Update at 5:10 p.m. PDT: Changes were made based on a draft version of the Windows 7 Reviewers' Guide.
It looks like Microsoft is making the right moves to counter some of the problems with Vista: application and hardware compatibility are top priorities, and most of the UI tweaks I've seen so far seem helpful rather than arbitrary, as many of the changes in Vista seemed … Read more
With the increased capacity of today's computer hard drives and MP3 players, ripping your CDs to a large, lossless audio format such as FLAC or Apple Lossless isn't such a crazy idea. In fact, some folks are convinced that lossless audio is the wave of the future.
While I personally have a handful of my favorite albums ripped to lossless files on my computer, I'm a little skeptical of the idea of a lossless revolution taking root. For better or worse, the MP3's popularity will likely remain unshaken for many years to come, for a variety of reasons. … Read more
Now that nearly every popular online music store is selling a la carte tracks in the unprotected MP3 format, it's high time to clean house and convert those legally-acquired-yet-unfortunately-DRM-saddled WMAs. Maybe you don't want to depend on the parent company continuing to back up the licenses going forward, or perhaps you shunned the iPod years ago but the appeal of the 3G iPhone is far more alluring...or maybe you just want all your music in one, universally-supported format. No matter what the reasons, conversion from a protected format to an unprotected one takes some effort. There are … Read more
It's not uncommon for music converters to swap around a handful of formats, but in this case, Free MP3 WMA Converter has been given short shrift. In addition to supporting the two titular formats, this straightforward application also converts for OGG, AAC, WAV, and APE files. The speedy converter sports a three-part user interface and lets more advanced audiophiles specify the frequency, bit rate, and compression for a given tune.
I had a problem. Years ago, I bought Microsoft's now-discontinued Digital Media Plus Pack for converting my LP records into digital files. Because it's a Microsoft product from back in the day when Microsoft was gung-ho about Windows Media, it only rips to Windows Media Audio. And of course, it's Windows only. (Other than that, it's a great tool--very easy to use, never messes up line leveling, and has a good algorithm for removing pops and scratches.)
Back when I used iTunes and my iPod exclusively, I'd simply rip the album into WMA, then import … Read more
Congratulations, Stacie Somers of San Diego County! You're the first jackass of 2008!
Well, OK, technically, since the suit was filed on December 31, you're the last jackass of 2007. But as it's already prompted some very silly analysis that we'll have to deal with this year, we're going to put it on the 2008 books, nnkay?
The tip o' the old antlers on this one goes to a friend of the Macalope's who happens to be a lawyer (and a woodland gnome, incidentally), who forwards it on with the one-word summary "Crazy.&… Read more
It was bound to happen eventually and, in fact, it's surprising that we haven't seen this sooner.
Blaupunkt's "Melbourne SD27" is the first car stereo that shuns CDs, according to SCI FI Tech, instead playing MP3 and WMA files with a front-loading SD card. To make things even easier, there's an optional adapter that can be used for an iPod, mobile phone or GPS device.
The writing was already on the wall for car stereos to go this route, but the kicker that could accelerate the trend even faster is this gadget's price … Read more