Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where *is* that file?!?!?!

One of the reasons I don't use an mp3 manager is that I don't think like an mp3 manager. I have lots of music files tucked away in all sorts of folders that make complete sense to me...or at least they did at the time I created them! Things get complicated further because not all of my mp3s are tagged properly or named in ways that suit mp3 managers. The same sort of thing applies to music lyrics and files for my professional work. Most files are stored under a person's name, but every so often I decide to store them under a project name.

This usually works fine. Colleague walk into my office and all of their projects and files are right there under their names. Except when they aren't. Maybe I created a folder for the project? Or, I put it under the lab chief's name? I sort of know what the file's called...

Enter the Everything Search Engine. It's a one trick pony, but, oh, what a trick, and, oh, how well it does it.

The trick is that Everything will locate a file by name (or fragments of a name!) faster than you can type it!

The way it works is simple. Most PCs today have hard drives that use the NTFS storage system, rather than the old FAT-32 or FAT-16. When Everything is first installed, it accesses and indexes the NTFS directory. When you type in the name of a file, Everything doesn't go searching the hard drive. It goes straight to its index. The downside is that since Everything looks only at the NTFS directory it does not have the capability to search by file content.

I've used Search Everything for years and recommended it to others. Lately, though, I'd become disenchanted. Everything seemed to be failing to locate files that I knew where there. In such cases, I'd go to the Everything directory in Program Files to erase the index (c:\Program Files\Everything\Everything.db). Everything would then recreate the index and things would be fine...until next time.

I began a search for a competing program and immediately noticed that Everything is being updated after a hiatus of 3 years and the developer is responding to questions in his web site's forum. I've loaded his latest beta version and have not had any trouble or missing files, so far.

Added in edit, January 23: Drat! The problem is still there. Recreating the database still fixes things, but the question is why it gets corrupted in the first place. I'm working through the forums to try to solve this. I'll report back as things develop.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My ideal Android music player...found!

As I tried new candidates in my search for my ideal music player, I realized I left out an important criterion--looping capability, so I decided to start over from scratch rather than post an update. Just that I was about to post, my ideal-enough-that-I-don't-need-another player became available today.

My (not necessarily "the") ideal Android player must be able to

  • change tempo,
  • shift pitch,
  • change tempo and pitch while an mp3 is playing,
  • loop a section of a track,
  • the way a section to be looped is identified, and
  • either
    • have a thumb scroll or
    • come up as an option when an mp3 is selected from a file manager

I need the thumb scroll because I have folders with lots of mp3s. My Original Carter Family folder has the 250+ sides they recorded commercially. A folder of fiddle tunes contains more than 1400 mp3s. My file manager has a thumb scroll, so it doesn't have to be built into the music player.

I've come across:

  • Audioshift, which doesn't work with Android 4.0+ and has no looping capability
  • Audio Speed Changer Pro, which has no thumb scroll and does not appear as an option when I select a music file from my file manager
  • Maple, which doesn't allow pitch or tempo to change while a music file is playing looping.
  • Only recently, I found Music Speed Changer, which, until today met all of my critera but one--the way a section to be looped is identified.
    • Before today, MSC showed a waveform of the track being played with sliders that could be moved to mark the start and end of a section. There were also Start and End buttons that, when pressed, allow you to enter time in min/sec/msec.
    • I wanted something additional: an A/B switch. That is, I wanted to be able to press something when an mp3 is playing to mark the start of a section and again to mark the end of a section.

Music Speed Changer invites users to suggest additional features, so I wrote to Harald Meyer to suggest the A/B buttons. An upgrade was released today that includes the feature. So, as of today, with Music Speed Changer, I don't need any other Android music player!

I should add that Music Speed Changer works inside out from other players. Typically, one taps on an mp3 file from within a file manager to be asked to select the player to be used to play it. With Music Speed Changer, one taps on the "Import a Song" button inside the player to be asked to select the file manager to be used to locate it! It feels odd the first time it happens, but quickly becomes second nature.