Going Backwards

I’ve been increasingly taking a leap backwards, out of the network and towards simple, non-privacy-invasive technologies like smart phones etc.

My first move was to get a feature (Voice and SMS only) phone. I chose the Punkt MP01. It is a very nice phone and I have had it for 5-6 weeks and love it. You don’t have to register with any giant data-stealing monster organisation like Google. Just press the on-switch and away you go. Of course, it would be better if it ran Signal, but whatever. Can’t have everything.

In that time I was still carrying around my smart phone (Samsung Android) for playing podcasts. This didn’t feel good, so I got a Sony NW A35 which, according to their docs, runs a Linux OS. Whoot! Also it plays FLAC, the open source audio codec made by those good people at Vorbis. So, I use the open source gPodder to subscribe to, and download, my fav podcasts. Alas, they are all in MP3 format (an unfree format). So, I wrote a little script to re-encode the MP3 files in the gPodder Downloads folder from MP3 to FLAC and at the same time copy over the meta data in a nice way and embed the picture files so they display nicely in the player. It all works pretty well! Below is the script:

#!/bin/bash
rm Podcasts/*
find . -type f -name '*.mp3' -print0 | while IFS= read -r -d '' file; do
 DIR=$(dirname "${file}")
 Dater=$(date +%a)
 Title=$(exiftool -S -t -album -title "$file")

 if [ -f "$DIR/folder.png" ]
 then
 convert "$DIR/folder.png" "$DIR/folder.jpg"
 fi

 madplay -q -o wave:- "$file" | flac --tag=Album=Podcasts --tag=Artist=Podcasts --tag=Genre=Podcasts --tag=Composer=Podcasts --tag=Title="$Dater : $Title" --picture="$DIR/folder.jpg" -s -f - -o "$file".flac
 cp "$file".flac Podcasts/
done

It’s not the most elegant script but it does the job. I run it from within the top level of the gPodder Downloads directory.

Now I can leave the smart phone at home!

Incidentally, if you do have a similar model and wish to run it with Ubuntu or another version of Linux, here are a few notes:

  • the player does not require registering an account (whoot!). Just start it up and away you go.
  • to manage playlists, place an empty .m3u playlist file in the top level of the MUSIC directory. You can add/remove songs from the player interface.
  • the device mounts very quickly and reliably with Ubuntu 16.04 with no tweaks required.
  • copy music to the MUSIC directory in any way you wish. All files in one directory, or sorted into artist/album dirs. It doesn’t matter.
  • easytag is a good tag editor
  • soundconverter is a good transcoder

All in all, it’s a great player.

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