Monday, December 17, 2007

Rip, Burn, Skin

It sounds painful, doesn’t it? Given that this is a house blog one would naturally think I’m writing this from the emergency room, or maybe even a hospital bed. No, this the lingo of media files on computers. Its like they got a bunch of stoned snowboarders to come up with the lexicon of media when it comes to computers.

You no longer download and copy files, you rip and burn them. You don’t change the look and feel of a program, you put a new skin on it. This is the same reason we no longer wear stocking caps, but instead we wear skull caps. Its like, totally rad, to give mundane objects and tasks names that sound menacing and intense. It gives the allure of danger while sitting in the comfort of Mom and Dad’s basement.

So I pent my Sunday ripping CDs on to the Media Vault. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I pictured countless hours of selecting files, navigating through folders, copy files, er… I mean burning files. Then I would need to rename them all to make them legible, and make sure the player knew where they were. I thought I was going to be a painfully arduous task and I was dreading it.

It turned out to just about the easiest thing I’ve done on a computer in a long, long time. Someone actually did not have their head up their ass when they thought this through. I used Windows Media Player 11 to do the cop… Ripping. Once I told the Media Player that I would be storing the CD files, er…daggers of music, the process was surprisingly automated.

It turns out there is a lot more information on the CD than just the music. There is an image of the CD cover, the genre of music, artists name, song name, the year it was recorded, and the total running time for each song. Once the CD was ripped, the tray opened and I just popped in another one. I barely had to pay attention to it. I was able to blast through more than 50 CDs while watching football on Sunday.

The CD s are also rated as they are ripped. I’m not really sure what the rating is based on. They all started out with 3 out of 5 stars with the exception of one Velvet Underground CD that has a rating of 4.5. At least who ever rated that one knows what they are talking about.

Once they’ve all been ripped to the media vault they can be viewed by just the CD cover, or viewed with the song list for each CD. You can sort alphabetically, or by genre, time, rating, or year.

To play, uh, I mean BLAST the CDs you just double click on a CD cover or individual song. You can also open a play list and drag and drop songs from multiple CDs to the play list. Play lists can be saved and played again. The whole process was surprisingly simple….er, I mean totally wicked and awesome.


Nick said...

The CD cover image, genra, artist name, song name, etc. are downloaded automatically on your behalf - the data isn't on the CD. The ripping software uniquely identifies the disk by the number of tracks and their lengths, and submits this data to a web site which returns a response.

Explained here.

The web-based service that did this first was called CDDB

Greg said...

How funny. I was talking to some at work about this today and she suggested that some of that information is downloaded from the net. I figured she meant this was just for older CDs or some of the more obscure ones.

I was going to test it by unplugging my PC before ripping any more CDs. In the end I decided that no one would go to the trouble of making all of that information available. I mean, who is going to scan all of those CD covers and put all of the information on-line when it could just as easily be put on the CD? I guess I was wrong.

StuccoHouse said...

I also made that nice little discovery one day when I happened to be onine while "ripping" my cds for my ipod using iTunes & MusicMatch ;-) All of a sudden the play list was there, cover photo, and genre. Up to that point I had been filling all that in manually. Made life a lot better.

Bones said...

Bitchin', dude. And a good move to get the media vault when you did, what with all this rain.