Logistics and MP3 Files

Last night, as I was spinning my DJ set, someone (who shall remain nameless) wanted to hear a track reflecting how she just “hated men” right now. The perfect song for that purpose would have been Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” off Jagged Little Pill, but…while we have that album, I’d never ripped it. I wound up settling for Shawn Colvin’s “Get Out Of This House,” from the A Few Small Repairs album, and, while that works, too, it’s not quite as effective.

This is kind of a reflection of the basic observation about logistics in warfare that Steven Den Beste has made multiple times: You can’t fight with what you don’t have, and you can’t fight with what you do have if it’s in the wrong place. In this case, I can’t play tracks I don’t have, and I can’t play tracks I do have if I haven’t ripped the damn CDs. And, since I won’t use P2P downloading services, for reasons involving legal risk and possible ISP action to kill our connection, I have to get my tracks either directly from friends (sometimes via direct connection via instant-messaging systems, sometimes via physical media) or by ripping CDs I own or acquire.

Ripping CDs used to be an involved process for me; I would do it under Linux, using cdparanoia to pull tracks off the disc, and LAME to crunch them down into MP3 files, the latter under the control of a shell script. Since I spend a lot of time in Windows now because of SL, though, I’ve been using the CDex tool (which, I think, uses the same code as cdparanoia and LAME), which pretty much does it all with the push of a button. Pamela has been using this, too, to rip a number of CDs that she wants to use on her iPod. Moral of this story: Use better tools. (Yes, front-ends exist for Linux, too. I just never fiddled with them much.)

For instance…I just ripped both Jagged Little Pill and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. No way am I getting caught with my pants down again.


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