Spending half an hour on my hands and knees looking for a missing screw tends to add to the overall task length a little.
I need more screws.
Since I had the thing already somewhat degutted, I also ran the extra cable I bought the other day - so at those rare times that I decide to record, the cabling is already set up.
Amazingly, everything just booted up. Of course, then I had to go and install all the software that came with the drive. Then do my best to clean up/remove the junky parts of it. I mean, did I need a Nero search bar? Really?
I still have a couple of dialogs that pop up every time I boot. I may simply rip out that component.
Then I ran into another little issue. I now have two Lite-On drives because (1) they're cheap, and (2) the other one has been extremely reliable. The problem I have is that they play fast and loose with CDG decoding. It's... well... every drive goes to huge lengths to make sure that any music data is precisely the value on the disc. Sadly, the amount of effort they expend on the subcode data, which contains the graphics stream, varies. I mean, there are a huge number of drives that don't read it at all.
My old Plextor went to some effort to read the data correctly. Both Lite-Ons I've now got don't - which results in the various artifacts one sees as the songs play. I tried scanning in one of the new discs, and it, well, kinda looked like crap.
So. I played with making a data copy of the disc, mounting it locally, and trying to rip from that. I was told it might be more reliable. Perhaps, but I couldn't get it to mount correctly, and furthermore, Audiograbber didn't recognize it, anyway. Then there's the claim that doing a raw rip of the track, then separating it later, is more reliable. No such luck.
Then there's a project I've been meaning to do for a while. The artifacts appear semi-random, so theoretically, if I did multiple rips, and compared the results side-by-side, I'd be able to restore the original data.
So most of today, from about 8:00am on, has been devoted to that project. There was a slight break when my new mic handle finally arrived, and I successfully got the guts out of the old one (only dropping it once), and safely ensconced in its new, shiny clothing. I even seem to have fixed the volume problem I've been having with it lately.
On the other hand, I didn't realize the bottom of the red mic had gotten so fucked up. One of the buttons is even missing. Barbarians.
So, yada yada yada, much fiddling with Python, much testing, and the wonderful result that, well, the artifacts aren't that random. Many are the same from rip to rip. Wrong, but the same. So, yeah, wrong tree, barking, etc.
On a whim, I played the disc directly. With almost no artifacts. So I loaded the commercial burner (from the same developer) I'd stopped using in favor of Audiograbber. With the latest version of that, no artifacts at all. And that's at full speed - with Audiograbber, slowing the rip speed helped. A little.
So, after much wandering in the desert, it appears I have a solution. Now I just need to enter this data...