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Your thoughts and MP3 tools

Jan 27, 20034 mins
Network Security

While you cogitate on what Gearhead should cover, this week we’ll look at a couple of MP3-related tools we stumbled across over Christmas that have impressed us.

Over the past few years of this column’s existence it seems that you, dear reader, like what we have to say. In the last few Network World readership polls you’ve rated this “the most useful column” as well as “best dressed” and “most likely to get down and party” (OK, so we made up the last two).

Anyway, with such kudos in mind and here, not far from the start of 2003, it seems a good time to ask once more “How are we doing?” From the e-mail messages you send it seems that we’re successfully addressing technical topics you are interested in and at a level you like. The categories we’ve tackled:

• Tools and utilities. Standards. Product reviews. Programming. Tips and techniques.

So, given that background, here are our questions for the future:

What are the hot topics and technologies that you’d like to see covered in future Gearhead columns?

What level of detail are you looking for in each topic: summary, analysis, primer or soup-to-nuts?

What don’t you like?

While you cogitate on that and get ready to let us know your thoughts at, this week we’ll look at a couple of MP3-related tools we stumbled across over Christmas that have impressed us.

MP3 management

First, there’s a tool we now cannot live without – MP3/Tag Studio published by Magnus Brading. This software is the answer to every digital audiophile’s problems.

MP3/Tag Studio works with MP3 files that you can select individually or by whole directories, directory trees or custom selections. It can read ID3v1.0, ID3v1.1 and ID3v2 tags (MP3 “tags” are information embedded in MP3 files about artist, album and title) and fix poorly tagged files. It can even copy data from any tag format to any other tag format.

You can set tags based on parsed filename and directory path name and you can define more-or-less any possible splitting of strings into tag fields. You also can rename files based on tag data and create simple or complex subdirectory structures based on tags and or filenames.

Because these operations can be complex, a simple mistake in, for example, specifying how to rename files could result in chaos. Because of this, MP3/Tag Studio has a preview mode so that you can check what the result of your transformations will be before they are written to disk.

This is a fantastic tool for organizing that vast, completely legal collection of MP3s you’ve acquired. It is available as nonexpiring, uncrippled shareware that costs only $19 to register with free updates forever!

While getting your MP3s organized you also might like to create mixes – groups of tracks related by tempo, energy or whatever. Now, if you’ve ever gone through a large collection of MP3s trying to build the perfect workout or party mix, you’ll know this is hard work. We just discovered MoodLogic published by MoodLogic, Inc.

MoodLogic provides you with information about the artist, song tempo, mood, year and genre. It does this through a huge online database that has been built through collaborative filtering – in other words the result of thousands of users providing the data and analysis of each track. Given a small amount of information from a filename or MP3 tag, MoodLogic can look up details of a track and fix the MP3 tags to make them as accurate as possible!

Once you have shown MoodLogic where your MP3 files are and had them examined and cross checked in the MoodLogic database, you can create mixes by selecting any or all of the attributes. For example, you might want to create a mix of jazz tracks from the 1970s and 1980s with slow to moderate tempos and with a mellow feel. We tried MoodLogic and built a workout mix that was really good! At $30 this is a terrific value.

So now that we’ve got our MP3s organized we can get down and get funky. Next week, back to serious network stuff.

Cries of “All that scratchin’s making me rich” to


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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