Thursday, February 23, 2006


If you're as anal retentive as I am, you first must ask yourself, "Is anal retentive hyphenated?" Well, I'm anal retentive about some things, and my MP3 tags are one thing I obsess over. There's nothing worse than looking up at your music player to see songs in the wrong case, misspellings, or maybe nothing because there are no tags in the file. Another annoyance is when you have songs named differently because you chose a different scheme when you ripped your songs.

All of my problems are now solved with ID3-TagIT. This software does everything, and I mean everything related to managing your MP3 tags and file names. I'm just going to go over the highlights of what this thing does, but believe me when I tell you it does it all. For free.
  • If you are missing tag information, it can either extract tag info from the file names or look it up in the FreeDB database.
  • If the tags are correct but the files are named differently than you normally name them, it will rename the files the way you want. You can save different templates if you have different naming schemes.
  • If the tags are file names are correct but some dumbass decided to be cool and put everything in lower case, it will correct the case for you.
  • Besides merely managing the tags and file names, it also does file management duties like looking for duplicate files, moving, copying, and deleting files. It will also find and highlight files where the tags and file names don't match.

There's not much more I can say about this tool other than it has saved me hours and hours of my valuable time. If you have lots of MP3 files and you want them named correctly with accurate tags, then this tool is for you. Even though it's free, and I don't like to pay for software, I gladly made a PayPal donation to Michael Pleumper for his brilliant and well-written software.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


If you're in need of a very good text editor, look no farther than jEdit, the self-proclaimed programmer's text editor. It handles any kind of editing task you can throw at it, and I've been very happy with it since I switched from TextPad.

I'll start with my only real complaint -- since jEdit is written in Java, it takes longer to load than native Windows applications. But the fact that it is written in Java is also its strength because it runs on just about any platform. Once loaded, jEdit is a snappy performer and shows none of the lag that I've experienced in other Java desktop applications.

Since it is designed to be a programmer's editor, it handles the normal programmer's editing tasks such as syntax highlighting, auto brace indentation, and auto tag closing (in HTML and XML). It also allows you to write scripts in BeanShell, which is very powerful and something that TextPad lacked -- the easiest way to learn BeanShell is to record a macro and see what code it produced.

jEdit also has a number of plugins and I use several of them -- XML indenter, XPath Tool, XSLT Tool, and the Text tool that supplies text manipulation (such as sorting) that I'm surprised did not come with jEdit out of the box. The Plugin Manager is great -- you find, download, and install the plugins from within jEdit so there's no searching around for plugins.

jEdit also supports code folding (collapsing and expanding blocks of code such as classes, functions, loops, and try/exception), which is very handy for keeping your place in larger chunks of code (the ones you wrote when you were younger and less experienced).

I know that editors are very sacred to programmers, but if you're the slightest bit unhappy with your current editor, I suggest giving jEdit a try. And it's free, so you don't have anything to lose but a little bit of time.