Archive for the ‘kia’ Category

Slicing and Dicing mp3 files

August 28, 2007

As I’ve likely mentioned before, one of the things I like about my new
car is the USB port right in the front panel of the stereo. I bought a
wee little Lexar Jumpdrive Firefly recently which I keep filled with various
folders of music and podcast mp3 files. I just stick it into the
stereo and it works. It’s a nice, simple, and open system – no
proprietary hardware or software interface, any usb stick and plain
mp3 file will do. Heck, it doesn’t even wanna play wma files which is
a good thing too! 🙂

But if there is one nagging thing I don’t like about it, it’s that the
ffwd and rewind functions are designed for music and not podcasts. So
if I’m 45 minutes into an episode of TLLTS, and my daughter wants to listen
to the Irish Rovers, I know I’ll have to ffwd through 45min of TLLTS
to get back to where I was later on. That means holding the ffwd
button for about 5 minutes – not ideal.

So naturally, what I do is make a mental note of the time elapsed
before switching to a different track and then (if I remember) I bring
the track into Audacity and cut off the first 45min of it (or whatever
the elapsed time was). Still kludgy at best.

But I’ve found a quicker if not less-kludgy way of doing it. If you
need to chop off the beginning, the end or some portion of a given
mpeg file (mpeg2, mp3, mpeg4), then mpgtx is your tool of choice.
Available for linux or windows, this nifty command line tool sounds
like a nice tool for quick mpeg slicing and dicing. In particular to
do what I wanted, I simply used:

mpgtx -s tllts_206.mp3 [45:00-] -b cut_tllts_206

This splits (-s) the input file (tllts_206.mp3) taking the portion
starting at 45min to the end of the file, and outputs it to
cut_tllts_206.mp3. The -b flag is for the basename.. haven’t figured
out that one, but you need it there for it to work.

So in a matter of 2 or 3 seconds it chops the first 45min off of the
file and gives me a new mp3. Nice!

Doing this same thing in Audacity was a chore. It would take a minute
or so for Audacity to import the mp3, I’d chop off the front 45 min
and then have to export it back out which took another minute or so.
Then, depending on the default export bitrate, I might get a bigger
mp3 file than the original (!). So in one fell swoop I cut the process
from 3 minutes to 3 seconds. Not bad.

Incidentally, what I likely *should* do, is split up longish podcast
files into 10 minute mp3 files. So if I need to find my place I can
just click through 10minutes at a time. I figured out how to do this
back in the comments of this post. Sheesh.. if only I was half as organized and prepared as I’d like to be. 🙂

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Ever seen one of these in a store?

May 12, 2007

I can now bid goodbye to burning CD-RW’s for podcast listening in the car. For some strange reason I thought the USB input on my new car’s stereo was for some special connection to a dedicated mp3 player (a la iPod). Turns out you can plug any USB key into it and play the mp3 files that it contains! Kia supplies a short black cord for this connection. I’ve tried it and it works flawlessly with the 1GB key I keep in my briefcase.

The stereo’s face has a female ‘mini’ usb jack on it, and the supplied cord has a male mini-usb on one end and a female usb type-A connector on the other end. The type-A connector is the ‘normal’ thin and wide jack type that is used on virtually all usb keys and devices. So you can plug the usb key right into the female end of the cable.

And while the cable is not too unsightly, the geek in me is now in search of a direct ‘female type A to male mini-usb’ adapter to eliminate the cord completely. Effectively I want to plug the USB key right into the face of the stereo, eliminating the cord.

I’ve done some online searches at BestBuy and TheSource (aka RadioShack up here), but the best I can seem to find is a female to female version.

This is exactly what I want. Anybody seen it available in good old brick and mortar electronic shops?

That new car smell baby!

May 12, 2007

Well, it finally arrived today! No more ass numbness from the blatting exhaust of my 95 Integra. I got my new Rio5 today! It’s ‘copper graphite’ … dark-metallic-grey for us non-marketing types. And I love it. It’s a fully loaded Ex-Sport model. For a feature list, check out my post of about a month ago where I first pondered the decision.

Nuff said, here’s a couple of pics:

New Car Shopping – Rio5? Or am I crazy?

April 18, 2007

I’m new car shopping at the moment. My current beast is a 95 Integra sedan. It’s still a solid little car but at 340,000km it’s already cost me some money and with an intermittent squeal from the water pump lately it’s scaring me a bit. I don’t want it to turn into a money pit.

I’m a small car guy through and through. If only I lived across the pond where the compact/sub-compact segments are a lively market. My wife drives a Nissan Murano, and while it’s a nice comfy SUV, it’s far too big and bouncy for my tastes – nevermind the gas mileage and running costs (ever price out a set of 4 SUV tires?)

I’ve looked at the smaller cars from BMW/Mini, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, GM(Saturn), VW and even Ford (Chrysler is just not a consideration to me), and I have to say I’m favouring the Kia Rio5 Ex Sport model at the moment:

I really like the euro-hatch clean look of the Kia. And for a very reasonable list price of $20,700 CAD (18,250 USD) it comes fully loaded with things like:

15″ Alloys
P195x55 tires
4-wheel discs w/ ABS
6-airbags (2 front, 2 side, 2 full side-curtain)
heated front seats (it gets cold up here dontcha know)
heated side mirrors
fog lights
sunroof
6 speaker CD stereo with MP3/WMA, Aux and USB inputs
A/C
alarm system
a kick ass 10yr/100,000km (or 160,000km extended) comprehensive warranty including roadside assistance

The list goes on and on and is actually pretty damn complete. The gas mileage is pretty darn good as well considering gas here has been teetering around $1.03 a litre lately (about $3.50 USD per gallon for you Yankees).

A quick first test drive also showed that Kia has really stepped up the quality game. The car felt and sounded very very solid. No squeaks, rattles or shimmies over various bumps and around corners. It handles very nicely. And while it doesn’t have the street cred of a Mini Cooper, it’s only shy by about 8 less horsepower. The interior looked and felt very solid as well. The back seat had significantly more room than my Integra 4 door too – although I think I’ve had only one adult passenger back there in the last two years anyway.

I chuckled the other day when I read a Motor Trend article that said that the Rio5 was faster through it’s slalom course than both the Audi A3 (which a co-worker just bought at more than $40k) and the Mitsubishi Eclipse.

I also liked the fact that they didn’t bother giving me a price where I had to add on things like floor mats, electric windows and mud guards to get a final price. They offer preselected no-fuss model selections which made calculating a price literally a 90sec affair.

If you’re familiar with the 06 or 07 Kia Rio5 and have info to give me or if you want to dissuade me, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear some opinions before I buy.