Video Tutorial: How To Remove Vocals From Mp3

I was listening to a Nickelback CD in my dad’s truck the other day while we were out shopping for Xmas gifts and thought to myself, “ya know, this band would be waaaaay better without that irritating voice messing up all the awesome instruments,” and I thought I’d remembered seeing something you could download to remove vocals to make karaoke versions of your own music.. so I figured I’d look it up.

Turns out it’s pretty easy, but mostly if (a) you just happen to have music where the vocals were recorded on perfectly centered stereo tracks, (b) don’t care a lot about super spiffy quality, and (c) look the other way when it comes to music copying legalese. You may inadvertently also remove instruments that happen to be playing in the same frequency range as the voices, and you may not clip out the background vocals.

That said, here’s my tutorial. You’ll need the audio software known as Audacity, which you can get for free from at no charge. Once that’s installed, just follow the directions on Audacity’s site that I blatantly stole and reworded to make into my own visual tutorial (but gave credit for in typical English major style). Ah, the Internets!

BBS Documentary Tops To-Buy List

Ok, now that I’m making a list of a few things I’d like to buy soon, chalk up the BBS Documentary to that list.. no, move it to the top. I just watched the trailer dubbed Heroes and quite audibly remarked, Whoa! repeatedly, and in ever-increasing volume at each person I had actually heard of or had come to know their invention/product quite well back in the pre-Internet days of the Bulletin Board System — being the forerunner of modern-day message boards, newgroups, chatrooms, and online gaming. I’m glad the music background of the trailer harks back unto the chiptune days, as well. Sounds almost like the good old C64 chiptunes in many spots. The other trailer, 200 incorporates a lot of dot-matrix printer sounds. Good times.

People I recognized in the Heroes trailer:

Creator/Author of Xmodem,
Creator/Author of Ymodem and Zmodem,
Creator/Author of WWIV,
Creator/Author of Fidonet,
Creator/Author of QWK packets,
Co-Author of PC-Board,
the ACiD ANSI art group..

People I would have recognized had they been included —

Seth Able, Creator/Author of Legend of the Red Dragon BBS Door..
Creator/Author of Food Fight and Food Fight 2 BBS Doors..
Creators/Authors of Renegade, TAG, PowerBoard, Wildcat!, ProBoard, Synchronet, and Searchlight BBS software packages..

I actually still have a “WWIV-BBS.ZIP” backed up on a large USB backup drive, in a directory of “backoflops” — backups of floppy disks that I made a while ago whence 3.5″ floppies were a staple of any PC. It’s a custom version I had created of the WWIV system that was essentially then-ready to simply be unzipped and ready to run on a modem that accepted incoming calls. I bought my first 1.2GB Maxtor from Sam’s Wholesale for $220 when they were new, upgrading from my father’s 255mb that I had maxed out with shareware and corny VGA games. I used TELIX to dial out, and for the longest time was a holdout with a 14,400 baud modem when 56k was becoming very common — however, our first home IBM-clone was an 8088, with a 10mb HDD, 5.25″ floppy, 2400 baud modem, 640k conventional memory, and an orange monochrome screen. I typed out dozens of stories on that machine using a password-encrypted word processor that ran on MS-DOS 5.0 called Symphony… ah, the days ^_^

Magazine-Scanning Site Enwad Publishers’ Undies

There’s a magazine-sharing site,, that enables users to freely (no charge) scan, upload, and share magazine issues with other users, akin to Flickr or YouTube. Waxy reports that it’s causing a bit of a irritating bunching-uppedness in the undies of publishers’ undergarments, but are “having trouble with jurisdiction”.. Website Article about said bewedgement

Neil Gaiman Gives Away “American Gods” on eBook

You can now read Neil Gaiman’s swiftly-selling book, American Gods, online here. You can’t download it (although I guess you could probably screenshot every page, perhaps), but it’s the entire thing, not just a preview chapter or whatever. Oh yeah.

Quick Timewaster Game: Distraction

Here’s a very simple and quick flash game where you move the mouse cursor (in the shape of a peculiar bird) that eats fruit and avoids missles. It’s a side-scroller, but with the additional variable that animal characters are moving around the edges of the game screen and modifying it (shaking it, resizing it, making it wobble, pivoting it, etc. You’ve got to avoid the missles, the ground, and the edges of the screen. I got a whopping 10,665 on my second try (died the first time when the giant missle hit me unexpectedly. died the second time when the screen wobbled and knocked into me). Might be pretty good patience builder =P

Distraction (direct link to SWF file, no ads present).

Halo 3: Getting Outside Maps

Here’s a little tutorial I made for getting outside a few of the Halo 3 maps. If you’ve got XBox Live, check out my fileshare (thehomeland) and get the “explore” movies. The basic idea:

1. Load forge.
2. Delete all spawn points. If there’s a couple you can’t find, suicide and you’ll respawn at it.
3. Find a portion of the level that, if you even touch it, will kill you (as shown).
4. Create a spawn point that touches it, but don’t let go of it.
5. Save the game as a new map, while the monitor is still holding the spawn point in the air.
6. Exit Forge.
7. Start Forge again, and died automatically a few times.
8. Exit Forge.
9. Start Theatre, using the film that loads by default (the latest Forge you were just in).
10. When it loads, hit A to pause, left on the D-pad (to start the film at the beginning), Y to detatch the camera, then A to start the film again.
11. Wait about 4 seconds, and the screen should brighten up. Hit pause (A) again, do a 180-degree turn, and you should be able to explore with the camera around the level as you please. You’ll start out miles and miles away from the map, very far outside the barriers, as shown.

S&M Review: Wondershare Video To Flash Encoder + Wonderfalls

S&M meaning.. Software & Movies. Movies in this case being a TV show DVDrip of Wonderfalls I found, though, called Wonderfalls. Unintentional double-header of Wonderness today!

Software Review
I just downloaded and installed this handy little (and free, for today) converter called Wondershare Video To Flash Encoder (which is free for just today from Giveaway of the Day) that does pretty much that. It turns your video files (MPEG, AVI, MOV, WMV, MP4, TS, TP and TRP) to SWF, FLV, EXE (executable) or SCR (screensaver). I got it pretty much just for the FLV option and haven’t tried anything else.

I’ve been largely pleased with it so far. I am not one for wanting super sharp quality on videos, as long as the audio is clean and the video isn’t overly pixellated. I decided to test the WVTFE out on a rip I have of the Wonderfalls Season 1 DVD, and it turned my episode 1 divx file from 358mb into a 147mb FLV. Now instead of backing them up on CDR at two-per-disc, I can fit four, without a significant loss of quality to a degree that’d make me cringe. By comparison, Vista’s stock Windows Movie Maker would turn it into a 217mb WMV. Below are a few screenshots of the original vs. the FLV-encoded versions.

Looks like I’ll be going on an encoding spree in the coming weeks, compressing all of my videos ^_^

Movie/Video Review
Wonderfalls is a nice show, and is created by the same gent who manufactured my favorite show of all time, Dead Like Me. The scene transitions, the tone and actual sound of the main voice-overing/starring character, the bored-silly backup characters, the general cinematography, and overall feel for the show is nearly identical to Dead Like Me, but is only similarly quirky so far.

Basically it’s a Niagra Falls trinket shop grunt employee that is nudged quite suddenly into the world of inanimate objects that talk to her and tell her things to do. She’s initially resistant to the idea, but slowly comes around to it. Not quite as sudden as getting killed by a falling toilet seat (though, that wasn’t very sudden either, there was a lengthy buildup to it), but still appropriately abrupt.

There’s not nearly as much swearing in this one as DLM, but the feel is still quite similar and the chemistry between characters is still that “distant but meh-whatever” kind of chemistry that DLM began with. Having only seen the first few so far, I hope I’m not being fooled into believing one of the characters is different in the pilot than he is in the rest of the show, like how a bright and chipper Mandy Pitinkin is in DLM’s pilot, but is instead a grumpy old sourpuss (in a good way) for the rest of the show.

Either way, I anticipate a good season’s worth.