By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Q. Last month, my friend loaned me this top-notch house CD, which I promptly ripped to my hard drive. Problem now is that when I try to play it on my iPod, there are always breaks between the tracks. This could scarcely be more annoying.
A Pas de problème, as a precious, beret-wearing lit major might quip. There are a few ways you can fix this, none of which requires much expertise. You might have to lay out a little cash, but believe Mr. Roboto, it'll be worth it; there are few things more irritating than listening to a 70-second "song."
Mr. Roboto's going to assume you no longer have access to the CD, or at least don't want to go through the ripping process again. If you can somehow conjure up the hard copy, probably the easiest thing is to record the disc as a single file rather than as individual tracks. Depending on what ripper you're using, it might be easiest to do this by saving the entire disc as one WAV file. This'll take up way more room than a batch of MP3s, since WAVs are uncompressed, but there won't be any issues with audio quality.
But if the tracks are already sitting on your hard drive in MP3 format, your best bet is to use a sound editor that lets you splice together files. There's a dizzying array of such programs available on the Web, typically as sharewarethat is, you get to download them for free, but you've got to ante up a nominal registration fee if you plan on using them long-term.
Simply Googling "MP3 editor" or a similar phrase will return more hits than your puny human brain can grapple with. A better place to start is in the audio section of softsia.com, an info clearinghouse for shareware and freeware offerings (with a nice security and privacy section, to boot). It was there that Mr. Roboto found a link to MP3 WAV Editor (mp3waveditor.com, $30), an all-in-one program that can split tracks, join tracks, and convert WAVs to MP3s (or vice versa). It's not the most handsome bit of shareware out therelooks like it was designed back in Pac-Man's heydaybut it's solid on the basics. Just go to the "Join" tab, select the tracks you want to link up, and the software handles the rest. One tip: Make sure you unclick "Overwrite Existing Files" and save the joined-together MP3 to a different folder.
It's also possible that your tracks are already saved as WAVs rather than MP3s. If that's the case, another easy, low-cost option is WAV Joiner (cfbsoftware.com, $20), from the same brilliant team that invented Mr. Roboto faves LP Recorder and LP Ripper.
Mr. Roboto tested out two other shareware editors, FlexiMusic Wave Editor (fleximusic.com, $15) and WAVE MP3 Editor (code-it.com, $20). Both were unnecessarily tough on the eyes, with a mélange of buttons and icons that your humble narrator found frustrating to grasp. Restoring a house album to its intended, pause-free glory shouldn't require the technical chops of J. Robert Oppenheimer, now, should it? Mr. Roboto thought not.
Cabbies against Bush
The RNC is almost upon this fair city, which means Mr. Roboto has just one more shot at highlighting a nifty online protest. This week's best? Lite Up Bush (liteupbush.com),the website for Cabbies Against Bush. Not quite sure whether this is just a clever art project or what, but you gotta love anyone with the gumption to offer free cab rides, from Manhattan to JFK or Newark, to any GOPer willing to enlist and fight in Iraq. Think there'll be any takers? Mr. Roboto bets Rick Santorum, of man-on-dog fame, would make one kickass marine.
Sex and the suits
Here's to SexBizBlawg (sexbizlaw.com/wordpress), a new blog from Frederick Lane, the author of Obscene Profits and The Naked Employee. Get your daily dose of headlines on how the FCC, credit card companies, and other killjoys make manufacturing porn a real drag. Sort of like fleshbot.com, except without the ass fetishism. Or, alas, pictures.