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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Corrected to reflect modern sensibilities)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Geek Tip - Sound cleaning

I've just spent a good portion of the last few days cleaning up my music collection.  If you are anything like me you have years of ripping CDs on different systems, with different software that create directories and file names with different standards.  Buying music on different devices - like my recent favorite, Amazon MP3 on my Droid.

So over the years I've got several collections spread around on laptops, desktops, my NAS (which should be the reference collection), and phone.  Sometimes I have several directories for each artist where the directories are different.  For example I had three:  VanMorrison, Van Morrison, and Van_Morrison.  What to do...

Well here is what I did.  First I resolved to get all of the various collections onto one drive so I began to copy them onto a 250gb USB drive.  I decided to de-dupe at this juncture by copying all of the collections into the same parent directory.  Standard copy commands will give some help here as they will give you the option of skipping duplicate files.  Rsync on the other hand will go a bit further by actually comparing a hash of each file and compressing the data before doing the copy thereby speeding drive to drive copies.  I also can't recommend rsync enough for doing backups or any large copy job.  It simply floors me every time I use it.  The fact it's been around since 1996 is even more amazing.

I won't outline all the ways to get rsync for your OS or it's use but a really good place to start is the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rsync Yes, it's available on Windows, and Mac as well as Linux

I used rsync to transfer to the same parent directory from my NAS, a laptop, an old laptop backup directory that was already on the USB drive and even to copy my Amazon purchases from my Droid  (mounted as a USB drive.  Incidentally the desktop icon for a Droid on Ubuntu 10.10 looks just like a tiny Droid - cool).

At this point I had at least one copy of every song I'd ever purchased or ripped. 

Enter Dupeguru - Music Edition (also available on Mac, Win and Linux).  This is a handy utility designed for this task. It does a pretty good job of digging through your collection.  Its admittedly far from perfect and is somewhat hard to grasp so I reccomend reading all of the documentation and help files available for it at:
http://www.hardcoded.net/dupeguru_me/

I then had to go through my collection by hand and combine the directories in situations like my Van Morrison example above.  At this point however that amounted to about 15 minutes of work today while I ate my lunch.  The one thing that is left to do is totally delete my music collection on my NAS and rsync the clean, de-duped end product back up from the USB drive.

I know - I really know how to have a good time don't I.   Next up - doing the same with my photos.  Stay tuned.

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