CDex Explained

This articles was first published on 2004/4/26

What is CDex and where can I download the program?

CDex is a freeware for extracting or "ripping" the tracks from an audio CD to a computer audio format, e.g., MP3. You can download a copy of the latest version from its homepage.

How do I change the output folder used by CDex?

Click Options, then Settings.

You can also change the filename format of the files extracted on the same screen.

How do I change the encoding bitrate or change to another audio file format for new files?

Again, you can find the function by clicking Options then Settings.

To change the file format, click the Encoder pull down menu and select your format. (The example shown is using MP3)

You will find a choice of bitrate under Encoder Options.

How do I alter the bitrate of existing files or convert to another format?

Step 1 : Change to your desired bitrate and/or format (see above).

Step 2 : Click Convert then Re-encode Compressed Audio File(s)

Step 3 : Click the button next to Directory and select the folder storing the audio files you wish to change/convert.

Step 4 : Select your files.

To select more than one files, hold down CTRL key on your keyboard as you make your selection. To select all files: CTRL+A (press and hold CTRL key then press A key).

Step 5 : Click the [Convert] button to commence operation.

I am not getting good quality from the LAME MP3 encoder, is there anything I can do?

Download and replace the LAME encoder stored in the same folder as CDex with this latest stable version.

I hit on a problem using CDex. What can I do?

Visit the CDex FAQ.

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Setup Windows XP East Asian Languages Support

This article was first published on Mesquire.com on 2004/4/19

Like Windows 2000, Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 supports East Asian languages, but it is not enabled by default. In this example, we will be setting up for Chinese.

1. Have your Windows XP setup CD ready and enable East Asian Languages support. You can find Regional and Language Options in Control Panel.

Tick the option to install language support. Allow to reboot when asked.

Note the option installs files for Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The user cannot choose which language to install – xp installs all 4 at once.

2. After the reboot, click the Details button.

3. On the next screen, you will see a screen listing the keyboard services installed. Here is an example.

At this point you may wish to add additional input methods (known as Input Method Editor, IME).

a) Click the Add button, shown above.

b) Select your input language and input method. There are several built-in methods available for Chinese input.

c) Click OK to close.

d) Repeat for each IME you wish to add.

4. Click OK to exit.

5. Go to Advanced tab and change to Chinese. This example has selected Chinese (Hong Kong), but you can also use Chinese (Taiwan) or Chinese (PRC) or Japanese – it all depends on which of the 4 Asian language you wish Windows to display by default when viewing unicode text in all programs, e.g., ICQ.

Restart Windows when prompted. Congratulations, your Windows can now read and write Chinese

 

Handwriting pad

 

Microsoft has included a handwriting pad in its East Asian Language support, similar to that bundled with Office XP. While this doesn’t apply to all languages and its operation is somewhat slow, it is a blessing to those who don’t know how to type Chinese. In this example, we will show you how to use it.

The handwriting pad for Chinese input is installed in Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a service.

Change your Language Bar input to Chinese and then to the Phonetic IME input. Click on the Menu icon at the right hand side (circled).

The Phonetic IME menu will popup. Select IME pad, and the IME pad will be displayed (background).

There is a bug in the IME pad. Whenever the pad is enabled, the handwriting area will contain wiggles that look like an unfinished Chinese character. Click the Clear button before commencing handwriting.

Notice the + sign in the middle. This splits the handwriting area into 4 upper and lower quadrants – to help the placement of complex Chinese characters during writing. Here is an example.

 

Adding East Asian languages support on Windows Vista and Windows 7 is similar.

Outlook Express FAQ

This article was first published on Mesquire.com on 2004/4/19

 

Q:
What is the different between Microsoft Outlook (OL) and Outlook Express (OE) and which one shall I use?

A:
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 257824.

Q:
Where is the Bcc field on a new message window?

A:
On the menu of your new message, click View then tick All Headers. Or, press ALT+b.

Q:
The attachment in my email is locked. How do I open it?

A:
On the main OE menu, click Tools > Options. Go to Security tab and untick the option below. This changes to a less secured setting – use at your own risk.

Q:
I want to back up my messages and address book. Where are they stored?

A:
See the full answers at InsideOE FAQ, but here is a quick hint at how to get an idea of the location of the folder where your messages are kept.

Q:
I have a Hotmail account as well as my ISP POP3 email account, can I use OE for both?

A:
Yes. To stand your OE to access your accounts, go to Tools > Accounts. Click the Add button and select Mail, then follow the on screen wizard.
Please note your Hotmail has its own Inbox and is accessed as a cached folder offline.

UPDATE: Microsoft has announced that access to Hotmail account using OE and OL will become a paid service by Q2 2005.

Q:
How do I get OE to retrieve my Hotmail email into my local Inbox automatically?

A:
You cannot. The only way is to manually drag and drop the email from one account’s folder to another.

Q:
Can I synchronize OE Address Book with OL Contacts?

A:
You can tweak Address Book to access Contacts by editing your Registry.
Any error in the Registry can cripple your system. If you are not comfortable editing Registry, do not attempt this.

  1. Close your Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Address Book.
  2. Run REGEDIT and scroll to this location in the Registry:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WAB\WAB4\
  3. Right click the right hand pane and select New > DWORD value
  4. Name this new value UseOutlook and give it a value data of 1
  5. Close REGEDIT and your WAB should now be accessing your Outlook Contacts.

Alternatively, download and save this tweak to your hard drive, double click to merge into your Registry.
(This tweak has been tested on a combination of Outlook Express with Outlook 2000/2002, but not with Outlook 2003.)

Setup Windows XP Fax Service

This article was first published on Mesquire.com on 2004/3/5

 

  • Additional requirement: analog fax/voice modem (not your broadband modem)
  • Setup time: less than 5 minutes.

 

1. Windows XP does not install fax services by default, so we need to do that first. Please have your XP setup CD ready.

( You can find Add/Remove Programs in your Control Panel )

2. Once fax services have been installed we can begin configuration.

Go to your Printers and Faxes system folder. Again, you can access it from Control Panel.
Right-click the Fax icon and select Properties to access Fax Properties screen.

3. Click Device tab, then Properties button.

4. Set your options on the Send tab. You can also change the TSID.

5. Enable Receive option on the Receive tab and set your options.

6. Enable archive options. If you don’t enable this options, your faxes will not be saved. You can also change the archive folders (as I have done in this example).

7. To send a fax, open your document and print to Fax instead of your normal printer.

8. Send Fax Wizard will open and follow the instructions on screen.

 

Note: If you want to deliver multiple documents to one or more recipients (email and fax) at once, send from Microsoft Outlook.

Record from Your Computer’s Microphone

This article was first issued in 1998 and republished subsequently on Mesquire.com 2003/3/17

This is an introduction to how Windows handles audio inputs and outputs. This is also applicable to later versions of Windows during audio troubleshooting, even though they may have been configured correctly at the onset.

There are really two audio controls in Windows – one for play back and one for record. The two controls are independent of each other.
When you hear audio being picked up and played back through the speakers, that is due to the setting for Microphone volume in Windows audio playback set to ON (MUTE setting not used), i.e, Windows plays back everything that the microphone picks up – very good for karaoke, but not very useful to your recording or chat software since they rely on the Record Control for audio inputs.

Before proceeding, make sure your microphone is plugged into the microphone jack of your sound card and that it is in working order.

To make use of your microphone in Windows, try this setup:

1. Double-click the speaker icon in Windows’ System Tray to open volume control panel (Play Control).

2. Set the Microphone volume control to Mute.

Note:

  1. This has the benefit of avoiding potential feedback by eliminating the feedback loop from the speakers back to the microphone.

  2. What the microphone plays back is different from what the software picks up from the microphone because of the 2 different Sound Controls, hence muting the setting in Play Control will not affect the setting in Record Control.

  3. The user will be unable to hear what the microphone hears through the speakers, but as mentioned before this does not affect the microphone’s performance in recording.

3. Click Options -> Properties.

4. Switch to Recording and make sure Microphone is selected.

5. Click OK to exit. Record Control will appear. Select Microphone and adjust its volume as desired.

Note: This assumes the microphone is the recording sound source. If you want to record from other audio sources, then you’ll need to select your recording source accordingly.

Watching VCD Movies with Windows Media Player

This article was first published on 2002/9/29

 

The latest versions of Windows Media Player (WMP) can detect and play VCD movie discs, but even early versions of Media Player already supported playing VCD movies. If the VCD movie comes with dual lingual channels, playing the disc on early versions of WMP will not give you any control over which audio language channel to playback. This tutorial will show you how to bypass this limitation by using Media Player 6.4 instead.

Part I : Load VCD file to WMP

1. Insert VCD disc into CD drive.

2. Click Start button, followed by Run.

3. On the Run screen, type in the command line: C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe

A different WMP will start. This is version 6.4, which can play bi-lingual VCD such as Korean films with additional Chinese dubbed sound channels.

4. On WMP, click File then Open.

5. On Open screen, click [Browse] button.

6. On the navigation screen, go to the CD drive. There is a list of folders on the CD, enter the folder "MPEGAV". The folder will appear empty.

7. Change the File Type to All Files. A file with extension DAT will appear. Note: filename may not be the same from one VCD to the next.

8. Select the DAT file and click the Open button to return to Open screen (or simply double-click the file).

A VCD may contain more than one DAT file. If so, select the one largest in size – that is the file with the film. Other files are usually either copyright warnings or promotional materials. (If size of the files are not displayed, press the Details button right of the pair of button in the upper right part of the screen.

9. Click OK to start playing.

10. Adjust screen size by dragging the corners to the desired size or click the Maximize button in the upper right corner for maximum screen size in a program window.

To view playback in full screen mode (no title bar, no program frames), press ALT + ENTER keys together. Press again to revert to normal screen size.

Part II : Select sound channel on bi-lingual channel VCD

A) Must have VCD loading to WMP (Part 1 completed), but the VCD does not need to be played, but it would help to figure out if the wrong sound channel has been chosen as the change is immediate.

B) Right-click the film/movie part of the screen (black middle section above) and select Properties on the popup Context menu.

C) On the next screen, click to Advanced page.

D) Select "MPEG Audio Decoder" and click the Properties button, or simple double-click "MPEG Audio Decoder".

E) Check the following settings on the next screen:

  • Sound Quality: CD audio

  • Sound Channels: Stereo (you may press the Set As Default button to permanently stored to above settings)

F) Finally, to change soundtrack channels, select either First or Second channel in the section labelled "Channel".

  • Set to either First or Second. The Both settings is to play both channels at once, i.e., a bi-lingual presentation.

  • Press [OK] or [Close] to exit all Properties screens.

  • Press the Play button to resume if playing had stopped.

You should now be able to hear only one language soundtrack. If the language is wrong, repeat from step (B), and select the other channel. (Unfortunately which channel is correct depends on the VCD and selecting the correct channel is done by trial and error, but at least you have a 50:50 chance)