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Rip. Load. Store. Repeat. January 10, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Technology.

I’ve spent a couple of hours over each of the past few days re-ripping CDs into my iTunes music library.

Some time ago, a computer glitch coupled with a lack of common sense cost me the contents of my iPod. Nothing was spared, neither music nor data. As one might imagine I was mortified when this happened, all the more so because I had set things up to save space by keeping my music on the device and deleting them from my computer. In short there was no backup, and the prospect of going through all the trouble of re-ripping my CDs did not seem all that inviting.

But not all hope was lost: some intersnooping led me in the direction of PodSalvage, software that promised the ability to restore lost or accidentally deleted files from an iPod, among other things. That I had no second thoughts about paying for the software (all $40 of it) goes to show I was really desperate. So I did. And it worked, up to a point. My music library had been recovered, but I lost all the data stored on the iPod. Arguably a fair trade-off, all things considered.

For a time everything was good.

Then I started noticing that all was not well in MP3 land. Occasionally, I’d queue up a song only to hear a different one play. Other times, songs would begin as they usually do only to abruptly stop and start again from the top. In yet other cases, songs would end and immediately lead into an entirely different one as if both belonged on the same track. My initial reaction was that these were just a few isolated cases, and indeed it appears that they were. But with a library nearing 10GB worth of music, “a few” tends to add up to a lot.

I repeatedly admonished myself to bite the bullet and re-rip my CDs, but predictably kept putting it off. Finally I’ve been able to get around to it: so far, nearly seventy CDs during idle hours over the past four or five days. Thankfully, iTunes doesn’t make re-ripping a chore, as the program is (mostly) smart enough to ask whether one wants to replace the existing songs or keep them, overcoming the additional task of deleting songs beforehand.

There are still a few hiccups, though. For instance, with the passing of years Gracenote CD Database’s album descriptions have undergone minor changes to genre classifications, wreaking havoc on some of the smart playlists that I’d pre-programmed for my convenience. This, however, is trivial. A bigger and thus far unresolved problem is the fact that a good number of my CDs are as yet unaccounted for, either misplaced or unreturned with the passing of years. Then, of course, there is the greater irony to this exercise: that I may never actually listen to all of these newly replaced songs, given the inevitable tendency to settle on a subset of albums that are unfailing favorites.

Yet it has been fun to realize how my musical tastes have changed over time, to experience the surprise from finding old albums (even the bad ones), to understand almost immediately why I bought them and what I liked about them in the first place. Who knows? Maybe by beginning with these I will get around to listen to my newly reconstituted library, and rediscover that I have more favorites than I give myself credit for.



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