Tag: itunes

Beatles tracks to be made available for sale online finally?

The Toronto Sun is reporting that the entire Beatles back catalogue may be released through iTunes in the coming months with the first songs being made available as soon as next month- wohoo!

This follows on from a deal having been struck between the Beatle’s Apple company and Apple Computers over naming and sales of music by Apple Computers.

Seemingly:

Apple Computers plans a “special” announcement scheduled for a Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 4, which may give more indication as to where the new remastered CDs will debut first.

Your top Web 2.0 apps?

If we ignore the fact that the term Web 2.0 is controversial for all kinds of reasons and concentrate on the applications themselves, which Web 2.0 apps (using the broadest possible definition) do you use most?

I use:

  1. my blog and podcast software all the time (they are run out of WordPress)
  2. my Flickr account regularly to post photos
  3. Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets frequently for collaboration or sharing of documents
  4. Google’s Calendar to synch with my laptop and mobile phone calendars
  5. Technorati, PubSub and Google’s Blogsearch to subscribe to RSS searches
  6. Flock as my main browser of choice (primarily because of the Flickr and Del.icio.us integration) – I also use Firefox, Camino, Safari and IE7
  7. Feedburner to burn and track my feeds
  8. NetNewsWire, Google Reader and iTunes to consume my feed list
  9. TechMeme, Megite and TailRank for keeping up with tech news
  10. Del.icio.us very occasionally to store URLs for items I have found interesting

What cool Web 2.0 apps am I not using that I should be using? What are your favourite Web 2.0 apps?

Audacity aiff import problems

Audacity is an open source, cross-platform sound editing application. It is the sound editor I use for producing the PodLeaders and it@cork podcasts.

The process I use for producing the podcasts was:

  1. Record the interview using Skype and Wiretap Pro (with Wiretap Pro set to save as mp3)
  2. Import the mp3 file to Audacity and edit
  3. Export as mp3 and publish

After a recent conversation with Doug Kaye, I decided to try his Levelator application to get the levels on the recordings the same. This meant I had to change Wiretap Pro to output to aiff ( a lossless format) instead of mp3.

I did this and recorded a number of interviews successfully, saving the interviews as aiff. However, yesterday, when I went to edit the first of those interviews, I was disappointed that the Levelator couldn’t work with the files (gave an error and stopped trying to level them).

However, I was horrified when I tried importing the files into Audacity only to find that the imported files had massive echo problems, echo problems (!). No matter what I tried I couldn’t get rid of the echo and it made the audio useless.

Finally, I hit on a solution:

  1. Import the aiff files into iTunes
  2. Export from iTunes as mp3
  3. Import the mp3 file into Audacity – no echo (phew!)

I should have hit on this solution sooner but it had been a long day!

FairPlay cracked

According to an article on CNN Money, Jon Johansen, the hacker who cracked the DVD encryption, (aka DVD Jon) has now broken the ironically named FairPlay. FairPlay is the Digital Rights Management (DRM) software which Apple puts on songs sold through its iTunes store – this DRM stops songs bought through iTunes playing on devices other than an iPod.

DRM is an evil, market restricting, anti-consumer device (why shouldn’t I be able to play DVDs bought in the US on my DVD player in Ireland?).
Any and all cracking of DRM should be applauded.

Way to go Jon.

An Líonra Sóisialta in iTunes

Conn’s podcast in the Irish language – An Líonra Sóisialta is at position number 37 in iTunes!
An Líonra Sóisialta in iTunes

The more people who subscribe to the podcast, the higher it will go in the listings.

Conn has also been nominated for a richly deserved Netvisionary award in the podcasting category – if you haven’t voted yet, head on over there and cast a vote – voting is open to all.

Plus ça change

According to CNet, it appears that the French have backed down on passing legislation which would have forced Apple to open its DRM if it wanted to continue selling music online in France.

The background to this is that all the music which Apple sells online through its iTunes stores has Apple DRM software applied to it stopping the music from being played on any device other than an iPod. France proposed to pass a law recently which would have outlawed the use of DRM to restrict the playing of music to specific devices. As the market leader, this would have hit Apple hardest but other online music vendors were also in the firing line.

On hearing of the law, Apple commented that this was state sponsored piracy! There was talk that Apple would close down its iTunes store in France. Indeed, it may have been forced to as Apple has more than likely signed deals with the music publishers which only allows it to distribute music with DRM.

Now, however, it appears that the law has been considerably watered down by the French senate. According to Ars Technica:

Most of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten. To see how this worked, consider the following examples:

  • Previously, “information needed for interoperability” covered “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information.” Now this has been changed to “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work.” But a “protected” version of the work can’t be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won’t be attained with this clause.
  • Previously, the only condition for receiving information needed for interoperability was to meet the cost of logistics of delivering the information. Now, anyone wanting to build a player will have to take a license on “reasonable and non discriminatory conditions, and an appropriate fee.” When using information attained under such a license, you will have to “respect the efficiency and integrity of the technical measure.”
  • DRM publishers can demand the retraction of publication of the source-code for interoperable, independent software, if it can prove that the source-code is “harmful to the security and the efficiency of the DRM.”

Plus ça change, eh?

Interviewed by Matt Cooper of The last Word

I was interviewed this afternoon by Matt Cooper of Today FM’s The Last Word in a follow-up piece to the Irish Blog Awards.

Matt raised the recent proposal in France to make it legal to crack DRM – this was reported by Reuters yesterday:

France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker’s popular iPod player.

Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.

It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management — the codes that protect music, films and other content — if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France.

“It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up … You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,” Vanneste told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.

What I should have said in the interview is that Apple may be forced to close the iTunes Store if this law is passed. My understanding is that Apple are required by their agreements with the recording industry to put DRM on the music. Of course if they did have to close their store, I imagine the sales of music for allofmp3.com in France would soar!

I muddled through the interview but if any of you want to hear what I sound like when the interview mike is pointed the other direction (it isn’t pretty!) – I’ll be on sometime between 6pm and 6:30pm I was told.

IT@Cork member podcasts begin

IT@Cork is a not-for-profit organisation which facilitates networking amongst IT Professionals – by the holding of evening events, mini-conferences and the annual conference. IT@Cork has 220+ member companies drawn from fmcg, to banks, to pharmas to IT companies.

I have been working with IT@Cork to set-up a members podcast and we published the first podcast yesterday. The most time consuming part of the process was sourcing a sponsor for the podcasts – thanksfully Microsoft Ireland stepped in and offered to sponsor the first five of the podcasts (if anyone would like to sponsor the next five, feel free to drop me a line at tom@tomrafteryit.net).

The first podcast was an interview with Shemas Eivers – Shemas is the MD of Client Solutions and an engineer by training. Shemas has some interesting views on software development (“software development hasn’t changed very much in the last 5 years”) and he reckoned that one of Client Solutions recipies for success is by avoiding the bleeding edge!

I changed my podcast production strategy fot this podcast – I wanted to try out GarageBand 3! I should have listened to Shemas and avoided the bleeding edge right there! Editing of sound files is painful in GarageBand 3 – I quickly reverted to editing in Audacity. I then imported the edited file into GarageBand to take advantage of its easy music integration – I added the jingle at the start and finish using GarageBand.

One real pain factor in GarageBand is that the Export function exports to .m4a, not mp3. It is possible to import the m4a files into iTunes and convert to mp3 (which is what I did) but what is the point in forcing that extra step on podcasters? Why not have an export to mp3 natively in GarageBand, as it is in Audacity?

I’ll have to play a little more with Garageband to see if it is worth keeping but right now, I am thinking the extra time involved isn’t worth it – anyone think the sound in the IT@Cork interview is superior enough that I should stick with Garageband?

Jobs lands Disney!

Steve Jobs has managed to sell Pixar Animation Studios to Disney for $7.4 billion in stock. As part of the deal, Pixar shareholders will receive 2.3 Disney shares for every Pixar share they own. Steve Jobs currently owns 50.6% of Pixar so this deal will mean that Steve jobs is going to become the single largest share holder in Disney!

I guess that means Steve has a lot more content for his iTunes Store!

Is on-demand TV in the offing?

I see CBS and NBC are following ABC’s lead and are now offering some of their shows on-demand – but unlike ABC and iTunes combo, CBS and NBC are offering the shows for 99c an episode (as opposed to $1.99 for ABC) and the shows will include ads (ABC’s are without ads).

CBS are offering the service through cable operator ComCast, while NBC are going with DirectTV, a satellite broadcaster.

In his blog, Thomas Hawk asks the very pertinent question:

if you have a DirecTV DVR why not just record the show yourself and skip the commercials and not pay 99 cents. I suppose there always may be the case where you accidently didn’t record your favorite show, but it would seem to me like an unlikely service to be used

By the sounds of it, these guys have the right idea but the wrong business model – I can’t help but think that this will hinder the long-term take up of on-demand TV.