Tag Archives: cd

dares: Qui audet adipiscitur

I don’t have a proper home page for dares, so if you can track it down, let us know where the original is found. Until then, here’s the Linux Mint version and the Debian package page.


dares is a CD recovery tool which apparently can retrieve data even from unmountable discs. As luck would have it, I don’t have any unmountable discs, so my leftover PLOP boot disc will have to suffice.

dares needs little more than a device address (or file name, in the case of a corrupted image, which is also a potential target) and a directory to place its files before it will swing into action.

After reading the disc content, you get a straightforward menu for recovering and saving accessible data. Fairly foolproof, and fairly reminiscent of photorec or a few other data recovery tools.

Beyond that point though, I can’t really vouch for dares any more than I could for foremost or safecopy, just because I don’t have a damaged medium to test. If you do, and you’ve found your way to this page, I can only hope it does the trick for you.

Keeping this — as well as the other three I mentioned — in mind when I do stumble across a damaged drive … well, that’s the other trick. 😉

burn-cd: In spite of its age, quite useful

Looking over the Sourceforge page, burn-cd seems to have seen its best days almost six or seven years ago, and if I’m reading that right had its last update in 2009. I know that means it won’t appeal to some people, but bear with me:


Because burn-cd works fine once it’s pointed at your optical drive, and has your files in tow.

It requires no more prodding than the folder or files or ISO you want to write. And it keeps you well informed of its progress, in color and updated constantly. No guessing about what’s happening out there in CD land.

Technically it’s old enough to default to /dev/hdc for your CD burner, so you’ll want to set it to /dev/sr0 or what have you in .burn-cd.conf. While you’re at it, I recommend the verbose = yes setting, which does send a lot more information to the console.

But after that, it’s just burn-cd /home/kmandla/files, and the deed is done. I like that.

Ordinarily I would push for some kind of interface and maybe some push-buttons or a couple of spinny thingies while it’s writing, but the word of the day for burn-cd is “clean and simple.” Nicely done. 😉

burn-cd is in AUR but doesn’t show up on the Debian search pages. Perhaps it was once part of the Debian arsenal but has been sloughed off; if that’s the case, it’s a pity. 😕

lame: How could I have forgotten this?

Somehow I managed to work my way through 20 months of console programs — usually on a two-a-day basis — and still not mention lame.


That’s unacceptable, considering I can remember lame from as far back as 1999 or maybe even earlier. Back then I was stuck using Xing‘s Audio Catalyst to convert CDs to mp3s, and a friend laughed and said, “Get lame.”

Fifteen years have not obsoleted lame, and for what I can remember, it still works just as well. And there’s even more reason to love it now, with that beautiful real-time animated conversion statistics graph. K.Mandla likes. … 😀

It might be presumptuous for me to offer suggestions on how to use a program that has been around since 1998 and reached such a widespread audience. It’s even more presumptuous because lame has help pages as long as your arm, covering everything from variable bitrate encoding to filter cutoffs to id3 tagging options. For any tweak I could offer, lame has about 20 variations.

I will be honest and say I don’t use lame much any more, since most tools I see incorporate other encoding tools, or rip straight from audio to mp3/ogg. It’s rare that I see a wav file that needs conversion. 😦 And if I must be absolutely candid, I haven’t ripped a CD to mp3 in years.

Perhaps that too is a sign of our evolution, over the last 15 years. :\

glyrc: A music search, for everything but music

For the meticulous music collector, I have a suggestion today that you might find intriguing: glryc.

2014-07-25-lv-c5551-glyrc-01 2014-07-25-lv-c5551-glyrc-02

Technically speaking, glyrc is a command-line tool for the glyr library, which is specific to retrieving lyrics, cover photos, guitar tabs … you name it, from a list of online hosts.

Seems to me, the only thing it doesn’t retrieve is the music itself. We can’t have that, now can we? :\

Supposedly glyr is use in a few music players, but it works just as well with its command line tool. Tell glyrc what you want to retrieve, add a tag for the artist and/or album, and wait patiently while it does its work.

Perhaps even more useful would be to wire glyrc into a script that reads through folders and subfolders, and pulls down all the metadata for each album in your collection. If you’re one of those people who manages their music, that is … and doesn’t rely on the application to do that. 🙄

There’s not a lot more I can show you about glyrc, even though there’s a lot more potential here. My favorite point thus far is the option to download backdrops (think: wallpaper) by artist or album. Rabid fans can pull down an image a day and rotate through their collection, if they have a smidgin of coding expertise.

I’ll leave you to explore glyr and glyrc further; its usefulness and appeal will be directly proportional to your taste in music, and your need to flesh out the metadata of your collection. 😉

cursetag: So close, and yet so far

My holy grail application is a text-based music tag editor, something like — but not necessarily feature-identical — to EasyTag. I’ve probably harped on that point so much over the past almost-10-years that you’ve probably already tuned me out at this point.

cursetag got me so close today, I could almost taste it.


And then … well, you saw the gif. cursetag can read directories, recognize filetypes, arrange them in order, work a selection bar and then, at the moment of truth … splatters across the asphalt like an egg dropped from the window of a passing car.

I’m not enough of a programming guru to defunkify a floating point exception, although I have the feeling there’s some errant math in there. I won’t explain my logic, except I see a lot of errors reported elsewhere on the ‘net that link floating point exceptions to mathematical no-nos.

It’s a shame though: cursetag is barely a year old, if the github timestamps are accurate. We hardly knew ye.

I got the link to cursetag through AUR, and there is also a git version that I believe pulls in the same code, because both versions crash with similar skid marks.

Ah well. I can take a hint. I shall continue my eternal trudge across the desert, looking for that mystical fountain of curses-based audio tag editing. It’s a lonely life. …

vux: Playing the odds, against all odds

I’m counting up the many things vux has working against it, and wondering how I managed to get this screenshot at all.



  • vux’s home page eludes me. I find man pages that date back to Hardy Heron, but no link to the original site.
  • vux’s man page is stamped with a date of November 2004, meaning it is conceivably a full decade out of its prime.
  • vux is not in Arch or Wheezy, but is in Squeeze — only. From there, the downloadable package will install and run, but that’s a close scrape with death.
  • vux is built to play to /dev/dsp, but aoss can resurrect it from obsoletion.
  • vux apparently needs zsh to run properly, and I don’t have a real strong affinity for programs that require specific shells. I’ve worked with them in the past, but I tend to step around them.

But against all odds, vux is working for me in a Linux Mint live environment, with the deb implanted out of Squeeze. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s actually kind of cool.

vux plays songs by a rating system, and you demote songs by skipping them. vux keeps track of those ratings, and a song has the chance of being played that is calculated against its ratings.

A “score list” is in the .vux directory, and you can nudge the ratings one way or another as you see fit. There’s also a list by age, to keep the same song from just playing over and over again.

It’s a neat idea … but of course, any number of online tools and players use it now. vux might have adapted the idea for us console geeks, but it has long since become common fodder in this era of the 400-pound Internet gorilla.

vux (and its controller, vuxctl) has a slew of command-line flags you can use to slant the statistics toward songs you like, and send special commands to the song that’s playing.

One thing I think vux missed though, is a proper full-screen interface. I couldn’t find anything like that, and I think it would behoove vux to adopt one with up and down arrows as rating controls, plus volume and so forth. Even something as simple as this could be helpful, as compared to typing out vuxctl up each time. O_o

I don’t suppose that’s coming any time soon though. And given my hesitance to adopt programs that collect histories, vux might be a clever trinket, but it’s not one I’m likely to take home to meet Mother.

stymulator: Every little thing it does is magic

I never was much of an Atari computer user; I had more than one console but never made the leap to the 400 or 800, let alone the XL machines or even the STs. I cut my teeth on the competition and only casually used Atari machines when visiting friends or if they were still at the back of a classroom.

Not that there was a huge difference, and I think you’d be surprised to find any kind of real rivalry between the two camps, in this day and age.

However, if you stuck with Atari all the way to the 16/32-bit era, you’ll probably enjoy this: stymulator.


stymulator — which executes as ymplayer, so you know — plays back ym files, which I understand to be the standard for digital music from that time frame in Atari history, converted into a form usable by contemporary machines.

I do believe, but haven’t really checked, that this might be the analogue for sidplayer, at the console. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t know what sidplayer’s console-only counterpart would be. … 😕

That’s beside the point. As you can see, and as you can hear if you decide to try it out, stymulator can give you that rush of nostalgia that we all biologically yearn for, in a matter of moments.

Provided of course, that you have some music files to pump through it. stymulator (in the AUR rendition) comes packaged with a few so you can make sure it’s working.

As a playback tool, it’s more than just satisfactory — written in pure C, on-screen controls, single keypress commands, file information display, a time counter and a few other things. That’s at least as much as you would get with a lot of other console music players.

Whether or not stymulator is interesting to you is a bit of a long shot though: Did you partake in the Atari heyday? Did you make the leap to the ST machines? Did you use them enough to recognize the music of the era? Do you have access to any ym-format files? Do you have a Unix-ish machine to run stymulator on?

Answer yes to all those questions, and you too can start your own late-80s-16-bit-retro-techno dance club. If you do, I demand an invitation to the grand opening. 😉

soma.cli: An alternative solution

I have another console-based interface for soma.fm here, which surprises me, since I didn’t know the station was so popular as to warrant so many specific applications. 😕

soma.cli does something similar to what soma did, but is a little more narrow in its approach. Behold:


soma.cli attempts much the same trick as soma, but without a lot of the (snicker) bells and whistles that soma offered. Pick a number, it starts playing, and you can change or quit from there.

soma also played streams from other sources; I don’t doubt soma.cli could do that too, if you were willing to hotwire it.

mplayer is the backend again, and if you pick through the guts of soma.cli, it too is fairly easy to dissect.

Both soma.cli and soma will rely on your machine being strong enough to push the carcass of mplayer around, and before the 300Mhz generation, that might be a real feat of strength.

soma.cli took a little while to start playing for me; I assumed it was because mplayer was caching but I didn’t really seek out an answer on that. Tell me if you know.

I think that’s all the soma.fm-specific players that I have. And that’s either a good thing or a bad thing. You can decide.

soma: Done perfectly, in so many ways

Waaay back in November, I got an e-mail from Peter mentioning soma, a text-only streaming audio tool. I diligently shuffled it away until the S section, and now I wish I hadn’t.

2014-05-04-6m47421-soma-01 2014-05-04-6m47421-soma-02 2014-05-04-6m47421-soma-03

This is what I really like to see in console applications: Use the tools that are available. Add a dash of customizability. Keep things clean and straightforward. Don’t sell the console short. Allow for others to adjust as needed.

soma, as far as I can tell, really only relies on dialog to handle the interface, and mplayer to do the actual playback.

There are three configuration files, all of which are well documented and easy to figure out. The soma executable itself is arranged in a way that even I could pick through it while troubleshooting. That’s saying something. 😐

soma has some hotkeys and some keystrokes to control volume and playback, and almost everything else is menu-driven. Check out the Scheduler options; that’s a rather good idea to have in an audio player. I’m surprised more don’t.

I don’t see soma in Arch/AUR, or Debian for that matter, but the developer appears to have bundled it for Slackware — so it’s not quite a free-roaming program.

If you have a burning desire to try it out, I decided on the quick-and-dirty way of making it work, by copying the three configuration files to ~/.soma and to /etc/soma (otherwise soma spits out errors) and running it from its unpacked folder, just as ./soma should do it.

I didn’t work with it long enough to get the Mixer or Output options working smoothly; on my system I have only one basic sound card, and I use Openbox’s hotkeys to spawn alsamixer anyway. If you get them configured, let me know how you did it.

I might take some time later today and try to put together a proper PKGBUILD; as luck would have it I’m bogged down with real-life commitments for most of the day, and this is going to be a busy week for me.

I’ll try though. This one gets a ⭐ from me. 🙂

simpleburner: Of dubious ability

I’ve got a script on the list named simpleburner, that appears to work for command-line CD burning.


It does seem to make the task of working with cdrkit a little bit easier. It has flags for both ISOs and data CDs, although I don’t see an option for digital-audio-to-audio-CD.

Some issues though:

  1. The dates in the repo suggest it’s a few years beyond attention.
  2. The script comes as a pair, in perl and python versions. The python version wouldn’t work for me.
  3. The perl version seems to work, but also seems to ignore all the flags given to it … which, as you might imagine, makes things a little difficult.
  4. Technically it’s possible to hard-code the name of an ISO and other criteria into the script, but that seems to defeat the purpose.

Aside from that, it spun up my /dev/sr0 with no issue, wodim was happy to play along, and things seemed to be moving in the right direction. Even if it was trying to delete a mysterious ISO that didn’t exist, and so forth.

I only see simpleburner in AUR; I don’t think this ever passed muster for Debian.

I hold no ill will toward simpleburner; I suspect it’s just fallen out of step with its underlying software. If you need a command line CD burner, I think I would recommend any of a few others before this though. 😕