Help me make my brand new awful job less awful
November 25, 2015 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Basically, I need a step-by-step explanation/tutorial on how to play audio files on my phone (not stream; play from memory). Android.

After seven months unemployed, I finally got a job offer, and took it because I'm desperate, out of unemployment benefits, and in debt. It's a job that I know I'm going to start hating the instant training is over and it stops being new and even vaguely interesting. I am also trying to keep my head down and avoid talking to really anyone else on the line to avoid having anything and everything I might say in conversation used against me (it's that kind of environment), and I think that wearing headphones would be a great way to do that. I do not want to buy files through Audible or a similar subscription.

Ideally, my process would go this way:

1. Obtain audiobook file(s) by either
a; going to the library and taking out an audiobook, then saving the files on the CDs to my computer
b; downloading them from a website for free
2. Transfer file(s) onto my phone, saving them in an easy to find location.
3. Use an app that does not require any signal (my phone must be in Airplane mode at work when not on break; I'm only allowed to have it on me at all because I will be using it exclusively as a media player) to play said files.

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4, if it matters.

Also, if I have a choice of apps, I would like one that allows me to take the phone out of my pocket and pause the sound from the lock screen like Pandora does, because even though I have permission to use my phone as a media player, it is still possible for someone who decides they don't want me around any more to claim that I'm using it to text if I spend more than a second or two with it in my hand at a time, and I am trying to protect myself from what I am quickly beginning to understand is a very stab-you-in-the-back environment.

Thanks for your help and instruction.
posted by Urban Winter to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How about Librivox? Free audio readings of public domain books. You can download from the web, or (it appears) that you can download and playback directly through their app.
posted by wym at 5:27 PM on November 25, 2015

OverDrive fits all your criteria. I listen to audiobooks for hours and hours and hours everyday using OverDrive - It may not have everybook you'll want, but it does have a great selection. It may be a bit clunky as an app, but it works and gets the job done!
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 5:30 PM on November 25, 2015 [8 favorites]

Sorry, I forgot about the step by step part.

1. On your phone, go to your App Store, search for and download Libribox Audio Books Free.

2. From the app, you should be able to both stream and download, and playback audio books. I am not sure about the lock screen thing.

If you're not limited to audiobooks, podcasts are also great! My favorite app is Podcast Addict - follow same steps as above. In both cases, we're skipping the step of downloading onto your computer and then transferring to your phone, and just directly downloading onto your phone.
posted by wym at 5:35 PM on November 25, 2015

I use a podcasting app called Podkicker Pro (There is also a free version). There are a number of audiobook and radiodrama podcasts out there, including a number of Libervox ones. You can set it to download only when on wifi, and then play them from memory. It has a built in search function on one of the larger podcasting sites (The paid one also does iTunes) The really great feature I think would help you I think is that if you unplug the headphones it pauses, and starts playing again when you plug it back in, so you could keep it in a closed case or even plug and unplug in your pocket. This also manages your files for you. You can also fastforward, rewind, next/previous podcast and pause/unpause from the lock screen.

Personally I use it for a lot of old radio shows from the 30s-50s: The keyword there is "OTR" or "Old Time Radio". There is a lot of detective stuff, as well as science fiction and horror. There are a number of people reading their own novels as well that aren't hard to find, though the quality if highly variable.
posted by Canageek at 5:57 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Android version of VLC media player lets you pause from the lock screen.

You will probably want to get a file manager app if your device doesn't already have one so that you can look through the filesystem and delete or otherwise organize files. I use one called "OI File Manager".

Listening to news broadcasts from around the world can be interesting and free downloads are usually available on the news organization or radio station's web site. Relevant recent AskMe.
posted by XMLicious at 6:21 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use Dropsync to send audiobook files to my device, then listen to them with Smart Audiobook Player. There's a learning curve for Dropsync, but it's an excellent app for this (and any similar) scenario.
posted by jmfitch at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2015 always posts about free media, including audio books, language lessons, and free online courses.

The Internet Archive also has a category of audiobooks & poetry (including stuff from LibriVox, so there's some overlap there).
posted by stampsgal at 6:24 PM on November 25, 2015

If you can directly connect to the internet from the phone via WiFi, and you're getting things off of web sites, it may be easier to simply download right on the phone rather than on a computer.
posted by XMLicious at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Listen Audio book player is designed to do exactly what you want. It's fantastic.

For the files: as mentioned above Librivox is great as are the unabridged audio versions of books that you can get at your library. If you're ripping a book from CD make sure you name the files sequentially (mybook1.mp3, mybook2.mp3, mybook3.mp3 etc) so they get read in order.

On your computer put the files for each book you want to listen to into one folder per book. Connect your phone to your computer and create a folder on your phone in a handy place for your files. Copy all the books into that folder.

When you first start Listen (or from the settings later) you specify the folder on your phone it should use for your library.

Now you can select the book you want from your library. It'll remember your place in all your different books. To remove books you just delete them from your phone, to add new ones you just put them in the library folder. And it puts a play/pause/skip widget thingy on your lock screen.
posted by coleboptera at 6:41 PM on November 25, 2015

Does your library have downloadable e-audiobooks? You can use an app like Overdrive to download and listen to the when you're in airplane mode.
posted by matildaben at 6:59 PM on November 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Something standard on iPhones, that according to a quick google also happens on Android, is that if you pull the earphones out of the jack, the sound stops immediately. Not as useful for starting it again, but it means you can stop it without taking it out of your pocket. You can also (at least for iphones) buy earphones with speaker phone microphones and a button that also work to toggle sound on and off (I work in a lab, and use both these methods to avoid handling my phone whilst wearing gloves).
posted by kjs4 at 7:00 PM on November 25, 2015

Yep that audio stopping when you remove the headphones is also standard in android
posted by coleboptera at 7:49 PM on November 25, 2015

On an iPhone, anything that plays audio while the phone is locked can be paused or resumed from the lock screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This opens a panel with a bunch of controls for common operations, including playing/pausing audio, scrubbing, and volume control. There might be something similar you can either enable or install for Android.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:48 PM on November 25, 2015

I have a Galaxy S5. To play audiobooks, I 1) obtain audiobook MP3s, 2) plug the phone into my computer with a USB cable, 3) Copy files into a folder on my SD card, 4) Use MortPlayer to play them.
posted by neushoorn at 12:50 AM on November 26, 2015

Poweramp is my everyday audioplayer on my Galaxy S3. If it's in MP3 (or several other standard formats) it will play them, and controls work fine from the lock screen. Overdrive for library audiobooks works well, too.
posted by lhauser at 10:27 PM on November 26, 2015

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