Thursday, September 29, 2005

True Work

I had this on my office wall many many years ago, and can't find the source again. But I think I remember it word-for-word:
True Work is that which occupies the mind and the heart, as well as the hands. It has a beginning and an ending. It is the overcoming of difficulties one thinks important for the sake of results one thinks valuable.

Jacques Barzun

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Phrases and misspellings to expunge forever

Mike Shea has a nice list of phrases to be avoided (as well as writing rules from Orwell and Struck & White) here. Among my pet peeves on his list are "on steriods," "think outside the box," and "talk offline." (But I have no idea what "goat rope" refers to.)

Herewith, a few of my additions, culled from everyday readings of stuff on the Web:
  • (anything) from hell Even Matt Groening is tired of this one

  • may or may not Just say may!

  • impact as a verb

  • loose for lose Why is this the most common misspelling I see nowadays? Lazy typing?

  • alot for a lot But this lamentable misspelling has been around for years

  • peak or peek when the writer means pique

  • pour when the writer means pore As in "I poured over the pages" -- what did you pour -- milk?

  • "ping so-and-so," when the speaker means "contact" or "call"

  • "Well,..." at the beginning of a sentence Way overused by journalists and columnists for the last several years

Nice phrases

These are some phrases that have passed my way that have struck me, for whatever reason.

  • constructive novelty

  • serious fun (a phrase used by one of Liz's professors)

  • productively idle/idly productive (haven't decided which I like better)

  • effortless effort

I have a mild idea what some of them mean. "Serious fun" is my favorite.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A new Blogger template

I've been using Blogger's Scribe template since I started this thing last year. While I liked the parchmenty feel of the colors, I had two bones to pick with it: ordered lists were always displayed as unordered, and the horizontal rule didn't work, which led me to do stuff like centering three asterisks to set off quotes.

So I've been messing about with other templates. Simple II was too simple--I like having the recent posts and archived months displayed. I'm really liking Mr. Moto, by the esteemed Zeldman. I'm liking it a lot so far--and I see that my numbered lists are now numbered and my horizontal lines appear. Thank you, Zeldman.

The Quick Online Tips site (powered by Blogger) has a good post on free Blogger tools. And he's pointed to other Blogger templates here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Using Total Recorder to record songs from cassette

I've sung the praises of Total Recorder (I'm using it now to record more episodes of In Our Time, and other BBC4 radio shows.)

I noticed this procedure I'd put into my old infoindex.doc (I may blog about that file one day), and thought I'd post it here so I'd have it again if I need it in future.

I did this last Christmas when porting a local group's Christmas cassette to CD. (You can buy a CD yourself here from the source.)

Required tools: Total Recorder, WinWord, ClipMate

Recording the tracks in Total Recorder
  1. In the Options>Save tab, set the folder to the working folder where the raw files will go.

  2. In the options>Split tab, split the incoming sound into separate files when there's 2 seconds of silence

  3. Set a file-name generation rule. I found this dialog box difficult to understand and the help file didn't help much. But I set the files to generate sequential numbers.

  4. In the TR interface, click the Use Save As dialog option

Now, when playing the cassette back, TR will save a new file after 2 seconds of silence. This worked like a charm. I'm always delighted when a process works the first time.

The first side that I did, I recorded the whole cassette in a giant file and then used TR to scan and split each file at the breaks. The more automatic way detailed above is the way to go.

Generating the track names
  1. In WinWord, open a new document.

  2. Type in all the song names, then set up some seq fields so that I had a template of:

  3. 01-{seq side1}, that would translate to 01-03, for example, for Side 1, Track 3.
    Side two was 02-{seq side2}.
  4. Typed in all the song titles, and added .wav to the end.

  5. Replaced spaces in the track name with underscores.

  6. Copied the track listing seq template to each line.

  7. Highlight the lines and press F9 to updated the seq fields. They should be correctly numbered.

  8. Copy each line to ClipMate.
  9. In File Manager, go to the working folder where the raw files are.

  10. In ClipMate, set the Paste Down or Up option in Clipmate.

  11. Highlight each filename in FIle Mangler, and press F2 to enter rename mode.

  12. Start pasting in the names. WIth Paste Up or Paste Down selected, you don't need to keep flipping back to ClipMate. ClipMate will automatically paste in the next line.

Them, I used Roxio CD Creator to burn the files to CD. I didn't have to clean up the sound, as it all sounded OK.

Maybe next time I'll just buy the CD.