October 2006

New tool: Audiobook Builder

by Michael Alderete on 10/27/2006 · 4 comments

I have not yet given it a try, but a new application for Mac OS X looks like it may be even better than Join Together 5, which I recommended back in July. Audiobook Builder appears to go quite a bit beyond what Join Together is able to do, including the ability merge individual CD tracks into chapters before merging the chapters into a chapter marked whole-book track, add artwork to each chapter, etc.

My initial suspicion, based solely on looking at the screenshots, is that it may be a little complicated if your needs are simple. For myself, I usually only want to merge entire CDs into chapters, which iTunes does if you use the Advanced > Join Tracks command, and then join those into a whole book, with chapter marks and full audiobook format and metadata, which Join Together does quite ably, and very simply.

In any event, I’ll be giving Audiobook Builder a try in the near future, and I’ll post a full review then, but in the meantime, I wanted to point to it, and see what other people think.

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More dumbing down of America

by Michael Alderete on 10/22/2006

Some visual analysis at The Daily Kos vividly illustrates just how little news is being presented on the CNN home page. It’s not clear to me whether this is worse than deliberately false and biased news. Indeed, as the writer points out Xinhua, one of China’s top news sites, does not suffer from the dumbing down that entombs CNN.

In any event, your best bet for getting actual news of what’s going on in America will be from NPR or the international edition of the BBC.

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Mas tequila!

by Michael Alderete on 10/17/2006 · 5 comments

It’s not quite the haul from our original trip, but we did manage to bring back a dozen bottles of fine tequila on our trip to Julio and Liliana’s wedding in Arandas, Mexico:

The haul from Tequila Trip #2

Once again we had no breakage or theft, in spite of packing everything in our suitcases (because of the War On Moisture), including two bottles that cost more than $100 each…

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Importing audiobooks with iTunes 7

by Michael Alderete on 10/12/2006 · 55 comments

The most popular page on this site is my instructions for How to Import Audio CD audiobooks into iTunes. The process has changed slightly with iTunes 7, and while I’ve been meaning to publish all new instructions, with an improved process and additional details, it just hasn’t happened yet. So, in the meantime, and to answer the many reader questions I’ve received, here are the main differences you might run into. It really boils down to just three changes:

Change to Import Settings

One option has changed in the Preferences > Advanced > Importing preference panel, what should iTunes do when you insert a new CD. There are a couple new options, and the one you want has changed, from Show Songs to Show CD. Here’s the updated settings panel for my Optimal iTunes Import Settings description:

iTunes 7 Import Settings

Change to Start Import

The button for importing a CD has moved, from the top right corner to the bottom right corner. It no longer has an icon (it’s a text-only button now), and it only appears when you have a CD inserted and ready to import. Seems to have hidden itself from a lot of people.

Change to Expectations

When you import an audiobook using my instructions, it will appear in the Music source list, which is not what people are expecting. The expectation is that it will go into the Audiobooks section, but that won’t happen without more work.

I’ll provide more details in the revised instructions; for now, you can read through the FAQ for the information about putting tracks into the Audiobooks menu on the iPod; the steps involved are the same.

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Moving to Apple Mail?

by Michael Alderete on 10/11/2006 · 2 comments

Well, after a long year+ of teasing and waiting, it seems that the Cocoa version of Eudora for Mac OS X was a chimera. Today QUALCOMM announced that they are discontinuing commercial development of Eudora, and working with the Mozilla Foundation to move Eudora onto the Mozilla Thunderbird platform.

This announcement comes as something of a shock to me. After holding on waiting for Cocoa Eudora, this shift in strategy feels like the rug being yanked out. It’s going to take some time to digest, and I suppose we should wait for a few days before forming a mob and see if further details emerge. I would especially like to hear more about what “using the Thunderbird platform” really means, and what will be happening with the Eudora code base, especially the long-rumored Cocoa Eudora code.

For now, we’re a bit light on details. The spin on the announcement is that Eudora is being released from the constraints that come from being a commercial product, freed to grow, change, and thrive as an Open Source project. Who knows, that may happen — but it’ll be 6 months before we see a release that might give a clue as to how well it will work out. I confess, I’m skeptical, and not optimistic, for a couple reasons:

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