How to create an iTunes/iPod compatible audiobook (MPEG4 m4b) on Linux using MP4Box and mp4v2 v1.9.1 – it can be done!

I’ve been wracking my brains over this for the past few weeks and it finally struck me how to create an m4b audiobook with chapters that is compatible with your iPod, iTunes, VLC, etc.  It was very simple once I figured it out:

Step 1:

encode the mp3 files to “aac” (mpeg4) using your favorite converter (I use ffmpeg):

ffmpeg -i "track1.mp3" -y -vn -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ar 44100 -threads 3 -f mp4 track1.aac

Step 2:

Create a chapters file so that MP4Box can understand it:

* Common syntax : CHAPTERX=h:m:s[:ms or .ms] on one line and CHAPTERXNAME=name on the other – the order is not important but chapter lines MUST be declared sequencially (same X value expected for 2 consecutive lines).

track1.chapters:

CHAPTER1=00:00:00.000
CHAPTER1NAME=Chapter 001
CHAPTER2=00:30:00.139
CHAPTER2NAME=Chapter 002
CHAPTER3=01:00:00.728
CHAPTER3NAME=Chapter 003
CHAPTER4=01:30:01.269
CHAPTER4NAME=Chapter 004
CHAPTER5=02:00:01.858
CHAPTER5NAME=Chapter 005
CHAPTER6=02:30:02.375
CHAPTER6NAME=Chapter 006
CHAPTER7=03:00:02.964
CHAPTER7NAME=Chapter 007
CHAPTER8=03:30:03.553
CHAPTER8NAME=Chapter 008
CHAPTER9=04:00:04.094
CHAPTER9NAME=Chapter 009
CHAPTER10=04:30:04.683
CHAPTER10NAME=Chapter 010
CHAPTER11=05:00:05.224
CHAPTER11NAME=Chapter 011
CHAPTER12=05:30:05.765
CHAPTER12NAME=Chapter 012
CHAPTER13=05:46:14.106
CHAPTER13NAME=Chapter 013
CHAPTER14=06:16:14.143
CHAPTER14NAME=Chapter 014
CHAPTER15=06:46:14.732
CHAPTER15NAME=Chapter 015
CHAPTER16=07:16:15.249
CHAPTER16NAME=Chapter 016
CHAPTER17=07:46:15.790
CHAPTER17NAME=Chapter 017
CHAPTER18=08:16:16.331
CHAPTER18NAME=Chapter 018
CHAPTER19=08:46:16.920
CHAPTER19NAME=Chapter 019
CHAPTER20=09:16:17.460
CHAPTER20NAME=Chapter 020
CHAPTER21=09:46:18.050
CHAPTER21NAME=Chapter 021
CHAPTER22=10:16:18.639
CHAPTER22NAME=Chapter 022

Step 3:

Add the chapters to the audio file (creates Nero format chapter markers):

MP4Box -add track1.aac -chap track1.chapters test.mp4

Step 4:

Convert the Nero chapter markers to Quicktime chapter markers using mp4chaps from the mp4v2 project (you will want v1.9.1 or higher):

mp4chaps --convert --chapter-qt test.mp4
converting chapters in file "test.mp4" from Nero to QuickTime

Step 5:

Rename the file from .mp4 to .m4b extension so iTunes will see it as an audiobook:

mv test.mp4 test.m4b

Proof that it works:

and VLC showing the chapters:

Of course, we aren’t putting in any tags such as “author” or “genre” in this example. Use your favorite tags editor to do so.

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How to convert a laptop running Microsoft Windows 7 to a VirtualBox virtual machine

I was very much surprised just how easy it is to convert a Microsoft Windows 7 laptop into a virtual machine running within Sun’s VirtualBox.  This is what I did:

  • Pull the hard drive from the laptop.  On my Dell Latitude, it was simply unscrewing the two screws on the bottom of the laptop marked with the hard drive simble
  • Attach the drive to a SATA to USB connector and plug it in to your Linux box
  • If you don’t have VirtualBox installed, do so now using apt-get, rpm, or whatever you use to install software
  • Follow How to migrate existing Windows installations to VirtualBox but make sure you specify the entire drive (i.e. /dev/sdh) and not individual partitions else you will miss the hidden partitions that Vista and Windows 7 create

You should have a working Windows 7 Virtual Machine.  You’ll notice that you probably have a huge vdi file.  Let’s shrink that down:

  • Within Windows
    • download and install sdelete from Microsoft
    • download and install PowerDefragmenter
    • Run PowerDefragmenter on your c: drive (as administrator)
    • Run “sdelete -c c:” from a cmd window (as administrator)
    • shutdown windows
  • On the host
    • run “VBoxManage modifyvdi my_disk.vdi compact” replacing “my_disk.vdi” with the name of your vdi file you created earlier
    • Note that if you get a “Shrink hard disk operation is not implemented” error, then you’ve hit bug #2833 and you will want to download the latest VirtualBox to fix it.
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FW (Sun): MVC, DCI, and NetBeans Platform Applications

MVC, DCI, and NetBeans Platform Applications

Jaroslav Tulach discusses the relationship between MVC and the NetBeans Platform and explains why the DCI approach offers a better understanding.

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A better way to convert your mp3 tags using Perl, POE, Linux::Inotify2 and POE::Wheel::Run (for you Sony PS3 or other media player)

So, what we have here is a country that tries to run itself on the commandments of a god who the people feel maybe wearing his underpants on his head. Has he abominated underpants?

No sir, but is probably only a matter of time.

Yesterday, I posted Howto: Convert your mp3 tags (id3v2 to id3v1) so your Playstation 3 can play your MP3s! and it worked fine but there was one little problem with it.

When we processed the files, namely running eye3D, we did so synchronously. Essentially, the file notification came in from the Linux kernel and we processed the file at that time. This may be an issue of overflowing the inotify queue within the Linux kernel if there are a lot of files to process.

A better solution would be to add the file to an internal queue and process the files in a sub process using POE::Wheel::Run. Of course we will limit the number of sub processes 🙂

#!/usr/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;

use File::Basename;
use File::Find ();
use Getopt::Std;
use Linux::Inotify2;
use POE qw( Kernel Session Wheel::Run );

$|++;

#######################################
#######################################

our @found_dirs;
our $max_concurrent_tasks;

sub watch_add_dir {
my ($heap_ref, $session, $dir_name) = @_;

##############
# Watch this directory with a call back
# to the watch_hdlr() subroutine via
# a message to the POE system
##############
$heap_ref->{inotify}->watch($dir_name, IN_CREATE|IN_CLOSE_WRITE, $session->postback("watch_hdlr"));
print " Watching directory $dir_name\n";
}

sub watch_hdlr {
my ($kernel, $heap, $session, $event) = ( $_[KERNEL], $_[HEAP], $_[SESSION], $_[ARG1][0] );

my $name = $event->fullname;
my $short_name = $event->name;

##############
# We can receive many many notifications
# for a file. If we've already processed
# the file, do nothing.
##############
unless ($heap->{inotify}{files}{$name}) {

##############
# If a new directory is added, we need
# to watch that directory too.
##############
if ($event->IN_CREATE && -d $name) {
print "New directory: $name\n";
watch_add_dir($heap, $session, $name);
} elsif ($event->IN_CLOSE_WRITE) {

##############
# When a file descriptor that was opened for
# 'writing' is closed, then process that
# file it was being written to. We're
# assuming that the file is complete at this
# point as the operation will be a copy into
# the watched directory
##############
my $ext = ( fileparse($name, '\..*') )[2];

if (lc($ext) eq '.mp3') {
##############
# Add the file to the file process queue
##############
push @{ $heap->{task}{task_files} }, $name;

##############
# Mark that we have processed the file. If
# we don't we will end up processing the file
# in an infinite loop because we are modifying
# the files.
##############
$heap->{inotify}{files}{$name} = 1;

##############
# Yield to "task_next_file" through so
# that we can process files in the queue.
##############
$kernel->yield("task_next_file");
}

$heap->{inotify}{files}{$name} = 1;
}
}

##############
# While possible, it is highly unlikely that we will
# overflow the notification buffers within the Linux
# kernel. If so, we should report that.
##############
print "events for $name have been lost\n" if $event->IN_Q_OVERFLOW;
}

sub task_next_file {
my ($kernel, $heap) = @_[ KERNEL, HEAP ];

##############
# Process the files in the queue up
# to the $max_concurrent_tasks at
# once. Any extras will be processed
# when a file (task) completes.
##############
while ( keys( %{ $heap->{task} } ) < $max_concurrent_tasks ) {
my $next_task_file = shift @{ $heap->{task}{task_files} };

##############
# If the $next_task_file is empty, then we can safely
# ignore it.
##############
last unless defined $next_task_file;

##############
# Use POE::Wheel::Run to fire off the
# file processing using a sub process
# to the process_file() subroutine
##############
my $task = POE::Wheel::Run->new (
Program => sub { process_file($next_task_file) },
StdoutEvent => "task_output",
CloseEvent => "task_done",
);

##############
# Update the session with the task
# information and the kernel with
# the SIG_CHILD handler. These are
# necessary for the task to execute.
##############
$heap->{task}->{ $task->ID } = $task;
$kernel->sig_child( $task->PID, "sig_child");
}
}

sub process_file {
my $file = shift;

print " Processed \"$file\"\n";

##############
# Use the eyeD3 package to convert
# the mp3 id3v2/3/4 to id3v1. If
# eyeD3 fails, we don't really care. 🙂
##############
my $cmd_output = `eyeD3 --to-v1.1 "$file"`;
$cmd_output = `eyeD3 --remove-v2 "$file"`;
}

sub find_wanted {
my $object = $File::Find::name;

if (-d $object) {
push @found_dirs, $object;
}
}

#######################################
#######################################
#######################################

my %arg_options;
my $watch_dir;

getopts('d:t:', \%arg_options);

if ($arg_options{d} && -d $arg_options{d}) {
$watch_dir = $arg_options{d};

if ($arg_options{t} && $arg_options{t} =~ /^\d+/) {
$max_concurrent_tasks = $arg_options{t};
} else {
$max_concurrent_tasks = 2;
}

##############
# We need to watch all existing sub directories
# so we will find them and add them to the
# @found_dirs array to be added to the watched
# directories when we create the Inotify object
##############
File::Find::find({wanted => \&find_wanted}, $watch_dir);

POE::Session->create
( inline_states =>
{ _start => sub {
my $inotify_FH;

##############
# alias this particular POE session to
# 'notify' so we can easily reference
# it later if needed
##############
$_[KERNEL]->alias_set('notify');

##############
# Create the Linux::INotify object
##############
$_[HEAP]{inotify} = new Linux::Inotify2
or die "Unable to create new inotify object: $!";

##############
# Add the preexisting directories to
# be watched from the @found_dirs array
##############
foreach my $dir (@found_dirs) {
watch_add_dir($_[HEAP], $_[SESSION], $dir);
}

##############
# We need to create a hash in the "notify"
# POE session so we can determine if we've
# processed a file already
##############
$_[HEAP]{inotify}{files} = {};

##############
# The Inotify notifications are received
# on a file descriptor. We need to read
# from it when there is something to be
# read
##############
open $inotify_FH, "< &=" . $_[HEAP]{inotify}->fileno
or die "Can’t fdopen: $!\n";

##############
# Inform POE to poll the file descriptor
##############
$_[KERNEL]->select_read( $inotify_FH, "inotify_poll" );
},
inotify_poll => sub {
$_[HEAP]{inotify}->poll;
},
watch_hdlr => \&watch_hdlr,

##############
# Process the next file in the queue
##############
task_next_file => \&task_next_file,

##############
# print the output of the job
##############
task_output => sub {
my $result = $_[ARG0];

print "$result\n";
},

##############
# When we are done with a file, go process the
# next file if there is one waiting
##############
task_done => sub {
my ($kernel, $heap, $task_id) = @_[ KERNEL, HEAP, ARG0 ];

delete $heap->{task}{$task_id};
$kernel->yield("task_next_file");
},
sig_child => sub {
my ($heap, $pid) = @_[ HEAP, ARG1 ];

my $details = delete $heap->{$pid};
},
},
);

POE::Kernel->run();
}

Example output:

ps3_mp3_converter.pl -d /home/jfroebe/j
 Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/bin
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/doc
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/java
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/lib
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/j
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/j/tmp
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/sdk
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/sdk/demo
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/sdk/include
New directory: /home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack
Watching directory /home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/01 Main Title.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/02 The Scret of Strandhill-Redemption.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/03 Old Flame.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/04 Defector.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/05 Decidion.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/06 Float Like a Butterfly.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/07 Sandoval's Run.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/08 Bliss.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/09 If You Could Read My Mind.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/10 Lilli.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/11 Law and Order.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/12 Atavus.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/13 Between Heaven and Hell.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/14 Sleepers.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/15 Dimensions.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/16 Moonscape.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/17 Isabel.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/18 The Gauntlet.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/19 Second Chances.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/20 One Man's Castle.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/21 Payback.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/22 Truth.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/23 Déjà Vu.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/24 Crossfire.mp3"
Processed "/home/jfroebe/j/Earth Final Conflict Soundtrack/25 Volunteers-End Credits.mp3"
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Howto: Convert your mp3 tags (id3v2 to id3v1) so your Playstation 3 can play your MP3s!

  1. Run the converter on your media server: ps3_mp3_converter.pl -d {directory}
  2. Copy your mp3 collection wherever you told ps3_mp3_converter.pl to run in.
#!/usr/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;

use File::Basename;
use File::Find ();
use Getopt::Std;
use Linux::Inotify2;
use POE;

$|++;

#######################################
#######################################

our @found_dirs;

sub watch_add_dir {
 my ($heap_ref, $session, $dir_name) = @_;

 $heap_ref->{inotify}->watch($dir_name, IN_CREATE|IN_CLOSE_WRITE, $session->postback("watch_hdlr"));
 print " Watching directory $dir_name\n";
}

sub watch_hdlr {
 my ($heap_ref, $session, $event) = ( $_[HEAP], $_[SESSION], $_[ARG1][0] );

 my $name = $event->fullname;
 my $short_name = $event->name;

 unless ($_[HEAP]{inotify}{files}{$name}) {
  if ($event->IN_CREATE && -d $name) {
   print "New directory: $name\n";
   watch_add_dir($heap_ref, $session, $name);
  } elsif ($event->IN_CLOSE_WRITE) {
   my $ext = ( fileparse($name, '\..*') )[2];

   if (lc($ext) eq '.mp3') {
    print "-"x20 . "\n";
    print "$name:\n";

    my $cmd_output = `eyeD3 --to-v1.1 "$name"`;
    $cmd_output = `eyeD3 --remove-v2 "$name"`;
   }

   $_[HEAP]{inotify}{files}{$name} = 1;
  }
 }

 print "events for $name have been lost\n" if $event->IN_Q_OVERFLOW;
}

sub find_wanted {
 my $object = $File::Find::name;

 if (-d $object) {
  push @found_dirs, $object;
 }
}

#######################################
#######################################
#######################################

my %arg_options;
my $watch_dir;

getopts('d:', \%arg_options);

if ($arg_options{d} && -d $arg_options{d}) {
 $watch_dir = $arg_options{d};
 File::Find::find({wanted => \&find_wanted}, $watch_dir);

 POE::Session->create
  ( inline_states =>
   { _start => sub {
     my $inotify_FH;

     $_[KERNEL]->alias_set('notify');
     $_[HEAP]{inotify} = new Linux::Inotify2
      or die "Unable to create new inotify object: $!";

     foreach my $dir (@found_dirs) {
      watch_add_dir($_[HEAP], $_[SESSION], $dir);
     }

     $_[HEAP]{inotify}{files} = {};

     open $inotify_FH, "< &=" . $_&#91;HEAP&#93;{inotify}->fileno
     or die "Can’t fdopen: $!\n";

     $_[KERNEL]->select_read( $inotify_FH, "inotify_poll" );
   },
   inotify_poll => sub {
    $_[HEAP]{inotify}->poll;
   },
    watch_hdlr => \&watch_hdlr,
   },
 );

 POE::Kernel->run();
}

exit 0;
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