A Modest Proposal

Comments about LibriVox? Suggestions to improve things? News?
HerrSchildkroete
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Post by HerrSchildkroete » April 4th, 2006, 11:42 pm

tshirt wrote: This will enable less computer savvy users to use alternative file formats.
It will also save others from having to install converters on their computers.
Less computer savvy generally don't care about the file format - and they shouldn't either. If it plays, it's good :-)

Apart from that the idea of an applet really is nice - as long as it is not compulsory to use it.
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tshirt
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Post by tshirt » April 4th, 2006, 11:54 pm

HerrSchildkroete wrote: Less computer savvy generally don't care about the file format - and they shouldn't either. If it plays, it's good :-)
You might be right if there will be all major formats readily available
for download. I was referring to the possible problem with some older
devices that can only play files of certain bitrate, or of an older version
of popular file formats.

Stephan
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Post by Stephan » April 5th, 2006, 7:26 am

Don�t take this inflamatory...it's just one opinion:

Isn't there a little religous war going on in the audioformats?
The mp3 people like the generality.
The ogg people swear it sounds better.
The flac people like the loss-lessness
The Musepack, WMA or Atrac people, i don�t know.
Heck we could be offering Speex and Celp and what not, since they are specialized on human voice.

Of course you can make it easy for all of them. Go the extra mile. Offer all of the formats. And new audioformats will pop up and you will want to do them too. You can heap endless work on yourself if you want to.

I think we should not be offering more than one general format widely used, that works for everybody - and thats mp3. Else we will always be hither and thither and thinking and swarming wether or not the other format would be better or that one because of the other feature.

Btw, if the player needs another format than mp3 to memorize where you stopped playing it's badly designed in my opinion.
[url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/PromotionalMaterial][color=indigo]Want to promote LV? Print the poster and pin it at your library[/color][/url] | [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/Stephan_Moebius][color=indigo]My wiki page[/color][/url]

tshirt
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Post by tshirt » April 5th, 2006, 8:52 am

Stephan wrote: Of course you can make it easy for all of them. Go the extra mile. Offer all of the formats. And new audioformats will pop up and you will want to do them too. You can heap endless work on yourself if you want to.
Hi Stephan,

I beg to disagree. The diversity of file formats, as with everything
else, actually enables a faster advance of storage formats. If we
stick to one compressed audio format, that "we think" is better:
1. We might be wrong and our files will be outdated after some time.
2. We will be a part of the inertia against introduction of new technologies

I am not for any particular file format. I think storage of a plain wave file
is sufficient, since that is the format audio is recorded by initially by
the computer. But not everybody has their own computer set up for
audio conversion, hence the need to support as many formats as
possible.

hugh
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Post by hugh » April 5th, 2006, 9:16 am

Hi I would just like to reiterate what kara has said above, and how I generally react to threads like this. I am VERY supportive of these kinds of discussions and efforts, but, there is a big BUT ... and here it is:
great idea! it would probably be great to offer that service/option/file format etc.

but keep in mind running librivox is a time-consuming effort as it is. If you can suggest a way to do this project that does not add anything to the current workload, then by all means please do. That is: if you can find free software that does this easily; if you can build some software to do this; if you can volunteer to do this for us please do! We are open to just about anything at LibriVox ... as long as someone is willing to take on the time & effort required to implement. Currently the moderators, meta coordinators, and admin give as much time as they can to LV, but please don't expect them to add to their tasks.

However, if you can think of a way to do this project without adding to admin time etc, please propose it and chances are it will be taken up & supported (for examples of volunteer-led projects see: bit torrents, poster, t shirts, revoxer, among many others).

Pappy
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Post by Pappy » April 7th, 2006, 1:03 pm

As I stated in the original post in this thread, I would volunteer to perform the conversions required. I reiterate that offer.

I was more concerned about the other issues I had listed. From what I read above:

1) it is ok to offer this format ( i.e. no one has a private claim on any audio format)
2) we probably have space to provide this format

What is still not clear to me: is this format of interest to enough people to bother with it?

I agree with everyone that we don't need to add to the burdens of the coordinators. I will gladly perform the conversions and if I am given permission and instruction, I can place the converted files on the server. However, someone still has to update the webpage and probably some other housekeeping tasks as well.

So, in spite of good intentions and just trying to make LibriVox a better "whatever it is"; it still costs effort. The effort has to be kept within some kind of bounds or else the volunteers are overwhelmed.

Perhaps, we just wait and see if there is any demand for this format.

I will continue to convert those books I desire for my own use and if at some point in the future we decide to reconsider this proposal, we will have at least a head-start on the conversion process.

Thanks to all for discussing this proposal.
Paul Kelly

Who is John Galt?

tshirt
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Post by tshirt » April 7th, 2006, 1:13 pm

Just for the record, I've done some research on available
java libraries for file conversion over the browser.

There is a library called javalayer:
http://www.javazoom.net/javalayer/documents.html

It has a built-in conversion program. One can use this
program and covert it to run as a webstart applet.
The webstart applet can be used to convert downloaded
files to several different bitrates of mp3 and ogg.

Hopefully someone will search google to find the note below ;)

This could be a term project idea for an undergraduate
computer science student.

pblinux
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Post by pblinux » December 6th, 2006, 8:26 pm

I noticed that Librivox MP3s weren't set as "bookmarkable" on my iPod - annoying. I've gotten conditioned to recordings from Audible.com or even MP3 podcasts automatically being bookmarkable. So when I listened to Librivox audiobooks and switched to something else, I was stunned when I came back and the book started all over again? Hence my search which led me to this forum thread.

Yes, AAC is supported by iTunes and the iPod, but you don't need to convert to it, stick with MP3, because all players support it..

All you need to do is import the MP3s into iTunes (drag-n-drop from Finder or Explorer), select them, select File and Get Info, click on the Options tab, and check "Remember playback position".

Or select multiple files in iTunes, select File and Get Info, and change Remember Position to Yes.

Non iPod players will still play the MP3 just fine.

Since the vast majority of players are iPods, this makes a lot of sense to do as a matter of standard practice, and it is likely other players also support it the same way.

When you're done, select the files in iTunes and drag-n-drop them back out to Finder/Explorer and you're golden.

Fred
Last edited by pblinux on December 6th, 2006, 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kri
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Post by kri » December 6th, 2006, 8:31 pm

pblinux wrote:I noticed that Librivox MP3s weren't set as "bookmarkable" on my iPod - annoying.

Yes, AAC is supported by iTunes and the iPod, but you don't need to convert to it, stick with MP3.

All you need to do is import the MP3s into iTunes (drag-n-drop from Finder or Explorer), select them, select File and Get Info, click on the Options tab, and check "Remember playback position".

Or select multiple files in iTunes, select File and Get Info, and change Remember Position to Yes.

Non iPod players will still play the MP3 just fine.

Since the vast majority of players are iPods, this makes a lot of sense to do as a matter of standard practice.

When you're done, select the files in iTunes and drag-n-drop them back out to Finder/Explorer and you're golden.

Fred
Honestly, this is such an easy process for an individual listener to do, and such a lengthy and unnecessary process for BCs or MCs to have to do.

Also, I would be careful about making statements that the vast majority of players are iPods.

pblinux
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Post by pblinux » December 6th, 2006, 8:47 pm

Yes it is easy to do, but I've used an iPod for years and did not know about it, and I know iPods, iTunes and MP3 recording fairly well. No one on this thread seemed aware of it. I could find no mention of it at all elsewhere in the forums or FAQs.

To me, this is a big deal - it is a major hassle to have to remember where you left off in an audiobook.

I meant no offense about iPods, but they are about 80% of the MP3 player market. I was specifically recommending sticking with MP3 to maintain compatibility with all players, not just iPods.

So my answer would be for all MP3 recordings to be imported into iTunes to change this setting, and then saved out as MP3 again. Then it would be transparent to all other MP3 players (and possibly work) and automatically be bookmarkable in iPods. What's not to like? iTunes is free and runs on Mac and Windows. I would imagine a Linux or Open Source program exists to bookmark on Linux as well, but I don't know of one off-hand (I use Linux for most everything, but I do have a Mac as well).

I said all of this because other iPod users will be equally frustrated with this lack of bookmarkable audio, but will not know they can change it. They will not find an answer to this problem (like I did not), and will thus not use Librivox. You will likely not hear from them - they will just go away.

That would be a shame. I think what you're doing is wonderful.

Now that I know how to modify the MP3 in iTunes, of course I can fix it myself. I'm just thinking of others that will stumble on this problem.

Fred

kri
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Post by kri » December 6th, 2006, 9:01 pm

pblinux wrote:Yes it is easy to do
I'd recommend taking some time to look into the duties of an MC, see what they do, how much time they spend on what they do, and then I think you'll re-think your suggestion.

I'll rephrase what I said. It would take too much time to do. It may be easy for you to do for the recordings that you listen to, but every single recording that gets put onto the LV website right now filters through 12 MCs who have varying time committments to LV.

I really don't think that turning this feature on for the MP3s that are on our catalog is a priority for us right now. Also, I'm sure there are more listeners that listen without an iPod (say, on the computer, or another portable media device) than those that do. Only one file for each chapter/section would have this feature turned on anyways, because the other two files (64kbps mp3 and ogg vorbis) are automatically created at archive.org.

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Post by kayray » December 6th, 2006, 9:02 pm

Sorry, Fred, thanks for the suggestion but it just isn't going to happen on our end. Our cataloging process is extraordinarily complex and time-consuming already. In addition, the 64kbps files are derived automatically by our host, archive.org, from the "master" 128kbps files which we collect and upload to them. So even if we DID perform this step, the 64kbps files in the zip wouldn't be altered.
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

kayray
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Post by kayray » December 6th, 2006, 9:06 pm

However - if you wish to take the time, YOU could convert them ALL, find somewhere to host them, and give us a link which we would happily place on our catalog pages!
Kara
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"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

pblinux
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Post by pblinux » December 6th, 2006, 9:14 pm

And here is how it is done - the MP3 ID3 tag is modified:

http://redjar.org/jared/blog/archives/2005/09/25/bookmarkable-mp3s/

I had noticed "bookmarkable MP3" as an available format when using Audio Hijack to free my Audible.com audiobooks, so I at least knew it existed.

I have not been able to find any mention of this as supported for Open Source audio recording/editing like Audacity, etc.

Perhaps an ID3 editor does it?

It is probably like the way that iTunes adds cover art to the MP3, and yet other MP3 software (like XMMS) still plays it and shows the ID3 tags just fine.

hugh
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Post by hugh » December 6th, 2006, 9:16 pm

or even just some of them ...

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