iTune out!

I really like NT Wright audio teachings. He stimulates and provokes and challenges and bridges many a theological gap. I found on the NT Wright page (https://ntwrightpage.com) recently a link to some lectures he did at Duke University’s 2010 Convocation and Pastor’s School. I happily went to download the free audio teachings and I couldn’t get past a page that said that iTunes was not found on my computer. Well duh! Of course it’s not found on my computer. I wish it could stay that way!

I detest iTunes and I detest Apple’s practice of creating “monopolistic” and “invasive” software. I’m duly convinced that much of what Apple creates in terms of hardware is really good and from a design standpoint is laudable (if stupidly expensive!). However, their handful of offerings that make it to the Windows world are hugely annoying! They’re probably just trying to stick to Microsoft for their clunky Mac offerings. Of course the losers in this war are the end-users, not the big corporations.

Having had experience in getting other streaming protocols to finally cough up a standard URL of a standard media file via circuitous editing of a series of downloaded files, I did various “view sources” and tried playing my results in different capable, non-invasive media players and tried changing the protocol from itms to http, etc. None of this worked. So I started out looking for specific freeware players capable of playing/downloading itms files. I failed…

Apple has started this thing (I hesitate to use the word “service” as it does us only a dis-service!) called iTunes U. iTunes U is a corner of the iTunes Music Store universe dedicated to more educational media files. They must make it pretty attractive to participate in. Personally, I find it reprehensible that Duke University would, in essence, force people to download Apple software to play a free academic mp3 lecture. I can’t imagine that the bandwidth hit or storage space is any kind of real problem for the university that they just couldn’t put their mp3 files up on their own servers somewhere where anyone could easily download them.

Anyway, I didn’t succeed in circumventing iTunes completely, but I did find this tutorial on how to install iTunes in a less invasive way: The unofficial guide to installing iTunes 10 without bloatware on the zdnet site. I highly recommend doing things this way if you simply need iTunes for some unique capability it offers and you don’t want it to be so invasive or huge. I would add however, this final step: Fire up autoruns after doing the install steps and do a search on Apple. Then you can delete autostarted tasks/services that you don’t want.

Mp3Merge

Mp3Merge

Mp3Merge.png

Function:

Mp3Merge is a free application (source code included) which invokes the DOS copy command to concatenate mp3 files which have the same bitrate together without the need to re-encode the files. Its purpose is to facilitate this task for lots of mp3 files that need to be concatenated together.

Background:

I needed a tool to help me re-join many different sermons and other lectures that I had acquired that were broken up into 5-minute segments. I preferred not to do re-encoding because it takes too much time and processing power and I’m always concerned that re-encoding will significantly change the file size or recording quality.

I looked for freeware options but couldn’t find much. Mp3 File Merger seemed promising, but I wasn’t too sure if it was actually doing something. My further digging revealed that it simply created a DOS .bat file of copy statements with the /b (binary) switch. That made me say, “hey, I could write something that does that”. So I didn’t spend any time on the actual “copy” functionality, but worked on making the process quick, easy, seemless, etc…. for me. We’ll, I’ve done that. I like it. So why not let others use it too? So, I tried to clean it up a bit and throw together a basic help file and install process. Hopefully it will work for you too. For a fuller version of how it works, take a look at the html help online.

Modification:

I don’t have much time or desire to mess with it very much so I can’t promise that it will evolve much. But feel free to contact me if you have questions, feature requests or bug reports…we’ll see what happens! πŸ˜‰ You can use the contact form on the right here, or better yet leave a comment below.

Translations:

I’ve created a non-elegant French translation of the interface (included…language is changable via an .ini file parameter) and I’d welcome corrections to that and a translation of the help file. I’d, of course welcome translations of any other language and will include them here if they come.

System Requirements:

I can’t say that I know all the real technical requirements, but it’s a Windows 32-bit application written in the AutoIt3 scripting language. I’ve tested it on Win XP Pro, Win 7 and Win 10. I would expect that it would function in at least Win 2000 or better. I can’t say for 98/ME. Feel free to try it, and let me know what it has worked on.

Thanks go to:

AutoIt3 scripting language

MediaInfo .dll

HelpMaker

Inno Setup

Download Version 1.0:

Change log:

2009-06-06 – version 1.0 – initial released version

mp3DirectCut

We do a bunch of stuff with audio files in our family. Lots of converting, cleaning up, etc. I’ll be adding more tools for this later.

One of the things that I do with audio files is listen to them (duh…) while I do the dishes. One of the things I listen to the most is audio teachings/messages, etc. My cheap little MP3 player works fine but is not too sophisticated. So, if I’m listening to a 45 minute message while I do the dishes for, say, 25 minutes, I like to start the next time where I left off. Obviously this is bit different situation than simply background music and playing a random set list. My MP3 player simply starts on the same file it finished on. So with my 45 minute message, I’m back to the beginning and figuring out where I am and then getting there again is a hassle.

Enter mp3DirectCut, by Martin Pesch…

mp3DirectCut is an application that allow you to do a number of editing tasks on MP3 files directly. There are zillions of fine audio editing tools that import/export mp3 format files but do all their editing tasks in a WAV format. This is the logical way to go in most situations. But if you just want to do some quick trimming (and several other helpful quick tasks) but directly on the MP3 file with no nagging import/export wait time, mp3DirectCut may be your answer. Your file (even those big 45 minute messages) is loaded immediately and you start to work.

Back to dish washing…

I though that if I could split my files into 5 minute segments, then my dish washing dream would come true. I could stop in the middle of one of the 5 minute segments and when I restarted my listening (next batch of dirty dishes), I’d restart at the beginning of that 5 minute segment…not the beginning of the 45 minute message! Well, mp3DirectCut has a feature called “AutoCue” which allows you to split your file in to segments of equal length. You open your file, choose AutoCue for a length of 5 minutes, and save the split segments as individual MP3 files (which it does with some great file naming features). Load up the MP3 player and start washing your dishes! Great stuff!

You can find mp3DirectCut at: https://www.mpesch3.de