Friday, July 19, 2019

How to convert m4b files to mp3 files

How to convert m4b files to mp3 files

I downloaded an audio book today to my Mac laptop.  The file format for the audi0 book was m4b.  I had planned to use airdrop to send to my iPhone to play with my MP3 books app on my iPhone.  When I attempted the airdrop the only options I was allowed was to GoodReader.  That was fine, but really wanted to keep a copy in MP3 Books library with my other road trip audio books.

As I suspected that MP3 Books app would only play mp3 file format, I needed to convert the m4b files to mp3 file format. 

The m4b files were easy enough to drag into iTunes.  But, then I couldn't find them in my song list.  I didn't realize that iTunes has been reorganized in the latest update.  So I searched for the title of book and found them in the audio book section of iTunes.

I selected each chapter or part individually, highlighting the name of the part or chapter. 

Then, I selected File>Convert>Create mp3 version

After each of the parts or chapters where converted to mp3 format, I then selected each part and dragged from iTunes to my desktop on the laptop.  This gave me all the mp3s that I then put into one folder.  I named the folder with the name of the book and author.

Once in the folder, I could connect my iPhone to my laptop with cable. I then used the method for sharing files via File Sharing to my MP3 Books app from iTunes.  If you need a refresher on how to share files with certain apps on your iPhone from iTunes, check Apple's support info at

 Now, I have a new audio book for my road trip ready on my iPhone. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

How to Calibrate Your Disklavier using PRC remote

How to Calibrate Your Piano using PRC remote (Notes from my husband)

- Quit the interface on the PRC remote and instead run the Service program, which can be found in the main set of PRC remote program icons along the bottom of the PRC screen.

- You'll see a white screen with 3 text options, none of which are particularly exciting.

- Slide down the keyboard cover on your PRC remote, and hold the D, M, and P keys down together (they don't need to be pressed at the same time, just held down together).

For our Disklavier Mark IV purchased September 2005 (Yamaha DC7M4t) there is a definite sequence required for the D, M and P keys. 
After selecting the Service Center from the main menu you will see three menu items [1. Post delivery check, 2. Program Versions, 3. Pedal Calibration]. Then depress and hold each of the 3 keys (i.e. D, then M, then P) in that order and very rapidly.

Mark, a technician at Yamaha, suggested the following technique for rapidly depressing and holding these three keys:
         1. Position two fingers on your left hand over the the D and M keys.
         2. Position one finger on your right hand over the the P key.
         3. Then in very rapid succession press and hold the D key, then the M key, then the P key. It has to be rapid enough so that “repeat key” beeps are not heard after pressing the “D" and “M" keys. It is tricky to get the timing right. It took me at least 20 or 30 attempts (perhaps more) before I was successful. But when you do get the sequence timing fast enough you will immediately see the menu change. 

- You should see the Service options expand greatly into a maintenance mode-like menu.
• After successfully getting the D,M, and P sequence correct, select “Disklavier Piano System
• Then Select “Piano Calibration-Full” 
• Then Select “Calibr. in Series w/ GS check”  which will begin the full self-calibration process. 
Note (1): This self calibration process will take about 14 minutes total with some very loud piano notes played.  
Note (2): GS meaning the gray-scale sensors.

- Your Mark IV will undergo a large number of self-calibrations, which include how much voltage is needed to depress the pedals to various extents, how much voltage is needed to make each key play at a certain volume, etc. The calibration process makes a lot of (very cool) sounds... so don't start it unless your housemates don't mind a lot of increasingly loud piano playing.

- If your Mark IV passes each set of calibrations, it will play a single C-Major chord; if it fails, it will play a c-minor chord. You'll get text messages throughout the roughly 15 minute process as well.

- At the end, the Disklavier writes all of the newly-derived parameters to a file that is used to optimize playback.

My husband found this process to be very helpful in getting the Mark IV optimized; although, the last time the piano tuner was here he went through a procedure to calibrate the piano.

Aug 9, 2019 We tried to calibrate our Mark IV using the method above, but the PRC remote  that came with the piano did not seem to respond when we held down the D, M, P keys together.  So we rebooted the PRC device and also turned the Disklavier piano off and back on.  The keys worked fine and our calibration was performed.  Not sure which helped -  reboot of PRC or turning Disklavier piano off and on again.  It is easy to do both.  In any case,  performing the calibration was successful.

Monday, July 08, 2019

iPod Artists and Albums Scrambled - Fix

Noticed that my iPod (5th generation Late 2006)—also known as iPod with video or Fifth Generation iPod was not listing my artists nor albums in alphabetical order.

To fix this problem:

Connected iPod to computer
Launched iTunes
Selected iPod icon at top of iTunes Window
Selected Summary Tab
Selected Restore iPod

This basically reset my iPod to factory settings.

Clicked on Songs from left-hand side of iTunes window
Selected View from menu bar.
Selected Sort by > Artist

 Synced entire music library to iPod

Friday, July 05, 2019

Connecting Older Car Speakers with iPhone and Bluetooth FM Transmitter for Older Cars

I am back from traveling the world. My blog for tips and helps is now resuming ...

I have plans for some road trips in the USA.   My preferred road trip car is an older convertible, but unfortunately it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of most newer cars.  It does, however, have a nice set of speakers which I plan to utilize. I want to avoid replacing the original radio system.  I am investigating some of the tech devices available for older cars. One device, the Nulaxy KM29 Bluetooth FM Transmitter, looks like a promising solution.

My iPhone is equipped with Bluetooth and has adequate voice navigation apps and streaming music capabilities for an enjoyable journey.  So, I want to use the Bluetooth feature on my iPhone with a device that will connect to my speakers/radio.  The KM29 Nulaxy Bluetooth FM Transmitter has Bluetooth that can easily connect to my iPhone, as well as several other modes of input that allow for listening to music.

The Nulaxy device has:
  • A TF card slot ( a TF card is smaller version of a SD microchip card) (It uses an adapter, so it can be inserted into a SD card reader to load on music from a laptop or computer.  I had to purchase one of these cards separately, as it was not included in package.
  • An auxiliary input.  The package does include an auxiliary cable to hook up transmitter to a device like an iPod or even your iPhone.
  • A USB memory stick connector.  (USB stick is not included in package)
All of these inputs can be used to play music files or audio books stored on either the card, stick or a device like an iPod connected to the audio in jack.

The FM transmitter is easily plugged into a cigarette lighter in your car and has a swivel type arm and nice 1.8" screen for viewing information like song titles, battery info, switching songs, scanning for FM station, volume control etc. It comes with 2 USB ports which can be conveniently used to keep your iPhone, iPad and/or other devices charged. The device has various buttons for searching thru folders, scanning channels, skipping back and forth thru songs, selecting folders, songs, and equalizer modes.

There is a brief instruction sheet that comes with the product.  It takes some definite practice to figure out the buttons and modes.  A short press on the middle button in center allows for selecting the input modes: USB Stick, Bluetooth, or TF Card.  How long you press the button determines various options.  For instance, you can accept an incoming phone call by pressing the center button onceHolding it for 3 seconds, rejects the call.  Pressing the same button twice, redials the last phone number. 

When plugged in, the transmitter can be used to connect to any unused FM radio station. First  select the unused FM station on the radio and then using the 'scan or CH button' capability on the KM29 select that same unused station on the device.  The transmitter will also connect to your Bluetooth device.  You will need to open Bluetooth settings on your iPhone and select the Nulaxy Transmitter initially, but after that it auto connects when you get in the car the next time.  When you play songs on your Bluetooth connected iPhone from your Music app or Pandora, you will hear the music through your car speakers. 

I have also tested playing from the TF card slot and USB memory stick port - both worked fine.  I did have to figure out the best way to put songs on the card and stick in a format that was easily read and navigated by the buttons on the KM29.  Both card and stick supported folders.  Key to file structure was to make sure that I used only mp3 music files.  I made folders of artists and nested albums for the artists and songs inside the artist folders.  I didn't test, but I would suspect you could have a genre folder too.  "Wav" format is also acceptable according to the instruction manual, but I didn't test.

Notes:  Basically to setup the USB stick and/or TF/microSD card, I used only mp3 files.  I used a USB hub to connect to my Mac laptop and to transfer files from my user directory's media files (Music folder) to each device using drag/drop.  I also ran a software application on my laptop called HiM  (Hidden Cleaner Improved by Fernando Iazeollo) to strip hidden files from the stick and the TF card.   I used artist> album> song file structure.  I also deleted and emptied trash or all mp4 songs and albums with  only one song inside.  The TF card is limited to 32GB.  Scrolling through the screens took time.  I could use the button in center by turning it to go thru a list on the screen or I could use the forward/back buttons to move through the list. 

The auxiliary in line allowed me to use an old iPod full of music to play thru my speakers and worked great. The auxiliary in line plays continually even while you might be playing another mode such as TF card or USB Stick. When I was playing music using the auxiliary input mode, the music continued to play when a phone call came in, but sound was lowered somewhat. This would not be optimal if you were listening to an audio book.  You would probably prefer a pause if a call came in at the same time. 

If you have connected your  iPhone via Bluetooth to the transmitter,  you merely need to press the center button to answer any incoming phone call.  This is a great hands off method of talking on your phone through the speakers in your car.  The music from your iPhone which might be playing is paused and resumes later after you hangup the call via the same button.

So for about $20, I can use my iPhone over existing car speakers with current radio system, stream my music playlists and songs or play Pandora, or use MP3 Books app to listen to an audio book.  I can also run Apple Maps or Google Maps to get voice navigation which also comes over the speakers.

This device is a great, inexpensive way to provide you with voice navigation, streaming music from your favorite road trip playlist, while having the ability to talk on your phone hands-free.  Just what I was looking for!

If you have any problems or questions about this particular device, don't hesitate to comment below.  I will try to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Stay tuned for another blog in future -  How to use the "Shortcuts" app on iPhone to setup your road trip apps from one home screen button. When I get in my convertible and cruise down the road, I will be able to hit one button on my iPhone that will load in my music list - start playing the first song,  load in my mileage record app, text someone that I'm on my way, load in the directions and map to my destination, activate voice navigation and check the weather of my destination. 

Note:  For more info on HiM (Hidden Cleaner iMproved) -- a simple drag-and-drop utility that cleans and ejects USB devices like MP3 players, USB sticks... (and also local folders).

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