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by Ray DeCosta

Q. I have important messages and some music that are stored on my cell phone. I'd like to copy all of them to my computer in case I lose the phone. How can I do that?

A. First of all, understand that your messages are not stored on your phone but on your provider's servers which may be located almost anywhere in the world. Whether or not this cloud storage is "safer" than being on your phone is a matter of debate. In any event, the procedure for saving your precious audio recordings is the same.

You start by going to Audacity's website and downloading a copy of their program. It's a free audio editing program which is relatively easy to use. There's even a manual available and it's important to have this handy when you start using the program.

To save your recordings, simply run a standard 1/8" stereo audio cable between your phone and the Line In input connector of your computer's sound card. Your sound card will likely have a multitude of connectors in various faded colors and marked by indecipherable icons. The "Audio In" connector should be light blue in color although it may be hard to distinguish from some other similar colors.

In Audacity, there will be a Drop Down List showing the various inputs available for recording and you want to select "Line In". Hit the Record button and play the desired audio selection on your phone. If all goes well, you should see the record level and visual displays react to the incoming audio stream.

If not, you may have selected the wrong input jack on the sound card. Try plugging the cable into a different input and see if that fixes the problem. Occasionally your computer may have reset some of the audio settings and you'll need to go to the "Sounds and Audio Devices" section of your Control Panel to track down the problem.

Once you have recorded your selection, use Audacity to trim the silences or other glitches from the audio leaving just the portion you wish to retain and save the result as an MP3 file.

Published: Courier 10/14/12 - Page 3C