Solutions For Mediaphiles!

26 10 2008

“Yeah, how do you even rip CDs and encode videos with Ubuntu?! This can’t be! I’m going back to Window$!!” Hold it right there partner! Ubuntu has some cool programs you’ll love for doing common things we normally did back in Window$.

Once of these things is ripping audio CDs to the computer’s HDD. Back in Windows there are tons of thousands of programs that do this, and most of them are worth $40.00+ and people end up downloading them from somewhere, illegally of course. Well, here in Ubuntu we don’t have the need to pirate programs.

If you want a good CD ripper just go to Synaptic and search for:


This little program (found in Applications>Sound & Video>Audio CD Extractor) rips your music and converts it to WAV, MP3, OGG and others. After ripping the music just sync it with your mp3 player (gtkpod-aac for iPods and as of other mp3 players you’re on your own. I don’t have any other mp3 player which I can test. I do know that iPod Classic 160GB, iPod Nano 1st gen 4GB and iPod Shuffle 2nd gen 1GB work perfectly in gtkpod, if you have a Zune…well…you’re pretty much alone in the dark since no one can make a Zune work with Linux this far…go figure.)

And what if you want to convert videos for your iPod?…SIMPLE! just follow my instructions on how to install ffmpeg and winff found here.

I won’t go into much detail here because these programs are pretty easy to figure out. But if you encounter any problems or you have questions, just post them on the comments section! I’ll be happy to help!


Open-Source Firmware For iPods!

22 09 2008

Well, this has been debate that has been going on and on for years now. People like iPodLinux, but sadly the webpage has been taken down, it just gives and Apache error and never loads. So I was frustrated one night looking for another open-source firmware and I came across Rockbox. And man, is it a great firmware!

So I got to work almost instantly with the automatic installer/Rockbox Utility they provide on the site, but apparently it doesn’t work for Ubuntu 8.04 and iPod Nano (which was the iPod I used for this experiment). So the instructions are pretty easy to follow, all you have to is go here and search for your mp3 player (yep not only iPods) and read the simple instructions. I do have to point out though that when you extract the .rockbox folder you MUST have “hidden folders” as viewable items (once you open up Nautilus and navigate to your mp3 player’s root folder (where the rockbox folder should be extracted) press CTRL+H and you should see a .rockbox folder.) It’s worth noting that if you fil to this step you’ll never see the folder anywhere you extract it to. Also remember that folders that start with a “.” are hidden by default, so if you want to see any hidden files or folders you have to enable the view of hidden folders.

Ok, now that you read the instructions and extracted the folder you’re ready to go! I won’t go into great detail on how to install it because the manual is pretty self-explanatory, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The only part of the manual that it’s blurry is the fact that the extracted Rockbox folder is hidden and I already cleared that out.

I installed it on my 1st gen iPod Nano and it worked great! Not a problem in sight! In fact it sounds a whole lot better now, and the shuffle setting is a lot more shuffly…no more repeated songs over and over on the same playlist. And incredible as it may sound, the battery lasts longer than with the Apple Firmware. So it IS a good firmware =).

Note: There’s still no support for newer iPod models or iPhones. For a list of current supported devices click here!


iPod + Ubuntu = LOVE!

15 09 2008

So, many people think iTunes is the only place where you can manage your iPod…well…THEY’RE WRONG!!! In Windows there are lots of programs for iPod management, most of them being dangerous to use. But in Ubuntu there are tons of other programs, which could be dangerous for your iPod too…There are lots of music-playback programs that claim to have iPod management, most of them just let you play the songs on the iPod and not download or upload songs to and from you iPod.

Ok, in my case I tried Rhythmbox (Ubuntu Hardy’s default music player) which I love, but it’s iPod management is kinda sucky…and while surfing the Ubuntu Forums, I found a little program called “gtkpod-aac” which is awesome!!!

Some people might argument that it makes an iPod recognize songs as “other” files… Never happened to me, never had a problem. Obviously there’s always a risk, but I’ve never had a problem with any of my iPods.

To install: Go to Synaptic Package Manager (System->Administration->Synaptic package manager), and search for “gtkpod-aac” select it, and hit “Apply” and wait for the program to install.

Once installed go to Applications->Sound & Video->gtkpod.

Once inside, connect your iPod and if everything is alright it will automatically recognize it! Almost everything related to download and upload of songs to and from the iPod is done by Drag&Drop, so it can’t get any easier =)!

Since gtkpod has robust features I’m not going to explain everything it does…it’ll take a lot of time. So if you need a manual for using and understanding gtkpod, just check the online ReadMe and you’ll find all the info you might need.

If you have any specific questions, just post them below on the comments’ section as always!

Note: I’ve tested this program with my 4GB 1st gen iPod nano and my beloved 160GB iPod Classic and both of them work great!!! Everything works smoothly, and there’s no mess in playlists! I haven’t tested any other iPod models.

Second Note: gtkpod can add music as well as videos to your iPod (if it’s a video-capable iPod) but I haven’t tested adding pictures…I believe that for pictures you’ll need to use a different program. I’ll check that out and update this post.