How to tag mp3 files

I have a collection of mp3 files which I have named in the form "ARTIST – TITLE.mp3" and wanted to get them tagged properly.
My first plan was to write a Python script to do so, I tried two Python libraries: pytaglib and eyeD3. pytaglib didn’t install, on Windows you need a Visual Studio C++ compiler installed to make it work, which I don’t have currently. pytaglib was the reason why I tried to deal with ubuntu which confronted me with lots of other problems and finally didn’t buy me anything since pytaglib also didn’t install properly on ubuntu and ran into some other compile issues.
eyeD3 installed but apparenty can not handle modern mp3 tag formats.
I also tried MusicBrainz recommend in this article "How to tag all your audio files in the fastest possible way", but its user interface is weird and didn’t get me my files tagged. And I tried the linux id3tag command mentioned in the same article, again no success, looks like it does not support latest tag formats neither.
Then I bumped into Mp3tag for Windows. Brilliant. It made it a piece of cake to tag my mp3 files through a function ‘filename to tag’ where you can specify some sort of pattern for the filenames you have been using, %Artist% – %Title%.mp3 in my case, and a few clicks later all my files have been tagged properly.
I right away donated 5 bucks to the author of this freeware tool.

Best Screen Saver Ever

Who is as old as I am and remembers this ?

As I learned thru youtube there was actually a story built into that screen saver. As it played scenes randomly people never got to see the entire story, but someone compiled it and published the story on youtube as well: "Johnny Castaway: The story! "
Interesting comments can be found in youtube for the latter video, like


I remember watching this on my computer when I was a child. I would wait for the computer to go to screen saver and watch it for hours. I miss this. Is there any link or download for Johnny?



I remember working in a large computer companies support center when this screensaver was the hot thing! We’d have hundreds of PCs running it and we’d all shout and point to our friends when we’d see something new happening!!! There’s never been anything like it since.

IPython and lxml

I have been playing a bit with ipython and lxml these days.

IPython is a powerful and interactive shell for Python. It supports browser based notebooks with support for code, text ( actually html markup ), mathematical expressions, inline plots and other rich media. Nice intro here:

Another nice demo what you can do with ipython actually is the pandas demo video here.

Several additional packages need to be installed first to really be able to use all these features, like pandas, mathplotlib or numpy. A good idea it is to install the entire scipy stack, as described here.

I did the installation first on my windows thinkpad and later on on a Mint Linux box.

This is some work to get thru, like bumping into missing dependencies and installing those first, or try several installation methods in case of problems. Sometimes it is better to take a compiled binary, sometimes using pip install, sometimes fetching a source code package and going from there.

I finally succeeded on both my machines. Next step was to figure out how to run an ipython notebook server, because using ipython notebooks in a browser is the most efficient and fun way to work with ipython. For Windows there are useful instructions here, on my Linux Mint machine it worked very differently, working instructions I finally found here.

After that I developed my first notebook using lxml, called GetTableFromWikipedia, which basically goes out on a wikipedia page ( im my case the one about Chemical Elements ) and fetch a table from there ( in my case table # 10 with a list of chemical elements ), retrieves that table using lxml and xpath code and converts it to csv.

The nice thing about ipython is that you can write code into cells and then just re-run those cells to see results immediately in the browser. This makes it very efficient and convenient to develop code by simply trying, or to do a lot “prototyping” — which sounds more professional.

Having an ipython notebook server running locally on your machine is certainly a must for developing a notebook. But how to share notebooks with others ? I found allowing to share notebooks with the public. You have to store your notebook somewhere in the cloud and pass the URL to the nbviewer. I uploaded my notebook to one of my dropbox folder and here we go: have a look ! Unfortunately it is not possible to actually run the notebook with nbviewer ( nbviewer basically converts a notebook to html  ).

My notebook of course works with other tables too, like the List of rivers longer than 1000 km, published in this wikipedia article as table # 5.

My favorites for week 5, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout ROI calculations

ROI calculations easily can become weird, like the one shown here in thís Dilbert comic. But perhaps there is more truth in this way to calculate the ROI of software and IT service business than we like to admit … ?

ApplauseSomething to learn: my favorite tip of the weekabout hints and tips for Google Chrome

Gizmodo came up with a great compilation of hints and tips for Goolge Chrome today: “Google Chrome Cheat Sheet: 10 Tips and Tricks”. Did you know that you can type in any math query into the address bar and get an answer instantly ? Goodbye, Windows Calculator ! And did you know that you can inspect any element on a web page through right-click and selecting the function “Inspect element” ? And even better: you can manipulate instantly to create your own version of that web page in your browser. A cheap way to zoom into images for instance: just type in a new width for the img html tag and voilà – the image appears in a different size in your browser window, without any need for extensions like Firebug or Image Zoom like I use them for my Firefox browser.

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout basketball

Mission over-accomplished, I would say. OK, the ball should go into the basket, but that’s it, right ? Watch “Boy Gets Dunked Through Basketball Hoop ”.

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout the U.S. Pacific Fleet

The U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world’s largest fleet command, encompasses 100 million square miles, more than half the Earth’s surface, from the West Coast of the United States to the eastern shore of Africa. The Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 180 ships, 1,500 aircraft and 125,000 Sailors, Marines and Civilians.
And they have 10.000+ photos on flickr, the latest under a CC license. Lets look at a few of the newer ones:

"" by U.S. Pacific Fleet.
SAN DIEGO (Jan. 31, 2011) Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) steams into San Diego Bay returning to Naval Base San Diego from local operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane/Released)
"" by U.S. Pacific Fleet.
PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 3, 2011) – Seaman Matthew Honan, a search and rescue (SAR) swimmer, gives the thumbs up to be taken out of the water after rescuing "Oscar," during man overboard training drill aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). Fitzgerald is the 12th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka as part of the Destroyer Squadron 15 and U.S. 7th Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos)
"" by U.S. Pacific Fleet.
PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 3, 2011) Guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) fires its MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber gun during a pre-aim calibration fire (PACFIRE) training exercise. Fitzgerald is the 12th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan as part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and U.S. 7th Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos)
"" by U.S. Pacific Fleet.
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 2, 2011) – Fire Controlman 3rd Class Justin Faris, left, Fire Controlman 3rd Class Sarah Wells, center, and Fire Controlman 3rd Class Aleksey Yatskovskiy take in mooring lines as the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) gets underway from Yokosuka. Fitzgerald is the 12th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka as part of the Destroyer Squadron 15 and U.S. 7th Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos)

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout Lotussphere 2011

A new business context is emerging. The social model (…) has the ability to solve the problems that keep the people who run companies up at night.

Interesting quote – among many others – made during the opening session of Lotussphere 2011. Here are more of my notes I took while watching the replay of this session:

Watching The Lotusphere 2011 Opening General Session on Facebook.
Here is the link.

Allistair talks about openness, standards, APIs, empowering people to bring more and more social media into the business world … from outside and inside ! And he talks about simplicity and elegance. The latter still is a big challenge for us in my humble opinion !
Simplicity and elegance are essential attributes to drive adoption ! Well said !
We won’t celebrate our 100th anniversary. 😦 Apparently we are too busy to make the world smarter.
Wanna run LC on a Blackberry Playbook ? Seems to be no big deal …
Social software is about people, not technology. The stories from BASF, KBC, CSC and AT&T show: in most examples it is about finding the right people for a given problem.
Learned a new acronym from Sandy Carter, Vice President Collaboration Solutions Development & Support: ROE – Return On Everything. She talks about how w3 unities all of us every day, about using online role games to recruite new employees, about the power of jams.
A 5-year-plan is too slow to deal with the fast changing world of social media.
LotusLive Symphony is coming … !

Rich Media Library coming to Lotus Connections 3.0 … ! 

My favorites for week 42, 2010

Still in catch-up mode. 5 more weeks to go to sync with my corporate blog …

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout leadership

This comic strip from “B.C.” is about leadership, obviously. In animal kingdom the leader is called the “alpha” whatever. And he or she usually has to fight for that position to ensure he or she is the strongest one. Same principle in corporate kingdom ? Sort of, more or less.

Anyway, the leader in this comic strip looks pretty relaxed. Leaders in our corporate world usually don’t. They are busy, active, always under pressure. I actually would think a good leader looks like the one shown here. He or she has everything under control – his in-box, her projects, his people, her own schedule. Shouldn’t a smart leader have sufficient time to relax and just observe his troops and only stand up when something unexpected happens to fix it ? Yeah, well, true, probably. It is just: so many unexpected things happen every day. And things of course are unexpected when you didn’t expect them. How obvious is that ? Wouldn’t the objective of smart work and planning be to reduce the unexpected and have plans available when they kick in, so that you still have time for a drink when dealing with it ?


NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout the evolution

This little video on youtube takes us through the evolution of life, human culture, technology and finally software. The software evolution takes us through the several releases of Windows and ends with …. Linux of course. I am sure linux enthusiasts will love it !

ApplauseSomething to learn: my favorite tip of the weekabout Lotus Notes Hot Keys

Did you know that you can use F2 / Shift+F2 to quickly increase / decrease font size of a marked piece of text in Lotus Notes ?

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout a morning trip on the River Li

The Li River
"The Li River" by Trey Ratcliff.

Trey Ratcliff had to get up quiet early in the morning and overcome a few hurdles before he could start this trip while it still was dark – on a tiny little bamboo raft. The story behind this photo ( read the description in flickr ) is as interesting as the photo itself. A good photo, I think, deserves at least a meaningful title, and a good description can make it much more valuable.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout knowledge management

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.

True ! If something is new it is just new to us, since we are the one who didn’t know it before.  And apparently I am good in saying obvious things in this blog posting.

Recording music from a web browser under Windows Vista

Among many things which did not work out of the box on my Windows Vista installation – like creating and burning to CD music playlists or displaying some web sites correctly – recording music from a web browser didn’t work either. On my Windows XP machine I am using Free Music Zilla to record music tracks especially from It has a limitation of only 10 downloads per day but works nicely and easily with Firefox. Nevertheless: under Vista of course it doesn’t work at all: Free Music Zilla simply doesn’t seem to catch any audio stream from my browser.

One of my Christmas presents was a “Vinyl USB 1 Turn Table” from DJ-Tech allowing me to record my vinyl disks and store those as mp3 files on my computer. It comes with an Audacity CD as the recommended software to do the recording. Audacity is a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. After I recorded my first discs successfully I was studying the documentation a bit and bumped into the chapter about Preferences and Audio I/O where I discovered that Audacity of course can capture from all kinds of audio input channels: The two drop-down list controls in this pane is where you configure which device Audacity should use for sound input and output. This basically means which sound card, USB sound device, etc you want to use. If your sound card support multiple sound inputs, e.g. has a microphone input and a line-in, then you select these on the mixer toolbar.

Von Software

Initially I wasn’t able to get the audio line-in from my soundcard to show up as a selectable input source. I headed to Windows System Settings – Sound and found an option “Stereomix” not enabled so far. After enabling it I now can select this additional option shown in screen shot below as an input source and now record audio from my browser or most probably any other type of application using Audacity – without any limitation Big Grin.

Whether this works on anyone else’ computer certainly depends on what sound card and device drivers are installed. In my case it seems to be some Realtek Sound Device together with the corresponding drivers and software enabling me to do what I described above.

Important Hint: “Software Playthrough” should be disabled when recording from the line-in audio stream, since otherwise this will cause some very annoying audio feedbacks effects. The option is useful for recording from my USB turn table allowing me to listen to the tracks without needing an additional amplifier,, but as I said: when recording from line-in, which is played back through the speakers anyway this option definitely should be turned off.

Von Software

My odyssey to find a useful media player for Vista

What I mean by media player here basically is a music player with the capability

  1. to create playlists
  2. to burn audio CDs using these palylists
  3. to create a listing of tracks including track number, title and duration of the track.

While most media player support my first two requirements most fail with the third.

And most media player I tried actually failed at all running properly under Windows Vista. itunes for WIndows, Winamp and a newer version of SonicStage all are pretty much unusable on my system: they respond very slowly and after a while don’t respond at all and freeze on my Vista system. I guess I have to blame Vista more for this than those tools, but anyway: no useful option for me.

I am using a very old version of SonicStage on my old Windows XP box successfully to do what I want. It stores playlists in a Microsoft Access Database (mdb) file and I used OpenOffice Database to connect to this database and query the list of tracks I need to produce the CD Cover sheets.

I also tried the native Windows Media Player on my Vista box. It doesn’t support my third requirement, there is no way to show the track number in the playlist and no way to get it printed or exported somehow. And I hate their design how to edit playlists. I never will grasp why I have to load it into the right sidebar in order to edit it and how to save my changes; I am always confused by this and have no idea what steps to perform in what sequence.

Then I re-discovered Media Jukebox 12 by J. River Inc., a free version of their awesome media software. I had installed it long ago on my computer but after an initial trial did not use it anymore and almost forgot about it. I had almost decided to uninstall it but luckily I didn’t and gave it another trial in these days.

It turned out to be the best choice for my requirements. Creating and managing playlists is very convenient with their easy to use user interface, I can burn audio CDs and most important: it provides a numbered track list and I can either print a CD Cover sheet right away ( and may be print it to a pdf file and then re-use the list of tracks through copy/paste with my graphics program I use to create my own CD Sheets ) or even copy the track list to a spreadsheet application and re-use it from there. That’s where most other media player fail – besides their usability under Vista in general: easy access and copying to clipboard or printing of the track list.

My odyssey came to a happy ending: Media Jukebox 12 rocks !