I've decided to rescan my entire CD collection. This is a monstrous task: I spent much of 1996-9 ruthlessly spending the excessive amounts I earnt as an IT consultant on quality CDs, using the simple approach of reading the wonderfully sharp reviews of Q magazine and buying every CD that got 4 or 5 stars. There were a few duds - even Q magazine has its parochial tastes - but an incredible number of bullseye hits as well. Each month I listed about 15-20 CDs that I wanted to buy. It was hard at first, the local Belgian record shops did a good job but I was not satisfied with an 70% score. The Web was just starting and I ordered CDs from cdnow.com using (incredibly) their telnet ordering interface. The Belgian customs men, bless their black hearts, decided that those little packs of 4-5 CDs were subject to import duties, which doubled their price. Thus ended my first period as a sponsor of Internet commerce. Finally, I found, in the back pages of Q, a small record shop in Birmingham that was happy to scour the catalogues for the bizarre and eclectic CDs I was ordering. Q magazine reviewed everything that was released on the UK market except classical music. And so I have ended up with a large and varied collection that covers everything from Indonesian bop-rock to country-western to heavy metal. There are some truly curious things released on CD. And some of them are truly fantastic. And if they were released between 1996-1999, chances are I have them.
In 1999 I was saved from eventual bankruptcy by the Y2K and Internet booms which pushed me to start my business and invest in people rather than music (big, big mistake
I always knew exactly how much hard disk space I needed: 120 Gb. This in the days when 1 Gb cost $1000 (and I still have a couple of those SCSI disks, and they still work).
My new Xandros/2.0 box has two of those 120Gb disks, and I've been tweaking things so that now when I insert an audio CD, Linux starts a perl script that rips the data, gets track information from freedb.org, compresses the audio data to mp3 with something called variable bit rate. Watching Linux do something "intelligent" with my audio CDs, where "intelligent" meant more than just opening the CD player... that was when I knew that I never, ever, ever wanted to go back to Windows.
So, I'm at about CD number 400 and counting.
In the meantime... I've discovered di.fm. It's better than streaming porn: this is something you can play while the colleagues are in the office. Highly recommended.