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06 June 2005

The Metachat mix swap is on! If you want to be part of this months round and swap mixes online with other folk then here's what you need to do:
  • You have a week from now to get your mixes ready. Your mix should be CD length, that is 74 mins or shorter.
  • Zip up your mix and name it including any cover art work or playlist files. Make sure it's clear what the track listing is.
  • Go to this page and enter the name metachat. Now you can upload the file.
  • Once the week is up I will e-mail everyone who's uploaded a mix telling them where they can download from and what the password is. It's important that the e-mail in your profile is correct otherwise you'll miss out on this part!
Any questions then please ask them here.

By the way, I decided to pay for a Streamload account to get this running so if any of you want to Paypal me a dollar then I'd be very grateful - but don't feel you have to, I won't be going to the poor house if you don't. Thanks.
Cool. I'm in!
posted by dg 06 June | 08:38
me too : >
posted by amberglow 06 June | 08:53
Rawk on!
posted by matildaben 06 June | 09:49
posted by carter 06 June | 10:53
This is fantastic - thanks so much for setting this up for us! I really like this way of doing it, as opposed to a CD swap - this way we have access to as much music as we want.
posted by iconomy 06 June | 10:54
Hawt, I'm in.

Dance! You will all Dance to my 73.5 minute Japano-noise-rock remixes of Metal Machine Music!

dodgy, is your paypal email the one listed in you MetaChat profile?
posted by Capn 06 June | 10:55
Capn - it is indeed, thanks for asking.
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 11:11
I'll be paying you too, pal ;) I need to go home for lunch and grab my credit card.

Also, not that this has anything to do with anything, but how many members does mc have now?
posted by iconomy 06 June | 11:15
I'm totally in.
posted by kenko 06 June | 11:18
Metachat currently has 397 user accounts.
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 11:25
posted by bdave 06 June | 11:35
Ummm, having a quick look at Streamload (which I have no idea about) do you want a zipped file with a CD image on it? Multiple MP3 files with JPEGs and an M3u? Are some filetypes off-limits and others preferable?

I wanna get this right 'cause the concept is cool.
posted by bdave 06 June | 11:40
What's an M3u? Isn't it something to do with streaming? I was going to include this -

all the mp3s

front and back CD art (which will have the songs listed in order on it), in case anyone wants to burn the songs to CD (although I myself will just put them in my MP3 directory)

a txt file listing the songs on it again, with comments.
posted by iconomy 06 June | 11:51
an m3u is just a kind of playlist file. Most music software can export a playlist to this format. If not, in it's simplest form, an .m3u is just a text file listing the song files, one per line, in order.

It seemed to me pretty clear that what was desired was a zip file with all the mp3s, any artwork and *someway* of determining the track order. An m3u file would do this, or naming the tracks starting with 01, 02, 03 etc. (This is just my reading of things).
posted by Capn 06 June | 11:58
Good point bdave.

I think it would be best if people include their tracks as MP3s, and then any supplemental files such as a playlist (M3U), CD cover or anything else.

I'd encourage people to bear in mind that not everyone uses the same kind of OS or software so keep it generic (eg. text files good, word docs bad).

Also bear in mind that there's limited bandwidth so try to avoid bloating your zip file with additional crap. If your zip file is 85MB you're probably doing something wrong!
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 12:04
Mwah ha ha ha ha ha.
You will all bow down with bleeding ears before the dubious musical taste of seanyboy.
posted by seanyboy 06 June | 12:28
Okay, maybe this is a stupid question, but as far as I know my computer is a magic box where sometimes things happen when I push buttons: Can the file be a stuffit and not a zip? Because I don't think I can make zips: I got .sit and .hqx for you people. Or is that not gonna work for people with PCs?
posted by dame 06 June | 12:50
Also, if someone wants to save me time and encourage my laziness by telling me how to change my iTunes files into mp3s, that would be helpful.
posted by dame 06 June | 12:56
First time for me too, so is there any etiquette re. bitrate? I'm assuming 192 kbs?
posted by carter 06 June | 13:14
oggs ok? Because I might want to include oggs. In fact, I'll definitely want to include at least one ogg file.
posted by kenko 06 June | 13:57
I'm in. I'm always interested in finding groups of people to whom I don't have the weirdest, most crabby, snobbish tastes.

bitrate: I'm sure somebody will complain, but for MP3s, 128 is acceptable. 192 is better. (I'm a 192 man.)

ogg: Even better.
posted by gramschmidt 06 June | 14:27
Count me in.

dame for the mac impaired amoung us there's stuffit expander for .sit and winrar for .hqx.

posted by squeak 06 June | 14:44
I'm in.
posted by pikachulolita 06 June | 14:47
Could some nice informed person give us (well, me, but I'm trying to make it sound like there are others as clueless as I am for pride's sake) a short and sweet explanation of what kind of format an ogg is (and what I need to listen to it if I'm just listening and not making a CD) and what a bitrate is, and can I decide before I make an mp3 what the bitrate will be?
posted by iconomy 06 June | 14:49
dame - if you have a Mac - you can also
- put everything in a folder on your desktop
- name the folder
- click once onto the folder to highlight it
- go to File on the menu bar
- scroll down to Create Archive of "foldername"

This should place a zip archive/icon on your desktop
posted by carter 06 June | 14:54
In OS X, anyway.
posted by carter 06 June | 14:56
Re: Oggs
The MeCha (is that a coinage? Can I have credit?) mix swap is not the place for format proselytizing .

Everyone on earth can play MP3s, not everyone can play OGGs, so MP3 is the lowest common denominator, and IMO it's up to the mixer to provide music in the format everyone can use.
posted by Capn 06 June | 14:58
Yeah, I think I'd rather keep things nice and simple and MP3s would be the way to go. For example I listen to most of my music on my MP3 player and it doesn't do OGG so I'd have to convert it which would be a bit annoying. If you could convert it first then I think that'd make life easier for everyone.

I'll see if I can find a nice simple guide to MP3 out there as I'm sure virtually anyone could do a better job than me of explaining it all.
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 15:26
Wow, carter, who knew? I have to make my archives bin-hexed for work, so I always just used StuffIt. You, sir, are awesome. Now how do I change my m4a into mp3?
posted by dame 06 June | 15:27
The MeCha (is that a coinage? Can I have credit?) mix swap is not the place for format proselytizing .

I'm not trying to proselytize. There's some stuff that I simply only have in ogg, and, given the probably theme of my mix, I'd like to include it. Converting it to mp3 would degrade the sound quality at this point.

Maybe you can just give mine to gramschmidt.
posted by kenko 06 June | 15:44
MetaOggChat Mix Swap, kenko? I'm game. All ogg, all the time.

But, for the purposes of this swap, I'll just re-rip the ogg tracks I was going to use as MP3s. If this stuff is going to be played out of laptop speakers and deafult iPod Shuffle headphones, the superior sound quality of ogg isn't going to matter much.
posted by gramschmidt 06 June | 16:05
for conversions in itunes (in windows at least, i assume for macs too) do the following:
go to the edit menu, then preferences.
click on the import tab, then select mp3 encoder from the "import using" dropdown. Change the setting to "Good Quality (128 kbps)"
press ok.
now, go to the library and right click on any song you want to convert and hit "convert selection to mp3" (or select multiple songs). it will then store the converted file in the same place as the original, except with the mp3 extention. Or (in windows) you can just drag the song from the library window onto the desktop or another folder and have it copied there. (i don't know about macs)

of course you'd have to have your songs in your itunes library for this to work.

oh yeah, i'm in btw.
posted by puke & cry 06 June | 16:47
I'm in. Hells, yeah.
posted by everichon 06 June | 16:50
So, my mix (at almost entirely 192kbs) is weighing in at ~106 MB. Should I re-compress each mp3 at 128? What are y'alls doing?
posted by everichon 06 June | 17:19
everichon - is that ~80 minutes? I'm assuming we are still doing CD length even if CDs may not be involved at any point in the process ...
posted by carter 06 June | 17:32
Doh. It's supposed to be
posted by carter 06 June | 17:33
Is that 192kbs variable bit rate?
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 17:35
iTunes is calling it 1:12:56, which I'm figuring is 73 minutes.
posted by everichon 06 June | 17:37
A few are VBR, most are fixed. I think I will reexport everything as VBR. Also open to suggestions.
posted by everichon 06 June | 17:37
Yup I shoulda read dodgy's instructions above ...
posted by carter 06 June | 17:38
So are aac's ok or is the decision that we're going to convert everything to MP3s across the board?

P.S. I'd prefer 192 (fixed or variable) if at all possible. [For those who want an explanation of bitrates, basically it means that the quality is better the higher the number, because there is less compression, less data loss.]
posted by matildaben 06 June | 17:41
OK, let's not get too hung up on file size otherwise this could become a real pain. Just try and get a good trade off between filesize and quality and we'll just have to hope the bandwidth is up to it. If it isn't then we'll just set a maximum size for next months session.
posted by dodgygeezer 06 June | 18:00
how are we going to get it all out of Streamload?
posted by amberglow 06 June | 18:05
What part of "Once the week is up I will e-mail everyone who's uploaded a mix telling them where they can download from and what the password is. It's important that the e-mail in your profile is correct otherwise you'll miss out on this part!" don't you understand?
posted by matildaben 06 June | 18:08
Cool. I'll try and get a mix together.
posted by brainwidth 06 June | 19:15
Cool, thanks DG.
posted by bdave 06 June | 21:04
For what?
posted by dg 06 June | 21:29
dg = dodgygeezer.

But thanks anyway, just for being you.
posted by iconomy 06 June | 21:42
Yeah, I kind of knew that.

You're welcome.
posted by dg 06 June | 21:51
my mix is named kitchen sink by oopsident!
posted by 31d1 06 June | 22:53
I just uped the It's Wednesday night and I'm just beside myself about my hat mix.
posted by arse_hat 06 June | 23:13
I'm in...

posted by Schyler523 07 June | 01:17
Important: This thread is linked on the top right of the home page so you can easily come back here with more questions or to see if there are any developments.

Firstly a big, big thanks to everyone who's thrown money in the pot for this. As it turns out, you might just have saved my skin as the costs could be rising....

A quick count shows that there's at least twenty interested people. So, 20 users x 80MB data each x 20 downloads = 32 GB downloaded data. Holy crap. I'd got an account for 10GB of downloads so clearly that'll need revising. What I'll probably do is use the existing 10GB and then pay for 25GB when that all gets used up which may mean an interruption in service but it'll be the most economical option for now.

I'm thinking up ways to keep costs manageable for next time out but we can discuss those after this round is finished - I just don't want to muddy the waters and confuse people over what they should do in this round.

Anyway, I'm really glad people are so enthusiastic about this - two mixes have already come in!
posted by dodgygeezer 07 June | 05:16
Let us know if more money is needed. I think it would be great if some of us paid for the whole month's hosting. It's 10.00 a month, right? A great trade off for all of that music, I would think. Just ask. I don't think you should have to pay for any of this yourself.
posted by iconomy 07 June | 06:14
meh. I'm no fan of the uploading interface...seems akward. I've uploaded mine, but I forgot to add a txt file, the tracks are labeled "XX - Artist - Song" so it should be fine...I can email anyone a text version if they'd like that after the fact.
posted by Schyler523 07 June | 06:52
dodgygeezer, I have spacers in my email addy that's listed in my profile. Is that ok for the purpose of sending out the announcement email, or should I change it? I was just trying to avoid gmail account is still so pure and innocent...
posted by iconomy 07 June | 08:42
iconomy - yep, I can work that address out just fine.
posted by dodgygeezer 07 June | 09:23
Absolutely new user, first time commenter: I'd love to participate.

OS X question: I don't have the latest version of the OS, so don't have access to the front end for the Unix zip utility. I also don't know enough command line to use it without that. The zip utils I've seen for OS X kind of suck. Does anyone know of one they trust?
posted by omiewise 07 June | 09:39
My gmail account is a right slag.

I'm in, time & dodgy's bandwidth permitting. Would a private-tracker Torrent not be a more efficient way of doing things?
posted by blag 07 June | 09:47
I'm in.
posted by boymilo 07 June | 11:01
dame-If you do not have the latest version of OS X, here is a stand-alone Zip maker for mac: CocoaZip

If you need to convert songs to MP3, as per the instructions above, select the songs in your playlist and then go to Menu-Advanced-Convert Selection to MP3. You must have already selected MP3 in the import tab of the preferences. (If you want to make a playable CD of your songs, you do this in reverse: set Import to AIFF, select songs, goto Menu-Advanced-Convert Selection to AIFF; then burn the CD.
posted by omiewise 07 June | 12:05
I'm putting mine up later today. It's a favorites mix I did for a road trip the other weekend, so it was made with exactly none of you in mind. Also, I haven't got the time to make the art till this weekend, so you'll have to email me for the PDF if you decide to burn it. I am a bad mix maker this month. Please don't hate me for it.

And thanks again to everyone who reduced my learning to do stuff quotient by just telling me.

posted by dame 07 June | 12:17
Apologies in advance for a slightly sad mix that was made with none of you and all of you in mind strangely enough...

A private tracker torrent may work better in the future to reduce dodgygeezer's bandwidth costs...
posted by Schyler523 07 June | 14:46
Would a private-tracker Torrent not be a more efficient way of doing things?
I was considering this at one point as well as WASTE, but folk round here didn't seem too keen on having to install additional software and getting their heads around some new fangled software. Actually I can fully appreciate that point of view - if we keep it simple and low tech then hopefully we can be more inclusive. Anyway, I'll talk more about this next week.
posted by dodgygeezer 07 June | 14:58
I'd like to join very much. Have mix mostly planned - waiting for time to do some crappy album art.
posted by muddgirl 07 June | 15:16
Cool, count me in as well. Maybe one way to help with the bandwidth would be to post track listings somewhere, to help people decide which mixes to download and which to pass over.

Also, is this something that the new decentralized tracker in Azureus might be useful for?
posted by nixxon 07 June | 17:46
nixxon - stop reading my mind you bastard! yeah, i'm going to suggest posting track listings for the next round.

it'll be especially interesting to see what people think of that idea after we've done this round because they'll either think 1) "i wasted a lot of time downloading stuff i wouldn't have if i'd known it was techno/reggae/folk" or 2) "i heard some really good stuff that i would have passed on if i'd seen the track listing first"

i suspect it'll be more of the former than the latter, but let's wait and see.
posted by dodgygeezer 07 June | 18:05
Only an hour (!) to go before Let's Dance with Irregular Rhythms is uploaded.

I hope no one minds extremely cursory non-mix stuff, just an m3u file.
posted by kenko 07 June | 19:15
My Are you too stuck up to have a good time? mix has been submitted.

And yeah kenko, my "mix CD" is lots of CD and very little mix.
posted by Capn 07 June | 22:01
I'll just remind people that the deadline for submitting mixes is Monday. Let's set a time - 7pm UTC.

There are already seven mixes ready to go. Send your mixes early to avoid disappointment!
posted by dodgygeezer 08 June | 17:18
As soon as I get the problem I'm having with not being able to drag and drop files fixed, mine will be on the way!
posted by iconomy 09 June | 09:30
Maybe one way to help with the bandwidth would be to post track listings somewhere, to help people decide which mixes to download and which to pass over.

Couldn't we do that ... here? On Monday, in text form?
posted by kenko 09 June | 19:43
dodgy - my upload froze right in the middle...argh. I'm uploading again right now, but in case there are two files from me, can you delete the smaller of the two? Thanks.
posted by iconomy 09 June | 21:04
seconding kenko--
besides the cost and bother for geezer and all, i didn't want to end up uploading a bunch of stuff people already have. After the first go round, i'm sure things will figure themselves out some--

*looking forward to a bright and shiny future*
also i make the loose offer to possibly burn and mail variations if people can cover their own costs
*trying to contribute what little i can*
posted by ethylene 09 June | 22:28
warning: just came up with a metamix idea(hope this works)
*love excuses to fiddle*
posted by ethylene 10 June | 01:58
Sure we can do that - i'll open a new thread on Monday so we can discuss the mixes. If people want to reveal their tracklisting they can but it won't be compulsory.

iconomy - i've got just one file from you that's 59.9 MB. Let me know if that's the wrong file size.
posted by dodgygeezer 10 June | 05:20
My Standard Deviation mix has been uploaded. I had the same problem as iconomy, but my first upload crashed after only about 2 megs, so if you see two from me in there you can just dump the little one.

"i didn't want to end up uploading a bunch of stuff people already have"

I had the same concern, but I also didn't want my mix to go too far out in left field. Hopefully I came up with a good compromise.
(hence the title)
posted by boymilo 10 June | 11:30
boymilo - yep, got it fine.
posted by dodgygeezer 10 June | 11:52
*wrings hands and salivates*
posted by everichon 10 June | 13:46
I just uploaded mine. It's got a mix of new stuff, "rarities", and classic tracks. I pride myself on getting everything to flow together and work as a whole, so if you already have some of the songs, please consider recreating the playlist in my order, even if you don't download tracks you already have.
posted by matildaben 10 June | 15:52
Uploaded my Some Friends mix. It's got good songs on it, I can't tell if it flows. I'm a visual idiot, but I made cover art, too, just because I thought I would like to. I hope that goes well also.

I uploaded it all in one folder, so there can be no picking or choosing of songs. Was that wrong?
posted by omiewise 10 June | 16:34
I uploaded as a folder...

my mix is somewhere between a circus and a dirge with mostly rarities and live stuff...ranges from new wave to jazz to indie to indian...

i forced myself not to just make a best of ween mix...figured this was best...
posted by Schyler523 10 June | 17:23
Schyler - sounds like you made the right choice.
posted by matildaben 10 June | 20:23
Schyler, I think we're on a similar schedule re. romance, although from what you've written I think I knew it was coming a bit more. There may be some comfort in my mix, although I tried to be careful about it.
posted by omiewise 10 June | 22:05
Help. Am I a total tool if I submit basically the same mix (with some minor updates) as I sent out in the latest cd swap? I kinda like the theme.
posted by mr.marx 11 June | 09:20
I hope that's ok cos that's what i've done!
posted by dodgygeezer 11 June | 09:25
Cool :)
posted by mr.marx 11 June | 09:26
And it's up! I hope.
posted by mr.marx 11 June | 11:24
yep, i got it.

that now makes the total 15.
posted by dodgygeezer 11 June | 11:30
15? This is so cool. I have no idea if I'll even have time to listen to all this new music. I just this week got around to listening to a couple of my MeFi swap cds that had gotten pushed to the bottom of a pile somewhere. I think there may still be one that I've lost in my apartment. (I was in two swapsets.)
posted by omiewise 11 June | 12:10
Hey waittaminute. How do you know who's uploaded what? I just realized I don't think I included who I am in mine. I did upload one, I swear.
posted by kenko 11 June | 12:15
kenko - i managed to work out which one was yours and renamed it.
posted by dodgygeezer 11 June | 12:20
i'm uploading mine now, with numbered tracks and a cd cover pdf : >

(it's longer than it should be but i figure that doesn't matter since it's not burned)
posted by amberglow 11 June | 16:49
47% up and rising.

Hey, how about converting them into torrents, dodgy, so that we can all seed them to each other? Your download costs are going to be enormous--more than the upload was.

How are we downloading them anyway?
posted by amberglow 11 June | 17:03
I created a torrent file of mine as a me for it and we'll see if it works...
posted by amberglow 11 June | 19:50
amberglow, I don't know the first thing about torrents, but really want to learn. What's a good site to find out more? Something really basic, for newbies!
posted by iconomy 11 June | 21:17
i've been looking myself--try here and here

Right now i'm trying to figure out how to get the one i created to a tracker, which apparently i need to do, but i keep getting error messages.
posted by amberglow 11 June | 21:30
If we do torrents I won't be able to get them, I've only got dial-up at home and have no idea (nor do I think it would be wise) how to use BitTorrent at work. I don't mind straight uploads at work, though.
posted by omiewise 12 June | 09:34
When can we start downloading? And maybe we should post or link to our tracklists so no one wastes time or bandwidth downloading music they don't want?
posted by iconomy 12 June | 11:32
omiewise - we're not doing torrents this time around however if people want to offer torrents to save bandwidth then that's fine.

iconomy - patience grasshopper. the mixes will be made available after the deadline which is tomorrow 7pm UTC. at the same time i'll open a thread where we can post track listings and discuss the mixes.
posted by dodgygeezer 12 June | 11:48
BitTorrent is easy-peasy (for the downloader). All you need is a BitTorrent client (here's a good one).

The publisher makes available to you a .torrent file, which is very small and which you feed to you BitTorrent client. The client opens the file and figures out what it is it's supposed to be downloading and asks you where to save it and then some very complicated things happen, but all under the covers and a little while later you probably have the file.

If one person is downloading a file, it works just like any other internet download. Your client gets the file from the server (aka "tracker") as fast as you can download it.

If a few people are downloading the file, the tracker gives different chunks of the file to different downloaders. So as soon as you have (say) chunk 103 of the file, other people getting the file can start downloading this chunk from you instead of the tracker. This means faster downloads for everyone, and less pressure on the tracker.
posted by Capn 12 June | 12:00
I'd like to make a torrent but I don't know what to put where it says what tracker to use. If someone can figure out what tracker, maybe we can all use the same one.
posted by matildaben 12 June | 12:08
that's my problem too, matilda...

any ideas, anyone?
posted by amberglow 12 June | 12:59
Ah, thanks dodgy. I could have sworn you said that Saturday was the deadline day.
posted by iconomy 12 June | 13:54
Metachat music remix:
Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to listen to every track on every submitted mix. Then, out of all the tracks I don't already own, I'll make a cd length playlist of the ones I like the best. Anyone else up for the challenge?
posted by boymilo 12 June | 17:01
in a few minutes I'll add mine!
posted by matteo 12 June | 17:11
boymilo -
im up for that!
Just a distillation of other mixes, taboo to use anything from your own mix?

posted by Schyler523 12 June | 17:32
Well, I'm in this to try to find some new music. The remix thing is just my way to let other mixers know what I appreciate.
posted by boymilo 12 June | 20:57
Am currently uploading the mix formerly known as "All the Indie kids are making out to this tape."
posted by muddgirl 13 June | 01:49
OK, my "MeCha Cha Cha" mix is uploaded and ready for action. Or so I think. I'm still getting my sea legs with this whole uploading thing. My zipped folder came it at 105MB (26 tracks, 1 txt file with full track info and running order, and 2 jpegs of the front and back cover art) and took about 45 minutes to upload.

If I successfully transferred my audio files to MP3s, correctly zipped the folder, and actually did the Streamload correctly (3 things I've never attempted until tonight) there's a mix from me there. If not, I'll consult my local library for a copy of "MeCha Mix Swap for Dummies" and make flashcards to study up for the next one.
posted by Slack-a-gogo 13 June | 02:36
Woah. 7.32 hours left. Damn dialup... I'm gonna miss the deadline :(
posted by bdave 13 June | 08:57
I already have the songs for my next mix picked out. I've never done anything like this before, and basically just picked songs that I liked, without giving much thought to trying to introduce other people to new stuff, which is what I'm hearing a lot here. So the next one will be a bit more esoteric.
posted by iconomy 13 June | 09:21
I've uploaded something, but it should be called "$5 noobmusic", because I've never done this before, and I wasted three days trying to talk mr. taz into doing it for me. Mean mr. husband.

Warning: I'm pretty sure connoisseurs should not download mine!
posted by taz 13 June | 10:47
Lets meetup at the top of Mt Everest. || Busted: Exotic Fish Smuggler!