MP3 Boss

MP3 Boss is a database for organizing, managing, and playing MP3 music files. Using MP3 Boss, you can easily locate any of your MP3 files across all of your hard drives and CDs even over a Local Area Network (LAN). You are able to quickly sort the files by Artist, Album, Title, Category, Filesize, Playtime and more. Convenient navigation buttons let you move through the song files. MP3 Boss lets you filter out songs so that only those songs of interest are shown. Once you select the songs of interest, you can print or preview a report that has only those songs.

MP3 Boss includes routines to quickly scan all your hard drives (or selected drives & directories) for MP3 files, and automatically creates the MP3 database based on MP3 tags, MP3 ID3 tags, MP3 Lyrics tags, MP3 filenames, and MP3 pathnames. In many cases, you wont need to manually enter any information about the MP3 files! Even better, MP3 Boss will let you fully edit the artist, album, title, category, and descriptions of all of the songs in the database. MP3 Boss provides convenient facilities to quickly copy common blocks of information to new songs, and to quickly consolidate multiple spellings of an artist or group into a single spelling. MP3 Boss also provides routines to create MP3 tags (to embed identification information with the MP3 file), and to check all of the files to locate duplicate files. MP3 Boss will identify both exact duplicates and similar songs, and provides a convenient list to let you select duplicate songs to delete. You can also edit the filename or path of any of the songs, or simply click a button to delete any song.

MP3 Boss will link directly to the WinAmp MP3 player, and let you play individual songs or groups of songs. MP3 Boss includes integrated volume control, prior/next song control, shows you the play time of the current song, and lets you immediately jump to the database record of the current song -- to get complete details or edit the record!

 

About MP3 Boss

MP3 Boss is copyright Ó 1999-2002 by OPAL Network (http://www.opalnetwork.org). All rights reserved. This program is protected by US and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, is strictly prohibited.

MP3 Boss requires a Pentium-133 (or faster) computer with at least 16MB (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millenium Edition) or 32MB (Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP) of memory and a 15" or larger sVGA (800x600 or better) monitor. A 17" monitor is recommended.

MP3 Boss and OPAL Network are trademarks of OPAL Network. Microsoft is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.

 

System Requirements

MP3 Boss requires a computer system running under the Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP environment, and thus requires a computer capable of running Windows. The minimum configuration is a Pentium-90 with 16MB of RAM. For acceptable performance, a Pentium-133 with 16MB (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition) or 32MB (Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP) or more of RAM, and 50MB of free hard disk space is recommended. Because of the bit-mapped fonts used in Windows, a 16" or 17" sVGA display is recommended, and a 15" sVGA display (800x600 resolution) is considered as an absolute minimum for running MP3 Boss. Reports can be printed on any printer supported by the Microsoft Windows environment.

 

 

System Setup and Installation

To install from the MP3.EXE setup file:

To install MP3 Boss, simply click on the MP3.EXE file and then follow the instructions on the screen.

From CD:

To install MP3 Boss, place the MP3 Boss installation CD in the CD-ROM drive and choose File Run from Windows Program Manager and enter D:SETUP.EXE (substituting D for your CD-ROM drive letter) and then follow the instructions on the screen.

The default directory structure for MP3 Boss is:

\MP3Boss\

MPEG.mdb: Contains MP3 Boss program and working tables .

Data.mdb: Contains the main tables used to store the song information.

Dupes.mdb: Contains a template file used for Duplicate Table generation.

DupeWork.mdb: Contains a working file used for Duplicate Table review.

Boss.hlp: Contains this Help File

The installation program (setup.exe) will automatically create the appropriate directories and copy the required files into those directories. After the copy process is completed, the setup program adds MP3 Boss to your Windows Start menu.

Once installed, Clicking on the MP3 Boss selection from your Windows Start menu will start the program.

 

 

Table

A table is the location (or container) that stores the project information. The MP3 Boss database is made up of a number of different tables that are linked together. For instance, one table stores the majority of the song information, while separate tables store information about the artists and albums.

 

 

Toolbar

A toolbar is a set of buttons that you can click to perform certain functions. If you are unsure of what a certain icon in the toolbar means, point to the icon with your mouse -- after a few seconds a popup information box (ControlTips) will appear to identify the function.

 

 

Records

A record is the collection of data about a single song. The complete record includes information about the artist, title, album, filesize, playtime and more. Each of the individual items that make up the record is called a field. The artist name is an example of a field.

 

 

Cursor Movement

There are several ways to move around on the MP3 Boss screens. The mouse allows you to quickly select any field. The cursor keys allow you to quickly jump from field to field. In addition, the Enter Key and the Tab Key move in a logical way to the next field. Holding the Shift key down while pressing Tab will move in reverse order (from the bottom to the top of the screen)

 

 

Field

An element of a table that contains a specific piece of information, such as an artists name, the album name, or the playtime.

 

 

Close and Exit

To exit MP3 Boss, click on either of the buttons at the top right corners of the MP3 Boss screen.

 

 

Filesize

This read-only entry gives the filesize (in bytes) of the MP3 song.

 

 

Read-Only

You will not be able to change this entry. However, in most cases you will be able to highlight the entry to copy the text. After dragging the mouse cursor over the text you wish to copy, click the right mouse button and select Copy. Once the text is selected, you can paste the text into another application (e.g., Notepad).

 

Playtime

This read-only entry gives the playtime of the MP3 song (in seconds).

 

Short

This True-False entry indicates that the song in question is short meaning that it is not the complete song.

 

Glitch

This True-False entry indicates that the song is imperfect in some way, for instance if it has significant pops & clicks.

 

Radio

This True-False entry indicates that the song was acquired off the radio.

 

Title

This entry gives the (complete) title of the song. The title can be up to 255 characters long.

 

Live

This True-False entry indicates that this is a live recording.

 

Artist

This entry lists the song artist or song group. The artist field can be easily sorted and searched.

 

Comment

This entry gives any comments about the song. The comment can include additional information on the type of song, characteristics of the songs, information on how the song was acquired, or any general details. There are two different comments available in MP3 Boss. The comment shown in the List View can only contain 29 characters, since it is directly tied to the ID3v1 tag specification. The comment in the Detail View can contain up to 65,535 characters of information.

 

Searching

The Search section of MP3 Boss allows you to select multiple filters so that only the songs of interest are shown. MP3 Boss lets you search on Artist, Album, or category from simple drop-down selection boxes. To enter information into these boxes, simply type the information or scroll down the list and click on the desired selection. You can also type an entry into the "Filter for:" box. The "Filter for:" box lets you use a single entry to search any or all of Artist, Album, Title, Filename, and Filepath. Once you have selected the desired filter criteria, click on the Go button to apply the filter. Note that only a single filter can be applied at a time (i.e., it is not currently possible to specify both an Artist and Album).

 

Filter

A Filter lets you specify the criteria (e.g. Artist=Jefferson Airplane) that will limit the number of articles displayed and printed. MP3 Boss lets you select the criteria from dropdown lists. Once you have selected the desired criteria, click on the Go button to apply the filter.

 

Search-Artist

This drop-down lets you filter the songs, hiding songs that are of no interest. Select the Artist from the drop-down list. Click the Go button to apply the filter. Once the filter is applied, you can simply click the Unfiltered checkbox at the top of the screen to remove the filter.

 

Search-Album

This drop-down lets you filter the songs, hiding songs that are of no interest. Select the Album from the drop-down list. Click the Go button to apply the filter. Once the filter is applied, you can simply click the Unfiltered checkbox at the top of the screen to remove the filter.

 

Search-Category

This drop-down lets you filter the songs, hiding songs that are of no interest. Select the Category (User Category) from the drop-down list. Click the Go button to apply the filter. Once the filter is applied, you can simply click the Unfiltered checkbox at the top of the screen to remove the filter.

 

Search-Filter For

This drop-down lets you filter the songs, hiding songs that are of no interest. Enter a word (e.g., Airplane) or words (e.g. Jefferson Airplane) to specify the selection criterion, and then click the checkboxes (Artist, Album, Filename, Filepath, Title) that you wish to search. Click the Go button to apply the filter. Once the filter is applied, you can simply click the Unfiltered checkbox at the top of the screen to remove the filter.

The filter is based on an approximate match of the word you enter. For instance, if you were to enter the word airplane and select the Artist checkbox, songs by

Jefferson Airplane and the Airplanes would be shown, but not the Arplanes.

To match all three songs, you would enter planes (or PLANES case is NOT important).

 

Preview Report

Previewing a report shows you how it will look on the printed page. Click the Preview Report button to see a listing of all of the songs in the current filtered set. If desired, you can verify which songs are selected by reviewing every page in the report. Use the navigation buttons in the lower-left corner of the window to move through the pages of the report. Click Close to close the Preview Report window, or click Print to print the report.

 

Print Report

Click the Print Report button to print a listing of all of the articles in the current filtered set. If desired, you can verify which articles are selected by previewing every page in the report before selecting Print Report.

 

 

Navigation Buttons

Use the navigation buttons in the lower-left corner of the window (or in the toolbar menu) to move through the journal articles, or through the pages of a Previewed report.

 

Copy

Copy (Edit menu, Toolbar, and Shortcut menu

Copies the selected (highlighted) text to the Clipboard so you can insert it elsewhere. For instance, you may want to use copy to copy an articles title to paste into a report or memo you are creating.

 

 

Close

Close button (File Menu and Toolbar)

Closes the active window. Usually used to close the Preview Report view. To EXIT MP3 Boss, click the EXIT button.

 

 

Exit

Close and Exit (File menu and Toolbar)

Ends your MP3 Boss session and exits back to your Windows operating system.

 

 

What's This? Help

Click the Whats This? Help button and then click on the item of interest a popup help message will appear to describe the item.

 

Find

Find (Edit menu and Shortcut menu)

Searches for a string or part of a string, such as an artists name. Once you click on Find, you will get a dialog box similar to that shown below. Enter the text you want to search for in the Find What box. You can Search Up (toward the first article), Down (toward the last article), or All (searches All articles).

Select one of the Match types: Any Part Of Field ("berg" finds Bergen and Heidelberg), Match Whole Field ("London" finds London, but not Londonderry), or Start Of Field ("berg" finds Bergen, but not Heidelberg).

Select (check) the Match Case selection to finds only text that has the same pattern of upper and lower case as the text you specified in the Find What box.

Select (check) the Search Fields as Formatted selection to find data based on its display format (for example, a date stored as the number, 1/5/92, but displayed as, 05-Jan-92). Searching this way is usually slowest. Clear to find data based on its value. This selection will usually have no effect (other than to slow down the search) on a MP3 Boss search since all of the fields are stored as text.

Search Only Current Field lets you specify that you want to search through the entire database (all records) in the current column (field) only. This is usually the fastest search, and the most commonly used mode. Clear the checkbox to search through all fields. If more than 1 field is highlighted (e.g. if you've highlighted both Artist & Album), when you click the "Find" menu item, then the "Current Field" entry is unchecked.

 

 

 

Page Setup

Page Setup (File menu)

Controls margin settings (such as margin width), page settings (such as orientation and paper size), and layout options for forms and reports (such as the number of columns to print).

 

Find Next

Find Next (Edit menu and Shortcut menu)

Finds the next occurrence of a string entered in the Find dialog box, such as an artists name.

 

Unfiltered

Click the Unfiltered checkbox to remove any filter that has been applied.

 

True-False

An entry that can take either of two values, either TRUE or FALSE. Typically, this entry will be shown as a checkbox, with a check in the checkbox indicating a TRUE response.

 

List View

The List View is where you will interact with your MP3 list after the songs have been scanned into the database. Using this screen, you can:

Delete File:

Highlight a record and click the Delete File button. The MP3 file (and MP3 record information) will be automatically deleted (after you confirm that that is what you want to do). To delete just the MP3-Boss record (and not delete the file), press the Delete key while the cursor is on the record in List View. Note that in this case that if you scan the directory again, the file will be added again.

Filters:

Select an Artist, Category, or Album and then click the Go button to show ONLY the records that match the selection. Or, enter text in the Filter For box, and then click the Go button to show only the records that include that text (or similar text unless Exact is checked) in the Artist, Album, Filename, Filepath, or Title.

Hide:

Hide Removable dont show any of the CD-ROM records

Hide Glitched dont show any of the records marked short or glitch

Show >65 Chars ONLY used to cleanup filenames before writing the MP3 file to CD (CD-ROMs usually wont accept filenames longer than 65 characters).

CopyDown:

Highlight single or multiple columns, and multiple rows and then click the copydown button the information in the first row will be duplicated in all of the highlighted rows. A great way to quickly mark all of the songs in a album with album and artist information. To copy multiple columns effectively, just move the columns around as desired and then sort them the way you want before using the CopyDown function. CopyDown can also be used to clear information.

Detail:

Click this button to see the details of the selected MP3 file you will see the full ID3, ID3v2, and lyrics information (in addition to the MP3 Boss specific information like long-comments).

Add to Play:

Highlight one or more rows and then click the Add to Play button all of those songs will be added to the WinAmp playlist. You will get a dialog asking if you should Add this song to the playlist click YES to simply add the song, click NO to replace the playlist with the selected songs, or click CANCEL if you decide you dont want to change the playlist.

Play:

Select a song and click the Play button to immediately play the selected song. The song will be added to the playlist if it doesnt exist in the playlist, or the MP3 player will simply jump to that song if it already exists in the playlist.

MP3 Player Controls:

These are the standard MP3 Player controls use these controls to control the volume, or to start, stop or pause play. You can also jump to the prior or next track.

Show and Rating:

Click one of the Rating icons to mark the currently playing song as Great (Happy Face) or Horrible (Hands over ears). You can click on the question mark to remove the rating. Click the checkboxes above each icon to add (checked) or remove (unchecked) the specific category from the list of MP3 records shown.

Find:

Immediately jump to the record that identifies the song that is currently playing. Great to quickly get details about the song that is playing, and also useful to first jump to that record so that you can click the Delete button and delete the file.

 

 

Scan

SCAN your drives for MP3 files -- MP3 Boss will automatically create the database based on tag (ID3, Lyric, and ID3v2) and filename information. If your MP3 files are organized into well-defined directories, all of that information is easy to incorporate into the database during the scan.

By default, after a quick initial scan of your drives, MP3 Boss will let you enter comment information about your drive volumes (particularly useful to help identify a specific CD-ROM), and also lets you identify every directory. Only volumes and directories that have newly-scanned MP3 files will be shown. The directory list lets you enter artist, album, and category information.

When MP3 Boss first scans the file, it tries to populate the database with information (e.g., Artist/Album/Title) it obtains in the following order:

ID3v2 tag

Lyrics tag

ID3v1 tag

Specified directory information (you can specify how it uses the directory information on a per-directory basis)

Filename information (Artist - Album - Title.mp3)

Usually the easiest way to get started is simply to click the "Scan ALL Drives" button. To only scan specific directories, click the 'Select' button to browse for a new drive or directory to scan. The directory you select will still be there the next time you start MP3-Boss. The check-boxes in the far left column determine which directories are scanned when you click the "Scan Selected Directories" button. NOTE: You can only scan about twenty-thousand (20000) files at one time (depending on available memory) -- otherwise you will get an "Overflow" message during the scan. If you get an "Overflow" message, you should break up the scan into multiple parts (e.g., scanning drives separately instead of clicking "Scan ALL Drives" so that you only scan about 20000 files at a time.

If a specific directory always contains a songs that fit into a specific category (for instance, the D:\MP3\Christmas songs always being in the "Christmas" category, as shown above), then you can use the drop-down User Category to specify a category on a per-directory basis.

In most cases, you will use the "Refresh" Scan Type. Selecting the "Overwrite" scan type would mean that any song information contained in the file will be used to overwrite existing information in the database (this option is only active when "Add New File ONLY" is NOT selected).

Typically, you will want to Review New Drive information after every directory scan. This gives you a chance to identify new CD's, or to better identify hard drives that have just been scanned. If you change this to Never, then you will need to use the "Review Volumes" button on the Utilities page to identify your drives.

The Review Directory Categories after directories are scanned and Add New Files ONLY selections are checked by default. Typically you will want to review the directory categories after every scan to be sure that the Artist/Album/Category information is set correctly before that information is used to identify the just-scanned songs. The only time you will want to deselect Add New Files ONLY is if something has gone wrong and you want MP3 Boss to overwrite the existing information (normally you would change the to Overwrite at the same time).

You are able to specify the Artist/Album/Category on a per-directory basis in the "Directory Review" screen that comes up after you scan files. Click in the table on the left side to see what you specified for a given directory (you set the default Directory Organization in the Configuration). If you select a default directory organization of "None", then MP3 Boss won't try to use the folder information to fill any of the categories (for that directory).

 

 

 

Utilities

Duplicates:

FIND and DELETE duplicate files. MP3 Boss will perform partial comparisons or full bit-by-bit comparisons and give you a complete report of exact (and partial) matches. You then simply click the files you want to delete! You even get a report of how many megabytes will be freed up.

Click Bit-by-Bit compare if you want to be 100% certain that a duplicate is REALLY a duplicate, and then click on the Find Duplicates button. MP3 Boss will perform a duplicate check:

_ first on the partial CRC-32 (by default, this is based on the first 256KB of each file about 15s).

_ then on the complete CRC-32 (a CRC-32 is ALMOST guarantees uniqueness).

_ optionally a full bit-by-bit compare. This takes the longest (typically 5-30s per comparison), but absolutely guarantees that files marked identical ARE identical.

To find duplicates on your system, you click the "Find Duplicates" button, and then click "View/Process duplicates" -- either while the program is finding the duplicates or after it has completed running find duplicates.

After the duplicate comparison is completed, click on the View/Process Duplicates button to view a list of the duplicate files. There are 3 different views available -- the Form and DataSheet/2-File views show the 2 duplicate files in a single record, while the DataSheet/1-File view shows each file in a second record. Just like in List View, you are able to move the DataSheet columns around on the screen. The Form and DataSheet/2-File views allow you to change the sort-order of the records shown, while the DataSheet/1-File view gives you the ability to play the selected record by right-clicking on a record and selecting Play Song.

Note that the Show Exact Duplicates Only checkbox (at the top of the screen) should be unchecked if you want to view partial matches (often the inexact match simply means that the tag information is different). If this checkbox is checked, then you only see exact duplicates

To delete a file from the Form and DataSheet/2-File views, click the Delete1 checkbox (to delete the 1st file shown) or Delete2 checkbox (to delete the 2nd file shown). The DataSheet/1-File view behaves similarly except you click the Delete checkbox to delete the file shown.

You can click the "Refresh" button at the bottom left corner of the screen to update the bytes marked for deletion. Once you've marked everything, just click the "Process Duplicates" button to delete all of the marked duplicates. You can view/mark/process the files as much as you want -- the table is cleared the next time you click the "Find Duplicates" button.

Cleanup:

In some cases, old MP3 record information, filepath information, or artist information may exist in the MP3 boss database for instance if you have manually deleted MP3 files or removed directories from your system. Simply click the appropriate button. Normally you will want to Ignore CDs/Removable Drives from a record cleanup (otherwise MP3 Boss will delete the database information for any CD that isnt currently in the CD drive). In addition, you can click the Name!!s.mp3 button to cleanup MP3 filenames that have a trailing "!!s" (created with some encoders), or the _Name.mp3_ button to cleanup MP3 filenames that have a starting & trailing underscore (as is sometimes found on newsgroups). Finally, Genre cleanup can be used to make sure that the Genre is set for every record that has a User Category that maps to a Genre (the "Update Empty Genre" checkbox should be checked if you want to update only blank Genre entries).

Review Drives/Directories:

These buttons bring up the Directory Review and Volume Review Lists that are brought up after an MP3 scan. They allow you to correct any errors made in the lists (but note that the system will NOT automatically update the Artist/Album/Category information for any records that were scanned with a previously set the Directory Organization).

Refresh:

This allows you to refresh the CRC-32 calculation (for instance, you may decide that you want the initial calculation based on more than 15s (256KB) of song data, or refresh the drive mapping on network drives.

Miscellaneous:

The Tag editor is only partially implemented. The tag editor currently saves ONLY the ID3v1 information (which is limited to a total of 128 characters, with most fields a maximum 30 characters). The tag editor does not currently update the Lyrics information (but this is a planned enhancement) or ID3v2 information.

Move2CD:

This button makes it easy to quickly update your MP3 Boss database after copying files from your hard drive to CDR drive. See Moved2CD for more information.

Data File Select:

This button lets you specify that you want to use another MP3 Boss database. This might be useful if you want to have separate MP3 Boss databases for each user, or if you simply want to view a database that someone sent to you. This feature is only active on registered copies of MP3 Boss.

Before you can use Data File Select, you will need to manually copy DATA.MDB to a new file to create the new database. The new database must be in your main MP3 Boss directory (e.g., c:\program files\mp3boss).

 

 

Artist Fixup

The Artist Fixup screen lets you quickly correct artist name information. This is the quickest way to make sure that an artist is shown the same way throughout the database. For instance, using Artist Fixup you can quickly change all instances of "The Beatles", "The Beetles", "Betles", and "Beatls" to "Beatles".

TO CORRECT A SINGLE LISTING

Click on the incorrect artists name in the Change FROM column on the left, the artists name will now appear on the right in the Change TO column. Click on the name in the Change TO column and correct it. Then click on the Change Button at the bottom of the screen.

TO CORRECT MULTIPLE INCORRECT LISTINGS

Check the multi select box at the bottom of the Artist Fixup Screen. Then double click on the correct spelling of the artists name in the Change FROM column on the left.

 

Note that this name now appears in the Change TO column click on the right. Holding down the <CTRL> and single click on all other instances where the names are incorrect. Then click on the Change Button bottom of the screen.

AUTO-ARTIST CLEANUP BUTTON

To delete any artists that do not have associated MP3 files press the Auto-Artist Cleanup button. This utility is also found on the Utilities screen (Artist Button).

EDITING MP3 INFORMATION

You can edit some of the information associated with each MP3 on this screen.

PLAY BUTTON

You can play the MP3 by highlighting the title and pressing play.

DETAIL BUTTON

You can edit the MP3 detail record by pressing this button.

DONE BUTTON

When your changes are complete this button returns you to the screen where you selected Artist Fixup.

 

 

HotScan

The HotScan function lets you quickly listen a sample of all of the songs in your current playlist. Simply click the HotScan button, and the MP3 player will:

1) Turn off Shuffle mode (if it is enable) so that the songs will be played in the order of the playlist.

2) Play each song in turn, after first jumping to a position 1 minute into the song (or at the defined StartPlay position)

3) Play the song for 10s before moving to the next song. You can change the play time from the MP3-Boss configuration dialog.

HotScan will continue until all of the songs in the playlist have been played. To stop HotScan, simply click the HotScan button. The flame icon will disappear, and the MP3 Player shuffle mode will be turned back on (if it was originally enabled).

 

 

StartPlay

Set the StartPlay time (the time to jump to before beginning to play a song) in the MP3 List Detail view. In that view, you can set both the StartPlay and Endplay times. The easiest way to set the StartPlay time is to start playing the song while you are in the MP3 Boss List View. Click the "Detail" button just above the Winamp Controls box. You will see a StartPlay and Endplay box with a small CAPture button next to those boxes. Click the CAP button to set the StartPlay & EndPlay times. From that point on, if you click the PLAY button from the MP3 Boss List View it will start and end that song based on those times. Note that MP3 Boss does not yet offer the ability to take over playlist control from Winamp -- therefore MP3 Boss won't use the Start and End play time settings when the song is played as part of a playlist (this feature will be added in the future).

 

 

EndPlay

Set the EndPlay time (the time at which the MP3 player should stop playing the specified song) in the MP3 List Detail view. In that view, you can set both the StartPlay and EndPlay times. The easiest way to set the StartPlay time is to start playing the song while you are in the MP3 Boss List View. Click the "Detail" button just above the Winamp Controls box. You will see a StartPlay and Endplay box with a small CAPture button next to those boxes. Click the CAP button to set the StartPlay & EndPlay times. From that point on, if you click the PLAY button from the MP3 Boss List View it will start and end that song based on those times. Note that MP3 Boss does not yet offer the ability to take over playlist control from Winamp -- therefore MP3 Boss won't use the Start and End play time settings when the song is played as part of a playlist (this feature will be added in the future).

 

 

Backup

Currently, MP3 Boss does not automate the process of creating a backup copy of your song data (but this will be a future enhancement). All of the MP3 data is contained in the DATA.MDB file. If you compact the data first ("Optimize Data" from the Start/Programs/MP3 Boss menu) the data.mdb file will usually be smaller. Also, you can ZIP the file (using a program like WinZip) to make the data file even smaller.

Your List View Profiles information is all kept in the PROFILES.MDB file. If you have created a lot of custom profiles, you may want to create a backup.

 

Shuffle

Winamp will automatically play the songs in a random order when Shuffle is ON. You can toggle the Shuffle status by clicking the Shuffle button in either Winamp or MP3 Boss (List View/Winamp Controls). Note that MP3 Boss only reads the Winamp Shuffle status when it first starts up, and when the Shuffle button in MP3 Boss is clicked -- therefore, a changing the Shuffle status in Winamp will not be reflected in MP3 Boss. Normally you should use the Shuffle button in MP3 Boss once MP3 Boss is active.

 

Linux

MP3 Boss can run under the Linux operating system by using the WINE Windows emulator. However, the file operations (copy, move, rename and delete) won't work because of the way Access handles file operations. Also, WinAmp doesn't work correctly under the WINE emulator. Please let me know if you find alternative Windows emulators that work well with both MP3 Boss and Winamp.

 

Normalization

When using a large playlist with Winamp, you may find that the volume is different from song to song. This is particularly distracting when playing songs at low volume (e.g., at your workplace). A volume equalizer or volume normalizer ("normalization") will automatic change the volume based on the sound level. The best volume normalizer I have found for Winamp is Audiostocker. Audiostocker is available free of charge at:

http://users.one.se/liket/mp3stock/audiostocker.zip

I've haven't found any other plugins that work as well as Audiostocker (but please let me know if you find one that works even better). Audiostocker lets you set the harshness of the normalization, from barely detectable to agressive (like an FM Rock station). I find that setting the Range to 18dB, max. EQ to +6dB, and Compression to Medium works very well for my environment (normally I play songs on the soft side). If you haven't used Audiostocker before, you will be amazed at how well it handles the dynamic range (particularly important when playing classical music softly).

Some CD rippers will let you normalize the volume of the songs when you rip them. If you already have the MP3 file, it is possible to convert your MP3 to WAV, normalize the WAV file (e.g., with GoldWave), and then convert back to MP3. While this is possible, I don't recommend it. First, it is simply much easier to simply normalize the volume on the fly. To convert from MP3 to WAV and back to MP3 will take quite a bit of tiem. Even worse, every time you convert from WAV to MP3 you lose a bit of sound quality, since MP3 compression is a lossy compression technique (just like JPG for graphics). Before you go to all of this trouble, give Audiostocker a try...

 

Runtime

I sometimes get asked if it is possible to remove the runtime version of Access that is provided with MP3 Boss, and run directly from a full copy of Access 97.

Some people have been successful with this procedure, so feel free to give it a try (it will free up about 5MB hard disk space), but I have not specifically tested it and can't provide any custom support for running MP3 Boss under a full copy of Access 97.

To see if your copy of MS Access will run MP3 Boss, open your copy of Access and then click on MPEG.MDE to start MP3 Boss. Once you have verified that MP3 Boss seems to run okay, you can then rename/delete the MS Access Runtime directory that MP3 Boss creates during installation. Normally this is in the c:\program files\Access 97 Runtime directory. I recommend first RENAMING the directory and making sure that MP3 Boss still runs before you delete the runtime directory (although re-installing the full version of MP3 Boss will re-create the runtime directory). As long as you only use the MP3 Boss updates (and not the full installation package), the Access Runtime directory won't be re-created the next time you install MP3 Boss.

Again, I haven't specifically tested this configuration, but I believe it will work (and others have had success with it). Don't use the MP3 Boss uninstall feature to remove the Runtime, since there are a number of registry entries and DLL's that would be removed. The Install.Log in the c:\program files\mp3boss directory gives all of the information as far as keys, DLLS, and directories that are created when MP3 Boss is installed.

 

Winamp

MP3 Boss assumes that you will be using Winamp to play the songs -- it automatically pops up when you go into List View (since MP3 Boss sends file lists and other messages directly to Winamp). Certain features of MP3 Boss require Winamp v2.0 or later, although MP3 Boss is compatible with earlier versions.

 

Rename

MP3 Boss makes it very easy to rename or move your files. Simply change the name of the file in the List View, and the file will be renamed. Similarly, change the name of the filepath in the List View, and the file will be moved. If you combine changing a filepath with the CopyDown button, you can very quickly move groups of files to new directories or drives. Moving files is done entirely in a background thread, so you can continue to use MP3 Boss while the file move is ongoing. MP3 Boss supports intelligent file moves, so it will do an in-place name change if the new path is on the same drive as the original path. You can view the list of files being moved by pressing the View button that appears at the top of the List View, or cancel the move by pressing the STOP button. The View file list will show you the total number of bytes being moved at the bottom of the screen. In addition, you can sort or search the file move list to see if a specific file is already in line to move.

 

CopyDown

The CopyDown button allows you to perform global operations in List View. Simply highlight the field or fields that you want to change, and then press the CopyDown button to make all of the field entries below the first identical to the first entry. For instance:

If one were to press the CopyDown button after highlighting the area above, the FilePath for all 4 selected paths would change to i:\Music\Pet Shop Boys\. Notice that in this case, the files would actually be moved to the new path as part of the operation. In other cases, only the database contents are changed. Any number of columns and rows can be highlighted before you press the CopyDown operation. If you want to change several columns of information at once, and the columns are not next to each other, simply move the column order (by dragging the column heading) before highlighting the fields.

 

Selecting Fields

There are a number of ways to select (or highlight) a field in MP3 Boss. In List View, if you move to the left edge of a column separator, the cursor changes to a white cross. If you click the mouse button, the entire field will be selected. If you drag the mouse while holding down the mouse button after selecting that entire field, you can select multiple fields (rows and/or columns). If you prefer the keyboard, after clicking to select the entire field, hold down the shift button and use the arrow keys to highlight a region.

Another way to select an entire field is to place the text (or insertion) cursor in the field and then drag the mouse while holding down the mouse button. Usually it is easiest to place the text cursor at the end of the text and then drag to the start of the text. Alternatively, while in the field, press the Home key, hold down the shift button and press the End key.

 

Moved2CD

The Moved2CD button on the utilities page lets you quickly update the MP3 Boss database when you have copied files from your hard disk to CDR (writeable CD-ROM). Simply click the Moved2CD button, select the drive that has the CD, and then click the OK button. MP3 Boss will automatically search the CD and MP3 Boss database to locate matching files. If the files match, then it will automatically compare and delete the duplicate file that is on the hard disk (if that check box selection is selected). Note that it can take several minutes per file to compare the file on the CDR to the file on the hard disk if you have selected a Bit-by-Bit comparison. In most cases, a simple CRC32 comparison is satisfactory, but a full Bit-by-Bit compare absolutely ensures that the files are identical.

 

 

Reports

MP3 Boss includes a number of reports -- to create PlayList, CD ROM Labels, and other reports. Simply click the Tab at the top of the Report dialog to select Standard Reports, CD Label Reports, CD Reports, or PlayList Reports. In most cases, you have the ability to specify a Report Label header color (click the Label Color region to specify another color), and other options on each report. In addition, you can preview or print the report. In some cases you have the option to send the report to a Text file, HTML file or RTF file.

The Standard reports include the Main report and PlayBook report. The Main report simply lists the songs that are currently in the MP3 Boss List View. The Playbook report lists all of the songs in a specific user category. After adding comments (and user category in the case of the Playbook report), simply select the Print or Preview and then click the Create Main or Create Playbook button as appropriate.

 

CD Label Reports let you quickly generate CD Label Inserts for your CD cases. Simply select the CD(s) from the list box, or click GetCD to print the label for a CD currently in the drive. To select multiple CDs, simply hold the Ctrl key while you click (or hold the Shift key to highlight a range). You can create CD Label Inserts with the Artist, Album or Title shown on the report. The Volumes button lets you specify what to show for Volume information on the CD Label. After making your selections, click the Print Labels button to Print or Preview the report.

 

 

The CD Report lets you create reports that show the contents of specific CDs. Three different report printout styles are available (Report1, Report2, Report3). Select a CD and preview each report in turn to see the differences between the reports. Report1 is similar to the Playbook report (Song #, Artist and Title in a columnar report). Report2 shows the song

titles by author.

 

 

The PlayList Reports let you create Text, HTML, RTF, or printed reports showing the current playlist information. You are able to show the Filename, Title, Artist-Title, or Artist-Album-Title information. The Filename report lets you show either the Directory/Filename or just the Filename information (Hide Dir clicked).

 

Profiles

Profiles let you customize the MP3 Boss List View. You are able to show & hide columns, change the order of the columns, set the column width, freeze columns, and much more.

Other settings include: Font, Font Size, Font Color, Background Color, Background Image, Grid Line color, and Auto-Fit for best column width.

The default profile is the profile that is automatically applied every time you first bring up the List View. You can create saved custom profiles by simply entering a new name into the View Name field. You will be asked if you want to create the new profile before the new profile is saved. When you first create the new profile, it will be created with the current settings. As you modify the settings, you can click the Update Profile button to save those changed settings. Click the Apply button to apply the changes to the List View.

View: This is the short name for the profile. The Default profile is automatically applied and updated. To create a new (saved) profile, simply type the desired name of a new profile -- you will be asked to confirm that you want to create a new profile. To use a previously created profile, simply click on the desired profile in the drop-down list and then click the Apply button. You can also browse the list of profiles by clicking on the record selectors at the bottom left of the List View Settings dialog. Click the Edit View Names button if you want to change the names of a View profile. You can delete any profile (other than the default profile) by either clicking on the bar on the left side of the List View Settings dialog, or by deleting the record in the Edit View Names view.

Description: A descriptive name for the profile

Background Picture: You can show a BMP, PCX, WMF, or ICO file in place of the normal gray background. Once you specify a picture, you can change a number of settings to change the picture placement and size. Click the Browse button to browse your computer's hard drives to locate a graphics file. JPG and GIF format graphics are not supported -- you will need to use a graphics program to convert JPG or GIF images to one of the supported formats.

Size Mode: You can Clip, Stretch, or Zoom the picture.

Clip: The picture is displayed in its actual size. If the picture is larger than the form or report, then the picture is clipped (i.e., the edges of the picture won't be shown).

Stretch: The picture is stretched horizontally and vertically to fill the entire form, even if its original ratio of height to width is distorted.

Zoom: The picture is enlarged to the maximum extent possible while keeping its original ratio of height to width.

Alignment: Specifies where the background picture will be placed.

Top Left: The picture is displayed in the top-left corner of the List View window.

Top Right:The picture is displayed in the top-right corner of the List View window.

Center: The picture is centered in List View window.

Bottom Left: The picture is displayed in the bottom-left corner of the List View window.

Bottom Right:The picture is displayed in the bottom-right corner of the List View window. 4

Form Center: The picture is centered horizontally in relation to the width of the form and vertically in relation to the height the entire form.

Picture Tiling: Specify whether a background picture is tiled across the entire List View window. If the picture is smaller than the screen and Picture Tiling is selected, multiple copies of the picture will be shown to fill the screen. The starting position of the picture is set by the Picture Alignment setting

Transparent Filter/Player Controls: Select this to remove the opaque background from the Filter and MP3 Player controls. This will let you see more the picture.

Set Font: Click this button to bring up the Set Font dialog. This will let you set the font for the List View datasheet. You are able to change the Font, the Font Size, and set Bold & Italics. The row height will be automatically changed to 'best height' based on the new font size (but you can change that height in the List View).

GridLine Color: Press this button to change the gridline color using the Select Color dialog that appears.

Grid Lines: Allows you to set which gridlines are displayed. You can turn off grid lines ONLY if Grid Cell Effects is set to Flat (the default).

None: No gridlines are displayed.

Horizontal: Only horizontal gridlines are displayed.

Vertical: Only vertical gridlines are displayed.

Both: (Default) Horizontal and vertical gridlines are displayed.

Grid Cell Effects:

Flat: (Default) No special effects are applied to the cells in the datasheet.

Raised: Cells in the datasheet appear raised.

Sunken: Cells in the datasheet appear sunken.

Set Foreground color: Click this button to set the color of the font in the List View datasheet. Normally the foreground color is black, but you can choose any color from the Select Color dialog.

Set Background color: Click this button to set the background color of the List View datasheet. Normally the background color is white, but you can choose any color from the Select Color dialog.

Allow Editing when this Profile is Active: De-Select this checkbox if you want to use the current profile for Viewing ONLY (no editing). If deselected, you will be able to VIEW the contents of the datasheet, but you won't be able to make any changes to the contents. The configuration settings allow you to password protect profiles -- in this way, you could create a GUEST profile that would only allow viewing the table -- and the Guest wouldn't be able to make changes to the profile (to allow editing) because of the password protection. Note that if you make a datasheet read-only and password protect the profiles, you will not be able to make changes to the profile or edit the data if you lose your password -- so be sure to keep your password in a safe place if you use this option. By default, profiles allow table editing, and password protection is OFF.

Frozen Columns: Click the UP or Down arrows to set the number of Frozen Columns. Frozen Columns are columns on the left side of the datasheet that don't move when you scroll horizontally through the datasheet. Set the number of Frozen Columns to Zero (0) if you want to turn OFF frozen columns.

Show All Columns: Click this button if you want to show all the List View columns.

Reset All: Click this button if you want to set all of the properties to their default values. After clicking this button, click the Apply button if you want to see the change, or click Update Profile if you simply want to update the profile.

Reset Order: Click this button to change the column order to the default order. After clicking this button, click the Apply button if you want to see the change, or click Update Profile if you simply want to update the profile.

Set Best Width: Click this button to automatically set the width of each of the visible columns based on the contents shown. Note that this will NOT automatically set the width based on the longest content in the entire table -- but only on the content currently displayed. If you want to automatically have the width of the columns set to the 'Best' width, then click the AutoFit checkbox. AutoFit will automatically change the displayed width of the columns every time you click inside the datasheet.

AutoFit: Click the AutoFit button if you want the width of the datasheet columns to be automatically changed based on the width of the displayed information in each column. AutoFit will update the width whenever you click anywhere in the datasheet (if the width is not already 'Best' fit). Note that AutoFit can be distracting, since it will NOT automatically grow to the widest setting, but instead change the width based on the information currently viewable in the table. If you are editing the table contents, in most cases it is better to choose 'Set Best Width' and then increase the width as necessary to allow the widest content instead of using AutoFit. However, when simply viewing the table, AutoFit is often quite useful since it allows you to see the maximum amount of information without having to scroll horizontally.

Update Profile: Click this button to update the current Profile to the current List View settings. You should click this button after changing column order, column width or row height -- or any other features that you in the List View -- so the Profile is updated.

Apply: Click this button to update the List View settings to the settings of the current Profile. You will need to click the Apply button to see the background picture, transparent controls, and frozen columns -- since you can ONLY set those features from the profile dialog.

OK: Click the OK button to close the List View Settings dialog.

Picture Tiling

Specify whether a background picture is tiled across the entire List View window. If the picture is smaller than the screen and Picture Tiling is selected, multiple copies of the picture will be shown to fill the screen. The starting position of the picture is set by the Picture Alignment setting.

 

 

Database

The data records in MP3 Boss are all stored in the file: DATA.MDB, which is a Microsoft Access database. This makes it reasonably easy for you to retrieve the information if you want to put the data into a different format. If you have Access, open the DATA.MDB file, and you can see the individual tables that make up MP3 Boss.

In addition, if you simply select the desired cells in the List View, and then Copy those cells, you can directly paste the contents into other applications such as Excel. Often this is the easiest way to transfer information -- although you can also create reports in text format.

 

Moving Files

Just change the filepath in the MP3 Boss List View to move the file -- everything in the database will stay up to date while the file is moved in the background. If you move a file to the same drive, the change is nearly instantaneous. If you move the file to another drive, the time it takes depends on the speed of the drives and the speed of the computer -- in all cases, however, the move is done in the background so that you are able to continue working. Even moving the song that is being played is handled, although you may hear an audible glitch when the transfer is completed.

If you copy mp3 files to CDR, you can use the Move2CD function (in the utilities page) to automatically scan the CDR. MP3 Boss will then compare the files on the CDR to the similar file on the hard drive, and delete the file on the hard drive (if it is identical). This is the quickest way to move files from the hard drive to CDR. Simply use your CD creation software (e.g., Adaptec Easy-CD) to copy the desired MP3 files. Then, simply scan the CDR using the Move2CD function.

Moving files is one of the real advantages of MP3 Boss -- it doesn't care where the files are located.

 

 

Detail

The MP3 Boss Detail page is brought up by clicking the Detail button found on the List View page. The Detail page includes Lyrics, ID3v1, and ID3v2 tag information. Also, you set the StartPlay and EndPlay times from the detail view.

 

Tags

ID3v1, ID3v2, and Lyrics tags are standard ways of embedding descriptive information directly in an MP3 file. The descriptive information is known as a "tag". MP3 Boss will read that information (if available) to populate the database. Also, MP3 Boss can write ID3v1 tag information to MP3 files.

The ID3v1 tag consists of Artist/Album/Title/Category & Track number only. In addition, the maximum length of any of the fields is 30 characters (the entire tag is only 128 bytes long). This makes the ID3v1 tag a bit of a pain to use. Winamp directly supports ID3v1 tags.

The ID3v2 and Lyrics tags let you enter a lot more information, but only a few programs support them.

MP3 Boss tries to get the information to populate the database from the internal tags before it uses the filename & filepath to determine the Artist/Album/Title. Because ID3v2 and Lyrics can provide more information than ID3v1, MP3 Boss assumes that ID3v2 and Lyrics will provide better information than ID3v1 -- but there are a few cases where people (or auto-taggers) have entered more complete information into ID3v1 but kept an ID3v2 tag with limited information. Unfortunately, I don't think MP3 Boss will ever be able to correctly handle that case.

 

Directory Review

You are able to specify the Artist/Album/Category on a per-directory basis in the "Directory Review" screen that comes up after you scan files (you can also click the "Review Directories" button from the Utilities page). Click in the table on the left side to see what you specified for a given directory (you set the default Directory Organization in the Configuration). If you select a default directory organization of "None", then MP3 Boss won't try to use the folder information to fill any of the categories (for that directory). To change the Directory organization for a specific directory, just click a different radio button in the "Selected Directory organized by" section. For instance, if you click Artist\Album for a directory named h:\MyMP3s\Beatles\WhiteAlbum then the Category will be blank, the Artist set to Beatles, and the Album set to WhiteAlbum. After selecting an appropriate Directory organization, you can directory select or edit the Category/Artist/Album information (by selecting an item from the drop-down, or typing in new text).

The "ID3 Tag info overrides entered category/artist/album info?" can also be set on a per-directory basis here. If you known that the directory structure is better than the ID3 Tag information, then you can select No here. If you know that the ID3 Tag information could be better than the directory structure information, select Yes here. Otherwise, select the "Use Default Setting" that was defined on the Configuration page.

To edit drive volume information, see the Volume Review page.

 

 

Edit View Names

This screen lets you change the List View Settings (Profiles) View Names and Descriptions. You are also able to delete unwanted profiles from this view.

 

 

Configuration

 

The configuration dialog screen lets you set your Name and Company, your MP3 Player location, and many other configuration details. After making your changes, click the OK button to close the dialog.

Report Config: Allows you to specify some default Report settings.

Statistics: Click this button to view some user statistics.

Volume Adjust: Some sound cards do not behave properly with the Normal selection -- those sound cards will turn up the volume every time you first enter the List View. For those sound cards, the SetOnly setting is recommended.

Use Profile Password: Select this box if you want to password protect your List View Profile settings. If you enable List View Profile passwords, be sure you store this password in a safe place, since enabling the password could easily make it impossible for you to edit your mp3 song database.

Title Color: Click this button to bring up the Select Color dialog to select the default color for many of the titles in MP3 Boss. The button will reflect the currently selected color combination.

Player Location: In most cases, MP3 Boss will automatically locate your MP3 Player. If MP3 Boss is unable to locate the player, click the Browse button to find the player.

CRC_Size: Selects the CRC_Size used to identify MP3 songs. The CRC calculation allows MP3 Boss to quickly locate similar MP3 songs (even if the filename, title, or size is different). The larger the CRC_Size, the more accurate the determination -- but a larger CRC will take longer to calculate. Also, if the CRC_Size is larger than the file size, then only exact matches will be compared. 256KB is the recommended setting.

HotScan time: Use this setting to change the play preview time for HotScan. HotScan is an MP3-Boss feature that lets you listen to a short sound bite from all of the songs in your playlist. The default time is 10s.

Default Directory Organization: When MP3 Boss performs a scan, if it is unable to determine the Artist/Album/Category based on internal identification tags, it will look at the directory name to determine the Artist/Album/Category. You should specify a setting here that reflects your typical directory organization. Note that you are always able to change the directory organization (on a per-directory basis) immediately after each initial mp3 scan.

ID3 tag information overrides directory Organization: This setting specifies that the tag information should be used to identify the Artist, Album, Title etc. even though a default directory organization is specified. For instance, if you have specified that the default organization if Artist\Album and the directory that is being scanned is Beatles\WhiteAlbum -- normally the Artist would be set to Beatles and the Album to White Album, independent of whether tag information is available. In some cases, you may want the tag information to override your directory organization setting.

 

Categories and Genres

The Genre is the list of song categories as defined in the ID3v1 tag specification. The Genre list cannot be modified, since the ID3v1 tag specifies that a specific category ID code is associated with a specific category. The user category in MP3 Boss is initially from the ID3v1 tag specification, but allows you to add additional categories not defined in the ID3v1 specification. You may think that many of the categories are quite strange (how many types of acid punk do you really need?) -- that's why MP3 Boss allows you to enter additional categories. Simply type a new category, and after MP3 Boss verifies that you want to create the category, the new category will be in the drop-down menu. Categories you create are all given internal ID numbers higher than 256, since the ID3v1 tag specification only allows 255 categories.

Since the first 150 categories in the categories list are tied to the ID3v1 tag, there isn't a method to remove those categories since that would mean that it wouldn't be possible to identify the correct ID3v1 category for scanned files. However, by adding an exclamation point as the first character of any user categories you enter, for instance:

!Mitch's Tunes

the categories you enter will be shown first in the drop-down list. You can provide additional sub-sorting by adding other characters that are sorted prior to the ID3v1 categories. For instance, using a "period" or the number "1" as the first character of a user category will make those categories appear after those beginning with an exclamation mark, but before the ID3v1 categories.

When you change the User category for a song, the Genre is automatically updated with the category information if the User Category is from the original Genre specification. MP3-Boss includes a Genre cleanup utility (Utilities page) that allows you to automatically update the Genre with the User Category information.

If you would like to translate the original Genre list into another language, you can use Access97 to edit the "User_Category" table. However:

1) All tables are in Access97 format. If you use Access2000 or Access2002, make sure that you don't update the format. If you update the format, MP3-Boss would no longer be able to read the data.

2) All category IDs less than 255 are "standard" categories that are defined by the ID3v1 format. Therefore, you really can't delete or change those categories (other than to translate them to another language). Since many mp3 files have embedded ID3v1 tags, and those tags store ONLY the category ID -- if you change these categories they will no longer be correctly scanned (and any ID3v1 tags you save with your categories won't be correct). If you don't intend to use the ID3v1 tags, and don't care if the category information is scanned incorrectly -- then you could change the meaning of

these standard categories, but you CANNOT delete any of those categories since they are used for lookup tables. All of the categories >255 are categories that you can enter freely (ID3v1 only supports up to 255 categories).

If you have translated the Genre table into another language, feel free to send me a copy of the table -- if I get enough different languages, I will add the ability to select the language from within MP3-Boss.

 

 

How do I reset the song ID?

After deleting all of the records (in List View), you will need to compact the database to reset the ID numbers (select Optimize Data from the Windows Start/Programs/MP3Boss menu). Alternatively, if you really want to start everything from scratch, you could just replace your DATA.MDB & MPEG.MDE files with the original DATA.MDB and MPEG.MDE files from the MP3 Boss installation.

I don't plan on creating an automatic way of renumbering all of the songs, because of data integrity issues -- that song ID is the unique identifier that holds all of the database tables together (and MP3 Boss has almost 50 different tables!). Typically, the song ID is just a quick way of sorting the songs in the order in which they were scanned -- a nice method to find your just-scanned songs. Every time you delete a record, the ID associated with that record is deleted (and not re-used), so don't be surprised when the ID's are in exact numerical order. The ID numbers will only be in ascending order when the records are sorted based on the ID. Filtering or sorting the records based on other fields will again show the list of song ID in other than ascending order -- so there is really no need to go through this delete/compact/restart cycle to reset the ID's.

 

Does MP3 Boss support mouse scrolling?

On systems with a Microsoft mouse & the Intellipoint driver, the List View will support scrolling with the mouse wheel as long as the cursor is over the list. Hold it over the horizontal scroll bar to scroll horizontally. When using other mice with mouse wheel support and drivers, you may need to activate the ability to use the mouse wheel with applications that don't talk to the mouse wheel natively.

Some customers have found that wheel mouse operation is inconsistent -- typically this is the fault of the wheel-mouse driver. In many cases, simply calling up the Mouse driver from Control Panel will fix the problem for the session -- unfortunately, I am not aware of a method to do this automatically. If anyone has information on how to activate the mouse control panel driver automatically when initializing MP3-Boss, please send the information to: features@mp3-boss.com.

In addition, I have seen MouseWheel.DLL drivers that probably would serve to activate the mouse simply by having MP3-Boss request information about the mouse status. However, all of the drivers on the web appear to require Visual Basic libraries (and embedded Access97 API calls require the problematic AddressOf operator). If you have any information on a stand-alone MouseWheel driver that will work well with an Access97 runtime (e.g., a C-based DLL), please send the information to features@mp3-boss.com.

Again, if you find any information about this, or figure out an easy workaround, I would be interested in hearing about it...

 

Does MP3 Boss work with Napster & Gnutella?

Simply add the Napster (or Gnutella) download directories to the MP3 Boss MP3 Scanner page -- and MP3 Boss will be able to locate & identify the MP3 files. MP3 Boss makes it very convenient to organize the just downloaded files (for instance, into directories based on the Artist or Album). Note that if you move the MP3 files out of the Napster/Gnutella download directories those files will no longer be available in the Napster/Gnutella upload libraries (unless you edit the directories to search in Napster/Gnutella, or if you move the files into a subdirectory of the library).

 

Napster

MP3 Boss can help you with managing the files you download using Napster & Gnutella. Simply add the Napster/Gnutella download directory to your MP3 Scan list and click "Scan Selected Directories". Once you have scanned the directory, you can now move or rename the files. Remember that if you move the files, Napster and Gnutella will no longer list those files in its library (unless you add that new directory to the Napster/Gnutella library).

 

Access 2000

I don't intend to release an Access 2000 version of MP3-Boss because the default Access 2000 runtime is approximately 170MB! The smallest possible runtime (using a non-Microsoft installation routine) is approximately 45MB -- still too large for most people to download. I get complaints that 10MB is too big!

However, shortly after each Access97 version of MP3-Boss is released, an Access 2000 version of MPEG.MDE will be released -- this lets Access 2000 owners run the program without having to install an Access 97 runtime (although the full MP3-Boss installation routine is still required to install certain system DLL's). The current version of the Access 2000 runtime is available at http://www.mp3-boss.com/mpegvXXX_2000.zip (where XXX is replaced by the version number). For instance, v0.49 can be found at http://www.mp3-boss.com/mpegv049_2000.zip.

 

Profile

There have been a couple of reports that the default startup command won't start the MP3 Boss program. A couple of people have simply removed the /profile "MP3 Boss" part of the command to fix the problem.

It is quite likely that this problem is related to a problem with writing to the registry during the initial installation. For instance, if you install MP3 Boss under Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP and don't have Administrative mode access, the installation routine is unable to write to the registry. One possible solution is to simply install MP3 Boss again, this time making sure that you have administrative privileges.

Another possible solution is to simply remove the /profile "MP3 Boss" from the startup command.

The normal startup command is:

"C:\Program Files\Access 97 Runtime\Msaccess.exe" /excl /runtime /profile "MP3 Boss" /wrkgrp d:\audio\MP3Boss\System.mdw" "d:\audio\MP3Boss\mpeg.mde"

This statement is all on a single line, and assumes that you installed MP3 Boss under your "D:\Audio" directory.

The startup command after removing the /profile is:

"C:\Program Files\Access 97 Runtime\Msaccess.exe" /excl /runtime /wrkgrp d:\audio\MP3Boss\System.mdw" "d:\audio\MP3Boss\mpeg.mde"

Again, this statement is all on a single line, and assumes that you installed MP3 Boss under your "D:\Audio" directory.

 

 

Corrupt

If you believe that the MP3 Boss database has been corrupted, simply run the "Optimize Data" and "Optimize Database" menu selections. These selections are available from the Windows Start/Program Files/MP3 Boss menu.

 

Corrupt Installation

Normally, if you get an error message about a corrupt installation when you try to run the MP3.EXE or MP3UPDATE.EXE that you just downloaded of the internet, it means that the download wasn't complete.

MP3 Boss should run fine under Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP (home or professional). There have been some reports that scanning more than a few thousand files at one time under Windows XP may cause memory leak problems. If this occurs, simply exit and restart MP3-Boss after performing the filescan.

The expected download sizes of mp3.exe for the full install versions:

v0.40 10512K (10,763,989 bytes)

v0.42 10918K (11,179,427 bytes)

v0.44 10922K (11,183,611 bytes)

v0.45 11167K (11,434,693 bytes)

v0.46 11198K (11,466,534 bytes)

v0.47 11463K (11,737,699 bytes)

v0.48 11541K (11,817,435 bytes)

v0.49 11554K (11,830,653 bytes)

v0.50 11956K (12,224,328 bytes)

v0.51 12018K (12,305,569 bytes)

v0.55 12878K (13,186,907 bytes) <approximate, since help file created prior to final build>

If you are having trouble downloading the full installation (fortunately the updates are much smaller), I recommend using GetRight (shareware) or Go!zilla (freeware). These programs let you continue a transfer even if a temporary problem stopped the download (instead of having to start again from the beginning). You can get GetRight at http://www.headlightsw.com/get.html or Go!zilla at http://www.gozilla.com/gozilla/download.html. Also, try alternate downloads sites -- a full list of sites is available at http://www.mp3-boss.com/ftp_sites.html.

If you can't get to the MP3-Boss opening screen, and are seeing a reference to error message 429 or 91 ("On_Load ActiveX in Switchboard/Form"), try re-installing. Probably you have deleted a system file that is required for MP3-Boss operation.

 

Compliments & Bug Reports

I'd like to thank you all for the wonderful compliments I've received!

I've been amazed at the number of times I've been told that MP3 Boss is "the best database I've seen". I've gotten messages with the subject line "your wonderful software", and even one user who told me that MP3 Boss was "the best program I know".

Thanks -- and please keep sending me your comments. You can send general comments, new feature requests, or bug reports to webmaster@mp3-boss.com and/or john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net

The best way to make MP3-Boss bug free is to send me your bug reports! If you are a first-time user and find that MP3-Boss doesn't scan your drive, please let me know! Often the problem is that you have a file that is tagged with a tagger that I haven't seen before -- or maybe a file format has been updated. If you don't send me the information, I can't fix it!

To help clear up exactly where the problem is happening, it often helps if you can send me a screen capture of the screen that is causing the trouble. Also, it can help if I can get a screen capture of the exact error message. To get a screen capture, press Alt-PrintScreen to capture the current screen. Bring up the Paint application. Then click Edit-Paste to paste the image into paint. Use File-Save As to save the image (JPG format will give the smallest file size, or you could use a BMP format and then ZIP up the images that you send to me). Do the same to capture the error message.

I try to respond to my messages within 24 hours, although I take a couple of weeks off for vacation every year. If I don't respond within 24 hours, feel free to send me another copy of the message in case the first message was lost. Also, you can send the message to john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net, as sometimes my primary site has mail server problems.

 

Column Order

To change the column order, just click on the heading of the column you want to move, and drag it the new position. If you have frozen columns, you won't be able to move a new column into 'frozen' region -- so you'll need to unfreeze all columns (set frozen=0) first.

To hide a column, you just set the width to zero by dragging that column closed. To show the column again, you can either drag out the width of that column (if you know where it is!), or click on the 'Show All Columns' button in profiles.

Column Order

To change the column order, just click on the heading of the column you want to move, and drag it the new position. If you have frozen columns, you won't be able to move a new column into 'frozen' region -- so you'll need to unfreeze all columns (set frozen=0) first.

To hide a column, you just set the width to zero by dragging that column closed. To show the column again, you can either drag out the width of that column (if you know where it is!), or click on the 'Show All Columns' button in profiles.

 

Multi-Level Sorts

You are able to perform multi-level sorts in List View, but ONLY when the columns are adjacent. For instance, to get a sort by both the Category and Artist, you would have to move the Category column to the left of the Artist column and then highlight both columns (just click & hold the mouse as you move the mouse across the 2 column headings). Then, select A..Z to perform the sort. This will give you an alphabetical listing by Category, with the Artists alphabetically sorted on a per-category basis. In the future, I will add clickable multi-level sorting for the most commonly requested sorts.

 

Winamp Restarts

Winamp will automatically start (if not already started) when you enter the List View of MP3 Boss. In the future, this may become a configurable setting -- but currently MP3 Boss always makes calls to Winamp to determine if Winamp is currently playing a song.

 

Winamp Troubleshooting

Winamp will always restart if you are in the MP3 Boss List View (the database view showing your MP3 files). Since MP3 Boss sends the file lists to Winamp, Winamp needs to be open in that view.

If you find that Winamp takes a very long time to auto-load when you start MP3 Boss, probably your system is running low on resources. MP3 Boss waits 10 seconds before reporting that Winamp was slow to load -- and in most cases this is normally much longer than it should take for Winamp to load. Removing background pictures in the MP3 Boss List View (and then exiting & restarting MP3 Boss) can sometimes free enough graphics resources to fix this problem (particularly if you are loading a multi-megabyte background picture).

If you find that Winamp skips or glitches while playing song (for instance, when loading Internet Explorer or Microsoft Word), you might be able to change you system settings to fix the problem. In the past, I found that the hard disk, video driver, or sound driver is sometimes the cause of the problem -- you may want to update you drivers and turn DMA on or off and see if that helps. However, probably the easiest thing to do is to first try changing the Winamp priority and buffer settings. I'm not sure who to credit, but the information below has really helped on a couple of my computers. I tend to still do quite a bit in a DOS window -- and before changing these settings I would have quite a few Winamp glitches when reading/writing files in DOS.

Settings to check if Winamp skips:

If you have a SoundBlaster Live! card, make sure you've got the latest drivers for your SBLive card at http://www.soundblaster.com/drivers/

Internet Explorer Options -> Advanced tab

Uncheck: Use smooth scrolling & Enable page transitions

Get the latest IE service packs for your operating system at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie

Winamp Settings

These settings seem to work -- you can also try pushing the settings all the way up, but sometimes those settings cause problems.

Winamp/Options/Preferences/Plugins/Input/NullSoft MPEG Audio Decoder

Decode Thread Priority: Highest (default)

Full file buffering: 128KB

Winamp/Options/Preferences/Plugins/Output/NullSoft WaveOut Plugin

Output Device: Wave Mapper

Buffer Length: 7000ms

Priority: Time Critical (I use Highest priority, not Time Critical -- John)

Maximum Blocks: 28

Max Blocksize: 56k

Min Blocksize: 4k

If this still doesn't work then turn off any DSP/Effect plugins you may be running, and lower the priority of your visualization plugins.

 

Unable to Locate Any Files

If may receive the message "Unable to locate any files matching the criteria. Your filter has been turned off."

This means that none of the songs in the database match the filter text you entered.

If you think that some of your songs should have matched, click the CLR button in the Filters box before trying to reapply the filter. In addition to having to match the filter text you entered you may have also asked it to match only a particular rating (or you are hiding removable drives etc). The CLR button will clear all elements of the filter, so you can start from scratch.

 

Adding New Songs

To add new songs to your list of files, go to the MP3 Scan menu.

Normally, you can just select specific directories and then hit the 'Scan selected directories' button -- but you can also just click 'Scan All Drives'.

NOTE: You can only scan about twenty-thousand (20000) files at one time (depending on available memory) -- otherwise you will get an "Overflow" message during the scan. If you get an "Overflow" message, you should break up the scan into multiple parts (e.g., scanning drives separately instead of clicking "Scan ALL Drives" so that you only scan about 20000 files at a time.

At some point I will add an 'auto-scan for new files every xx hours', but I haven't implemented it yet. Once you start scanning, you can go back to the list view (you don't have to wait for it to finish). Once the scan is complete, you click the Records/Refresh menu item to show the files in the List View (or MP3 Boss will automatically show all of the files the next time you bring up the List View).

 

Registration Problems

If the evaluation period was expired when you entered the registration code, you may need to exit MP3 Boss and then restart it after entering your registration code. The next time you startup MP3 Boss, the Startup (Main Switchboard) screen will display a "Registered" message instead of the "Please Register" message.

If the registration code isn't accepted, first make sure that you entered the information correctly. Because the registration code is so long, the easiest method is to simply cut and paste the information from your registration message. If that doesn't work, please send me a message (webmaster@mp3-boss.com) -- I might have sent you the wrong code!

MP3 Boss updates should automatically read the registration information during the update process, so you shouldn't need to re-enter this information. However, please keep this information in a safe place.

 

Writing to CD

MP3 Boss will support directly writing to CD in a future version. Initially, only CDA (CDA/WAV) files will be supported -- but it is hoped that it will also be possible to write MP3 files to CD.

 

Writing to CD-ROM

Currently, MP3 Boss doesn't have the ability to directly write to CDR. Instead, you will need to use your CD-writing software (e.g., Adaptec Easy CD Creator) to write your MP3 files to disk. After writing the files to CDR, use the MP3 Boss Moved2CD utility (located on the Utilities page) to automatically update your MP3 Boss database.

Once I get enough MP3 Boss registrations (to pay for CDR code libraries), I will be able to add the ability to write WAV/CDA (CD audio) and MP3 files to CD-ROM.

 

Readme File

MP3 Boss Copyright (c) 1999-2002 OPAL Network. All Rights Reserved.

NOTICE: MP3 Boss v0.25, v0.35, v0.47, and v0.55 update a few field lengths and add a few new fields. You will be told to run the UPDATE program if your database is in the old format. To run the update program, simply click on the Update item from your Start/Programs/MP3 Boss menu. In most cases, you will not need to change the path to either the data file or the executable. Simply click UPDATE and you are done.

This program allows you to easily and fully manage your MP3 files -- including integrated support for the WinAmp MP3 player, automatic scanning of MP3 tags, extensive database functions, and general MP3 management.

===============================================================

MP3 Boss -- Be the BOSS of your MP3 Files!

What does it DO?

MP3 Boss helps you manage and play your collection of MP3 files. Using MP3 Boss, you can:

LIST all of your MP3 files in a single location. No longer any need to be concerned about drives or directories. Plus, you'll instantly see how many MP3 files you have, and how much space they require. Full support for CD-ROM drives and networks!

SEARCH for a specific artist, title, album, music category (and more!)

SORT based on artist, title, album, music category (and more!)

EDIT information for individual MP3 files or groups of MP3 files -- finally a way to change information for an entire album with only a few clicks!

FIND and DELETE duplicate files. MP3 Boss will perform partial comparisons, or full bit-by-bit comparisons and give you a complete report of exact (and partial) matches. You then simply click the files you want to delete! You even get a report of how many megabytes will be freed up.

CHANGE the filename, path, or drive by simply changing the information in the database (after confirmation of course!).

PLAY individual or groups of MP3 files -- MP3 Boss directly communicates with the WinAmp MP3 player, and includes integrated volume control, prior/next track, stop/pause/play and more. Click a couple of buttons, and you can display or

edit the complete information about the file.

CREATE reports showing selected MP3 files -- or a list of all of your MP3 files.

RATE your MP3 files - Good/Bad/Awful. Then, just play the songs YOU want! Also, you will no longer be limited to short comments -- each MP3 file could include a 64KB comment.

SCAN all your drives for MP3 files -- MP3 Boss will automatically create the database based on tag (ID3, Lyric, and ID3v2) and filename information. If your MP3 files are organized into well-defined directories, all of that information is easy to incorporate into the database during the scan. Plus, a single click lets you swap title and artist - for those MP3 files that didn't have any tag information, and weren't named in the most common format. Plus, MP3 Boss is really network ready -- not only does it scan network drives, it can even remap the drives for those times you want to share an MP3 database among a group of networked users.

UPDATE your list of MP3 files -- the SCAN is smart enough to ignore any files that have already been scanned. Not only does this speed things up, it also means that you won't lose any custom comments.

HIDE files that have glitches or those that are on removable drives. Also, you can show any files with filenames that are too long for CD-ROM -- a real lifesaver when creating an all-MP3 CD-ROM.

ORGANIZE your files quickly and easily. With a few clicks, you can change EVERY occurrence of PFlyd, PinkFlyd, and PF to Pink Floyd. A real time-saver!

COPY/MOVE/DELETE any file. Don't like the song that is playing? Simply click FIND, and then click DELETE. No more having to first figure out the name of the file, and then hunting down that file!

HotScan your playlist. Play a 10s sample of all of the songs in your playlist. A great way to quickly review/rate your files.

MUCH MORE!

STILL TO COME:

If MP3 Boss gets a good reception, there is much more planned:

An alarm to auto-start the MP3 player at a specified time.

CD-Caching to make it quick & easy to play the songs from CD.

Multi-user aware -- each user can individually rate the songs.

Support for more MP3 players (assuming there are other players beside WinAmp that allow nearly complete automation via SendMessage commands).

Better Lyrics tag support. This version reads the complete Lyrics information, but won't write that information.

Better ID3 tag support. This version provides single-click update of ALL modified files, but only for ID3v1 tags.

Read ZIP files during the scan to make sure that ZIPPED MP3 files aren't missed.

Write WAV and MP3 files to CDR.

More? Tell me what you want!

INSTALLATION FROM MP3.EXE:

Simply click on the MP3.EXE application to start the automatic installation program.

Once the setup application is started, follow the on-screen instructions to install MP3 Boss.

After installation is completed, click Start, Programs, MP3Boss and then click the MP3Boss menu item to start the program.

INSTALLATION FROM CD-ROM:

To install MP3 Boss, insert the CD into your CD-ROM drive. The setup application will automatically start if your CD-ROM drive has autorun enabled. If the setup program does not automatically start, double-click on the Setup.exe file.

Once the setup application is started, follow the on-screen instructions to install MP3 Boss.

After installation is completed, click Start, Programs, MP3Boss and then click the MP3Boss menu item to start the program.

OPERATION:

When you first start MP3 Boss, it will ask you to fill in information about the location of WinAmp (the only MP3 player currently supported). Although WinAmp isn't required, being able to directly control WinAmp via the MP3

Boss interface is very convenient.

After entering the WinAmp player information (and optionally, your name/address/company information), you will be asked to perform an MP3 scan -- this scan will populate your MP3 Boss database with MP3 information. Normally you should click the 'SCAN ALL DRIVES' button, and have MP3 Boss do the work of locating all your

MP3 files.

After a very quick initial scan, MP3 Boss will ask you to add comments to each drive volume that contains MP3 files -- adding a comment here is very useful for CD-ROM scans, but is not normally needed to identify local drives. After clicking the Close button, you will be shown a list of all of the directories that contain MP3 files -- and you can add Artist, Album and/or Category information for each directory. Entering information here isn't needed if all of your MP3 files have embedded tags, but this can be useful to identify Artist, Album, and Category information for any files that

are missing tags (MP3 Boss reads ID3, ID3v2, and Lyrics tags). Click the Close button when finished. MP3 Boss then does a full scan of each MP3 file -- this scan includes a CRC32 calculation of a portion of the file (by default,

256KB -- about 15 seconds), so this scan can take minutes or hours if you have a lot of MP3 files (scan rates range from about 5-500songs/minute).

After the scan is complete, you can now click on MP3 list from the main switchboard to view the song database, or click on Utilities to use the utility functions (which includes duplicate checking).

Registration

MP3 Boss Registration is $15, and includes all updates through release 1.0.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact John McCaffrey at

john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net. The latest release of MP3 Boss can be found at http://www.mp3-boss.com/index.html

Distribution

This software may be distributed freely on online services, bulletin boards, or other electronic media as long as the files are distributed in their entirety. This software may not be distributed on CD-ROM, disk, or other physical media for a fee without the permission of OPAL Network.

Limitations of Use

You may install this program to test and evaluate for 60 days; after that time you must either register this program or delete it from your computer hard drive. Please see License.txt for details.

 

Registration

This program is released as trialware.

You may use this program for 60 days free as a trial. After that time you are expected to either register this program,

or remove it from your computer.

What registering will get you:

* A registration code which will:

Use the program past the 60 day trial period

Allow you to use multiple datasets

* Information on upgrades to MP3 Boss (via e-mail).

* The full attention of the developer -- registered user enhancement requests get priority.

* A better program -- several future enhancements (e.g., writing WAV and MP3 to CDR) require that I purchase

additional libraries.

The registration will be valid for all updates to MP3 Boss through (at least) v1.0.

To register:

You may register by mailing a check directly to OPAL Network.

Sending a check or money order (payable to OPAL Network):

If ordering 1 to 10 copies $15.00 US per copy.

If ordering 11 or more copies $12.50 US per copy.

(If more than 50 copies, or for information about site licenses, contact OPAL Network at one of the addresses below.)

The easiest way to register is to use the secure server at SWReg or Register Now!

A direct link is available at the MP3 Boss site (http://www.mp3-boss.com), or you go directly to the sites:

https://www.swreg.org/soft_shop/758/shopscr2.shtml

https://www.regnow.com/softsell/nph-softsell.cgi?item=2922-1

This allows payment to be made by credit card.

See http://www.mp3-boss.com/index.html for details.

* For additional registration options, visit the MP3 Boss web site at http://www.mp3-boss.com

You will receive a registration code via email.

 

===============================================================

MP3 Boss Order Form.

Fill in the following info (please print or type):

Name __________________________________________________________________

(Company) _____________________________________________________________

Address _______________________________________________________________

City ___________________________ State/Province ______ ZIP ____________

Country (if not USA) ___________________ Phone/Fax ____________________

E-Mail Address ________________________________________________________

Number of copies __________

Price per copy ( 1 to 10 copies = $15.00 US per copy.)

(11 or more copies = $12.50 US per copy.)

x __________

Sub Total = __________

Tax + __________ (CT state residents ONLY add 6% tax)

Total Enclosed = __________

*** Make sure there is a valid email or mailing address so your registration

*** code can be sent to you!

Mail to:

OPAL Network

625 Overlook Drive

Cheshire, CT 06410-2122

Make sure your check or money order is enclosed and payable to John McCaffrey (OPAL Network).

Your registration code will be mailed to you on receipt of your payment.

===============================================================

CONTACT:

Please let me know what you think! Send mail if you have suggestions or ideas

for enhancements.

E-Mail: john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net

Web: http://www.mp3-boss.com

Mail: 625 Overlook Drive

Cheshire, CT 06410-2122

 

Quickly Create a Playlist

Q: How can I quickly select all of the rows in the table of songs to generate a playlist?

A: Just click in the upper left corner of the table (next to the ID column, and right below the MP3 Boss - List View title) to select all of the songs. Then, click the Add button in the Winamp player controls box to generate the playlist.

 

Selecting Rows/Columns/Fields

Q: I can't figure out how to quickly select a single field in the table.

A: To select a single field (e.g., a single title), move the mouse cursor to the left edge of the field -- when the shape changes to a cross, click. That will select the entire field. You can also simple click and drag across the field to highlight everything. Single clicking in a field selects a single word.

Q: How do I select multiple fields in a single row?

A: First, select a single field as described above. Keep the mouse button down and drag across the fields you want to highlight.

Q: Okay, now I can select fields in a single row, but how do I quickly select a field (or fields) in multiple rows?

A: You can either continue the process of holding down the mouse key while you drag/highlight a region, or use the Shift key (on the keyboard) in combination with the arrow (cursor) keys. I find that the shift key + arrow keys is often more convenient to make sure you select just the rows/columns you want -- it is easy to get carried away with the mouse.

 

Database Size

Q: Why is the program 10MB? A lot of nice programs are MUCH smaller...

A: MP3 Boss is based on the Microsoft Access runtime engine. While the Microsoft Access runtime engine gives a database program a lot of advantages (e.g., the speed and flexibility of sorting/searching/filtering), it unfortunately requires a large installation package. The update-only package (from v0.25 and up) is only about 1MB.

Q: Do I need Microsoft Access to run MP3 Boss?

A: No, the Microsoft Access runtime engine is distributed with MP3 Boss. MP3 Boss works completely independently of whether you have Microsoft Access or not.

Q: What's the biggest CD collection that MP3 Boss supports? Is there a limit to the number of files or drives?

A: As far as I know, the largest collection that has been scanned so far consisted of almost 100GB of MP3 files (approx. 25,000 files) spread out over about 20 local and networked drives, and 50 CD's. Since MP3 Boss is based on the Microsoft Access runtime engine, a pratical limit is a 1GB database (the physical limit is 2GB). Based on the size of the 25,000 file database, a 1GB database could hold information on about 2 MILLION MP3 files (anybody have 10 Terrabytes of disk space for those MP3 files?). There shouldn't be any practical limit to the number of drives that MP3 Boss can support.

 

Converting to another database

Q: Since MP3 Boss uses a Microsoft Access database, does that mean it is easy to use Microsoft Access to read the MP3 Boss database?

A: While Microsoft Access can read the MP3 Boss database, MP3 Boss consists of 30-50 tables, a similar number of forms, and thousands of lines of code to hold it all together. So, while you can probably get the MP3 Boss information into a simple Microsoft Access database, you will lose all of the functionality of MP3 Boss.

However, it is easy to get the information out of MP3 Boss if you just want the main information. You can either read the MAIN table of DATA.MDB (using Access), or you can highlight the desired information in MP3 Boss List View and then PASTE the information into Excel.

 

CD Audio

Q: Can I write an MP3 file to a CD and play it in a normal CD player like a Walkman?

A: You cannot play MP3 files directly using a regular CD player (although the RIO and such players play MP3 files directly). Instead, you must convert the MP3 file to WAV or CDA format. Many people use Winamp to do this -- just change the output to DiskWriter (this output plugin comes with Winamp), specify the output drive, and Winamp then (silently) writes the MP3's as WAV output. Don't forget to change back to the WaveOut plugin when you're done.

Then just use your CD program (I use Adaptec's Easy CD Creator) to copy the WAV files to CD.

You may need to worry about a few more things:

1) The volume may change from one song to the next. Use AudioStocker (http://surf.to/mp3stock) as a DSP/Equalization plugin with Winamp to perform volume equalization while writing the files.

2) Usually you will want to write the output in a single session. While your CD writer supports multisession, many standard CD players don't support multisession.

3) Most standard CD players today can't read from rewriteable CD's. You'll need to use the standard write-once CD's to create your disk.

 

Tag Editor

The Tag Editor lets you quickly create and edit ID3v1 tags. The easiest way to add or edit the ID3v1 tags in a large number of files is to edit the Artist/Album/Title/Category/Track/Comment (this is the information stored in the ID3v1 tag) in List View and then use the 'Auto-Update ALL' button in the Tag Editor. NOTE: it is NOT possible to update the tags on a read-only drive (e.g., a CD-ROM), since the tags must be written to the file.

When you click the Tag button from List View or call up the Tag Editor from Utilities, a dialog showing the tag information (and a bit more stuff that isn't actually ID3v1 tag info) will appear. If you click 'Create Tag' here, it should update the tag for the song shown. Click 'Auto-Update ALL' to update the tags for all of the filtered songs. For instance, in the dialog below, clicking the 'Auto-Update ALL' button would update the tags for the 2575 files currently in the filtered recordset (in this case, there are 2575 files without ID3v1 tags that have been Edited).

You can change the list of filtered songs by clicking 'Edited ONLY', 'Empty Tag ONLY', or 'List View'. An 'Edited' record here means that the contents of the record have been changed, but that the changes haven't been written out to the ID3v1 tag field in the MP3 file yet. 'Empty' means that there isn't an ID3v1 tag in the MP3 file. The 'List View' filter means to show the same filtered dataset as shown in List View. Note that all 3 filters can be combined -- so you can easily show only those records in List View that have been edited (Edited Only + List View), or even only those records in List View that have been edited that don't currently have an ID3 tag (Edited Only + Empty Tag ONLY + List View).

The Don't reset Edited status setting merely means that the status flag that MP3 Boss keeps to indicate that updated ID3v1 tag information is available, won't be updated when the ID3v1 tag information is written to the MP3 file. The only reason to keep this default setting (*Don't reset Edited status*) is to make it easier to only update the edited records once full Lyrics-write support is added to MP3 Boss. Note that the changes to the ID3v1 tags are always made, independent of this checkmark setting, when you click the Create Tag or Auto-Update ALL buttons.

 

Using List View to create/edit ID3v1 tags

The fastest way to create or edit large numbers of ID3v1 tags is to use the List View to list all of the mp3s that you want to edit. In List View, use "Filter For:" to show only files in a specific directory (for instance, enter C:\MyMP3Files and click the Go button to show only mp3s in the C:\MyMP3Files directory.

Once List View shows you the mp3s that you want to edit, you can sort the columns however you want. If you Right-Click in a column, you can click Sort Ascending or Sort Descending to sort a column. Or, you can highlight multiple columns and then click the AZ or ZA button in the toolbar to sort multiple columns. You can click on the column heading to drag a column into a new position.

Once List View is sorted the way you want, you can use the "CopyDown" feature to copy the information from a first row into all of the rows below it. This is the fastest way to change a bunch of mp3s to show the same artist & album. You would enter the artist & album for the first mp3, then highlight that line and the artist/album boxes that you want to change, and then click the CopyDown button (right above the Winamp Controls). This copies the information from the first highlighted fields into the highlighted fields below it.

Once you've done all the editing that you want, then you can get into the tag editor. The List View tag button is just above the MP3 Player Controls/Volume adjust -- but it brings up that same tag editor that you get from Utilities.

The record navigator arrows at the bottom of the tag editor let you view all of the tags that are going to be updated. Normally you just click the "Auto-Update All" button on the tag editor and have MP3-Boss automatically update all of the tags that have had new artist/album/title/category/track information entered in List View. Usually the Create Tag button on the Tag Editor is used only if you want to edit only a couple of tags at a time.

 

Lost Registration Codes

A pretty common question is (yep, this was written by one of my customers!):

I purchased your software several months ago. About one month ago my computer crashed and I was forced to purchase a new one. I have since downloaded MP3-boss again however I failed to keep the registration code that you provided me when I purchased it originally. I would appreciate it if you could provide me with this again. Thanks very much for your help. You make a great piece of software!

To get replacement registration codes, send a message with your First & Last name, address, & e-mail information to:

LostCodes@mp3-boss.com (you can also send a copy of the message to john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net).

I will send you your registration code from my registration database. Please be sure to send me your name & e-mail in the same form as you used during your original registration.

Please keep a copy of your registration code in a safe place (a good place is on your PDA!), so that I can spend more time writing MP3-Boss enhancements instead of sending out copies of registration codes.

 

Scan Details

Assuming that you don't specify that the directory structure over-rides the tags, then MP3-Boss tries to get tags in the following order:

ID3v2

Lyrics

ID3v1

Filename

If an ID3v2 tag is blank, then it reads the Lyrics tag. If the Lyrics tag is blank, it reads the ID3v1 tag. If the ID3v1 tag is blank, then it gets the information from the filename (it assumes the filename is in the format:

Artist - Album - Track Title.mp3

(although the Album and/or Track information could be missing and it still picks up the Artist/Title -- see below).

Actually, it is a little bit smarter than that -- since if MP3-Boss finds an ID3v2 tag with some information, it will look to the Lyrics, ID3v1, or filename for missing information. In that way it can usually do a pretty good job no matter the state of the various tags.

Filename Format:

If the tag(s) don't have some required information, then MP3-Boss assumes a filename in one of the following formats:

Artist - Album - Track Title.mp3

Artist - Album - Title.mp3

Artist - Track Title.mp3

Artist - Title.mp3

Track Title.mp3

Title.mp3

If your files are actually all organized by \Genre\Artist\Album, then you should probably be setting your default directory organization (Configuration) to \Category\Artist\Album and unchecking the box "ID3 tag information overrides directory organization". If you do this, then MP3-Boss will simply read your directory name to get the Category, Artist, and Album information. The same goes for directories organized by \Category\Album -- although then MP3-Boss needs to try to figure out the Artist.

Instead of a dash separator, a number of other separators could also be used -- but MP3-Boss first assumes a dash. A dash between the Track and Title also works fine. If no track information is found, then MP3-Boss scans the filename looking for a number anywhere in the filename, and uses that as the track number.

If you find a common naming convention that doesn't work well with MP3-Boss, let me know and I'll see if it is something I can parse.

 

AutoMove/AutoRename

This dialog (callable ONLY from List View) lets you automatically rename or move files based on the Artist/Album/Category/Title information (and more!). The files can be moved, renamed, or moved & renamed at the same time. Click on the AutoMove button in the Toolbar at the top of the List View window to bring up the dialog below. There are LOTS of configurable options in AutoMove/AutoRename, but the main items can be set from the dialog below.

Click 'All Files' or 'Selected Files' to specify whether all of the files in List View will be moved/renamed, or just the highlighted (selected) files. Click the "Move ONLY" checkbox if you want on ONLY move files, or the "Rename ONLY" checkbox if you want to ONLY rename files. If those "ONLY" checkboxes aren't selected, you are able to move & rename the files at the same time.

If you just want to see what will happen (without actually moving/renaming the files), you can click on the 'Make FileList' button to generate a list of all the files that will be moved or renamed. Click on the 'Show FileList' button to show a previously generated list of the files. Click the "UNDO" button to undo the previous AutoMove/AutoRename operation. Note that UNDO is based on the same FileList that is shown when you click the "Show FileList" button. Every time you click the "Make FileList" or "OK" button, the previous FileList is automatically erased (even if the operation is subsequently cancelled) -- which then means that you would no longer be able to UNDO the last full AutoMove/AutoRename. After generating a list of the files to move, the file move operation is carried out in the background for any files that need to be moved between drives. Files moved between directories on the same drive are moved 'instantly' as part of AutoMove, and don't need to be scheduled as a background process. Note that because of this 'instant move' feature, if a song is being played when it needs to be moved (during AutoMove or UNDO), that song is skipped and Winamp plays the next song.

AUTOMOVE

On this dialog, you first specify the base directory in the "Move To:" entry (or click the Browse button to select a directory). You also specify the "Directory Format" that you want to write. For instance, if you specified a "Move To:" entry of "F:\MP3_Test" and a "Directory Format" of "Drive\Directory\Aritst\Album" then a song from the Beatles White Album would be written to F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album). AutoMove will AUTOMATICALLY create any directories that are required. While the files are being processed, the names of any missing files will be shown on the status bar (lower left corner of the MP3-Boss window). The total number of files skipped is also displayed on the status bar.

The selection "Move to Drive\Directory, but keep original subdirectories" operates somewhat differently than the other choices. Instead of using the database information to create new directories based on the Artist/Album/Title/Category information, this selection lets you keep the original directory structure from the source drive. You should select this choice if you are already happy with your directory structure and simply want to move your files from 1 drive to another. As an example, if the "Move To:" entry was D:\NEW and you had songs in the F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album directory, then after performing the move, the files would be in the D:\NEW\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album directory.

When the "Move to Drive\Directory, but keep original subdirectories" selection is made, a drop-down combo-box appears that lets you specify how many of the subdirectories on the source drive should be 'skipped' when creating the directory path. Typically you will select "Skip NONE" but you are able to skip 1 to 5 subdirectories. The move example just given assumed that "Skip NONE" was selected. However, if "Skip 1" was selected, the files would end up in the D:\NEW\Beatles\White Album directory. Additional examples are given in the table below. In all cases, a "Move To:" entry of D:\NEW is assumed.

Source Skip Destination after Move

F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\ NONE D:\NEW\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\

F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\ 1 D:\NEW\Beatles\White Album\

F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\ 2 D:\NEW\White Album\

F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\ 3 D:\NEW\

F:\MP3_Test\Beatles\White Album\ 4 NOT ALLOWED - too few directory levels on source drive

Note that when you specify more subdirectories to skip than actually exist, the file will NOT be moved. The status bar will indicate the number of files Ignored during processing. For instance, the status bar may show: "4th Pass - Filling table (10 files skipped, 25 files ignored)." This means that 10 files couldn't be located (either because they had been deleted or because they were on removable drives), and 25 files were ignored because the source directory did not have enough subdirectory levels.

AUTORENAME

The AutoMove/AutoRename dialog also lets you automatically rename files -- simply select the name format from the drop-down list. Note that a question-mark in the name format indicates that the item is optional. For instance, in the dialog below, "Artist - ?Track Title" means that the song Revolution (track #1) on the White Album by the Beatles would be renamed to "Beatles - 01 Revolution.mp3" or "Beatles - Revolution.mp3" if the track number wasn't known. If the rename format were instead "Artist - Track Title" then if the track number wasn't known the 'If information is missing' rules would take effect -- providing options such as not renaming the song or moving the song to a specified directory. See "AutoMove/AutoRename Configuration " for more information. You can also create a Custom template by selecting "Custom" from the drop-down list (custom is the last item in the list).

Once you have made all of your selections, click the "OK" button to start the operation (or click "Cancel" to cancel the operation). When you click OK, a list of the selected files is created and checked. This operation can take 6 or more passes through the file list, since multiple passes through the database are needed to determine what new directories should be created. After this primary list is created, a list of the files to move is created, and the dialog then closes automatically. If the source and destination drives are different, the actual file move operation takes place in the background. If the source and destination drives are identical, the file move and rename normally takes place during the last pass.

 

 

AutoMove/AutoRename Configuration

AutoMove and AutoRename have lots of configuration items -- enough so that they were moved into a separate dialog. Typically the default settings will be a good first choice, but you can freely configure the settings once you decide how you want to organize your files.

The AutoMove/AutoRename Configuration is separated into 3 tabbed pages. The first page (AutoMove Configuration) covers the AutoMove configuration, the second tabbed page (AutoRename Configuration) covers the AutoRename configuration, and the 3rd page (Both) covers those selections that pertain to both AutoMove and AutoRename. See AutoMove Configuration , AutoRename Configuration , and Both Configuration for more information.

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AutoRename Configuration

If not all of the required information is available:

This section defines what will happen when some of the information is missing. For instance, what should happen if your rename template is "Artist - Track Title" and the Track information is unknown? The choices are "Don't Rename the file", "Move to a specified directory", and "Rename using the available information". In most cases you will want to select "Don't Rename the file" or "Move to a specified directory", combined with the "optional parameter" feature in the rename template. While it is possible to select "Rename using the available information" selection, in many cases the new name won't necessarily be any better than the original filename. For instance, do you really want to rename the file if both the Artist and Track information is unavailable? Note that songs without the Title information will NOT be renamed in any case, and are skipped during AutoRename. The final checkbox "Automatically show the files in this directory after the rename is complete" is selected if you want to see the list of "missing info" files (in List View) after all of the files are moved/renamed. Once the file move/rename is complete you are asked if you want to view these "missing info" files. If you select OK, then the List View filter is changed to show these files -- note that the List View filter can also include "missing info" files that were identified in the AutoMove and Both pages of the AutoMove/AutoRename configuration.

 

 

AutoMove Configuration

Required Minimums:

Use these 7 entry fields to define how many of a particular Artist, Album, Artist/Album etc. are needed before a new directory is created. A default entry of 3 seems to work well in all cases, but you may want to make it easier or harder to create a directory. An entry of 1 (or 0) means that a new directory will be created for every new Artist, Album etc that is found during an AutoMove. Note that the entries here are dependent on the Directory Format that was specified on the main AutoMove page. For instance, let's say you specified a directory format of Artist\Album, and you are moving some new files that include a number of songs from the "Let's Eat Wood" album by the Termites. As long as there are 3 or more songs, the new directory "Termites\Let's Eat Wood" will be created. Otherwise, the rule specified in the "If Minimums are not met" section will take effect.

If Minimums are not met:

This section defines what will happen when there aren't enough of a specific Artist, Album, etc. to create a new directory. The easy-to-understand choices are "Don't Move the file" and "Move to a specified directory". The most powerful choice is "Move 1 Level Up". This last choice makes sense when your directory format creates multi-level directories like Artist\Album. Probably the easiest way to understand what happens here is by way of an example. Let's say you had 2 songs from the "Fumigation" album by the Termites, 2 songs from the "Let's Eat Wood" album, and 1 song from the "Termite Mounds" album. Further, let's assume you specified that the files should move to Artist\Album and that you have your Required Minimums set to 3 for both Artist\Album and Artist. Since in no case do you have 3 (or more) of a specific Artist\Album, the files wouldn't be moved if you had selected "Don't Move the file" as the "If Minimums are not met" selection. If you selected "Move to a specified directory" then all of the files would have been moved to that directory. By selecting "Move 1 Level Up", the AutoMove function will create a "Termites" directory and move all of the files into that directory. Since you have more than 3 songs by the Termites in total, and specified a directory format of Artist\Album, AutoMove checks the Artist totals when the Artist\Album totals don't meet the minimum. The "Max 1 Level" checkbox only effects the "Category\Artist\Album" selection -- if this box is checked, then the minimums check is done first on "Category\Artist\Album", and then on "Category\Artist". If "Category\Artist" fails, then the "Else Move To" operation takes effect (or the song is left in its original location if an "Else Move To" location isn't specified).

If not all of the required information is available:

This section defines what will happen when some of the information is missing. For instance, what should happen if your directory format is Artist\Album and the Album is unknown? The easy-to-understand choices are "Don't Move the file" and "Move to a specified directory". The most powerful choice is "Move 1 Level Up". This last choice makes sense when your directory format creates multi-level directories like Artist\Album. Probably the easiest way to understand what happens here is by way of an example. Let's say you had 5 songs by the Termites, and your directory format is Artist\Album -- but you don't know what album the songs were from. Because you don't know the album, the files wouldn't be moved if you had selected "Don't Move the file" as the "If not all of the required information is available" selection. If you selected "Move to a specified directory" then all of the files would have been moved to that directory. By selecting "Move 1 Level Up", the AutoMove function will create a "Termites" directory and move all of the files into that directory. Note that a check is still performed on the total number of songs based on the "Required Minimums". In this case, since you have more than 3 songs by the Termites in total, and specified a directory format of Artist\Album, AutoMove checks the Artist totals when the Artist\Album totals don't meet the minimum. The "Max 1 Level" checkbox only effects the "Category\Artist\Album" selection -- if this box is checked, then the missing information check is done first on "Category\Artist\Album", and then on "Category\Artist". If "Category\Artist" fails, then the "Else Move To" operation takes effect (or the song is left in its original location if an "Else Move To" location isn't specified). The final checkbox "Automatically show the files in this directory after the move is complete" is selected if you want to see the list of "missing info" files (in List View) after all of the files are moved. Once the file move is complete you are asked if you want to view these "missing info" files. If you select OK, then the List View filter is changed to show these files -- note that the List View filter can also include "missing info" files that were identified in the AutoRename and Both pages of the AutoMove/AutoRename configuration.

 

 

Both Configuration

This configuration page lets you specify what should happen when there is missing information for BOTH AutoMove and AutoRename. In some cases, you may want to move those files to a different directory (specified here). The final checkbox "Automatically show the files in this directory after the move is complete" is selected if you want to see the list of "missing info" files (in List View) after all of the files are moved. Once the file move is complete you are asked if you want to view these "missing info" files. If you select OK, then the List View filter is changed to show these files -- note that the List View filter can also include "missing info" files that were identified in the AutoRename and Both pages of the AutoMove/AutoRename configuration.

 

 

Drive Volumes

The Review Volumes button (from the Utilities menu) brings up a list of drive volumes that have been scanned. This is the same list that is brought up after an MP3 scan. The list allows you to correct any errors made in the lists. You can review and edit the Volume Label, or Volume Comment from the Utilities page of MP3-Boss. Click the Utilities button from the MP3-Boss startup screen, and then click the Review Volumes button from that page.

The first column shows you the drive letter (local or mapped) for the drive volume. The second column gives the Volume Label for the drive. The Volume Label is sometimes referred to as the Volume Name for the drive. If you click on "My Computer" and look at the list of drives, you can see the Volume Label there -- or right click on a drive and select "Properties". The Volume Label is shown next to "Label:"

Frequently, the drive volume label will be blank -- this can cause some trouble if MP3-Boss can't read the serial number for the drive. During a drive scan, MP3-Boss only offers to change the volume label on a drive if it was originally blank. Normally a blank volume label isn't a good idea in any case since it makes it easier to accidentally format a drive. If a drive has a volume label, then before formatting the drive you need to type the volume label (which hopefully gives you those extra few seconds to realize you are making a mistake). A typical volume label might be something like "DriveC" or "C_10GB" -- anything that could uniquely identify the drive. You can change the Volume Label in the drive properties box (i.e., you just type in a new "Label:"), or change it in the Drive Volumes page of MP3-Boss. Depending on your system setup, you may not be able to change the Volume Label from within MP3-Boss if you are running Win2K. Win2K may give you a "Write Access Violation" error, since Win2K normally doesn't like an application to change the volume label (and normally prevents the application from making the change).

If you are unable to change the Volume Label from within MP3-Boss, you can change the volume label of a drive by looking at the properties of the drive -- click "My Computer", select the drive you want to see, right-click the mouse and select properties. The drive volume label is shown next to "Label:" on the General page. After changing the text, click on "Apply" to change the volume label.

The 3rd column, Volume Comment, is an internal identifier that you use in MP3-Boss -- it doesn't do anything to the physical drive. When you first scan a new drive, MP3-Boss will automatically create a volume comment based on the volume label -- but you can edit that volume comment when the "Review Volumes" page comes up during the scan. I added a Volume Comment to MP3-Boss because I got a number of requests from people that wanted to better identify their CD's -- instead of using the Volume Label that was burned onto the CD.

 

Statistics

The Statistics page (called from MP3-Boss Configuration/Statistics) lets you see a number of statistics for your copy of MP3-Boss. Information like the installation date, number of songs in the database, the number of songs played, and the longest and shortest songs are shown. Note that you can show the name of the Longest and Shortest songs simply by placing your mouse cursor over the Longest Song & Shortest Song time field.

The %Rated field gives you an indication of how many songs have been rated. The Freshness field shows you how many songs have been played compared to the total number of songs (in other words, if you keep playing the same songs -- your freshness rating will be low).

 

 

Rating Songs

While a song is playing, simply click on one of the icons below the MP3 player controls -- this will add that song rating to the database.

There are 5 different ratings, from horrible through great. Click the ? icon to remove the song rating.

 

 

 

Report Configuration

This page (which you get from the MP3-Boss Configuration/Report Configuration page), lets you specify what will be shown on the CD Reports and CD Label Inserts. The Serial Number is the (automatic) hard-coded identifier given on every CD. The Volume Label is the label that you enter to identify the CD when the CD is burned. The Volume Comment is a comment that you can enter in MP3-Boss to better identify the drive.

 

 

AutoRename Custom Template

The AutoRename Custom template lets you define your own templates for the AutoRename function. You call up this dialog by selecting "Custom" from the AutoRename during move drop-down list. The "Custom" selection is the last item in the drop-down list. Once you create a custom template, it will always be available in the drop-down AutoRename template list found on the AutoMove/AutoRename page. In most cases, the already available templates in the AutoRename drop-down are sufficient -- but in some cases you might want to create a special format -- that's where the AutoRename Custom Template comes in.

To create a Custom Template, select the item you want to add using the radio buttons in the top section of the dialog. For instance, click the radio button next to Title (as shown below) if you want to add Title as the next item. Once you have selected the item, click the "Add" button to add the item to the Filename Template. To enter text (e.g., a dash or a space) in the entry field (below length), and then click the "Add" button. Note that in many cases, you will want to add a space before and after any text you enter (in order to properly format your entry). When you click the "Add" button, the just-entered item will be added to the custom template, and the custom template will be shown in the field labeled "Filename Template". Note that the "Filename Template" is for display ONLY -- you can't edit the template directly. Also, every custom template MUST include the Title (since otherwise it would be too difficult to create unique filenames).

To define an item as optional, click the "Optional" checkbox before clicking the "Add" button. An optional item will be shown with a question-mark preceding the name, to indicate that the item is optional. For instance, in the dialog below, "Artist - ?Track Title" means that the song Revolution (track #1) on the White Album by the Beatles would be renamed to "Beatles - 01 Revolution.mp3" if the track number was known, or "Beatles - Revolution.mp3" if the track number wasn't known. If the rename format were instead "Artist - Track Title" then if the track number wasn't known the "If information is missing" rules of the "AutoRename Configuration" page would take effect -- providing options such as not renaming the song or moving the song to a specified directory.

Click the "Clear Template" button to erase the current template and start over from the beginning, or click the "Undo Last" button to clear the last entry.

Once you have completed your custom template, click the "OK" button to add the template to the list of available AutoRename templates, or click "Cancel" if you want to cancel the creation of the custom template.

Click the "Edit Custom Table" button if you want to delete previously created custom templates.

An example of custom template is shown below: Artist - ?Track Title

You would create this template as follows (this template already exists in the AutoRename drop-down list):

1) Select Artist and then click Add

2) Enter a space, a dash, and then a space in the entry field and then click Add

3) Select Track, click Optional, and then click Add

4) Enter a space in the entry field and then click Add

5) Select Title and then click Add

Click OK to add this custom template to the AutoRename list. In this case, nothing will be added to the AutoRename list since this template already exists (you can't create a duplicate in the list).

 

 

 

 

 

Edit Custom Template

Click the "Edit Custom Table" from the AutoRename Custom Template page to bring up the table of custom AutoRename templates that have been previously created. To delete an item in the list, click on the gray box to the left of the item you want to delete, and then press the delete key. You are NOT able to edit the items in the list.

 

 

 

Running MP3 Boss for the First Time

After installing MP3-Boss, click on the MP3-Boss icon on your desktop, or from Start/Programs/MP3Boss/MP3Boss to run the program. The first time MP3-Boss runs, it will first ask you to fill in some configuration information and then it will automatically go to the scan page after asking you if you want to "Scan ALL Drives". In most cases, you should just let MP3-Boss scan all of your drives -- MP3-Boss will then create a database consisting of all of the MP2 & MP3 files that it finds on ALL of your drives. If you have a lot of network attached drives, you may want to answer "NO" that you don't want to scan ALL drives -- you would then go to the SCAN page and specify which drives/directories to scan. Note that you would just enter "C:\", "D:\", and "E:\" under "Directories to Scan" to scan all of drive C:\, D:\ and E:\.

 

AutoMove/AutoRename Filelist

When you click the "Show Filelist" button on the AutoMove/AutoRename page, a dialog like the one shown below will appear. The file list shows you both the old and new filepath and filename. You can use the scroll-bar on the right side, or the navigation buttons on the botton, to see more of the files that will be moved/renamed. The top line of every record shows you the file ID, and some Yes/No information about the file (e.g., did a new path need to be created, was some information missing, did enough of the artist/album/category exist to actually create the new directory?). You can right-click on any of those checkboxes (or on the other fields) to sort the list by that field in ascending or descending order. The descriptor "Min FAILED " indicates that not enough of that particular artist/album/category (etc.) were present to create the new directory. New Path and New FileName are shown in blue to indicate that the file was to be renamed or moved (but Min Fail checked means that it wasn't actually moved). If instead the descriptor is Old Path or Old FileName (in red), then the file wasn't moved and/or renamed.

 

Winamp songs skip when I...

With the default buffer & priority settings, Winamp will sometimes skip when playing a song -- particularly when the system is loading large programs like Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer. Some systems will also have trouble every time you load a new web site in Internet Explorer. Some suggestions on how to overcome this problem are given in the Troubleshooting section.

 

What Does MP3 Boss do?

What does it DO?

MP3 Boss helps you manage and play your collection of MP3 files. Using MP3 Boss, you can:

LIST all of your MP3 files in a single location. No longer any need to be concerned about drives or directories. Plus, you'll instantly see how many MP3 files you have, and how much space they require. Full support for CD-ROM drives and networks!

SEARCH for a specific artist, title, album, music category (and more!)

SORT based on artist, title, album, music category (and more!)

EDIT information for individual MP3 files or groups of MP3 files -- finally a way to change information for an entire album with only a few clicks! Artist Fixup is used to make sure an artist's name is spelled correctly. For instance: Betles, Beetles, Batles can all be changed to Beatles with just a few clicks.

FIND and DELETE duplicate files. MP3 Boss will perform partial comparisons, or full bit-by-bit comparisons and give you a complete report of exact (and partial) matches. You then simply click the files you want to delete! You even get a report of how many megabytes will be freed up.

CHANGE the filename, path, or drive by simply changing the information in the database (after confirmation of course!).

CopyDown lets you change one entry and copy that information to all the rows below it.

AUTOMATIC RENAME and File MOVE quickly rename or move files based on the artist, album, title, track, year (and much more) information! Completely configurable.

PLAY individual or groups of MP3 files -- MP3 Boss directly communicates with the WinAmp MP3 player, and includes integrated volume control, prior/next track, stop/pause/play and more. Click a couple of buttons, and you can display or edit the complete information about the file.

CREATE reports showing selected MP3 files -- or a list of all of your MP3 files.

CREATE CD Inlays for your MP3 CD's.

RATE your MP3 files - Good/Bad/Awful. Then, just play the songs YOU want! Also, you will no longer be limited to short comments -- each MP3 file can include a 64KB comment.

SCAN all your drives for MP3 files -- MP3 Boss will automatically create the database based on tag (ID3, Lyric, and ID3v2) and filename information. If your MP3 files are organized into well-defined directories, all of that information is easy to incorporate into the database during the scan. Plus, a single click lets you swap title and artist - for those MP3 files that didn't have any tag information, and weren't named in the most common format. Plus, MP3 Boss is really network ready -- not only does it scan network drives, it can even remap the drives for those times you want to share an MP3 database among a group of networked users.

UPDATE your list of MP3 files -- the SCAN is smart enough to ignore any files that have already been scanned. Not only does this speed things up, it also means that you won't lose any custom comments.

HIDE files that have glitches or those that are on removable drives. Also, you can show any files with filenames that are too long for CD-ROM -- a real lifesaver when creating an all-MP3 CD-ROM.

ORGANIZE your files quickly and easily. With a few clicks, you can change EVERY occurrence of PFlyd, PinkFlyd, and PF to Pink Floyd. A real time-saver!

COPY/MOVE/DELETE any file. Don't like the song that is playing? Simply click FIND, and then click DELETE. No more having to first figure out the name of the file, and then hunting down that file!

HotScan your playlist. Play a 10s sample of all of the songs in your playlist. A great way to quickly review/rate your files.

MUCH MORE!

 

Scanning Errors

Because of the large number of available mp3 file taggers, and because tag formats are always being updated -- it is possible that MP3-Boss won't be able to correctly scan all of your files. It is even possible that file scanning may stop at a particular file and that file will need to be changed before MP3-Boss will continue the scan. If this happens, first check to make sure that you are running the newest version of MP3-Boss. The newest version can always be found at http://www.mp3-boss.com.

If you have the newest version of MP3-Boss, and the problem still occurs, please send an example file to: john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net

and I'll fix the problem in the next release.

There have been some reports that scanning more than a few thousand files at one time under Windows XP may cause memory leak problems. This may cause the MP3-Boss filescan page to be incorrectly refreshed, and may generate a "Not enough memory" or "There was an unexpected error executing the command" error message when trying to go to the List View page after scanning. If either problem occurs, wait until the scan completes and then simply exit and restart MP3-Boss. Note that the filescan completes successfully even though the display is not refreshed as expected. This problem will probably be fixed via a Windows XP service pack release however, if you have any information on particular Windows API file calls (e.g., network drives requests, short filename conversion) that are problematic in Windows XP I would appreciate receiving the information. Windows XP compatibility modes dont seem to correct the problem. A future version of MP3-Boss will probably make it possible to automatically perform filescans in 5000 file increments (instead of the current 15000 file filescan) which will probably eliminate this Windows XP issue.

 

What is the easiest way to get a registration key?

Registration is currently $15. I have online registration available through the SWReg and RegisterNow! service. The MP3-Boss web site (http://www.mp3-boss.com) will always have the most recent information about Registration. If you have any questions or need to make alternative arrangements, please send an e-mail to: john.t.mccaffrey@snet.net or sales@mp3-boss.com.

 

How do I quickly scan an ENTIRE CD (or Hard Drive)?

Under MP3 Scan, just select or type in the Drive letter (e.g., F:\ if your CD-ROM is drive F:), make sure that it is the only drive selected, and click "Scan selected directories". MP3 Boss automatically scans any subdirectories of a selected drive or subdirectory

 

Will duplicate checking work when comparing files on the hard disk to files on an unloaded CD?

While bit-by-bit checking requires that the CD be present, MP3 Boss performs a CRC32 check to first determine possible duplicates. Therefore, it should be possible to get a good (but not perfect) indication that you have files on your hard disk that are duplicates of those on a CD. If you want to be absolutely positive, you will need to load the CD (or you would need to change the scan-time CRC32 size to a large enough value to perform a full CRC32 scan).

 

Why is the program 10MB?

MP3 Boss is based on the Microsoft Access runtime engine. While the Microsoft Access runtime engine gives a database program a lot of advantages (e.g., the speed and flexibility of sorting/searching/filtering), it unfortunately requires a large installation package. The update-only package (from v0.25 and up) is about 2MB.

 

Do I need Microsoft Access to run MP3 Boss?

No, the Microsoft Access runtime engine is distributed with MP3 Boss. MP3 Boss works completely independently of whether you have Microsoft Access or not.

 

What's the biggest CD collection that MP3 Boss supports? Is there a limit to the number of files or drives?

As far as I know, the largest collection that has been scanned so far consisted of over 150GB of MP3 files (approx. 60,000 files) spread out over multiple local drives, networked drives, and CD's. One system is running with over 20 local and networked drives, and well over 100 CD's. Since MP3 Boss is based on the Microsoft Access runtime engine, a practical limit is a 1GB database (the physical limit is 2GB). Based on the size of a 30,000 file database, a 1GB database could hold information on almost 2 MILLION MP3 files (anybody have 10 Terrabytes of disk space for those MP3 files?). There shouldn't be any practical limit to the number of drives that MP3 Boss can support.

 

Exporting Data

Several reports in MP3-Boss let you save selected information to a text file. However, the most flexible means of exporting data to a text file, a tab-delimited file, or a comma-separated file (CSV) is to use List View and first move the columns around to show only the columns you want (in the order you want). Then, highlight the columns you want and copy the data (using the mouse or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-C) -- this pastes great into Excel, and then you can use Excel to create the export format you desire.

 

Refresh

After scanning a drive, you may need to update the list of files shown in List View. If you scan for new files, and leave the Scan page up, MP3-Boss will automatically refresh the List View when the scan is complete. However, if you are viewing the List View screen when the scan completes a refresh is not performed (since it would be distracting). To manually update List View to show the just scanned files, simply select Records/Refresh from the menu. This menu item is also useful when showing the list of files that are being moved -- so the # of bytes remaining to be moved is updated. In this case, place the cursor in that field and then select Records/Refresh.

 

Drive Mapping

If you have added a new drive to your system, or if your network drive mapping has changed, you can automatically update the drives using the Refresh Mapping button on the Utilities page. Simply click the Refresh Mapping button to bring up the dialog shown below. When you bring up this screen, MP3-Boss analyzes the serial number and drive volume label information for the drives that it finds and then displays any drives that may have changed in red. It is normal for all of your drives to be accessed when the Refresh Mapping button is pressed, including floppy and CD drives. Use the Show Original Info and Show Current Info radio buttons to display the original and current information for the selected drive. It is because the original and current information is different that MP3-Boss believes the drive has changed. Note that in some cases, the drive letter may not have changed -- some other information (e.g., volume label or serial number) may have changed for that drive. In most cases, MP3-Boss does a good job of analyzing the drives and suggesting changes -- particularly if the drive serial number is available for all of the drives. However, if desired, you may use the NewMap dropdown selections to manually select & change the drive letter for a drive. If you want to ignore a particular drive, simply click the Ignore? checkbox and the drive mapping for that particular drive will not change. Ignore is useful if a hard drive has failed and you don't wish to remap the failed drive at this time.

The Refresh button is used if you want to have MP3-Boss re-evaluate the drive mappings (for instance, if you manually attach to additional network drives). The Refresh preformed is identical to the drive check that is performed when the Refresh Mapping dialog is first brought up.

Once you are happy with the selected mapping, press the Update button to update the drive maps in the MP3-Boss database. Note that the Update operation does NOT change any information on the actual hard drives.

If you just wanted to change the path for a few files (e.g., if you moved them in Windows instead of in MP3-Boss), then you can just change the filepath in List View. If MP3-Boss finds that the file doesn't exist in the original location, but exists at the new location you entered -- it will just update the database with that information. You can use this feature along with CopyDown to update a full directory of files.

 

How do I delete files from MP3-Boss without deleting them from the hard disk?

Just press the Delete key while the cursor is on the record in List View. This will delete just the MP3-Boss record, but it will not delete the file. However, if you scan the directory again, the file will be added again.

The "Delete File" button at the top of List View is used to Delete both the record AND the file.

 

How can I delete categories from the category list?

Since the first 150 categories in the categories list are tied to the ID3v1 tag, there isn't a method to remove those categories since that would mean that it wouldn't be possible to identify the correct ID3v1 category for scanned files. However, by adding an exclamation point as the first character of any user categories you enter, for instance:

!Mitch's Tunes

the categories you enter will be shown first in the drop-down list. You can provide additional sub-sorting by adding other characters that are sorted prior to the ID3v1 categories. For instance, using a "period" or the number "1" as the first character of a user category will make those categories appear after those beginning with an exclamation mark, but before the ID3v1 categories.

Since the Genre list is a list of song categories based on the ID3v1 specification, there isn't a way to delete any song categories in the Genre list.

When you change the User category for a song, the Genre is automatically updated with the category information if the User Category is from the original Genre specification. MP3-Boss includes a Genre cleanup utility (Utilities page) that allows you to automatically update the Genre with the User Category information.

 

 

Show Select Filters

The Show Select Filter toggle button brings up a popup toolbox showing a number of filters that can be used to hide or show certain categories of files in List View.

The Select Filters are organized in groups of three. Move the mouse cursor over an icon to get information about the function of that particular icon. The selected icon is depressed, and includes an LED indicator above the selected filters. All of the groups include an "ALL" button -- select the ALL button to disable that filter set.

The first group of filters provides the ability to show ONLY the files that have the SELECT checkbox checked, or ONLY the files that have the SELECT checkbox unchecked.

The second group of filters provides the ability to show ONLY those files with long filenames (65 characters long), or ONLY the files with short filenames (<65 characters long). This filter is useful when you are preparing songs to be written to CD-ROM, since the CD-ROM specification prevents such long filenames from being written to a CD.

The third group of filters provides the ability to show ONLY those files that are marked short or glitched, or show ONLY the files that aren't marked either short or glitched.

The fourth group of filters provides the ability to show ONLY those files that are on a removeable drive (e.g., CD-ROM), or show ONLY those files that aren't on a removeable drive.

 

Why do you only save 30 characters in the ID3v1 tag?

The ID3v1 tag consists of Artist/Album/Title/Category & Track number only. The maximum length of any of the fields is 30 characters (the entire tag is only 128 bytes long). This sometimes makes the ID3v1 tag a bit of a pain to use, but almost all mp3 players (even most stand-alone mp3 players) now support ID3v1 tags.

 

Do you support MusicMatch Jukebox? Microsoft Windows Media Player? Winamp 3? Raduga?

Currently, MP3-Boss only supports Winamp v1.x and v2.x as the mp3 player. However, I have recently started looking at MusicMatch Jukebox (MMJ) -- and probably it will be possible for me to add limited functionality to MMJ in the future. MMJ doesn't provide any developer support, so it is unlikely that I will be able to provide player support as complete as that with Winamp. So far, I've figured out how to add a song to the MMJ playlist, and Prior/Next/Stop/Pause/Play a song. However, I haven't been able to figure out how to jump to a song already in the playlist. If you have any information on the Windows messages that are used to control the MMJ player, please send the information to me at features@mp3-boss.com. Any documentation would be very helpful.

If there is enough interest, I can also add at least limited support for Microsoft Media Player and the Raduga player. I believe that the Microsoft Media Player provides developer support and so a full-featured interface may be possible. If there is additional interest, I will create a Raduga-compatible playlist. I don't intend to add full Raduga support.

Winamp 3 support will be added once it is clear that the developer interface is stable (Winamp 3 is currently in beta release only).

If you have a favorite MP3 Player, and want MP3-Boss to add support for that player, please send any available developer information to: features@mp3-boss.com.

 

How can I play an Album?

MP3-Boss doesn't have a specific album-play mode (yet?). To play an album, use the List View Filter to show all of the songs from a particular album, then click the gray box immediately under the yellow MP3-Boss box (left side of the screen, under the toolbar). Clicking that box will select all of the records. Then, just "Add" button in the Winamp Controls to add all of the songs to the playlist. Playlist Save/Restore will be added to a future version of MP3-Boss, and that will make selecting albums to play much easier.