Liner Notes

It’s one of those days when a few tiny thoughts are rattling around in my noggin and demand to be let out. I open my scull to reveal:

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Apple Kills RealNetworks Files

As reported by CNET News, music purchased from RealNetworks’ online music store won’t play on an iPod photo. Yes, as promised, Apple monkeyed with these iPods’ firmware so that files encoded with Real’s Harmony software wouldn’t work.

Given that Apple characterized Harmony as the “tactics… of a hacker” is anyone really shocked by this development? What’s more telling is that although the iPod photo has been out for a month (and appears to be selling well) no one noticed this “incompatibility” until now. Get real, Real, this is a dead-end.

You can expect future iPod firmware updates to impose a similar “feature” on other iPod models.

Filtering Podcasts

The other day I suggested that producing an engaging podcast takes more than a cheap microphone and the desire to broadcast the dull details of your day. Radar from The Podcast Bunker dropped by our forums to promote his site, and I’m glad he did.

Within the Bunker he weeds through umpteen podcasts to find those that are really worth listening to. I’ve checked out some of those recommendations and I’ve yet to find a loser in the bunch. If you want to get a leg-up on locating quality ‘casts, The Podcast Bunker is a good place to start. Also, if you’re interested in creating your own podcasts, be sure to check out the site’s Tips on How to Produce the Best Podcast.

Better Quality iTunes?

Michael Penwarden’s excellent examination of the various music download services has sparked a discussion in our forums about how Apple might improve the iTunes Music Store — specifically, that it’s time to offer tracks encoded at a higher bit-rate.

Are 128 kbps AAC-encoded files good enough? Would you be willing to pay a couple of pennies more for files encoded at higher bit-rates or in a format such as Apple Lossless? Can you even tell the difference? Drop on by and voice your opinion.

This story, "Liner Notes" was originally published by PCWorld.

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