I’ve often said that one of the qualities of the hardcore geeky is that we have needs that sane normal people don’t have. That’s why there are so many web startups focused on RSS when most people don’t have a clue what RSS is — the geeks don’t realize that their need to have a continuous stream of information and never miss an update from a site they are interested in isn’t the way a lot of people use the internet.
One geek itch I’ve been wanting to scratch is to be able to listen to my MP3 collection using the recommendations from Last.FM. I’ve you’ve never heard of Last.FM, it is a music service that lets you listen music as a radio station over the internet. I’ve been using it for a year and a half and I love it; it’s helped me discover so much good music.
I’ve found two ways to automatically build MP3 playlists using online recommendations. The first way uses iTunes replacement Media Monkey and some extensions to connect to Last.FM (thanks TJOHO!) and the second way uses software by a new startup called The Filter (backed by Peter Gabriel).
You’d be hard pressed these days to buy a CD player that can’t also play MP3 CDs. My stereo, car, DVD player and XBOX 360 all support MP3 CDs as well as regular CDs. Using MP3 CDs in your car instead of the original CDs is a good idea because it saves you from losing the original if your car is broken into. Using MP3 CDs instead of regular CDs can give another big advantage — you can fit between 7-10 albums on to one MP3 CD. It’s like having a CD changer even if you can only play one CD at a time.
An MP3 CD is a regular old data CD like any CD you put in your computer. Any program that burns CDs can create an MP3 CD, but I like to use iTunes because I’m already using it to manage my music library.
How to Burn an MP3 CD in iTunes
- Put an empty CD in your CD/DVD burner
- In iTunes select File >> New Playlist (or Ctrl-N)
- Click on Music and drag the songs/albums to the new playlist you created
- Click on the new playlist and then click on the Album column header until it says Album by Artist 
- Rick click on the new playlist and select Burn Play List to Disc
It’s that simple.
 If you don’t click on the Album column then the MP3 CD will be created with all of the songs in one folder. It’s better to create it with one folder per album because then you can use the next folder feature in your car / stereo to switch albums on the MP3 CD.
RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).
- [STARTUPS] Building a .com in 24 hours
- Walk through of building a website with Ruby on Rails
- (dominiek.com 1325 33 1924)
- [SOCIALSOFTWARE] The Art of the Sign Up Page
- analysis of what makes a great sign-up page
- (turtleinteractive.com 496 30 21)
- [PHOTOS] Stuck In Customs
- really awesome photo blog
- (stuckincustoms.com 343 100 )
- [MUSIC] Music business lessons
- (sethgodin.typepad.com 326 100 31)
- [COMICS] 17 Sensational, Free and Downloadable Graphic Novels
- Mostly DC first issue TPBs
- (dailybits.com 315 10 37)
- [CODE] 6 Reasons to develop your tests first
- Article on test driven development. I love the graphics in it.
- (lispcast.com 142 2)
- [MUSIC] Best of Bootie 2007 CD
- 21 track bootleg mix CD
- (bootieusa.com 126 95 7)
- [GAMERS] 15 Minutes of Fame: Noor the pacifist
- Interview with a WOW gamer who doesn’t kill anything
- (wowinsider.com 58 28 1624)
- [CODE] No Matter What They Tell You, It’s a People Problem
- Ouch, but true. Biggest predictor for doing good work is how much you like the people you’re working with.
- (codinghorror.com 46 14 5)
- [COMMUNICATION] saying more by saying less
- How to nip flamewars in the bud
- (slantsixcreative.com 39 22)
- [TECH HUMOR] Why It Won’t Work
- a look at sony’s new digital music offering
- (scalzi.com 38 30 4)
- [LIFEHACKS] Interesting Uses of Camera Mobile Phones To Stay Productive
- Camera phones are everywhere, use em.
- (labnol.org 36 29 2)
- [BLOGGING] Don’t Just Have a Blog – Learn to Think Like a Blogger
- Good analogy with losing weight… you have to change the way you think
- (problogger.net 33 7 10)
- [CODE] Billy Martin’s Technique for Managing his Manager
- ack, good advice.
- (weblog.raganwald.com 30 3)
- [COPYRIGHT] Gaming the Creative Commons for Profit
- What you need to know about how creative commons photos can be used against you.
- (danheller.blogspot.com 28 9)
- [CODE] Just when you think you’re the only one suffering…
- Why rails is hurting ruby, and why corporate programming sucks vs hackers
- (feyeleanor.livejournal.com 11)
- [OPENSOURCE] An Utter Disregard For Freeloaders
- quote: If enough demand for the feature exists, the feature comes into existence. There’s a tautological nature to it that makes it very clean and neat. Supply and demand are so closely linked as to become almost indistinguishable.
- (gilesbowkett.blogspot.com 7)
- [PHOTOS] Photo Products to Watch in 2008
- Memory card that includes wifi adapter to automatically upload when the camera is on, and magnetic picture frames so you can easily swap photos in your house
- (commoncraft.com 6 4)
- [CODE] Is Programming Like Music or Engineering, and Must it Be Unintuitive?
- (smoothspan.wordpress.com 6)
- [BLOGGING] performancing awards | Performancing.com
- Best blogs of 2007
- (performancing.com 5 24)
- [CODE] 9 Tips for the aspiring Emacs playboy
- tips and tricks for emacs kung-fu
- (lispcast.com 4)
- [GOOGLE] How To Get Your Data Out Of Google Web Apps
- In light of the Scoble Facebook data portability, how easy is it to get your data out of Google Aps?
- (webomatica.com 2 2 29)
- [BLOGGING] 40+ Social News Websites You Can Use
- Lots of niche social networking sites I’ve never heard of that might be good sources of traffic
- (doshdosh.com 19 14)
This Week at Internet Duct Tape
- 9 Ways to Know When to Jump Ship at a Startup
- For the last couple of months I’ve been plagued with wondering if I should stay at my current startup. I’ve been approached with a few different job offers that I haven’t followed up on, and maybe it’s time I pursued greener pastures. In the words of the Clash: should I stay or…
- Online Survival Guide: 9 Tips for Dealing with Idiots on the Internet
- Winter is one of the worst for flame wars because environmental conditions make people more irritable and more likely to spend more time online. Here are some tips for navigating online discussions from someone who has been participating and managing public forums for over 15 years.
- Best of Feeds – 20 links – geek, movies, blogging, programming, xbox360
- geek, movies, blogging, programming, xbox360
This Week at IDT Labs
- [WORDPRESS] Category Resizer v1.0
- WordPress Category Resizer 2008/01/02 – v1.0 – BUGFIX: newer versions of WordPress.com broke this script – BUGFIX: will run on any WordPress install, not just WordPress.com – BUGFIX: now works when you have less than three categories – added automatic update check – Tested with WordPress.com…
- [WORDPRESS] Comment Ninja v0.5
- Comment Ninja v0.5 2008/01/02 – 0.5 don’t display comment ninja in mass-edit mode, since it doesn’t work on that mode wordpress.com added avatars to the comment display and they were being sent in emails on multi-author blogs it grays out the comments you can’t edit IDT Labs is a…
Death Clocks use statistical information to let you know when you are going to die based on your habits (with smoking and obesity being the worst factors). The iPod Death Clock (via) is an interesting little web app that figures out how much longer your iPod has to live based on the serial number (how old it is) and how you use it (while running, on the bus). Needless to say my 3rd generation iPod is getting on in years.
I happened upon a blog called Contester the other day that tracks Internet freebies being given away by other bloggers. Blog contests are a great grassroots way to advertise your blog (if you aren’t too spammy about it — some of them are). They’re usually worth entering because you have a 1:20 to 1:50 to 1:200 chance in winning depending on how popular the blog running it is. A few people are giving away iPods, and hope I win one as my iPod is on it’s last legs.
- Future Shop Canada is giving away an iPod Touch
- Success for your blog is a blog about making money through blogging and they’re giving away the new iPod video nano
- It’s Write Now is a blog about writing tips and they’re giving away an 8GB red iPod video nano
- Darin’s Search Marketing is giving away a Free iPhone
- FiddyP is giving away Vmoda Vibe headphones (he’s the guy who does the Hello Stumblers! plugin)
One of the downsides to owning an iPod is the iTunes music store. The music has DRM copying protection measures that are a huge pain in the ass. Enter the new Amazon MP3 store that sells music for cheaper than iTunes without any copying protection — you’re free to do whatever you want with the music you own. Luckily there are also quite few blogs giving away Amazon gift certificates or straight up PayPal.
- Mac’s Money Blog is offering $50 gift certificate (he also does FinanceFavorites.com, a digg-like site for financial tips)
- Anton is offering $50 over at his Halloween Blog
- Ryan444123.com is offering $75
- John Cow make money online and micfo web hosting are offering $500 (that’s a lot of songs)
- Blog Contest and Black Stork action sports are offering a chance to win $75
- Nanashi-Inc is offering $50
- Live Learn Invest and climb kilimanjaro are offering a $50 Best buy gift card
- NutsAndMilk tech news & online tips & tricks are offering $250
Becoming a Better Blogger
There’s also a couple of sites offering books for bloggers that I want to read.
- Male Wail (a blog about men’s gripes) is giving away a copy of the 4 Hour Work Week
- John Cow make money online is offering Purple Cow, SEOBook, and BlogMastermind
There’s also a contests for professional logo design
It’s crazy how this idea of promoting your blog via holding a contest has taken off like hot cakes. It makes me a little sad though that it seems like some people are losing their focus and writing/participating in contests all the time instead of writing blog posts that share information, help people, or at the very least entertain.
And on a slightly different note, someone is finally doing one of these contests for a real cause instead of personal gain:
Ultra-runner Tim Borland is running 63 marathons in 63 days in order to raise funds and awareness for the A-T Children’s Project in their quest for a cure or life-improving therapies for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). A-T is a rare, neurodegenerative disease that affects children, giving them the combined symptoms of cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and cancer. Children with A-T — born seemingly healthy — are usually dependent upon wheelchairs by the age of 10 and often do not survive their teens.
To run with Tim, join a tailgate party, or make a donation, please visit the A-T CureTour website. There, you can also view the daily video blog produced by filmmakers who are making an independent documentary on the A-T CureTour and enter a contest to Win a Nintendo Wii.
Hard not to participate for something like that.