Sunday, December 21, 2008


From underutilization of "A day in the life" to reaching a point of realization that there are only 24 hrs in a day - is something! But, when that point is reached things need to be optimized, and tasks triaged to fit the day.

The plan simple - Health, Wealth & Wisdom in that order. Tracking is helpful. Tracking my wealth (income, debt, payments, expenses) in a simple spreadsheet for just a couple of months, helped me reverse the falling curve.

I guess tracking some aspects of one's health, could have its benefits too. Anticipating this device ( hopefully, it won't turn out to be vaporware ). Also, hopefully they have a Linux app. in addition to Windows and Mac, for syncing with the website.

Now, how about tracking wisdom?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Having my music organized and mobilized, one more problem to automate. How does one keep track of the music one likes? Move them to a folder/folders, rate them, keep large number of unmanageable play lists over no underlying structure, track the play count. Organizing music on the go is not possible with the iPod Nano. Rating music requires one to be proactive and takes effort. So, I will go with the simplest - tracking the playcount. Now the music you like will have the tendency to float up with a higher playcount. The iPod tracks the playcount just fine. Also, moving among operating systems, installing uninstalling stuff begs for a web solution - a centralized repository to maintain my listening history.

The solution to this one was simpler than I imagined. allows for something called "audioscrobbling". You can listen to music using your favorite software and install a pluggin that will upload your "listenings" automatically to

Now the problem is to upload the playcount from my iPod to Well, download the plugin for Rhythmbox and you are set. It seamlessy uploaded the playcounts from my iPod to Just keep listening to your music and occasionally sync your iPod with RhythmBox and Voila your playcounts are updated on

Also, has plugins for almost any decent music player under the sun and it can make listening suggestions based on your listening history.

Musicbrainz Picard

My music collection is was a strange mess confluence of ripped cds (using early non-standard rippers), downloaded music from the time of Audiogalaxy, Napster and kazaa. Okay, I pirated "some" music (there I said it) Har. In my defense - I have spent good money on purchasing audio cassettes and CD's and whole albums for just maybe one song. Anyway, that is besides the point. The thing is, I ended up with about 9 Gigs of unsorted disorganized music files. To make things worse I organized and renamed them to suite my tastes long back and ripped all my CDs using some shady ripper. A manual re-organization not only seems infeasible but, an intractable problem. Almost, came to point where decided to delete the whole damn thing in disgust and restart a clean collection.

1) Files with wrong names. Some music files just have names track001.mp3, track002.mp3 etc
2) Worse there are actually files in my collection that have the wrong ID3 or empty tags for most fields.
3) Smaller annoying problems, non standard naming of files some with underscores, some with spaces and some just a mess.
4) Folder structure crazy. Some like "I like", "Me Favs 12jul".

SOLUTION: for each file listen to it first. Look up the album on the net and then rename the tags and the files and put them in a proper folder. If I can remember the name of the song that is. Leave aside the question - how does one create a proper folder structure. And all this manually.

Pulling my hair with both hands and shouting Aaaaaah.....

But, just then the sun rose, the birds chirped, the flowers blossomed. Picard to the rescue (strange coincidence, considering how many time the character namesake of the tool has saved the day for the enterprise). It uses acoustic fingerprinting (equivalent of listening) during scanning of every song, then looks up that AudioFingerprint in the Musicbrainz database to figure out the album. Then optionally (using plugin) it can lookup the cover art, do a cross lookup to other music repositories like amazon or just do a google search. Also, it will fix the ID3 tags, rename the file and organize the folders by artists/albums. Optionally you can ask it to move all the files it was able to fix to another directory in well organized structure. Leaving the files that it couldn't look up the fingerprint for in the original place. And boy it is good. Of the 2400 odd files, now, I am only left with about some 400 files. It is so good that it figured out the right album for a files whose ID3 tags and file name I deliberately garbled. Took some time about 1 to 2 hours to sift through all my music.

Now, with what remains you can do a standard lookup based on the current ID3 tags (the screenshot shows what I have left). It will do its best to locate a match and present its findings with a color code ranging from green to red (great match to bad match). You can then visually sift through these. For those files with multiple matches it will present you with a web page allowing you to choose among the various choices.

Then to top it all off - "there's no Price for Awesomeness, or Attractiveness".

MusicBrainz Picard

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Klipsch image x10

In my attempt to be able to listen to my music collection anytime anywhere, got myself an iPod Nano (1st generation) long time back. But, just after a couple of days this got relegated to a dark corner of a cabinet. Did occasionally take it out, but then again and again kept sending it straight back in to that dark dingy corner. The problem were the uncomfortable headphones. My ears actually pain with these things. Toleration time was about max 30 minutes. Tried some other brand ear-buds too. But, gave up thinking my ears may not be the standard size or something !!. Got myself a Sennheiser px250. These I could tolerate for about an hour or 2. But, then the whole idea of having your music pocket-able gets thrown out of the window. These headphones are definitely not pocket-able. So, back went the iPod.

Organizing my music recently. Decided to give this one more shot. I had pretty much given up the idea of ear buds. So, balked at the thought of "in ear" buds. Having something so close to your tympanic membrane, gives me the shivers. Let alone the thought of some cheap headphone manufacturer, even giving a damn about your "ear health".

So, how do the really rich music guys who have all the money in the world, listen to their music? The answer surprisingly is NOT unaffordable really really expensive well calibrated music systems and special rooms, but custom in ear ear-buds!! Yes! Ah now the custom ear fit makes these comfortable. But, what makes the sound quality so great. Another surprise, their headphones don't use the standard micro speaker technology. These headphones are based on Balanced Armature technology. Usually dual or triple balanced armatures to be able to faithfully reproduce the full range of frequencies. This technology is currently only available in the US and the UK. Okay some quick translation is in order now. The micro speakers are more like ordinary speakers but small (micro) in size. Armature technology, on the other hand, directly produces sound frequencies more akin to a tuning fork (Am I right?). And, these are expensive really expensive.

After reading much about these, narrowed down my search to Klipsch x10 and SleekAudio sa6 and finally ended up with the Klipsch. Both have single balanced wide/ultra-wide band micro armatures. Some how the thought of dual/triple armatures did not appeal to me, maybe, because of how much more complicated (and more expensive)it is to design a good crossover. Well, if you are still in the dark ages of 5$ cheap Chinese headphones. I am sure you won't be disappointed moving to one of these. I have used these for over 3 months now and they are worth every penny. But, I suggest looking up various choices yourself before settling on one, as these can make quite a dent in your wallet. Actually, suggest trying before buying. Also, suggest pairing these with comply foams.

Klipsch Image x10 Retails for 350$ (got mine off ebay for 220$)

Also, check out these: