the software developers posting of the NFO and conversation)

The lessons of life

24 06 2007


I ran across the 6 Billion Others site in one of the feeds I follow a few weeks ago. Aside from being a good use of web technologies the content and the way it is presented feel original to me. It is very interesting, humbling and inspiring to hear and read the comments people have shared as they have been asked questions about family, happiness, tears, love and more.The available languages are currently English, Italian and French.

This is one of those sites that I hope to come back to for that occasional dose of global perspective.


Enjoying Slacker.com – effortless music

2 06 2007

I’ve gently used various online music services such as Pandora or Last.FM in the past but none of them have stuck for me.
In some recent reading I came across the slacker.com service again. I originally read about slacker.com in March on various sites like Wired and Engadget. While I didn’t take the time then to check out the site I have done so recently and have been impressed. The service seems to fit the way I listen to music and does a nice job grouping together the right types of music and artists when creating your own stations.

I’m also intrigued by the notion of a portable player that works with the service. The portable player would be filled with music based upon your preferences and would automatically be updated when the player is able to access the service via WIFI. Nice. No need to add music yourself, update playlists, etc.

When I listen to music I am typically doing so in one of two roles. I am either digging for some good nostalgia tunes, or looking up something new in one genre or another. As I mentioned before the way I listen to music seems to fit the slacker.com model.

If the portable player isn’t enough they are also planning to compete with the Satellite set.

I did a search for Roger Clyne and hit ‘play’ which results in a station of like artists. I don’t think slacker.com did a bad job of building the station especially considering that Roger Clyne does not fit any traditional genre very tightly, but mixes into many of them. The screenshot below is the result of what has been playing for the last hour or so. Pretty Cool.

Ubuntu and Sprint EVDO

1 06 2007

As I move along in making my Ubuntu install my own, and keep from reverting back to Windows, I am reaching some personal milestones.
Today I was able to get a Sprint EVDO PanTech PX-500 connected. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to follow the directions in the Sprint documentation here. The KPPP (GUI) option did not work for me but the terminal based WvDial worked just fine.

Kudos to Sprint for creating Linux documentation for getting their devices connected.