When I was growing up my Grandma Bessie would record cassette tapes of herself reading childrens books and mail them to me (along with the books, of course).  Luckily I still have these tapes to enjoy (and most of the books) and I've recently begun to transfer them to WMA and edit to share with family and friends.  Lo and behold, my mom sent me an email stating she wanted to do the same for my daughters (her granddaughters) by recording some of their favorite or new books on CD.

Problem: CDs are old school and the fam pretty much consumes all audio via the Media Center PC and Media Center Extender devices throughout the home -- CDs are somewhere deep in a closet since we ripped 'em all to WMA.  Also, we live in Pacific Northwest while all the rest of the family lives in the Southeast USA -- snail mail across this distance can either be slllllooooowwwww or expensive.  As my friend Ethan says at times: "Technology. Yay." (notice the period at the end of that quote.  This is usually said in reponse to something gone horribly awry somewhere).  Only this time, it really is "Technology! Yay!" since we can save postage by her recording the audio in WMA and sending via email (Hotmail now gives me 250 MB of storage!).

I've used a variety of audio recording tools on the PC in my lifetime, none of them particularly as easy to use as a cassette recorder.  So, I thought I would see how easy it would be to use a free Microsoft tool (the Windows Media Encoder) to accomplish the same task.

It turned out to be a tad bit longer than I really want to put here in my blog, so I have posted the instructions here.  Interesting tidbit about myself: I authored the Windows Media Batch Encoding Visual Basic .NET sample referenced here, so I *might* just dust off some of that source code and implement something as simple as a cassette recorder.  Mom would probably be grateful once she reads these instructions.

Anywho, Happy Birthday Mom (just a bit early) -- I'll be home for the holidays in a couple of weeks to walk through these instructions with you in person. Heck, I might even have that Digital Cassette recorder version 1.0 done by then. :-)