I was happy to see Steve return on the Apple keynote of 9 September, because boy does Apple need somebody with clear vision. The introductions on the new iPod line are all over the place. Let me tell you why I think Steve has not been running the operation for the past few months: Read the rest of this entry »
I recently found an old harddisk which used to be in one of my old PC’s. I discovered some FLAC files on there, which were rips of old CD’s I used to have. iTunes is not too happy with importing them into my library, and the original CD’s are in a box in a deep dark corner of my garage.
I searched for a converter and found this wonderful converter which can just about convert any audio format out there. It’s called “Max”, it’s Open Source, free to use, and available as bundled OSX application. Brilliant! It does have a bunch of options, but as long as you go for the “MP4 Audio” output format, high quiality, 256 bits and VBR, you can’t go wrong.
According to their website “Max can generate audio in over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Monkey’s Audio, WavPack, Speex, AIFF, and WAVE”.
Regular readers know that I’ve been ranting about the way the music and movie industry are selling us crippled content, which actually feels like punishing you for honestly buying your digital content. Coincidentally, a month after that rant, Steve wrote a mail to the music industry in which he stated that DRM clearly was not working, and we needed to approach things differently.
A few months later, Apple and EMI actually started a new service in iTunes called iTunes plus, selling 256kbps DRM-free AAC files. If you’ve seen the latest Macworld 2009 Keynote Address by Philip (Phil) Schiller, you will have noticed that Apple hasn’t been sitting still. At the end of this quarter, all songs in the iTunes store will be available as DRM-free iTunes plus version. And there’s an easy button in iTunes which let’s you upgrade all your DRM-ed music automatically (payed, ofcourse). The link is in the iTunes Quick Links box, top right. I tried it, works fine.
Finally, your music will travel with you and play anywhere, just like those trusty CD’s did. Even better: with your iPhone you’re now able to buy music anywhere you are, because Apple has added 3G to the iTunes store on the iPhone.
I am in the market for a new car. That means I’m in the market for a new car stereo. I decided that the iPod is a far better way to listen to my music in stead of keeping CD’s in the car or listening to the 10.000 crappy FM stations in the Netherlands. Since Dension does not make a cable for my new car, I decided to go for an FM transmitter. Buying the cheap Belkin TuneCast II FM transmitter, I got even less then what I payed for.
Last week I’ve been complaining about the capped volume on the iPod nano and the inability to circumvent it. At the end of that very week, the iPod earbuds solved the problem for me by breaking down. The rubber rings started comming off, and the right speaker produced only 10% of the sound the left speaker was producing.
I decided that this was enough reason to go looking for a nice set of in-ear headphones (earbuds) which would sound nice, and also improve on produced volume.
I know you’ve been playing with your ultra-cool iPhones, but did you realize that it only is 6 years ago that Apple showed is the first iPod? It’s amazing how fast technology advances nowadays. Today I read that 128GB flashdrives are not far away, so how about an 128GB iPhone, or even a MacBook with a solid state disk? We’ve got a nice future ahead…
Since Sony invented the walkman, the trains, trams and busses have been flooding with people wearing earphones. At first, they irritated everybody with the “ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…ts…” sound comming out of their ears, and now, many early walkman owners are starting to show hearing problems. The European Union has stepped in to protect our ears, and have set some limits to how much sound a personal music device can produce.
In theory this is a terrific idea, but in practice, it doesn’t work. Most manufacturers, like Apple are simply limiting the absolute maximum the device can use by measuring how loud a very loud mp3 plays at max volume. Then, they apply a software cap on the volume slider and that’s that. As a side effect, people who like to listen to inheritly low-volume music (classical music or some talkshow podcasts) are very limited in where they can use this device.