Category: mp3

World Cup of National Anthems, Group B

A tough group. This could be the “Group of Death” this year.

World Cup of National Anthems, Group A

Post your choices in comments — remember, the top two go through. Results later this week.

Update: Results!

Well, it’s clear that Germany goes through on top, handily. With the near-unbeatable combination of lyrical bombast (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!), geographical aggression (the rivers name-checked in the first stanza are all in neighboring countries — watch out Lithuania!), and a nod to the finer things in life (German wine, German women, and German song in the little-used second stanza), Das Lied der Deutschen just rolls over the competition. A national anthem designed as a drinking song: true German craftsmanship.

The second slot was a tougher battle. Two Latin American nations versus Poland (which, according to Das Deutschenleid, is actually part of Germany). Poland’s anthem was actually written during a time when Poland didn’t really exist as a state, so that’s a plus. Lyrics about overcoming the enemy and reuniting the nation are pretty awesome, though they lose a few points for name-checking Napoleon. Still, enough to go through against Ecuador and Costa Rica. Those two anthems are really nothing special.

Winner: Germany. Runner-Up: Poland.

a thousand monkeys

Remember my recipe for downloading NPR news in MP3 format? Someone else has picked up that ball and is running with it. Cleverdevil is working on something with a GUI, written in Python for OS X. He’s also using mplayer instead of mimms and vlc. Good luck, fella.

getting the hourly news in mp3 format

Recipe for downloading the five-minute top of the hour news stream from NPR and converting it into mp3 format. Relies upon mimms, vlc, and lame. I had to use mimms because vlc won’t terminate upon reaching the end of an mms stream. I’m using lame’s phone preset, but you may find --preset voice to sound a little better. The hard part was getting VLC to output WAV format audio in faster than realtime. Unfortunately, NPR won’t stream the audio much faster than realtime, so the script takes about five minutes to run.

On OSX, you’ll want the path /Applications/ instead of just vlc.

mimms -o /tmp/news.asf "mms://" 
vlc -I dummy /tmp/news.asf \
  :sout='#transcode{acodec=s16l}:std{access=file,mux=wav,url=/tmp/news.wav}' \
lame -S --preset phone /tmp/news.wav /tmp/news.mp3
rm /tmp/news.wav /tmp/news.asf

Coming soon, an AppleScript that will pause iTunes at or near the top of each hour and play this (or another) mp3.

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