We interrupt the usual panoply of health issues to examine the possibility that I have gotten dumber over the last few years. The scene is my usual desk on Friday evening; the motivation is that there was no baseball that evening, and I needed something for background noise. The usual answer here is to crank up the music files, of which there are several thousand on hand. The simplest approach would be to start iTunes, which has about 1400 tracks installed here, and just let it play. But iTunes here, unlike iTunes on the work box, is oriented toward complete albums, and I wanted a smattering of everything. This is, of course, what I intended the little Sansa ClipZip to do when I multiplied its storage eightfold and installed a third-party operating system. But the ClipZip was out in the car. No problem, I thought: I'll take my backup copy of its playlist and turn it into a playlist for Winamp, using the standard M3U format.
First problem: The modified ClipZip requires a full directory path for each and every entry, and in no case did the path match up with the file locations on the desktop. Since I was going to run all this out of my regular MP3 directory, I figured I needed no path descriptions at all, and duly stripped them out.
Second problem: I discovered that I'd forgotten to copy out that playlist; instead, I'd permanently messed up my backup. This was alarming enough to send me out to the car to retrieve the ClipZip and pull a copy from its main storage; I'd already optimized this list, which took the better part of a previous weekend, and I didn't want to do it again, what with 5,088 entries to deal with.
Third problem: It turns out that my home copies of about 200 tracks were not in my regular MP3 directory at all. I could add path listings for all of them, but by this point, I was sufficiently distraught to simply remove those tracks from the new list. Unfortunately, Winamp's importer, following its defaults, had scattered them throughout, rather than accumulate them in one general area, so I got to spend most of an hour reading down the list and removing tracks that did not fit. Inevitably, some were missed. And Winamp gives no warning if it can't find a track; it just goes to the next one. After I'd deleted about half the offending files, it occurred to me that I could just append those other directories and import the files from there. But by then, I just wanted to be done with it all.
Fourth problem: While the ClipZip playlist is organized by directory location, Winamp's is based on MP3 tags, and rather a lot of these files were tagged sloppily; some others weren't tagged at all. This presents no particular problem for persons who are not obsessive-compulsive about such things. Those persons, of course, are not me. By this point I was in "Out of sight, out of mind" mode, and minimized the whole lot so I wouldn't have to see it.
Oh, yes: by then, it was time to recharge the ClipZip. This is not difficult, but it was just one more thing I had to get done that evening. (A charge from Absolutely Freaking Dead takes a couple of hours; discharging it to that point takes about three and a half.)
The alternative? I could have added all these tracks into iTunes. Given Apple's emphasis on lack of speed, I'd probably still be running the import, two days later.
Still, it's sort of done. And I suppose it's a good thing that I'm keeping Winamp working, since it's rather frugal with system resources, especially compared to iTunes. I'm running Winamp Pro (yes, I paid for it) 5.65, a summer-2013 release; so far, the most current stable release is 5.666. Given the way things have been working for me this year, I think I might want to give that particular number a pass.
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Copyright © 2016 by Charles G. Hill