Graphics & design software

JustePort sends music to AirPort Express without iTunes

Norwegian hacker Jon Lech Johansen -- known to many by his pseudonym DVD Jon -- has posted details on JustePort, new software that he claims allows users to stream MPEG-4 files encoded using Apple Lossless format to their AirPort Express hubs. It's the first time software outside of iTunes has been able to stream music to AirPort Express.

Apple's AirPort Express is a tiny US$129 wireless networking hub that employs the IEEE 802.11g standard, known to Mac users as "AirPort Extreme." In addition to operating as a wireless hub for up to 10 users, AirPort Express features a combination analog/digital interface that can connect to a home stereo or any powered speaker system. Using AirTunes -- a feature incorporated into both the Mac and Windows versions of Apple's iTunes 4.6 software -- users can stream music from iTunes to their stereos. The device racked up 80,000 pre-orders in the weeks leading up to its release in July.

So far, iTunes 4.6 has been the only software that can stream music to AirPort Express base stations. Johansen's new JustePort tool makes it possible for users to stream MPEG-4 files encoded in the Apple Lossless compression scheme to AirPort Express hubs independently of iTunes.

"I've released JustePort, a tool which lets you stream MPEG4 Apple Lossless files to your AirPort Express," Johansen wrote in his Web log. "The stream is encrypted with AES [Advanced Encryption Standard] and the AES key is encrypted with RSA." RSA is a public key encryption technology.

On its own, JustePort is probably of limited usefulness to most users. Apple Lossless codec about halves the size of an audio file from its original Audio CD source, but its use is not nearly as widespread as the ubiquitous MP3 format or AAC, the format Apple uses for songs downloaded from its iTunes Music Store.

Johansen is best known for his 1999 efforts with DeCSS, or De Contents Scramble System: software used to crack the CSS copy protection on commercially available DVDs. Johansen was eventually arrested, tried and acquitted by the Norwegian courts after the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed a complaint.. Last November Johansen introduced QTFairUse, a technology that allowed iTunes users to make raw copies of iTunes Music Store songs free of their Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption.

MacCentral could not access Johansen's blog as this article was posted. Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Subscribe to the Apple @ Work Newsletter

Comments