I've only ever met one of you folks in real life, and you can bet your ass that I had to think long and hard before I allowed that to happen. But dann turned out to be a perfect young gentleman who neither tried to look up my daughter's skirt nor tell rude jokes to my wife. Tonight, when I asked a question about WinAmp in the catbox, dann was very quick to help me with the answer. By the time I had figured out that I didn't understand what he was trying to tell me, he had left for a while. Then graceness took over and finished the job helping the computerally handicapped feel his way through the darkness of the wires and chips to solve this little problem he had been trying to solve.

I love WinAmp and I've started doing what most of you have done long, long ago: That is, make a file on your hard drive of every song you've ever loved in your life, and then sit there and get drunk and listen to them in random order. The thing that annoyed me was that songs pulled from Napster or AudioGalaxy were at all these different volumes, and copies of songs from CDs seemed even at more variance with some sort of norm.

So, I figured that there must be some way to stick a command in WinAmp that would cause it to play all the songs at relatively the same volume. And, thanks to dann and graceness, I'll share this with you now. Please be forewarned that whoever created this plug-in will do the little sneaky things like make a site you don't really care about the default home page on your computer if you're not careful, and you might find a few porn related links in your favorites folders. (I'm quite sure that those were not there before! Quite sure indeed! But if I'm blaming this guy for something someone in my house did, I'll consider spanking someone. Let me know if you find these incursions into your private space if you decide to use this program.)

And that reminds me of a story. We hired a new guy at work a few years ago and gave him a laptop. He'd never used a computer in his whole life. He was mid-50's and a slim, good-looking guy with a thin silver moustache. You could tell he was a cock hound. I didn't know much about the whole computer deal, as you probably know, but I did know enough to help him figure out the basics. He was very curious about the internet. He'd heard a lot about the internet. So I got him set up with a dial-up connection and showed him how to log on the web. The next day, he came to work and set up his laptop. A couple of the secretaries were getting coffee and they came over to say hello to the new guy. I walked over as he turned his computer on and logged on to the web. I was asking him how it had gone as he "played with" the laptop the night before. And then his brand spanking new home page popped up. Two girls with very large fake bosoms and some sort of greased-up flexible tubular instrument were engaged in a sort of back and forth that was far from seesaw. One of the secretaries dropped her coffee and burned her ankles. The look on the new employee's face was priceless. Have you ever seen someone turn beet red and begin going "hommina, hommina" like they were in a Marx Brothers movie? Jesus, I loved that moment. After the girls were gone, he looked at me with all the seriousness he could muster and said, "I knew I should not have let my son use this computer last night!" I reminded him that he was unmarried and did not have children. He decided to resign before accepting his first paycheck.

But, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah: Getting WinAmp to play your songs at some sort of consistent volume. Here's what you do, and this information is strictly from the kindness of dann and graceness.

Go to http://piettropro.cjb.net/ and look for the Rock Steady link. Then just run the installer. Then, in WinAmp, click on the top left hand corner icon, click "options," then "preferences." You will see, under "plugins" an option for "DSP/Effect." Click "Rock Steady" to activate the option that plays all the WinAmp files at pretty much the same volume. You can then configure it any way you like. The stuff you copied from a CD may still be a bit louder than the files you got from the internet, but the difference will be much less noticeable.

UPDATE: (5/6/02). This thing is not working as well as I had hoped. Any ideas of a better plug-in would be appreciated. Sorry if I wasted anyone's time w/ this idea.

And I've now met four more of you folks IRL. All have been more than pleasant experiences.