Mirror Magazine


Techno Page - By Harendra Alwis

Email: technopage_lk@yahoo.com

Ripping your way through
MP3 players have begun to storm into our lives and the giant stack of audio CDs you've collected over the years start to look a sorry sight. How do you get the music off the CD and into the MP3 format?

It's a 2-step process:

1. Copy the music from the CD, then
2. Convert the copied music to the MP3 format

The process of copying the songs from an audio CD is called "Digital Audio Extraction" or DAE. Because the music is copied from the CD in its digital form as data rather than music, DAE has also become known as "ripping", because you are just ripping the bits from the disc, not converting them to an analog signal. This process can make bit-for-bit copies of the original source.

The music data on an audio CD is written less carefully than regular computer data. There is almost no error correction capability built into the audio CD data structure. The upside is that approximately 750MB of audio can be written to a CD-R that will only hold about 650MB of computer data. The downside is that the music is more vulnerable to read errors during playback. Which is usually no problem because the algorithm used by a CD player to convert the music from a digital to analog stream is capable of "filling in" some pretty large gaps in the data. It is a problem when it comes to DAE, however. Since the bits are being read directly to a file, they are not processed by a player's error-correction circuitry, so any read errors will show up as audible defects in the extracted file - things like clicks or pops or just silence. This can be annoying when you play them back as sound files.

In the "olden days" computer CD-ROM drives weren't capable of reading audio data directly from a CD. Today, just about every drive that can read a data CD can also extract digital audio.

There are many programs out there that "do" DAE. Some cost money, some are free. The best DAE program for Windows also happens to be a free DAE program - Exact Audio Copy, or EAC. Why is EAC the best "ripper" for Windows? It is apparently the only one that attempts any error correction during DAE. It's also an excellent "front-end" for MP3 encoding and it can create ID3 tags for your ripped songs.

Why not use Musicmatch, Jukebox or AudioGrabber or some other ripping program? EAC reads the audio data one sector at a time, and then reads it again, compares the 2 reads, and if they match, moves to the next one. If the 2 reads of a sector don't match, EAC reads it again and again until 2 reads match - and if that doesn't happen, it flags an error for you so you know the rip wasn't perfect. No other program does this.

One drawback is that EAC is slow at reading a disc compared to others. Most of the time you won't see rip speeds higher than about 4x using EAC, while the others might report 12x or more. The difference is the other programs just rip the data, don't check it, and don't let you know if there was a problem. Speed or quality? At the moment you can't have both!

Setting up EAC is not the simplest of tasks. There are 2 or 3 things you'll need to download including EAC, LAME, and maybe an "ASPI layer". If you need the ASPI layer EAC will tell you so. Follow the instructions that come with EAC (www.exactaudiocopy.de) and LAME (http://home.pi.be/~mk442837) to install them. Then run EAC and see if it complains about you having no ASPI layer or if your CD reader(s) don't show up in the drop-down list - in which case you'll have to track down a program called "force-aspi" (try sear-ching with Google) or any other ASPI layer.

You now should have the basic setup for ripping audio CDs and converting them to high-quality MP3s. Of course there is a multitude of options for file naming, CDDB access, ID3 tags, etc. - and you are on your own to figure those out. Be sure to read the FAQ file that comes with EAC, and also check out the mini-tutorial at r3mix.net on their "ripping" page as there is lots of info there about settings for the MP3 encoder. Happy ripping!

It's E-love
People fall in love at all sorts of unexpected times and places, but who thought that people could fall in love on the Internet. The conservative older generations call this "high tech love" and say it isn't possible. It is hard to believe but true that quite a number of people have found love this way and some are even happily married.

I know quite a few people who have fallen in love through the Net. Cupid is also said to be addicted to the Internet and spends quite a lot of time surfing and chatting online. People meet through chat rooms and Cupid does the rest in his new high tech way.

Relationships that take shape online have their ups and downs. They require a lot of commitment and dedication as the people involved don't come into physical contact till after quite some time. But the good part is (or is it the bad part?) that in most cases they don't get to actually see each other. So the relationships that take form in cyberspace are not merely based on 'good looks'. In cyberspace, you generally prefer to 'hang out' with those whom you can relate to and people you have begun to trust, even though you have never met.

Some people might ask how you show emotions through mere text. Well msn and yahoo came with this neat idea of expressing emotions through things called emoticons. These are simply cute little faces showing all sorts of expressions (such as smiling, crying, laughing, etc.) that are sent during the dialogue.

Chat room dictionary:
1. Y? - why
2. lol - laugh out loud
3. g2g - got to go
4. brb - be right back
5. gr8 - great
6. ri8 - right
7. plz - please
8. ppl - people
9. u - you
10. v - we
11. r - are
12. bcoz, coz - because
13. DC - disconnected
14. Y - yes
15. wut - what
16. @ - at
17. b - be
18. code 9 - Someone who shouldn't be reading this is here next to me
19. asl? - age, sex, location?
20. asap - as soon as possible
21. omg - oh my god!
Sent in by Ameen Akbar

You are quite right Ameen. We at Techno Page have also received a number of unconfirmed reports that Cupid himself has been seen chatting at "Sri Lankan Teen Central" <http://www.lankanteens.cjb.net> during the past few months. Anybody out there got anything to add to what Ameen had to say about E-love? Write in with your views and comments to <technopage_lk@yahoo.com>.

Back to Top
 Back to Mirror Magazine  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.