The Bug Report
THE BUG REPORT
A monthly publication of
GS-BUG Inc. (c) copyright 1996.
Reproduction of any material herein by any means is expressly prohibited unless written permission is granted. Exception: Articles may be reprinted by other users groups in unaltered form if credit is given to the author and the original publication.
Editor - Kay Burton
ALPHA SOFTWARE TAKES ON MICROSOFT ACCESS
COUNTING ON EVERYONE
VINYL LP TO AUDIO CD OF MP3 FILES
By Dr. John Hanson
Topics for November
!. Printer Repair
2. I told you so
3. Buying a New Computer
4. Advice in buying a Computer
5. Power Supply Backup
6. Why two Floppy Drives?
7. Round Data Cables
8. Spare Floppy Drives
9. Avoiding Falls
1. Printer Repair: In recent issues I have
mentioned several possible good places so please let me know results
if you use any of them. I had also mentioned a fellow
I used who sold me a terrific HP-4+ laser
printer but didn’t have his name and address. He
is very honest, helpful and accommodating so if you need
repairs or a used printer give him a call. His
name is Jeffrey Dy at 562-690-9211 or 626-512-8776. His address
is 3406 Castleford Place, Rowland Heights, Calif. 91748
2. I told you so: Ever since the days of Packard Bell computers I have been telling everyone that it is not a good idea to buy any brand name computers such as Gateway, HP or Dell. Dell’s clever advertising will still bring them lots of customers. With notebooks a brand name is safer as small companies don’t have the wherewithal to design and build such a sophisticated machine. But even there you have to be very knowledgeable as Toshiba is being sued as you will read below. In the October issue of Maximum PC is an article on how Dell forces you to buy their power supply as a standard power supply which could ruin your motherboard or may just not work even tho the connector is identical to a standard power supply. What a terrible power supply. The hardware SIG will still try to help you with any computer but they see many bastard designs like Dell. Some can be worked around and some are just hopeless so remember you get your best value with a clone if you are careful and know what to look for.
In the same issue is an article that Toshiba is being sued because one of their notebooks claimed to operate at 1100 mc has been set to run at only 500 mc because the first versions out were overheating and crashing when customers were trying to do extensive graphics presentations or play games. When the first notebooks were returned to the factory all they did was add more zinc oxide paste to the CPU - heat sink interface but it still got too hot so the next fix was to set the ROM so it would only run at half speed. Getting rid of heat in high speed computers is a very difficult engineering task, especially when companies need to keep the price low. If costs were no object all the notebooks and even desktops would have heat pipes. Actually heat pipe prices have come down so much you might not have to wait too long.
3. Buying a New Computer: So far Advanced Computer on Western Ave. just north of Torrance Blvd. is still the best deal. Just ask for the Dr. Hanson special. It’s about $300 now. You can get similar deals further away as I have said before. You could even take a list of the items you get at Advanced and see if other vendors will match it. A rough guess is that members have bought at least 30 computers from them and all have been well satistified but that doesn’t mean Advanced will treat you any better than other customers. That is because we have selected one of their lowest value computers so they don’t make as much money on our sophisticated members as they would make on non-members who can be talked into spending much more. If you wish to deviate from the Dr. Hanson special you do so at your own risk. Come to the daytime Hardware SIG and ask any of the experts. If you want to deviate here are some things you can do safely to make the Dr. Hanson special even better. Ask how much to put a 512 mb chip in one of the memory slots instead of one 256 mb chip. You can also ask for a second 40 gb IBM hard drive and for a CD-Rom writer but don’t omit the included CD-rom reader. It’s useful to have both. You could even get a faster CPU but I don’t recommend that. Remember that Advanced Computer people have limited knowledge about more advanced things in computers such as how to get Windows to display the information about temperature and speeds the motherboard is capable of acquiring. They may not even be able to get the best frontside bus speed up to what the motherboard is capable of. The Dr. Hanson special is a basic mahine that will do almost everything you want, even play fast games. You could save about $30 to $50 if you got a Duron but I recommend the Thunderbird because it has more internal cache. You could even go much more. It’s your choice. The Dr. Hanson special is just a suggestion so you get good value at a relatively low price. At the moment it consists of a 1.3 gc AMD Thunderbird CPU, 256 of Ram in one of the two slots so you can add more easily, a 40 mb IBM 7200 rpm hard drive and a fast CD-Rom reader plus two floppies and all the regular goodies. Most important is that they will install Win 98 for testing purposes and put a copy of the disk on the hard drive in case you need it for some drivers, etc. One of our members, Ed Lambert, was very pleased with the computer he bought for his son who is very interested in music and video. He deviated from the basic suggestion but did so very wisely and ended up with the best of everything for only $600 plus tax. That included a flat screen 17 inch KDS monitor, one of my favorites. His daughter, who didn’t ask for her Dad’s advice, bought a Hewlett Packard for more money and ended up with a less less powerful computer and fewer features. For many reasons I don’t recommend XP, Win 2000 or ME but you can do what you please. If you do install any of the others. I suggest you put it in a separate directory like Herman Krause has done. Many members like XP and haven’t been burned yet but those I have talked to have a dual boot setup so they can go back to Win 98 when they have trouble. I tend to like the tried and true things that always work like Word Star and they never bug me for an upgrade.
4. Advice in Buying a Computer: I feel terrible. My wonderful doctor, who keeps me healthy, was taken advantage of at Advanced Computer but it probably was his own fault for not following my advice. Thus he ended up paying much more than he expected for a computer for his son, who is going to college. He also keeps our treasurer, Jimmy Corones, healthy. He knows so much about medicine, diseases and anatomy but very little about anything else technical but his pride makes him think he knows, so he is quite vulnerable as are most doctors. Financial people know how easy it is to take advantage of doctors so I would guess that all trades people like mechanics know that also. For years I have tried to convince my doctor of the advantages of joining our user’s group, even if he never attends a meeting but he has resisted. How foolish! Offering advice can be dangerous because, if they are successful, people tend to forget you gave them the advice. On the other hand if they fail they remember all too well that you gave them that advice. In actuality, they could have failed because they didn’t follow advice precisely or in a timely fashion as my doctor deviated completely from the Dr. Hanson special without informing me. Any sales people could have taken advantage of him, even if he had not gone to Advanced Computer. When he went to pick up the computer the bill was much higher than he expected and Luong of Advanced Computer said he had made a mistake in the price of the extra memory. Because my doctor had waited until the last minute before his son left for college he couldn’t walk away from the deal which any trained negotiator knows is a powerful tool. Fortunately my doctor did follow some of my advice so when he got the computer home he checked it with BelArc Advisor and discovered it did not have the extra memory he had paid for. It is so easy for any salesman to say he made a mistake when he is caught. For many years I taught a course in the stock market to my fellow employees and we were very successful. I t’s relatively easy to make money that way but after a while it gets boring. Friends have often asked for my advice on which stock is going to go up. I tell them and instead of acting right away they wait to see if it really goes up and then they buy but by that time I might have sold. Timing is everything in many activities. So over the years I have become very cautious about offering advice and now do it very selectively with people who know how to use advice. Not all advice is good, even tho well meaning, to you too have to be selective.
5. Power Supplies: If your computer is critical to what you do with it you might want to have a spare power supply on hand. They are very easy to change. Just remember not to get one that says “Deer” as we have seen a number of failures in that brand. At the ACP swap meet and probably at TRW Ham swap meet you can get a 400 watt ATX power supply for only $12 if you look carefully as many places charge much more. At Pomona Computer Show you can get a 300 watt ATX for about the same price. For those with older computers you can get AT power supplies for only $3 or less at the TRW swap meet. Emmett Ingram and Jack Burton are working on a tester for power supplies and when I have time I will build one that tests either ATX or AT. Then you will be able to bring your power supply to the Tuesday hardware SIG for testing so you know it is good before you store it.
6. Why two Floppies? I grew up in the jungle where it was hard to buy what you need when you need it so I like to have spares around. Like any mechanical or electrical device someday it may fail so I tend to use the B: floppy most of the time. When make copies I always go from A: to B: so I won’t make a mistake inadvertently as could happen if you use the virtual B: provided by only one floppy. In addition, I like to leave a floppy in the B: drive so every now and then I can save important files like this article to the floppy just in case the hard drive should crash as has happened before. Your hard drive will fail someday but you never know when. If you leave a floppy in A: and start the computer the screen will say “Non-System disk”. No big deal but when you are in a hurry and are turning on several computers you don’t want that annoyance. Another important reason for having two floppies is that if the A: should fail and you are trying to back up your hard drive with Drive Image, you will have a way out with opening up your computer and replacing the floppy which is not so easy for novices. In such a failure, just go to your CMOS Setup by pressing the DEL key during bootup and go to Advanced. There you will see on option called “Swap Floppies”. Enable that and now your good B: becomes A: without opening your computer. Later, at your leisure, you can replace the defective floppy. If you want to save $10 on the Dr. Hanson special, ask them not to install the second floppy. Another final reason for two is when you want to make a copy of a disk. With only one you have to make sure you insert target when asks for it and not the source disk. Not a big deal but two floppies make it easier, especially for novice members.
7. Round Data Cables: For many years data cables that connect from the motherboard to various drives have been the flat type, 34 wires for floppies, 40 and now 80 for hard drives. From a manufacturing standpoint flat cables are inexpensive to terminate with the sockets at the ends. But they are so difficult to twist around in your computer. Labor is very cheap in China so now round cables are available. How they get all the wires in the right place is a puzzle as I used to be in charge of 40 women making cables at a radar factory. Can we trust all the pinouts to be correct or should someone build a cable tester? Just one faulty termination could cause problems. Remember in article 2 above that bastard companies like Dell rearrange the power pinouts to motherboard so you have to use their power supplies. Don’t throw away the flat cables as in some situations they are better so you might even want to have a combination of both. I haven’t figured out the best length to get but if too long you might have a problem with the excess cable.
8. Spare Floppy Drives: Be careful when you buy a spare Floppy drive. They run about $6 to $10 for new ones at the swap meet and about the same price for “pulls”. If wrapped up check the rear end before you buy and make sure it doesn’t have any jumper pins. At the hardware SIG one of our best hardware experts, Carl Warner, was helping me get the computer to recognize the Floppy and he discovered the jumpers in the back. All of us have forgotten what those jumpers were for and trial and error didn’t fix the problem so we junked it. Also be careful not to get the older 720 mb floppy drive but how you tell one from the other without putting it in a computer is a mystery to me. Someone should ask our night hardware SIG expert. You could go on the Internet and see what the manufacturer says if you can find it. One of our hardware experts uses the Internet all the time to find such things and get drivers, etc. The Tuesday hardware SIG has a number of experts and together they can accomplish miracles. Like me they like impossible problems. Sometimes I feel sad when I finally solve a long time impossible problem unless I have another interesting impossible problem to work on.
9. Avoiding Falls Dr: Gary Sexton, as a medical doctor, know all too well that it is very dangerous for older people to fall as their bones are more brittle and they don’t recover as easily as younger people. He is now in lots of pain while recovering from his recent fall with a broken right hip and so is my 89 year old aunt from her recent fall. I have been experimenting with lighting dark places in my home where I might trip at night when you don’t want to turn on the bright lights, like going to the bathroom at night. My solution has worked out quite well in some places but my garage solution is not as perfect as I would like yet. I used to use those electroluminescent green night lights but they only work where you have receptacles and extension cords could be dangerous. Besides that, they only last a few years and are expensive. Here is an easy way to experiment with low power, low voltage LEDS. buy a holder for two “D” cell batteries at Radio Shack, a few 100 ohm resistors and several green Leds. Buy your alkaline “D” cells from Grace, the battery lady, at the TRW Ham swap meet for 50 cents each. Hook the Led up to the battery with the 100 ohm in series. You could add a fuse to be extra safe. If you pick the right led you will have plenty of light to light your path so you can see your way.
Editor’s Note: John Hanson is the inventor
of Tooties, a superb self-teaching system used by millions
in schools, homes, and byeye doctors around the world to improve
vision. He also invented a new form of psychology called
QET (Quick Effective herapy) which transforms poor students
into good students, almost over-night, usually in 5 to
15 days. He has also had outstanding success
in helping brain damaged people, even years after their accident.
Why go to therapy for years and spend lots of money when
you can improve quite fast with QET? He uses computers to document
his cases for his books so that others may benefit and improve
their vision and other skills. Visit his web site
By Frank Chao
Welcome to the 51st article on the 'Internet Talk" series.
This article is part of the eighth newsletter that is being edited by our
editor, Kay Burton. During the past 4 weeks, various club members
have indicated to me that they have ideas for the newsletter. Kay
welcomes your thoughts and comments, and you can send them to her
Our Webmaster Shelley Miller is the person that started adding "Top" and "Home" buttons in the online Webmaster-based version of these newsletters. In last month's article I inadvertantly credited our editor with this wizardry. Many thanks to the two club members who sent me e-mail messages asking me to corrrect this mistake. You can see our Webmaster's wizardry by visiting the club's Website at http://gsbug.apcug.org. My apologies to Shelley. He is a great Webmaster.
REDHAT LINUX 8.0
Red Hat Linux 8.0 was released at the end of September and it works great, with many enhancements and improvements relative to versiion 7.3. I have installed it and used it and it has worked wonderfully for me. You too can do so. Yes Virginia, there is a world of operating systems and software that are not created by Microsoft. You can realize great cost savings by using Linux and the freeware software applications that run on Linux. Try it, if you like a technical challenge.
“LINUX @ LAX” USER GROUP
To learn more about Linux, you can att- end the meetings of the “Linux @ Lax” user group. All meetings are free to the public. Parking is also free. You can bring them a computer and they will install an appropriate flavor and version of Linux on it for you. Their meetings are held at “PC Mall” which is also known as “eLinux” at 2555 W. 190th St. Torrance. Their Website is at http://www.lilax.org/indesjs.html Liz and I attended some of their meetings last year. They were great!
“WINDOWS XP SERVICE PACK 1”
Unlike more minor updates that are automatically offered through “Windows Update”, Windows XP service Pack 1 is not automatically provided to users of Windows XP operating system. One has to go to Microsoft’s Website to get it. If you are running either flavor of “Windows XP “(“ Home” or “Professional”!) and you are experiencing EITHER pop-up dialog boxes that claim that “Explorer has detected...” something OR other instability problems that cannot be isolated to specific software applications or drivers, go to http://www.microsoft.com.WindowsXP/pro/downloads/seervicepacks/sp1/default.asp to download and install “Windows XP Service Pack 1”. It will probably make your computer more stable. If it does not, you can always uninstall it by means of “Add/Remove Programs”. During the first week of October, Liz and I journeyed again to Corona, California to help a friend of hers with a dsl installation. This time, Pac Bell’s customer service department had finally mailed an installation CD-ROM to Liz’s friend. Better late than never ! Using the proprietary software on this CD-ROM, Liz’s friend was able to obtain a username and password from Pac Bell. While filling the various computerized forms that were generated by this CD-ROM, we ran into one error in the instruction file that guided us through the installation. This problem was resolved with a final phone ca;; to PacBell’s DSL help desk. After resolving this minor problem, our friend was connected to the Internet via a connection that was about 10 times faster than the former 56Kbps dialup connection that she was used to. Liz and I also set up her friend’s new Pac Bell e-mail accounst in Microsoft Outlook 2000. We plan to visit her friend’s “broadband” Internet connection to check it out occasionally. I will let you know how well it is working in future newsletter articles.
PAC BELL DIALUP AS A BACKUP CONNECTION
If you live in Torrance and have Pac Bell DSL, you also get (without additional charge) a dialup account that lets up connection via 56Kbps via a dialup (V.90 orV92) modem. On those rare days when Pac Bell’s DSL service is not working, you can then make a dialup connection by means of a local phone number that is provided by Pac Bell. For Torrance residents, this phone number is actually a Gardena phone number. See the list at http://public.pacbel.net/cgi-bin/findpops.cg However, if you live in Corona, and you are a PacBell DSL customer, you will find that the nearest dialup phone number is in Riverside and that is a “local toll” call that will cost you a small fortune to use, as a backup dialup connection to the internet. For Liz’s friend in Corona, we discovered that Netzero has several phone numbers that are local and hence free to use as dial-up connections to the internet. Liz and I set up a Netzero dialup account for her friend so that when Pac Bell is down, a local dial-up connection can be made via Netzero. This should save her a pile of money whenever her DSL connection is kaput, which we hope is not very often.
“MDhub E-MAIL TO FAX SYSTEM
Last month, Herman Krause forwarded an e-mail message about “MDhub” to many club members. ‘MDhub” is a Website that provides a free, efficient way for people to correspond with their doctors. See http://www.mdhub.com for details. Here is the e-mail message that Herman Krouse forwarded: (Start of Quote)
“Jerold Spitz, M.D.” <JerrySpitzMD@MDhub.com>
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 1:09 PM Subject: Online physician communications
Dear Herman Krause:
I am a practicing physician and the founder of www.MDhub.com, a free service that allows anyone to send an Internet message to their doctor. I thought the members of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group might find this web site both interesting and useful.
Since most doctors do not yet use the Internet in their practice, your message is automatically deivered to the doctor’s FAX machine as well as online.
With nearly 400,000 physicians available, MDhub includes virtually every doctor involved in patient care in the US. Every practicing physician’s web site is already up and running waiting for patients to send messages online instead of having to use the phone. MDhub.com is a free service. There is no advertising and no data is collected.
Most people find reaching their doctor to be a very frustrating experience, with busy signals, waiting on hold, press l..press2.. and telephone tag. MDhub is a solution to this problem. I hope you will let your members know about MDhub via your web site and news-letter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Jerry Spitz, M.D.
Founder, The Little Blue Book Companies
Medical Office: 860-525-3434
(end of quote)
Eat plenty of vitamins and vegetables, and get plenty of exercise, and you will hopefully not have to use this Website much.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at (310)
2. Send me e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send “snail” U.S. Postal Service mail
To: Frank Chao
PO Box 6930
Alpha Software takes on Microsoft Access
By Ed Scannell
September 13, 2002 10:40 am PT
MAKING A RARE industry effort to take Microsoft head on in a desktop application, Alpha Software on Friday released Version 5.0 of its Alpha database with automated development features and improved capabilities to create customized applications.
Expected to go up against Microsoft's Access as well as FileMaker Software's product of the same name, Alpha 5.0 contains a raft of new features aimed to attract both users and developers including a new application scripting language.
The new language lets users and developers gain a finer level of control over their information, thereby making them more self-sufficient in terms of building customized applications, company officials claim.
"If you do not see yourself as a database professional, what you really care about is ease-of-use or to customize your solution without having to bring in the experts and the costs and time associated with that. We focused extremely hard on that aspect of it," said Richard Rabins. Alpha Software's co-chairman in Burlington, Mass.
Although Alpha software has had a consistent history of focusing on ease-of-use features trying to appeal to less sophisticated users, developers have become increasingly important over the past couple of years to the company as an attractive market opportunity.
"What counts with developers is not ease-of-use but to be able to build robust apps in significantly less time that the other market alternatives, with those alternatives being largely Access or Visual Basic," Rabins said. Alpha is hoping that the database's lower price and reduced time required for projects will be appealing to both developers and consultants.
"Based on the feedback from early users, they are able to build robust apps in much less time than something like Access. And if developers and consultants can get jobs done in less time, then they can be more competitive because they can either bid lower on projects because their costs are lower and they have more time," Rabins said.
While many have shied away from taking on Microsoft on the desktop, Rabins thinks his chances are good if only because there is always a place for a No. 2 competitor who can add value in any market.
"People do not like to have total dependency on just one vendor. Having another choice in a market can only encourage competition because it applies more pressure on [Microsoft] to be more aggressive in terms of product development and pricing," Rabins said.
Some observers like Alpha's chances to make some headway against Microsoft, given the less than rave reviews many users give Access.
"This is not so much an issue of a little company going up against a bigger company. More importantly Microsoft has very limited database experience outside of Access. There are just thousands of details you have to get right in designing a database and Microsoft started off by getting almost none of them right," said Jeff Tarter, editor of The SoftLetter, an industry newsletter in Watertown, Mass.
The new version also sports improvements to its XBasic language, including a new interface building language called XDialog. The company has added a multi-pane color-coded script editor along with customizabl
Version 5.0's Application Scripting can automatically write editable, structured, and documented code along with the ability to switch back and forth from across from the Menu system of Action Scripting to the XBasic code editor.
Designed to appeal to users as well as developers, Version 5.0 has several new features that better allow desktop users to manipulate and report on data without the need for higher level programming skills. Some of the end-user-oriented features include a visual report writer, fully integrated e-mail, security, back-up integration with Microsoft Office, and a number of data manipulation tools.
Alpha Software has included a Script Genie that can automate more than 200 different actions. It allows developers to produce customized and automated applications through a menu-oriented approach. Users do not need to know XBasic to use it, a company spokesman said.
For more information about Alpha 5, users can go to www.alphasoftware.com
Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large.
COUNTING ON EVERYONE
Sony made headlines last March when it announced that the next generation of the PlayStation home video game console would likely incorporate distributed computing technology to boost its data processing power.
Distributed computing, which parcels out discrete data processing assignments to individual computers in order to expedite computational tasks, isn't a new concept; research labs have been using the idea since the days of the ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet. However, widespread popularization of the Internet has vaulted distributed computing to another level.
Distributed computing allows research programs to welcome thousands or even millions of Web-connected PCs into data processing efforts, which in turn allows scientists to tackle computational tasks that would stagger ordinary computer labs--and to sidestep the restraints of Moore's Law (the axiom that the maximum processing capacity for individual CPUs doubles
roughly every 18 months).
Stanford University, for example, has developed a pair of Web-assisted distributed computing programs--Genome@Home and Folding@Home--which analyze and generate mathematical renderings of highly complex three-dimensional protein structures. Yet the efforts of Genome@Home and Folding@Home can't compare to the largest computation ever Performed--one that might not have been possible without distributed computing.
The highly publicized SETI@Home project, which uses Web-based distributed computing to aid in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), is undisputedly the largest computation ever performed to date.
As of October 1, SETI@Home had nearly 4 million individual client CPUs involved in its distributed computation and had over 1.1 million CPU-years worth of data processing donated to the cause since its inception on May 17, 1999. Indeed, The Guinness Book of World Records certifies that by July 2001 SETI@Home had per formed 890 billion billion floating-point operations—a record-breaking number that has only increased in the 15 months since it was established.
Despite its widespread success (although, to date, no legitimate E.T.s have been detected), SETI@Home will be shut down within the next few years to make room for an even more powerful and promising distributed computing network, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). BOINC will run multiple successor computation projects, including SETI@Home follow-ups such as Astropulse, simultaneously.
Copied from the publication “Did you know”?
VINYL LP TO AUDIO CD OF MP3 FILES
By Bruce Fries - author of The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook
With a good sound recording and editing program you can take those old scratchy LPs and 78s and record them through your sound card, filter out all those clicks and pops, and then burn the music to an audio CD or store it as an MP3 file. The following process also works for recording audio from other external sources, such as cassette tapes and microphones.
Use a program like CoolEdit 2000 (www.cooledit.com) for the PC or Peak (www.biasinc.com) for the Mac. Demo versions of both programs can be downloaded for free.
Connect your PC to Your Stereo
The first step is to connect an adapter cable from the tape out (or record) jack of your stereo receiver to the line input of your sound card. These cables can be purchased from most consumer electronics stores, such as Radio Shack, Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics. Newer turntables with line-out jacks can be connected directly to the sound card.
Set the Sampling Rate and Resolution
The next step is to create a new file in the sound-editing program. If you intend to create an audio CD, you must choose a sample rate of 44,100, two channels (stereo) and a resolution of 16 bits. This will create a file that takes up approximately 10 MB of space for every minute recorded, so you will need plenty of free disk space. For voice or music to be embedded in a Web page, you can use a lower sample rate, a single channel and 8 bit resolution to create a much smaller file.
Set the Recording Level
Now play part of the track and use the Volume Control program to set your recording levels. In Windows, the first screen of the Volume control program is for playback levels. To get to the Recording Level screen, choose Properties from the Options menu and select the checkbox for Recording. Make sure the checkbbox for the Line-in volume control is also selected. Click OK and the Record Level screen will appear. Set the Monitor Record Level option in your recording program to On, and, as the track plays, adjust the slider for Line-in so the level meter shows a strong signal, but not so strong as any peaks cause the meter to go into the red area.
Record the Audio
Lift the stylus and queue up the beginning of the track. Click the Record button in your recording program and then lower the needle. Make sure no other programs are running while you record. When the track is finished, click the Stop button and lift up the stylus.
Remove Clicks, Pops or Hiss
Play back the track to hear how it sounds. Trim off any silence at the beginning and ends of the track. If you have an audio clean-up plug, use it to automatically remove any clicks, pops and hiss. If you don’t have an audio clean-up plug-in, you can zoom into each click or pop, select an adjacent cycle of the waveform at the zero crossing points, copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it over the cycle that contains the clisk. Listen to the track again and run the hiss removal if necessary.
Normalize the Volume
Normalize the track to adjust the volume up or down so that all tracks will play at a similar level. A value of 97% usually works well if your software normalizes by peak level. More advanced programs, such as CoolEdit Pro, can normalize by average levels, which is much more accurate. At this point, you may want to add a fade-in or automatically cross fade tracks as the CD is redorded
Save to a WAV or MP3 File
If you intend to record the track to an audio CD, save it to a PCM format WAV file(pc) or an aiff file (Mac). Save the file to MP3 format if you want to play it from your computer or on a portable player.
Record an Audio CD
Now you can use a CD-Recordable drive to create a Red Book audio CD that can be played in most CD players. Avoid using CDRW media because it will not be compatible with most CD players.
It pays to experiment with a short clip before you record and cleanup an entire alabum. Find out which settings work best for different types of recordings and write these down for future reference.
Many of these old 78s and LPs are irreplaceaable, so it pays to preserve them in a digital format. If you ever have recorded a cassette or reel-to-reel tape, you should be comfortable with this process and delighted wih the ability to improve the quality of the audio.
Bruce Fries is a writer, technology consultant
and entrepreneur who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is an associate
of the Audio Engineering Society and the founder of TeamCom Books, a customer-focused
publishing company that combines the best of traditional print publishing
with new media, such as e-books and the internet.