Saturday, February 10, 2007

A new definition of pain, part III

Another salvo in the technology-vs.-Ricardipus saga... so, standard disclaimers apply. The following post is likely to be a) overly technical, b) rant-ish, and c) long-winded. So now's your chance to bail out and go and read something more interesting. I suggest WikiWrit, the Holy Book Anyone Can Edit. Start with Genesis and go from there. You could fix up my lame start on the Book of Gibberish if you feel like it.

Right, on to the pain. To recap: in the last episode, we learned that, in my ongoing quest to haul a bunch of old music off cassette, minidisc and other less savoury audio formats (stereo hi-fi VHS, anyone?), I bought a little digital audio interface from M-Audio.

Then we learned that I just couldn't get the thing installed. At all.

Having fiddled with it for two consecutive weekends, and considering both some timely advice from Rik, and the speedy but ultimately unhelpful response from M-Audio's tech support (yes, they did respond by 10:00 Monday morning), I finally resigned myself to returning it to Saved By Technology, a fabulous store tucked away in a strange little corner of Toronto, in more or less equal proximity to a) the YMCA, and b) a vacant lot. The first time I ever visited, it was full of sales associates and customers, all rushing around at a frenetic pace, with the P.A. system a-paging away: "Dave, line three! Jan, line two! Mom, line one!"

Yes, it turned out that someone's mother was hanging out among the synthesizers, audio interfaces, totally-tooled-up digital audio workstation Macs, and heaps of other drool-worthy musical gear.

My trip back with the audio box was a bit (ok, a lot) less frantic... very calm in fact. And the good folks listened to my problems, plugged it in to their computer and promptly got it to work with no trouble whatsoever. A few words of wisdom, and I was on my way. And of course, as soon as I tried installing it again, it worked perfectly. After going through the evil Windows "New Hardware Installation" dialogue box a couple of times. Argh.

Anyway, the net result is now a positive adjustment in the way I do things...

Old method:
1. Record audio from portable Minidisc to ancient computer via noisy analogue connection.
2. Edit and noise-reduce audio in painfully slow way, one song at a time since that's all the hard disk space left. Go for lunch while this is happening.
3. Move song off old computer onto painfully slow Zip disk.
4. Haul Zip disk and Zip drive to Sleek And Intelligent computer™, install Zip drive, copy song to computer, encode to mp3, copy mp3 to USB key.
5. Haul USB key to laptop, copy file onto laptop.

See? Easy. And barely takes all day.

New method:
1. Record audio from stereo component Minidisc to laptop via clean 'n shiny digital connection.
2. Edit audio at blazingly high speeds - 40 minute noise reduction now takes about 40 seconds.
3. With all extra available time, cook 12-course banquet for lunch.


Life is now much less irritating, and I thank Heidi and the good folks at Saved By Technology for helping out. Wonderful place, less pretentious than Big Music Store Downtown, less full of useless suit-wearing sales people than Other Big Music Store Downtown That Has Suburban Location, less full of guitar heroes than Big Music Warehouse On Edge Of Suburbia.

So now, among other things, I have digitized the now-legendary cover of Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring yours truly on the bongos. One day, you may even get to hear it. But that day, my friends, is not today. You'll thank me later.


Rik said...

Well send it to me, and I'll upload it to my webspace.

So what was wrong with the USB device? How did you get it working? Oh yeah, and are you interested in a full version of cool edit pro?

Ricardipus said...

Rik - thanks once more. Email on its way shortly, bandwidth on this crappy not-so-very-high-speed connection notwithstanding.

Got more files for you as well.

And, as to the other question... yes please.

Ricardipus said...

P.S. [copied from email to Rik, but here for the general public's viewing pleasure]

Not a clue what I did differently to get the Transit working. The installer never re-started the computer as it was supposed to. But after re-start, when I plugged the thing in, it complained that there was new hardware detected and auto-launched the "install new hardware" wizard. Going through the routine of "don't auto-detect / have disk / go-and-find-the-driver-on-the-disk-somewhere" worked. I'm still not sure how this was different than what I did before, but it worked this time and all is well.

WyldWoods (WW.N) said...

Isn't it wonderful how all this technology is making life "easier" for us?

#Debi said...

Wow. Now you're gonna have to invite us all to lunch, since you're cooking so much...

Rik said...

r'pus: No email here from you... try again :S

Wonderferret said...

We want "sunshine" (repeat until sick)

Ricardipus said...

wonderferret - it's coming. Rik and I are just trying to get our respective bits of the interwebthingy talking to each other.

'drkxjiha' - what the anime version of Dr. Who is called