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Friday, December 30th, 2005, 10:31 pm

Music Cleanup

Vinyl record

THIS morning I got myself isolated for 3-4 hours. I spent a long time mechanically erasing unwanted music. At the end, I was 5GB leaner; around 1200 unwanted files were fully disposed of. The existence of so much ‘grabage’ is an artefact of recursive downloads and the procrastination that follows. The approach is based on the accumulation of piles of arbitrary music, then getting rid of the undesirable bits. I concentrated too much of the former part, yet the hard-drive’s capacity has reached its limits.

I finally had the opportunity to take some time off (owing to the holiday), so I got a few mandatory chores out of the way. Now that media files have been filtered, I will have fewer cases of bad music coming up when I change tracks in shuffle. mode The method of music erasure involved a few tricks to increase overall efficiency:

  • Deletion from the physical disk directly via the music player (in this case XMMS)
  • Deletion in batches of up to 12 files at a time
  • Seeking for 5-10 seconds per file using the track poisition bar, thereby getting a sense for what tracks are unwanted and what tracks must stay
  • Global shortcuts, particularly for skipping tracks
  • Prompts for deletion confirmation – use the ENTER key which is adjacent to the keypad and thus nearer to the mouse. Meanwhile, the other hand (usually the left) hovers near the ALT, SHIFT and CTRL keys to take advantage of keyboard accelerators.
  • Use of the playlist highlighter feature (of any) for selecting of multiple items, with the aid of the SHIFT key. This becomes natural after hours of repeated keystrokes and actions.

A big burden has been lifted off me. The result: more free space and improved ‘successful hit rate’ for music.

The next challenge which involves a mechanical-type job is organisation of my references. They tend to float around in different documents and some text files; all in a flat or inline text form, thus no semantics. One needs a better storage form, a better structure, more like a database. Putting some papers on-line has enabled me to use Web searches for quick discovery, but this is far from convenient. I want to embed everything in a BiBTeX-friendly tool. I have been planning organisation under a tool such as JabRef, which I have had installed for a while. Some time in the past I was using EndNote, but soon departed from that lock-in which involves expensive proprietary software and integration with Windows-centric programs.

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