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Batch download and embed album cover art #

If you have a huge MP3 collection and just want to batch download and embed cover art without verifying each cover individually (and iTunes' "Get Album Artwork" is insufficient*):
  1. Download and install Mp3tag
  2. Download DisCoverArt and unzip contents to the Mp3tag program directory (e.g., C:\Program Files (x86)\Mp3tag)
  3. Open an elevated command prompt and cd to the Mp3tag program directory
  4. Run regsvr32 custommsgbox.dll and click OK when the success dialog appears
  5. Open Mp3tag
  6. File > Add directory... > navigate to your music folder > Select Folder
  7. Create a new tool:
    1. Tools > Options > Tools
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name: DisCoverArt Google 300x300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
    4. Path: Browse to the Mp3tag program directory and select DisCoverArt.exe
    5. Parameter: "%artist%" "%title%" -discomusic.com 0 1 300 300 jpg 1 1
    6. Check "for all selected files" > OK > OK
  8. Create a new action:
    1. Actions > Actions (you need to select at least one song in the main interface for this menu item to be available)
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name of action group: Save Coverart
    4. Click OK > click the New button again
    5. Select action type: Import Cover From File > OK
    6. Format string for image filename: %artist% - %title%.jpg
    7. Import cover as: Front Cover
    8. Check "Delete existing cover art" > OK > OK > Close
  9. Right click on column header > Customize columns... > check "Cover" > click "Move up" until it is at or near the top of the list
  10. Click the Cover column to sort
  11. Select all files without an entry in the Cover column (the author recommends selecting no more than 300 at a time to avoid problems)
  12. Right click on highlighted files and click Tools > DisCoverArt Google 300x300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
  13. Wait for all console windows to close
  14. Actions > Actions (Quick) > "Import cover from file" > OK
  15. Format string for image filename: %artist% - %title%.jpg
  16. Import cover as: Front Cover
  17. Check "Delete existing cover art" > OK > OK
  18. File > Save tag > OK
  19. Close Mp3tag
  20. Getting the artwork to show up in iTunes:
    1. Open iTunes and click "Albums"
    2. Edit > Select All > Right click > click "Uncheck Selection" (album covers will appear)
    3. Edit > Select All > Right click > "Check Selection"
Another option is to download cover art with Album Art Downloader and embed with Mp3tag:
  1. Download and run Album Art Downloader
  2. File > New > File Browser...
  3. Enter path to music directory under "Search for audio files in:"
  4. Click Search
  5. Click Options...
  6. Click "Automatically download and save the first result that meets set criteria"
  7. Click "Select all albums with missing artwork"
  8. Click "Get Artwork for Selection..."
  9. Click "Download and save results automatically"
  10. If desired, change minimum required image size to 300 px and allowed cover types to Front
  11. Click Start
  12. When the process is complete, embed the album art with Mp3tag by starting with step 14 above. The only change is in step 15, where you'll need to use Folder.jpg as the format string.

* On a related note, cover art obtained through iTunes' "Get Album Artwork" is not embedded within files by default. To quickly embed all such artwork, the fastest and simplest tool I've found is the $5 iCoverArt (via the "Embed Downloaded Artwork" function). The free and open source iTSfv looked promising, but kept crashing in a clean Windows 7 32 bit virtual machine, even after installing the required .Net Framework.

/windows | Sep 10, 2014

Mount floppy images as drive A: #

with ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver (thanks again for the tip four years ago, Claus!). Even if A: is assigned to another device, ImDisk VDD can force reassignment (no need for the aforementioned ReMount).

(Virtual Floppy Drive 2.1 looked promising, but even with ReMount I was unable to force the drive letter assignment ("Source volume mount point 'letter' is invalid - abort").)

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Create an image file from floppy disk #

or write an image file to floppy disk with RawWrite: * dd can of course be used instead of RawWrite for creating and writing floppy images (among other tasks); here are a few examples from the author's site:

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Map a USB floppy drive to A: in Windows XP Mode #

  1. Connect USB floppy drive to Windows 7 host
  2. In XP Mode, click "USB" in toolbar at top and then click the entry for your USB floppy drive. It will be connected as B: by default.
  3. Download and run Uwe Sieber's ReMount from the command line:
    C:\>ReMount.exe -s b: a:
  4. Your USB floppy drive is now assigned to A:. This assignment appears to be permanent (unless changed with ReMount)
See also:

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Batch script notes: set system date, launch an application, run as admin #

/windows | Sep 07, 2014

Beautiful new software firewall and network monitor #

GlassWire is a network monitor and firewall for Windows with a lickable UI:

GlassWire

Only downside appears to be that outbound connections from new apps are not automatically blocked.

On a related note, I recently tested a number of firewalls with Comodo's HIPS and Firewall Leak Test Suite; the only product to pass all tests with virtually no setup or configuration was SpyShelter Firewall (though I didn't test Comodo's own fireall product; the download was over 230MB, compared to SpyShelter's 10MB).

(via Hacker News)

/windows | Aug 25, 2014

Japanese study tools #

/windows | Aug 04, 2014

Excel: Delete/remove blank/empty columns #

Or rather, delete columns that are blank or have data in the first/header row only. Tested in Excel 2003 (Windows) and 2011 (Mac).

Windows:

  1. Open spreadsheet in Excel
  2. Tools > Macro > Visual Basic Editor
  3. Paste the macro shown below (created by AnitaPita with a hand from jbeaucaire)
  4. File > Save
  5. File > Close and Return to Microsoft Excel
  6. Tools > Macro > Macros
  7. Click Run (if you have other macros in the spreadsheet, you'll need to select "DeleteROPBlanks" first)

Mac:

  1. If your copy of Office 2011 does not have VBA installed, you can add it by running the installer again, choosing Customize, and then checking only "Visual Basic for Applications"
  2. Open spreadsheet in Excel
  3. Excel > Preferences > Ribbon > check Developer > OK
  4. On the ribbon menu, click Developer > Editor
  5. Insert > Module
  6. Paste VBA code shown above and then close Module window
  7. Macros > Run (if you have other macros in the spreadsheet, you'll need to select "DeleteROPBlanks" first)

/windows | Jul 24, 2014

Blocking Facebook, et al. #

Cold Turkey blocks access to undesirable sites and applications based on a schedule you set. Here is a list of what it adds to the hosts file by default:

I dimly recall an issue from long ago with the hosts file not filtering https sites (my memory may be faulty), but the above list blocked access to both the http and https versions of Facebook, etc under Windows 7 even without installing Cold Turkey.

/windows | Jun 30, 2014

Command line backup tool with versioning #

VBackup is a free (for personal or commercial use) command line backup program similar to XCOPY or Robocopy, but with support for file versioning. Versions are stored within a hidden directory (.VBackups) on the destination. While VBackup does not natively support shadow copies, you can pair it with the open source ShadowSpawn (among others) to backup in-use files.

/windows | Jun 08, 2014


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