Category Archives: Werkzeug

Werkzeuge, Werkstoffe und ihre Anwendung, vor allem kuriose Sorten und Arten. Klebeband. Heißkleber. Draht. Bindfaden.

Services to sign up for: and

So I’ve plunked down 100 bucks for an early bird developer account at, a new social network. So why would anyone pay for something like this, if Facebook and Twitter and everything else is free? Because it isn’t.

Facebook and Twitter live off selling their users to advertisers. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that more and more, they choose to implement features and control the user experience to maximize value for the advertisers. What the users want and how they would like to be treated becomes less important. And third-party applications and their developers make things complicated, since they do not help generating ad revenue, so more and more, they’re shut out or severely restricted.

Dalton Caldwell was annoyed by that, decided to do something about it: create a new social media platform, but instead of financing it through advertising, have the users pay for it. At least in principle, it aligns the interests of the platform company with that of the users, since happy users will generate more revenue. Right now, it’s an experiment (but it’s looking like it might get very successful, with over 12.000 paying users signing up in less than two months). Right now I have the bragging rights to be the first among my friends to have signed up, but that mainly means that none of my friends are on yet. We’ll see if that changes within the next 12 months.

Which brings me to the second service: if-this-then-that, or IFTTT for short. I now have a plethora of social media accounts, and distributing the various thoughts that I sometimes find worth publishing can become tedious. IFTTT helps with that: it monitors your account on any of 30 or so services (you decided with ones), and then cross-posts new posts from one service to any other one of your choosing. You decide which service to monitor and what to post where by settings up simple recipes: if I publish a new blog post, take it’s title and URL and post it to, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve just started using it, but from what I can see from my friends using it, it looks like a very useful tool.

Identifying and reparing broken MP3s

I only recently learned about iTunes being able to transcode music into 128kbit/s AAC on the fly, while syncing to the iPhone. Quite useful, since I’m keeping my music in 256 or 320 kbit/s MP3. Using the lower bitrate AAC on the iPhone still gives me decent quality on the go, while saving space for more music and apps.

Only one annoying problem: over the years and moving the music library from machine to machine, some files got corrupted. When I come across one during playback and I’m sufficiently annoyed by the problem, I’ll simply delete it and re-rip it, or buy a copy from the store. However, when iTunes tries to transcode all the files I want synced to my iPhone, it stumbles over files with encoding problems, and stops syncing. And the error message doesn’t even identify the file it’s having problems with, only the song title. Bummer.

iTunes does not appear to have a way to check and mark files with encoding problems, so you have to rely on identifying problematic files by playing them. Not very convenient. Luckily, I found MP3 Scan+Repair, a Mac program that will check a batch of files, identify broken ones, and even try to repair them.

You can drag files from the Finder or iTunes into MP3sar’s main window, and it will immediately start scanning them. Using the display filter buttons in the toolbar, you can show only the problematics files, select them, and let the program try and repair them. In my limited testing so far, M3SAR does a good job of identifying and repairing the files, even if some problems will only fix the file format, but not remove audible errors. But for being able to quickly see which of the twelve different versions of My Funny Valentine is stopping iTunes from syncing my iPhone is absolutely worth it.