So my current project is putting my music collection conveniently on my computer in FLAC format, since I picked up a hard drive that can hold that much a couple months ago. (Really, I consider myself fairly computer-savvy, but unlike many people interested in computers, I've mostly made do with hardware that was top of the line back in the final days of Windows 98.) I've been at it a couple weeks now, off and on, and I'm in the middle of 'E.' (I think 'D,' 'M,' and 'S' might make up nearly half my collection.) I find that, actually having the songs a mouse-click away, I've been listening more than when they're in a batch of CDs. Although Exact Audio Copy is still considered the best available ripping program, I've been using one called Rubyripper instead. EAC can work in Linux under WINE, but it and WINE look like Windows programs and I find their appearance jarring. Plus WINE makes for some processing overhead. An audiophile site I found says Rubyripper is nearly as good and I've taken to it. Like most Linux graphical programs, it's a frontend for a command line program. In this case cdparanoia. It's a bit slow going. It works by ripping each track multiple times (two by default, I set it to three), breaking it into chunks about 1/75th of a second long and comparing the chunks from different rips. It assumes anything that matches your preferred number of times is good, then makes additional rips for anything that couldn't match (I have it set to require four matches for anything that didn't work out in the initial three rips.) It's not a quick "rip some songs to put on the iPod before class" program, but for archiving it's pretty good. The only problems I've encountered are on CDs with hidden tracks (that is, audio information in the pregap.) For those (two so far) I have broken out EAC. It seems to struggle with them, too, but it does manage to rip them.
Speaking of copying music, a few weeks back I was playing pool when a really great bluesy rock song came on. I don't know how common my attitudes are but I can't treat music as only a background thing. If it's there it ought to be an occasional part of the conversation, so I commented on it, and then went up to the bar to ask what it was (something I actually do quite a bit at places that have music playing in the background.) The guy told me it was Janis Ian. So after some web searching I've downloaded some tracks off her website, where I also came across this great article against the recording industry's approach to copyright and digital restrictions. Do check it out (although I'm probably late to the party on this one.)
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