Tag it!

Some of you guys out there have probably seen it coming. I did not invest that much time on finishing (or even starting) my diploma thesis in the last couple of days. Surprisingly, updating my music collection seemed to be much more … ehm … fun! Fortunately I currently only possess round about 3600 audio files (MP3) which consume about 15GB of my hard drive space. I only say this, because I know someone who „owns“ over 100GB of MP3s. Sick!

So what does updating of MP3s mean? Well it meant quite a bit of work, because I decided to attach to each file the corresponding CD cover. Therefore I searched the internet, primarily with Google picture search for covers with an acceptable quality and the dimensions of at least 400×400. I think this size is on one hand accurate enough to see some details, but on the other hand small enough to actually find covers. After having searched with Google and websites like ALLCDCovers or Encyclopaedia Metallum I am satisfied with my results, although it took me almost about two days. Of course some of the covers were smaller than 400×400, especially the ones of the German Fun Metal band J.B.O. and I only scaled them up to about 300×300.

Besides collecting potential covers I refreshed all the other information of my MP3 files. I rearranged them on my hard drive with a folder structure like: mp3/artist/year - album/ and renamed all the files according to to following pattern: artist - album - track# - title. Of course I did not rename all 3600 files by hand. Instead I used a tool called ID3-TagIt. It comes in handy for exactly my kind of tasks. It provides the functionality to rename files, using a definable pattern, according to their ID3-tag values. This means, that I also had to verify the correctness and completeness of all the ID3-tags stored in the files. Thus I checked every title, artist, album, year, track number, track count, comments, genre and of course picture tag of all my files and updated them where necessary.

Apparently I did not only did all that to waste some time (although this was the major idea) but, because there is a new Winamp version out, I installed a few days ago. With it comes the new Bento skin. It finally merges all previously separated windows (playlist, equalizer, media library) into (big) interface. It took me some time to adapt to it, but by now I really, really appreciate it. Now I really use the media library and have to stop myself from time to time playing around with it.

Winamp with Bento Skin Winamp with Bento Skin

As you can see on the screenshots (which I got from the official Winamp forum) the skin looks nice and assures that almost every feature of Winamp is in the right place. The feature I love most is the media library. You can easily add custom views to it as you can see on screenshot 1 (cover view). Moreover you can search the library with special a kind of query language. If you’d like to retrieve all tracks, that are longer than 4 Minutes, you search for: ?length > 4:00 or if you want to find newly added items that haven’t been played yet: ?lastupd >= [yesterday] & playcount > 0. The syntax documentation can be found in the Advanced Mode of the New Smart View dialog. So just try to add a new view to the media library, then you’ll see it.

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