phut phut phut, click click click

Phut Phut Phut is what it sounded like. A seemingly harmless noise coming from somewhere around me, almost similar to what came from the Morse code telegraph machines in the post offices of olden days. It was 7th of July, in the afternoon, when I was preparing to post something interesting for you folks, some nice music that I thought you all would love to listen. Before I could understand the meaning of the sound it was all gone. The sound was coming from my 6 month old 320 GB Seagate FreeAgent Go USB 2.0 Portable hard disk. I immediately pulled off the cable and tried to plug it again. The Phut Phut sound was no more there and I sighed with relief. Maybe it was nothing but a temporary glitch with the hard disk, I thought. After all it was a Seagate drive and almost a new one at that. Click Click Click it sounded again, a low volume sound just like the ticking of a wall clock and I went numb with fear. My worst of nightmares came true. Yes, it was COD (click of death), as it is known in the techie world. My hard disk was dead. All the songs were gone forever.

It was only a few months back, that I thought it was a good idea to put all my songs collection, scattered all over into small capacity hard disks, into a new and bigger hard disk. I went for the best brand in the market, Seagate that is, and moved all the songs, some 60,000 of them (300 GB), into this one. I then moved all the useless crap spread all over my computer into the smaller drives. Backup, Backup and Backup is the mantra of the digital world and I was foolish enough to have ignored it. I can only curse Seagate, for producing such inferior products and also myself for not listening to the digital mantra all these years. I am now left with the useless crap that I thought at that time, was a wise thing to store in the smaller and older (but more reliable) hard drives. Of course Seagate will replace the hard disk with a new one, but minus the songs.

Moral of the story : Always keep two copies of your data, but on two different brands of disks.

Jackass of the year : I bought a brand new disk today, again a Seagate FreeAgent Go (this time 500 GB). Also waiting for the replacement of the dead disk from Seagate. That makes a total 820 GB. Wow!

Will be back soon.

indianraga

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Easy cache digging tools

All this while, ever since I started writing this blog, I have been giving you tips and tricks to download media files via the Internet Explorer cache. Now take a breather. Digging out media files, both audio and video, was never so easy. Here take a look at these wonderful tools developed by Nir Sofer. These tiny utilities need no installation, just unzip the executable program and run it from any folder you want.

IECacheView is a small utility that reads the cache folder of Internet Explorer, and displays the list of all files currently stored in the cache. For each cache file, the following information is displayed : Filename, Content Type, URL, Last Accessed Time, Last Modified Time, Expiration Time, Number Of Hits, File Size, Folder Name, and full path of the cache filename. This utility works with Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista, with Internet Explorer version 6.x or 7.x or 8.x. After you run it, the main window displays the list of files currently stored in the cache of Internet Explorer. This tool supports all file types. You can extract the actual files from the cache, and save them into another folder. You can do that by using the ‘Copy Selected Cache Files To’ option (F4).

Download IECacheView 1.31 (46 KB).

MozillaCacheView is a small utility that reads the cache folder of Firefox/Mozilla/Netscape web browsers, and displays the list of all files currently stored in the cache. For each cache file, the following information is displayed: URL, Content type, File size, Last modified time, Last fetched time, Expiration time, Fetch count, Server name, and more. This utility works on Win 98/2000/XP/Vista and Windows 7. You can use this utility even if Firefox is not installed on your system, as long as you know the path of the cache folder that you want to inspect. You can easily select one or more items from the cache list, and then save the files to another folder. You can do this by using the ‘Copy Selected Cache Files To’ option (F4).

Download MozillaCacheView 1.27 (59 KB).

VideoCacheView too is a tiny utility for saving video files from web browser cache. After watching a video on a Web site, you may want to save the video file into your local disk for playing it offline in the future. It automatically scans the entire cache of Internet Explorer and Firefox (also supports Opera and Chrome) and finds all video files that are currently stored in it. If you have a FLV player that is configured to play flv files, it allows you to play the video directly from your browser’s cache. After the video list is displayed, you may copy the video files from the cache into another folder. You can do that by using the ‘Copy Selected Files To’ option (F7). This utility is best for saving videos (flv files) from youtube.com and also mp3 files. However, as of now, it does not support wma files.

Download VideoCacheView 1.53 (68 KB).

Was this article useful? Post a review.

indianraga

I had a fit last week

I had a fit last week. Not the type when you froth at the mouth, face twitching, eyes rolling skywards and finally, you drop down dead on the floor ..with a thud. Mine was different. I chanced upon a website called suhanegeet.com. What I saw there was amazing stuff. Vintage hindi film songs from 1930 onwards. I am not a big follower of hindi film songs really, but I love collecting artifacts of antique value, be it coins, paintings, or any old titbit piece of art for that matter.

Achhut Kanya (1936) – Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani :  (Download)

To me the glorious black and white era of hindi films ended with the release of Mughal-e-Azam in 1959 (or was it 1960 ?). This was the period which saw the evolution of hindi film songs from the unbearably harsh sounding songs of the early 1930s to the refined voices of singers like K L Saigal, Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai Ambalawali, C H Atma, Talat Mahmood, Suraiya, Khursheed, Shamshad Begum, Noor Jehan and many others. The emergence of Lata Mangeshkar and company in the late 1940s however, changed the face of hindi film music forever.

Mughal-e-Azam (1959) – Lata & Shamshad Begum :  (Download)

So I went down to work. Suhanegeet.com is not a fanciful site, infact it is a bit drag on at first look. It has a great search engine though. Above all, it has an archive of some 8000 songs, but I was interested only in songs of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The songs can be played on an onsite flash mp3 player but cannot be downloaded. I somehow managed to download ‘quite a few‘ songs, all of them from the above mentioned vintage period. I have this strange thing going for me. When I get down to do something, I try very hard to be meticulous about it.

I had a fit last week :

Thirsting for more of such vintage songs, I discovered another site : ansarimusic.net (or songs420.com). Applying the same ‘method’ which I did with suhanegeet.com, I downloaded ‘some‘ of the songs, mostly of the legendary singers. I finished the job by downloading a ‘few‘ from smashits.com, most of them from the 1930 through the 1950s. Finally, I have a handsome collection of select old hindi film songs now, all vintage. All this took me a few hours of nosing around ..and a little application of mind.

Comments are welcome.

indianraga

How to Download from pz10.com

Yet another very good, but not very popular resource of hindustani classical music is pz10.com (the pz stands for Punjabi Zone). The reason it being not too well known in the classical music circuit is, it’s rather unfriendly interface and strange indexing system. But, once you get the real feel of the site it could prove to be a true bonanza to all music lovers. One good thing about this site is that it streams it’s music in both .wma and .mp3 formats. Moreover, the mp3s are of 128 Kbps (near CD) quality, which is good enough reason to download from this site.

To music lovers for whom retrieving music from the Internet Explorer Cache is becoming a habit, I recommend they install ExploreXP (click here to download), a very small and free alternative to Windows Explorer which is easy to setup and can be configured to view all hidden and system files. Moreover it lets you view the filesize in Bytes rather than KBs which is the standard view in Windows Explorer.

ExploreXP settings :

Before attempting to download, clean your Internet Explorer cache completely, by either using the standard method of Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup, or by using an utility like CCleaner or even Index.bat (a batch code written by me for those who know their way around with the Command Prompt and Safe Booting).

Visit the music section of pz10.com. Click on the Hindustani Instrumental Music (its more than just instrumental really), and then on the View / Browse All Hindustani Instrumental Music Albums (or simply click here).

Choose the album you want to download.

Choose Flash Player, Select All Songs and click on the Play button. Let the songs play to their full length.

Inside the IE Cache, the song file will start to grow as it plays on :

After the caching is complete :

Retrieve the songs from the Internet Explorer Cache. ExploreXP will help you to do it with ease.

Another way to download is to search for flash[1].htm file in the cache which is the playlist file (this is tricky because sometimes it could be a jumbled 8 character name like CAX8KNTH.htm). If you are using the Windows Media Player as your player option, the playlist file will be named playlist[1].htm.

Open the file in notepad and copy the song URL (highlighted part) which looks like this :

[http://media.cdn.pz10.com/mm6/files/40/17812/17812-1.mp3 ?voxtoken=9c7c035c20238f84ff7b85b7b882ce65d204e35f]

Use a downloader like Flashget to download the file.

Note: The voxtoken=(+ a combination of letters and numbers) is a part of secure webcasting code by Voxel meant to prevent the users from downloading the music. As the voxtoken code changes every time you load the player, so does the URL of the song, preventing people from posting the songs on their blogs or elsewhere. This means, the URL is good enough for single use only.

The pz10.com team has a sense of humor too. An attempt to open the flash.asx (seemingly a playlist file, the path is mentioned in flash[1].htm), will give you this mocking message :

NO SOUP FOR YOU SHAME SHAME!!!!

Well, here is a spoonful, (of soup ?) for everyone to savour.

Girija Devi – Humse Najariya Kahe Pheri – Thumri :  (Download)

Apart from a sizeable collection of hindustani classical music, pz10.com also has a good number of regional songs including Bhojpuri and Rajasthani folk.

Enjoy !!

indianraga

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