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Now here is the bizarro-world hole in Akismet that I have discovered these past few months. Probably 99% of the comment spam that got passed along for moderation instead of being automatically removed by Akismet involved one post: Nicolas versus the f**tbo**d. I finally got sick of it and turned off comments on that post.
And where did the comment spam immediately begin slipping through again? You guessed it: New H**dbo**d for Abigail’s Bed. What the heck?!? I get comment spam all over the site, but somehow entries with a f**tbo**d or h**dbo**d just slip right through. I’m shutting down the comments on the h**dbo**d post as well, a simple enough solution, but this is just weird.
Now you know why I used ** throughout this post. Didn’t want to offer the comment spam another hole in Akismet.]]>
Why would I do such a thing? My goal was to acquire very high quality MP3s. I wanted quality over size, MP3s that could be converted back to WAVs with more or less no audible degredation (okay, if you did this over and over, no MP3 would provide good quality… I was looking for a one pass WAV -> MP3 -> WAV type quality). An easy test of the MP3 quality is to pick some music that has nature sounds of some sort in it and listen to it on quality equipment (headphones, speakers, whatever). As the codecs that create MP3s are generally optimized for speech and music, cricket sounds, water, or whatever are an easy way to find their limits. That or a quality jazz recording with lots of airy cymbals.
In my first attempt, I bought a package (I think it was MusicMatch) that ripped the CDs and created the MP3s and added the tags, all in one package. The MP3s were fine, but they were not what I would call high quality. After a bit of research, I redid the whole thing addressing quality at each step. Here’s a summary of what I learned (and subsequently did).
1) Ensure an accurate rip. If the CD player reads a grease smudge off your disc, that noise will be encoded right into the MP3. If there is a scratch, you’ll probably hear that scratch in the MP3. The solution? Use Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It reads the CD tracks over and over, comparing them until it gets an exact match, thus enabling it to rip a perfectly accurate WAV file (unless, of course, the disc is unreadable). EAC is free, so go get it.
2) Use the LAME encoder to convert from WAV to MP3. There are numerous download sites like this one. It has a “lame” interface, but once configured, EAC can drive it for you.
3) Make sure your ID3 tags are done well. ID3 tags are the extra bits of data stored with the MP3 file such as Title, Artist, Genre, etc. EAC will usually be able to look up the tags for you when you load a CD using freedb.org, but always make sure the tags are accurate and complete.
If you Google “eac lame tutorial”, you can find a bunch of great step-by-step info on setting up the whole shootin’ match. I use the “insane” setting for the LAME codec, which is basically a VBR encoding scheme meant to match the quality of a 320 kbs CBR MP3, but the files average around 230 kbs. I use a much lower setting (around 64 kbs VBR) for audio books that I rip.
Once you get your collection set up, it’s easy to keep it up to date by converting CDs as you acquire them. Then the fun begins. I’ve got MP3s driving my music in my living room stereo and my car, and will post the details another time.]]>
As we are dealing with illness in the family this week it occurs to me just how much easier our lives are in many ways due to the advances in technology over the last century. I am very thankful for tons of little things that I know I take for granted every day but which truly do enhance and simplify our day to day life. Here are a few examples of those common graces for which I am today grateful as we here in the Horne household battle various manifestations of bronchial/upper respiratory infections:
1. A cozy, centrally-heated home despite the 22 degree temps outside
2. Disposable kleenex, diapers, wipes, and dinnerware
3. Tylenol to suit every age and body size
4. Refrigerator/freezer to keep our food fresh for many days
5. Microwave to warm leftovers
6. A wireless connection and laptop so my poor sick husband can work a bit from home
7. Antibacterial soap and Clorox wipes
8. A phone which makes communication with doctors, friends and family feasible
9. TV and computer games to help entertain and comfort sick children
10. The Blog, of course!!
1. So impersonal: I like to write deep, meaningful and sensitive emails to my close friends and family.
2. No time: I cannot possibly make room for one more thing in my schedule. After all, the laundry is never folded!
3. Who will want to read it?
4. Blogs are for intellectuals with wise, earth-shattering insights they need to share with others. I am a mother to three children aged three and under; my version of intellectual stimulation is learning a new song on today’s Barney show. ;-)
5. Why would I want total strangers in cyberspace to know what is going on in my life?
6. None of my friends keep blogs. (Ok, well Susan Peck took care of this one!)
7. Blogs are just generally stupid.
8. People who keep blogs update them all the time; there is no way I will be consistent enough to make frequent entries, and then my blog would look just like one more project in my life that has been left unfinished.
9. What’s with the word “blog” anyway, and who wants to be known as a “blogger”??
10. Ok, there were only nine. ;-)
Despite all my misgivings, I do hope to be able to post on here from time to time. Thanks for reading!]]>
As you might have guessed, I “wrote” this entry with a microphone.]]>
If I hadn’t been trying to capture some scenes from my dv camcorder (and failing), I may have never realized I was running at a whopping 2 MB/s… checking that box increased it well over an order of magnitude.]]>
I suppose that cron job I set up that started running Tuesday night is working… ;-}]]>