Thursday, July 30, 2009


I have a boatload of music and audiobooks and other media on my computer, and I've been using RealPlayer to manage things and load music and books on my various iPods.

Why, you might ask, do I not use iTunes? I find it completely non-intuitive in the way it organizes things, difficult to browse, too geared towards "buying stuff", and quite slow when dealing with thousands of files. Nothing against Apple, of course - just that this particular application doesn't fit what I need.

Realplayer hasn't been particularly friendly lately, either. It is slow, has developed a recent tendency to crash my machine and lock things up, and maintaining the tags and information about the files is difficult and time-consuming. Move something (like organizing files or renaming a directory) and it suddenly is not accessible in RealPlayer and needs to be re-fetched and re-organised. I'm not exactly UN-happy with it, but not really happya, either.

Based on a few recommendations from the Invisible People online, I downloaded a demo of MediaMonkey, which manages audio files and ipods and a bunch of other mp3 players. I bought a license for the software within an hour! It's fabulous - fast, intuitively organized, automatically monitors files for changes, and has scripting support that lets me batch-update the tags and files to keep things neat and organized. Scripting! Woo-hoo!

It automatically identifies files that aren't correctly labelled, manages lyrics and cover art, supports playlists and podcasts...I'm seriously impressed. There is a free versoin, of course (which does not support file monitoring and some of the other advanced options), but a license is 20 bucks, and well worth it, in my opinion.

I've spent the last few evenings going through all my mp3 files and downloaded Audible books (it doesn't actually support the Audible format without a plug in) and renaming, re-tagging, and reorganizing things. It's a compulsive organizer's dream!

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