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 audacity.sourceforge.net 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!

Researching “American Agencies” @ 1-877-728-8912

Note: This article is taken as true on “presumed honesty” and is more just a culmination of the Internet version of group-think — people posting semi-random remarks on the same subject, and drawing a conclusion from the total. The article’s authority is based on unknown degrees of honesty from anonymous sources.

After doing a little research online and looking up 1-877-728-8912, random-ish and mostly-anonymous reports seem to pop up from number-alert sites that a company called “ACA Receivables” (that may or may not appear on Caller ID) may be the one making these calls (according to a few commenters here and here): under the guise of a collections agency. Another commenter reports being told they owed money for AT&T and that after checking with AT&T him/herself, that AT&T hadn’t used them for collections for at least four years.

There’s a website for AmericanAgencies.comAnother similarly-named company, AmericanAgency.com deals with insurance, and I suspect they may simply have a similar name — plus none of their contact numbers appear to match up.

CallerComplaints.com’s Entry lists around 35 reports for this number, a few citing actually calling the number and getting runaround about past debt and asking you to verify your information by telling the “first five digits” of your SSN. Yikes!

American-Agencies-Complaints.US appears to be a written by someone uninterested in web design, but contains a bit of info about a lawsuit that occured in 2003 involving ACA Receiveables.

I also looked up a few governmental fraud reporting sites for possible scams, and FTC Complain Assistant seems like the best place to official submit alerts if you’re in the US, as they need reports to track areas that are being hit. From the CallerComplaint site above, it seems various parts of the country may be getting singled out and some complaints date back to around October of 2007.

Hope this helps out! This very well may simply be a legitimate credit agency who has a wrong number for someone who does actually owe money. However, it hasn’t gotten to the point of irritation that I’ve yet been bothered to call the number to find out. If you do or did, please tell me your results in the comments below! If you recorded your conversation — send it to ablestmage@gmail.com so the rest of us will know what to expect. Don’t give out any pertinent info like SSN digits of any sort, but perhaps just with exploratory questions to see whether they might actually be kosher.

Removing the Spyware Detected Windows Warning Wallpaper Virus

If you’re looking for a way to remove a trojan/virus that keeps making your wallpaper change into the image of a windows warning message that states, “Warning! Spyware detected on your computer! Install antivirus or spyware remover to clean your computer,”…

…then try out this guide. It worked for me (and is not originally mine, but attributed to Ebomb from this message board, but I just fleshed it out with better step-by-steps), so give it a shot to see if it works for you. As always, you must acknowledge that fiddling with your settings and whatnot are your own responsibility — not mine. I’m just showing you how I got rid of my problem, so no guarantees for your success or demise either way ^_^ Read thru the whole guide first, before you do anything.

The virus appears, to my limited knowledge, to simply be a kind of prank virus that doesn’t actually cause any real malfunction. The blue-screen error that pops up after 20 minutes or so and possibly appears to make it reboot is actually just a screensaver, with an animation simulating the reboot. If you hit ENTER during the reboot or bluescreen, you’ll come back to the desktop just as you would with any screensaver.

One thing about this sucker is that it disables the “desktop” and “screensaver” tabs in the properties menu for the desktop so you can’t change them back quite so easily.

Here’s how to eliminate this buzzard, all without using antivirus software. My suspicion as to the reason antivirus programs don’t seem to pick this up is that it doesn’t really do any virus-like harm, it just does prankstery things such as changing the screensaver and turning off function to a few menus. I haven’t analyzed the code so I don’t actually know if it really does bad stuff, though either. But anyway.

1. Click on START in the bottom corner and select RUN, and type in regedit.

1a. Navigate the directory tree to this path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Policies, System.

1b. Once you’re there, right-click on NoDispBackgroundPage and set the value to 0 (zero). Do the same for NoDispScrSavPage. This will let you see the wallpaper and screensaver tabs in display properties again.

Just close out the REGEDIT program and the changes will have taken effect, without having to reboot. Go to your display properties (right-click on a blank area of the desktop and select properties from the menu), and the Screensaver and Desktop tabs should now be back.

2. Go to the Screensaver tab in Display Properties and look for a screensaver with a gobbledegook name. The name will probably be different for each infection, but looks something along the lines of this one highlighted. Write this name down somewhere.

2a. Using Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer), navigate to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 and look for filename with the same name you wrote down in step 2, and delete it. This makes the blue screen stop showing up. It was a fake blue screen anyway.

2b. Now hit hold down the CTRL, ALT and DEL keys on the keyboard and if you’re given the option, select something to the effect of “active processes” and look for a similar gobbledegook program running (ends with .exe). Write down the name of this one, then click on it and END PROGRAM, and click YES on the warning about shutting a program down this weird way.

2c. Go back to Explorer and look for a filename just like the one you wrote down in step 2b. You’ve now deleted the main virus.

2d. Go back and re-open REGEDIT and do a search (CTRL-F) for the name you wrote down in 2b, and delete the entry that points to it. This deletes the command to run the virus.

3. Go back to Display Properties and open the Desktop tab, and scroll down to see a similar (if not duplicate) gobbledegook name — this is the file that makes the background look like a warning window. Write this name down (if it’s not a duplicate), and go back to Explorer and delete this file also. That’ll prevent the background from changing to that warning again.

4. Empty your Recycle Bin, and you should now be set!

…Let me know if this helped you out — however, please do not ask me more questions about it. I’m no expert in the field, and the guide (invented by the guy listed at the top of the article) is simply a method that worked for me. Good luck!

Flash: Totally Creepy Spider Simulator

If you’re not very keen on manipulating a spider, then skip this link. I was itchy within a few seconds, and just clenched-eyes and shuddered typing this out. Eeeeeuuuhhh!

You can change a bunch of features like color, leg length, and shadow angle, plus you can drag it around by one leg with the mouse, or press the spacebar to drop an insect for it to walk over to and eat wherever the mouse is on the screen. Eerie!

Flash Spider Simulator.

Artists Compete to Create Your Logo

I’ve come across a website that permits artists to compete for a cash prize that you can set, to come up with a logo for your business, club, or whatever. It’s called 99designs, and could also serve for some good inspiration in your own logo-making, if you’re into that kind of thing.

If I can somehow manage to get advertisers and make a few revenue dollars, I may sponsor one such logo design campaign myself. But I think I’ll do the Water4Gas thing on the right column there before that.. looks interesting. Better start saving my quarters =P

Debunking Forwards: Hungry at the Olympics?

A recent e-mail forward going around shows many unattributed photos (with edited-in captions) of a Chinese Olympic foodcart court with such offerings as scorpions, silk worms, sea horses, goat lungs, and more. I don’t especially see a reason to doubt these are from an Olympic venue (other than the fact that Chinah as a ban on dog meat, and “dog liver and vegetables” is shown as an open-air food cart offering.

I was not able to find any mention of it on the web through a standard Googling — the only similar story seemed to be a BBC news article about how China is banning dog meat, that included the phrase “hungry at the olympics”..

However, I was able to locate a few pictures that seemed strikingly similar (without the edited-in captions, perhaps being the originals upon which the captions were added) by searching directly on Flickr. Mauricio Moreno came up after searching for olympics, food, scorpion. I only found a few of them, so I suspect there may be another photographer, possibly from the same venue. The search continues.. can anyone else find a gallery of these?

Here are a few from the email, but I won’t post all 17 pictures for fear of getting server hammered! heh

Edit — OK, scratch that. I DID find someone who posted the entire series of pictures.. but they’re in a flash-based slideshow format, and at a terrible quality reduction. I somehow doubt some radio station is the origin of these, though!

A Call for Nominations.. Best End Titles / Sequences

I’m trying to make a compilation/montage of end sequences (that is, the scrolling of the credits) that I find most impressive or uniquely inspired, and I’m willing to accept any suggestions. I’ll probably end up making my own montage and posting it up when I’m done, providing I can find enough high-quality examples ^_^ So far I’ve got these, to research —

Silent Hill
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahan
300
A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m aiming almost strictly on visual appeal, not necessarily the music. Some reels like the Bourne series have nifty credits sequences but the music is not my style.

I’d like to make it a top-ten, but I’d even settle for top five if I can just find a fifth =P heh Post your suggestion in the comments!

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Silent Hill

300