I have been very reluctant to think too much about the world of learning / education / technology since school broke up two weeks ago. So I've actually been relishing every excuse to NOT go online and consider this blogging thing because that would mean re-engaging with this multi-tailed beast of learning in a more taxing and serious manner than I'm prepared to right this minute. That could change on a whim but I have enjoyed heading to the beach with the family (going for three days in a row tomorrow), watching a few movies at the local cinemas and overdosing on a whole season DVD of The Wire over the course of a week. We've given board games a real bash after Christmas and I've even moved up to Number Five on the blacklist on Need For Speed Most Wanted on the PS2, which is as much of a gamer I ever get to be.
The post Christmas catalogues came out and one item at Harvey Norman caught my eye - a turntable/tapedeck with USB connection for the conversion of LP records and cassettes to digital format - and so I went off to see if they had any in stock. They were all sold out before Christmas so I wondered if it was as simple as having the right cable to connect our old "boombox" to make it happen in a cheaper fashion. A quick Google turned up a surprisingly easy result that even a non-techy, non-geek could manage. I have a large collection of cassettes from my mis-spent youth that I rarely ever listen to because of the format they are tied to but as I'm entitled to make a copy of music I already own, I went down to Tandy this afternoon and bought a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm plug to see if I could get this to work. $19.95 to get a better quality insulated connection and I was back ready to experiment.
The circa 1991 JVC tape deck was connected to my MacBook Pro, Audacity opened up and a few preferences changed before getting started. I had to ensure that I selected line in, not microphone, and check that it was enabled for stereo. Put in a cassette to test the levels and I was away. Now I just want these tracks for my iTunes so a bit of tape hiss is to be heard but that could be erased with a bit of work in Audacity as well. So, now I'm listening to Matt Finish's Short Note album for the first time in many years and hope to slowly convert my cassette collection over the course of the year. Of course, I only need to convert songs that I really want as in the 80's I was in the habit of buying a cassette for only a couple of tracks. Why cassettes? Well, it was the portable format of the time and I remember many a trip over to the West Coast of South Australia scrabbling for a new tape on the long trip. I am looking forward to seeing what I've forgotten about - but being the respecter of copyright, you won't find my offerings on Limewire anytime soon.