Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Source For High Quality and Free MP3 Content

A while back I noted that Real Player made it really easy to grab free content and store it on your mp3 player. Too easy. Well, they're at it again. The other day I dropped a book on CD from the library into the drive and with two clicks I had an mp3 version on my hard drive:

  1. Click on the CD/DVD button on the left hand side (highlighted in red)
  2. Click on the Save Tracks button the left hand side (highlighted in blue)

Once the tracks were saved, I found them in my c:/Documents and Settings/Ben/My Documents/My Music.

I plugged my G1 into my laptop, mounted the phone as a USB drive and copied the files over. I was then able to listen to the content on the phone. The same routine should work for your phone or mp3 player.

The Catch

The big gotcha in all of this is that the ID3 tags don't seem to always be reliable. Some CDs have complete information associated with each CD (like the author and book name) while others have none. In the 4 books I've burned, I've found multiple mistakes, such as misspelling the author's name.

I don't have a great fix for this. There are plenty of mass ID3 tools out there, but I find them all too confusing to be of any use. My favorite so far has been mp3info, which is a basic command line utility for setting tags. It Just Works.

I'm able to use it to make mass corrections or include in a script. Though, unless you're a unix geek, you'll probably not be impressed.

Worth The Effort

If you've never tried renting books on CD from the library, then you're absolutely missing out. They are free, and provide an easy way to carry a whole bunch of content with you at once. Perhaps most importantly, they provide a way to fill up gray time in an entertaining and educational way.

You've got to give it a try.

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