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Friday, March 2, 2018

Helpful PC Tools

Here are some PC tools (some have Mac versions) I find indispensable. I'm sure many of you reading this already know of them. I hope the info is helpful to those who aren't aware of some of them. They are in no particular order:

MediaInfo - displays file information including containers, tags, video, audio and subtitles. Adds an entry on the context menu, so you right click on a file to use it. Or it runs in a window and you can drag-drop files into it. You can export the information to text, html, xml, html and MANY more. I find the Tree View the best for individual files, but you can add whole directories (sub directories included) and choose files from a drop down menu. It's free, but you might want to donate something for the project.

dBpoweramp - if you're often in need of  changing an audio file from one type to another, this is the Swiss Army knife for that. Select a file or files, right click and select convert, select the file type, and you get a quick conversion (uses multi-cores). There are lots of codecs available on this site for use with this utility.

Everything - this replaces Windows' slow and ever-running in the background search. It is fast! When you add a file, it appears in the Everything window immediately. It can be set up to live in the notifications area of the task bar. There are all sorts of search possibilities. It has a portable version. This is one you'll want to support with a donation. What a time saver!

Bulk Rename Utility - "BRU" is another Swiss Army knife utility that is a file re-namer on steroids. I don't use this often, but when I need to, it is a huge time saver. Did you misspell a file name that is replicated like filenam000 - filenam999 (1,000 files)? Where is the %$@# E in filenam on all 1,000 files?!!! Using BRU, you go to the file directory, select all of the files to be renamed, select the BRU Add section, click insert, enter the alphanumeric(s) you want to insert and the position you want them entered. And you don't have to guess what's going to happen if you make the change -- the New Name column updates as you set up the changes you want. You can change file dates, add a folder name to the file names, replace alphanumerics with other alphanumerics (this is another way you could add the "e" to "filenam" -- search for "filenam" and replace it with "filename"). Copy/Move files, change file attributes, timestamps, and ... enough said -- check it out. Free for personal use, but a donation is appreciated.

Cathy Disk Cataloging Tool - got a lot of data CD/DVD's? Do they have cryptic notes as to what is on them? Do you wish you had a catalog of all the files on all your data disks? Well, this tool is the one for you! You run Cathy, put a CD/DVD in the drive, and it catalogs the files. It's fast and just does the job. Keep on putting the data media in and the catalog grows to include them, too. It's free.

VLC - plays most any video/audio file. General MIDI files, too.

Media Player Classic - plays many media files. There's an announcement that the latest version may be the last one.

OK -- how about adding your favorite utilities to this list. Just comment them in.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sorry About Going Dark!

When I first started this blog, I had a lot of things I wanted to share with anyone who had an interest in the subject matter. My health "experience" of the past three years surely put a damper on a lot of those plans. Of course, dying would have made the plans impossible! :-) So I'm thankful for the "experience." I'm in a position of getting somewhat good health news from time to time, which gives me periods of vacation from any heavy healthcare. I'm making the most of these times.

There are a lot of songs I've written along the line that I've intended to arrange and record "later." Well "later" is here, so I spend a lot of time doing that.

I'm also going to give some of the instruments and outboard gear I've stored for years a new home by auctioning them off. This includes one of the what I could call "Doom" guitars that I used to come up with music for many of the game projects I worked on. It's a red Gibson ES-330 that's had the pickups raised a bit (reversible). I bought it to celebrate not losing any fingers while in the Army. That was shortly after I returned from overseas. I bought it from George Luther at Rhythm City in Atlanta. It was my first of many purchases from him. George started the music superstore as you may know it today. If you have the time, watch George recall his and Rhythm City's experience in a NAMM 2008 Oral History (video).

George started Rhythm City in 1961 with money he and his wife had saved for years. He bought all of his merchandise with cash and never borrowed money from a bank. He would beat anyone's price to get a sale. Other music merchandisers didn't like his competition, but they had to respect his success.

Sorry about going off on this, but I always loved to deal with George. When I lived in Florida in the late 90's, I was in a Sarasota mall, and well ahead of me, I saw George from behind. I caught up with him and discovered that he had retired after selling Rhythm City to Guitar Center. Reading about the sale later, suppliers and competitors praised the "shrewd move" by Guitar Center Management, and one supplier noted Guitar Center got an immediate presence in Atlanta and "[took] out a major competitor." I had to laugh out loud when I read the last part of that statement!

I'll put up another post with more about the auction, including the reason, recent photos, the serial number and such.