Join Files Using Linux Sox

I was recording audio on Audacity the other day when Windows crashed unexpectedly. I never had a chance to save the recording. When Windows rebooted, the audio recording were all there, but they were all broken up in smaller files. As it turned out, they were over 100 .au files under the unsaved Audacity folder. The question is how do you piece the files together.

There’s a Linux sound utility called “SoX” that runs across multiple platforms, Windows, Linux, MacOS X, that converts various formats of computer audio files into other formats. SoX can play and record audio files as well. To recover the unsaved Audacity recording, I went to the Audacity folder and executed the following statement from the command line.

sox *.au combined.au

Essentially, the sox command you see above concatenates multiple files into one big file called combined.au. After that, I created a new Audacity project and imported the combined big file into the new project. I then saved the new project. Once saved, I can then export the project to a MP3 format.

If you ever need to recover from a crashed Audacity project, you can use the sox command to recover a project.

Droid Charger At A Discount

One item you can really get for a deep discount at eBay is a smart phone charger. A typical smart phone charger at any of the major wireless providers, will cost consumers anywhere from $20-30 dollars. You can find a similar one at eBay for about a third of the price, with no sales tax, and that includes shipping.

If you’re not pressed for time, you can also get one, for a slightly cheaper price, from a vendor from China. Typically, it takes 3-5 weeks for items to arrive from China. I prefer to buy items from U.S. vendors, since the items arrive sooner, and majority of the time, the quality is good.

There’s no guarantee, however, what type of quality product you’ll get from an international order. I typically pay just a bit more from vendors with good reputation, where product quality is not going to be a question. Anyways, a Droid charger at for under $9 bucks is a steal. It beats shelling out for $30 at any of the wireless stores.

iMac Mini or Mac 21.5

I bought a Mac Mini a month ago. I love it. The only gripe I have is I wished I had a better monitor. But, that’s not the Mac mini’s fault. Lately, I have been thinking about swapping my Mac Mini with the new, cool, sleek, 21 inch iMac. How is that possible? There’s a holiday promotional right now from October 27 until January 7. Any computers bought within this window can be returned or exchanged. Typically, it’s only a two week return policy.

So, I’m debating whether to swap units. The Mac mini that I bought actually has a faster processor than the low end iMac. The Mac mini has a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, while the iMac runs on the 2.7Ghz Intel Core i5 processor. As far as upgrades, the Mac Mini is a lot easier to mod. You can add easily more memory, a second hard drive or SSD to the unit without much of a hassle. The iMac is not so easy. Obviously, the best feature of the 2012 iMac is the screen and the skinny form factor. The only downside with my Mac mini setup is, I need a better monitor.

WordPress 3.5 Media Manager

I recently upgraded to WordPress 3.5. One thing about WordPress updates, they are super easy. One of the best features of WordPress 3.5 is the new Media Manager. Uploading images is a breeze. Just drag and drop a file, or manually choose file and click. Viewing previous uploaded images in the Media Library is a total experience now. Thumbnails of recent uploads are displayed in rows and columns, and they are scrollable. Selecting an image and inserting it to a post is way too easy. Kudos to the development team for a fantastic job with this upgrade, and especially with the work on the new Media Manager.

iPad Mini With Retina Display

It’s a good thing I didn’t get one of those most-sought-after iPad minis this fall. You guessed it. Apple already has plans to upgrade the iPad mini with a retina display sometime next fall. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in such a hurry. I think the Retina display is worth the wait. I wonder if the news/rumors today will dampen everyone’s enthusiasm to purchase them this year, or will people still buy them because they just couldn’t wait. I would wait. That’s what I would do. The only other question left is, will the iPad mini remain at $329.

SMS Text Messaging Turns 20

I can’t believe it. SMS text messaging is 20 years old. Although, it has been around for 20 years, a few people have not use it, or use it sparingly. A few have become billionaires because of SMS, wireless, and telecommunications in general. If you’re curious what the first text message ever was? Here’s an excerpt from CNN’s report.

The first-ever text message was sent December 3, 1992, by software engineer Neil Papworth, to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis, who received the message on his husky Orbitel 901 cell phone. It read simply, “Happy Christmas.”

Six billion SMS (short message service) messages are sent every day in the United States, according to Forrester Research, and over 2.2 trillion are sent a year. Globally, 8.6 trillion text messages are sent each year, according to Portio Research.

SMS messaging is expected to be a $150 billion-a-year industry in 2013, with carriers charging set monthly fees for unlimited texting, or as much as 20 cents per text. The actual cost to carriers for sending a text message is about 0.03 cents.

Marvell 8864 Gigabit Wireless

Marvell, the maker of wireless chips, plans to release the 8864 chip for the wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which is capable of up reaching gigabit speeds. The release is scheduled for some time next year. Excerpt from Computerworld:

The Marvell 8864 chipset increases performance by using four antennas to receive and four to send data, a configuration which is referred to as simply 4×4. Sending and receiving data using multiple antennas is possible thanks to a technology called MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), which is already used in both Wi-Fi and LTE networks.

In addition to MIMO, Marvell’s chipset also uses a technology called beamforming, which improves performance by aiming the signal at the receiver. The way Marvell has implemented beamforming means smartphones, tablets and laptops don’t have to proactively support it to get the advantages.

The combination of multiple antennas with beamforming results in higher speeds, as well improved range and reliability. For users the improvements also mean longer battery life, because devices such as smartphones can “get on and off the air” faster, Giordano said.

To take full advantage of the 8864 chipset’s capabilities, clients also have to have a 4×4 antenna configuration, but other clients will also see significant improvements, Giordano said.

The Marvell chipset will be used on a multitude of different products, including access points, routers, gateways, video bridges and set top boxes, the first of which will start shipping in the middle of next year.

The Most American Car Is

It’s the Toyota Avalon. If you’re American, you most likely heard others urging you to buy American products. There’s nothing absolutely wrong with that. However, with a global economy, the distinction between what is American and what is foreign is becoming blurry. The differences are not always clear cut. Consider automobiles. NPR reports that the Toyota Avalon is more American than the Ford Focus. From NPR:

According to the latest report, the most “American car” is the Toyota Avalon, which is built in Georgetown, Kentucky. Eighty-five percent of that car’s parts are sourced from the U.S and Canada — a higher percentage than for any car made by a U.S.-based manufacturer. Honda just celebrated its 30th anniversary in the U.S.

As foreign car makers have expanded in the U.S., U.S. automakers have expanded overseas. The Ford Fusion, for example, is now made in Mexico.

Read the rest of the NPR article.

RIM Stock Soaring

Remember the Blackberry? I’ve used it for years. Goldman Sachs just upgraded RIM (Research In Motion) sending stocks to soar. Of course, everything hinges on the on the new Blackberry 10 smartphone. Goldman changed RIM’s outlook from Nuetral to Buy, while changing next year’s target price from $9 to $16. Here are some highlights from Yahoo’s article.

Research In Motion rose Thursday after Goldman Sachs upgraded the phone maker’s shares, saying there’s a “30 percent chance” RIM’s much-delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphones will be a success.

Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski lifted RIM to “Buy” from “Neutral,” the latest analyst to voice a slightly more optimistic view for the troubled company. Goldman lifted its 12-monthprice target to $16 from $9.

RIM was once Canada’s most valuable company, with a market value of more than $80 billion in 2008, but shares have sunk due to ground lost to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and phones running Google Inc.’s Android system.

Shares of Research In Motion added 67 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $11.77 in midday trading on the Nasdaq. The stock is up 78 percent since late September — but it’s down 23 percent this year through Wednesday’s close, and has lost more than 90 percent from its 2008 high.

Are You Looking For A Linux Laptop?

You might want to try the Dell XPS 13. Dell is releasing a lightweight 13 inch XPS 13 laptop loaded with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. It’s targeted for mostly developers, but is sold to anyone that’s interested. Here are some highlights from the article published by Computerworld.

For developers.

Over six months, Dell worked with the open-source community to develop tools, drivers and software for the OS to work on XPS 13.

It’s a little bit pricey.

The laptop has an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. Priced at $1,549, it comes with one year of on-site support as part of the package. The laptop is now available in the U.S. and Canada, and will become available in other countries next year.

The company has described the new XPS 13 with Ubuntu as a developer edition, but will sell the product to enterprises and consumers as well.

Some really great features here.

The joint development effort has also led to some new features unique to the laptop. One is called the “profile tool,” which enables developers to easily set up software development environments via quick access to tools for Ruby, JavaScript and Android in the github repositories.

Another feature on XPS 13 is the “Cloud Launcher” which Dell said allows for simulation of cloud environments on the laptop. The simulated environment can then be deployed directly to the cloud.