Bunker bulldust day 50.

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Coffee & Music, charming.  Kyoto 1992.   © PJ Croft 2020

Aaaah, rain at last. I think April was our driest on record, or near to it, and it’s only three weeks ago that we were having a heat wave, day after day above 30deg. Suddenly it’s down to 17C max today, and I’m feeling it. I’m enjoying it, though.

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I can’t help thinking of the way this pandemic crisis is throwing up themes for a novellist.

* A country with evil intentions deliberately releases a virus in one of its international gateway cities with the intention that it will quickly spread through the world, but especially to its great power rival. It accepts that some of its own citizens will be infected but is prepared to sacrifice them. It quickly locks down the city and, with  a casualty list that would be appalling to any other country, manages to suppress the epidemic in its own population. But its plan to infect its rivals succeeds beyond its dreams, decimating their armed forces and crippling its navy. Now read on …

* A passenger on a cruise ship falls ill with a strange flu-like illness, but beyond the ability of the ship’s hospital to cope. Crucially, they do not take sufficient isolation procedures for fear of spreading panic among the other passengers. The disease spreads like the plague through the ship, in passengers and crew alike. Passengers are locked in their cabins but as the crew fall ill, food deliveries falter. Passengers are forced to break out to find food and fighting ensues. The ship desperately tries to enter a port, but news has travelled from passengers’ phones to shore. The ship is forced to move on to port after port, seeking help but without success. Now read on ….

* A pandemic virus infects the president of the USA, then his vice president and senior members of the congress and Washington elite. Many die but all are incapacitated. Soon confusion rules. Who is the head of government? Power struggles break out. The military feel obliged to step in and take charge. Meanwhile, right wing militias see their opportunity to arm themselves and seize power in various states. The military has to confront the heavily armed militias. Now read on ….

And so on. I can think of many more stories waiting to be told. I’m not a novellist, though.

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There are some great pictures on PetaPixel today —  link: PetaPixel grounded jets

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© Andy Luten

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© Andy Luten

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© Andy Luten

These are all in the south west of the USA, Texas and Arizona. It’s a sight never before seen and we hope, never again. It’s the same in Australia. Terrible.

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I’ve said that I “ripped” all my CDs to hard disk a couple of years ago and now, every time I buy a new CD it goes straight to hard drive. As you can imagine, with well over 1,000 CDs, cataloguing them became necessary. Besides, it satisfies my obsession with collecting things and displaying them.

There are a few nice free programs to do this cataloguing. I’ve tried two and settled on one. The first I tried was called Helium https://www.imploded.com/  It’s nice, especially the full display of the front covers which it mostly goes to the web and finds automatically. I used it for over a year and even paid for the full version.

However, I was pretty annoyed when after less than a year’s use, a new version wiped out my full licence and reverted me to the restricted functionality free version. They wanted me to pay again for the new version. I didn’t, as I find a lot of frustrations, including the long time to load. It’s complex to use, too, being a front end for a database with all its complex language.

I’ve now gone for the other major contender, MusicBee — link: https://getmusicbee.com/  It seems to me to bee (~) easier to use and much faster too. It scans your hard drives, wherever you tell it to, and builds a list:

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You can see the list at left under Album Artist. This is the major sort heading, so all “albums” (that obsolete term from record days) are grouped under one name, in this case Wagner, Richard. It’s too hard to see but there are 16 albums under that one name. Likewise for the Beatles, 10 albums and so on.

Notice that the last one is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with 8 albums. However, there’s another folder just called Mozart already containing 20 albums, so I’ll edit this bottom folder to make each name just Mozart. That will put them all in the Mozart folder, making 28 albums, CDs, and delete this long name.

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And see how all the track names are shown. There’s no way I would have typed all those in – when you rip a CD in the CD Ripper I use, dBPowerAmp CD Ripper link: — https://www.dbpoweramp.com/cd-ripper.htm – as soon as you insert the CD and close the drive, it scans the disc, then goes to the web and finds the track names and a thumbnail of the cover. It’s brilliant. I paid for that one, too. It’s well worth the small price.

When the keyboardist of The Stranglers, the composer of Golden Brown, died a couple of days ago I thought, I wonder if I have that track. Within 5 seconds I’d done a search in MusicBee and there it was, I do have it.

The only drawback at the moment is:

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It’s found all my mp3 files and listed them as separate tracks as shown above, e.g. 17 Helen Shapiro. I have a folder for Helen Shapiro as I have a couple of her CDs, but it means I have to go through all these individual mp3 tracks, delete the number (e.g. 17) before the name and tell MusicBee to do a web search for a CD cover image, so that thes two tracks go into the correct name folder. There are hundreds of these individual tracks. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just delete them all and make new mp3s as required. Probably.

Anyway, MusicBee, recommended, and it’s free! I would pay for this.

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I’ve nearly finished my Channel 7 story, about 10,000 words, and it’s got me inspired to do a really spiffy book layout using this and some of the hundreds of photos I’ve got. Boy, I have a story to tell. I started in April 1966, so it’s 54 years ago! Holy heatsinks, Batman.

Much more to come.

4 comments on “Bunker bulldust day 50.

  1. martybugs says:

    FYI, the freeware CDex supports all of the features that you mention dBPowerAmp CD Ripper has.

    We gave up on physical CDs and mp3s a few years ago, and have a Google Play Music family subscription – so we have access to a huge online library and can listen to whatever we want.
    As a side benefit, due to the Google Play Music subscription, we never see advertisements on YouTube!

    • Peter Croft says:

      Thanks Marty, but I want to own my music. I love the covers and seeing my collection “in the flesh”. And I don’t want compressed audio from the web. Maybe you get .wav or .flac but I suspect it’s mp3 – maybe I’m wrong, but I prefer to control what I receive.

  2. Danny says:

    Hi Pete
    Check out Musicbrainz Picard. Great for sorting out your music collection.
    https://picard.musicbrainz.org/

    • Peter Croft says:

      Hi Danny, thanks, I’ll have a look but after all the work I’ve put into getting MusicBee into shape I’m unlikely to switch now. But I’ll look at it. The more I use Musicbee, the more impressed I am. This morning, I’ve just found another way it displays the music.

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