MP3s need nice tags, album art and lyrics

After you download an MP3, it is amazing how many don’t come with everything you need. Like file names and tags that are right. Embedded Album Art and lyrics for each song. So here is how to get your MP3s up to snuff so you can give really use them on your iPhone or give them as a gift with art, lyrics and what not. BTW, lyrics are a great place to put messages to people and art doesn’t have to be album, it can be photos or whatever you want. So they make great digital gifts particularly when played back on an iPhone or iPod Touch (it is too bad iTunes doesn’t have a visualizer that shows the album art and also the lyrics):

Here is how to get them in shape. These are all Windows utilities. The Mac is barren because iTunes sucks up all the oxygen. That is too bad because iTunes doesn’t store the album art in the MP3s themselves, doesn’t have any automated way to find lyrics and doesn’t have a way to automatically take tags and create filenames

# MP3Tag. This is the basic utility to read in an MP3 and then fix the tags and filenames. It is much less buggy than the Mac’s Tritag and has great string matching built in. It also has a search amazon function as well. It uses Freedb to find tags and then uses Amazon to find album art. In the section called Tag sources. So lyrics are the only thing missing
# MediaMonkey. Recommended by Lifehacker, has a function that searches Amazon for art and adds it automatically. I didn’t find this worked too well.

Neither of these automatically finds lyrics though. You can insert them, but it is a pain.

Here is what I finally end up using:

# Harmonizer. This is a desktop widget that finds lyrics only. Seems to do a decent job and will also let you go to Google and then just paste in.
# Cover Version. This is visualizer that let’s you see the album art.
# nLyrics. This tool lets you find LRC files. These let you show synchronized lyrics in this .lrc file format that has time stamps so you can get scrolling. It automatically finds the LRC files and then also has a visualizer which let’s you see the lyrics floating in a window. Pretty cool! It puts the .LRC files net to where the .MP3s are which is perfect because the .LRC format is ugly. So you want to put plain text lyrics embedded into the MP3 files which is what harmonizer does and then separately have .LRC files in the same directory
# Album art is the one thing I haven’t completely figure out yet. I mainly do it manually now.

Calling to Japan

How frustrating that the Japanese don’t use GSM anywhere. Right now there is not way to use your cell phone in Japan unless you won a Nokia N95 series or unless you have a 3G phone. I actually got my iPhone 3G to roam there, but couldn’t make any calls. There is the Softbank 3G network up and I got text messages but couldn’t make a call.

Sending Text messages to China

Skype claims they do it, but it seems unreliable. You can send for big dollars from AT&T cell phones, but is there a way to do it for free?

Shanghaiist: China Mobile launches new IM: Free SMS

For a limited time, China Mobile (all you 134-139, 158, 159 people) is offering free SMS service with just one string attached: download its new instant messenger client, 飞信/Feixin/Fetion (Chinese for “flymail”). 飞信/Feixin/Fetion is the site. It is PC only though.

Phone Card, Cellular (Cell) Phone Mobile Phone Short Message Service (SMS)

With an eCallChina Account, you can apparently from their website also do this.

* Get order history (PIN#)
* Send mobile phone short message to China

Free SMS text messages from your iPhone and iPhone 3G!

Here’s an interesting way to use your mobile email application to send and receive free SMS text messages without AT&T’s help:

* Create a new email
* The “To:” field should be filled out with your SMS text message target’s phone number followed by “” Something like this –
* Tap out your text message and send it out.
* The message will be sent to the phone number that you entered preceding “”
* Any text message replies will be sent to your email address.

Free SMS text messages from your iPhone and iPhone 3G!

Alternatively, you can use the TxtDrop web-app to send free SMS text messages. Simply point your iPhone Safari browser to go about your merry text messaging way! [This only works for US and there is no way to receive]

There aren’t any decent mp3 taggers

It took me a while but I just love mp3tag on Windows to tag mp3s. The free Tritag on the Mac is Ok, but doesn’t add artwork at all. And adding artwork doesn’t really work well with iTunes, sometimes it seems to get into the MP3 and sometimes not. Even when you manually add, it doesn’t.

And the best thing about mp3tag is that it is very smart about taking tags from a filename. Maybe The Tagger is the answer.

All things iPod, iPhone, iTunes and beyond | iLounge

Deadbeat Software has released The Tagger, its new MP3 and AAC tag editor for Mac OS X. According to the developer, The Tagger features support for batch editing of audio files and a wider range of ID3 tags than iTunes, search and retrieval of tags from Discogs, the ability to remove hidden personal data from iTunes Plus files, and more. The Tagger requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and sells for $29; a free 14-trial is also available.

VisualHub is dead, Handbrake is the answer?

Sad comment, Visualhub based on ffmpeg worked great. I gladly paid for it. Now, I guess its off to find another product.The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

VisualHub is gone. There are no current plans to move VisualHub to open source. The underlying engine for much of the compression magic, ffmpeg, is already open-source and present in other Mac tools such as Handbrake.

All things iPod, iPhone, iTunes and beyond | iLounge

The developers of Handbrake, a popular open-source DVD to MPEG-4 converter, are offering a pre-release build of the latest version, 0.9.3, on the app’s website. The new version, which is offered as a “snapshot” build and will therefore likely still contain bugs and present other issues, adds the ability to convert many different formats of video — not just DVDs like prior versions — to MP4, MKV, AVI or OGM files. Handbrake 0.9.3 (pre-release) is available as a free download for Macs running OS X 10.5 or later, PCs running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, and Linux.

Fring lets you call from iPod Touch or iPhone over Skype

Fring Enables VoIP Calls Over Wi-Fi for iPhone with Skype Support – Mac Rumors

Can call directly using iPhone to another person with iPhone running Fring
– Call MSN or Skype users that are using their computer
– Call using Skype account, which allows you to have your own Skype number and at a discount rate for international calls
– Receive phone calls using Skype with your own custom Skype number
– Basic chat functions with most chat platforms, such as AIM, Yahoo and ICQ

MMS from iPhone

AppleInsider | How to send picture messages (MMS) from your iPhone

to send your first iPhone MMS message. Simply select a photo from your iPhone’s Photo Album, drop it into a new email message, and address the email to your friend’s text-messaging email.

Text messaging email addresses for US carriers

The Xs should be replaced with your friend’s 10 digit mobile phone number:

Alltel =
Amp’d Mobile =
AT&T =
Boost Mobile =
Cingular (AT&T) =
Einstein PCS =
Nextel =
Sprint = or
T-Mobile =
US Cellular =
Verizon Wireless =
Virgin Mobile =

Unlocked iPhones

OK, you can now find these in “Hong Kong”: Not prices you can love, but the 8GB iPhone is $695 and the 16GB HK$6200 or $800 US Dollars. In comparison, the original iPhone was $599 and dropped to $495.

You can also buy unlocked iPhones from Belgium and Italy at the same outrageous prices:

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

Unlocked iPhones are available since july in Italy, prices are 499 EUR for 8 Gb and 569 EUR for 16 Gb version

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

iPhone is being launched today in South Africa 🙂 and can be purchases for:
$790.00 8 GB
$940.00 16 GB

$695 – Apple’s official price for unlocked iPhones | 9 to 5 Mac

The iPhone 3G has been on sale in Belgium since July 11 and it’s always been unlocked (615 Euro for 16 GB, 525 Euro for 8 GB). The online Mobistar store is currently out of iPhones (again).

At current exchange rates this is $770 for the 8GB!

Tricking an iPhone to use an optimized page using an Google

If you search Google on your iphone and click on a link, it uses a javascript program to make the page look good. The Javascript takes a multicolumn page and turn it into a single readable column.  But, it is quite hard to get it to do it without going to Google all the time on your iPhone or iPod touch. So here is how thanks to Abel:

# Load <a href=””></a> by emailing it to yourself
# Read the email on your iPhone and click on the link
# The page you get won’t load, however
# choose to add as a bookmark
# Edit the leading ‘http://’ out of the URL.
# Go to the website you want
# once it starts loading, click the bookmark you created
# it will render the page optimized for iPhone
# You can then bookmark the newly rendered page for future use.