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Media (Apple) Businesses Media Upgrades Apple

Apple Releases Major iTunes Update 910

shunnicutt writes "Apple has released iTunes 4.5 (and iPod software 2.2 and QuickTime 6.5.1) and relaxed some iTunes Music Store restrictions: now tracks you purchased can be authorized to play on up to five other computers, instead of three. However, they reduced the number of times you can burn a playlist to an audio CD from ten to seven. Another new feature is iMix, which allows you to publish playlists on iTMS, including comments on each track. The iTMS also offers a weekly free single for download." crazney adds "This release also changes their network sharing protocol in a way that breaks the open source iTunes sharing applications that have been released (based on my work on iTunes 4.2's DRM)." kefoo writes "Among the new features is Apple Lossless Encoding, which claims to compress losslessly to half the size of uncompressed CD quality audio." Hm, and I was about to re-rip all my CDs at 320 kbps MP3 ... Update: 04/28 14:56 GMT by P : I just tested, and I can listen to previously de-DRM'd AAC files from playfair, but I cannot use either playfair or FairTunes any longer. The former "Couldn't get DRM key for user," and the latter produces a blank file.
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Apple Releases Major iTunes Update

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  • by Pirogoeth ( 662083 ) * <mailbox AT ikrug DOT com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:42AM (#8996149) Homepage Journal
    My work PC is behind an authenticating firewall, so I was never able to log into iTMS and consequently was not able to authorize my work PC to play my purchased music. When I launched 4.5, it brought up the IE dialog box for entering my firewall password, and voila... I could enter the iTMS and log into my account!

    I love the addition of two more authorized computers as well. I'm getting a new PB this spring to give my four Macs/PCs that I would have iTunes on and now I can keep them all authorized!
  • by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:42AM (#8996154)
    It will be as soon as Apple announces it later today. You can still download it off the web.
  • by lotsofno ( 733224 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:45AM (#8996182)
    According to comments in ipodlounge [ipodlounge.com], this new version won't allow playback of Playfair DRM stripped AAC files.
  • Multiple Downloads (Score:5, Informative)

    by thpdg ( 519053 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:45AM (#8996187) Journal
    Nice to release on the anniversary, and draw some attention.
    My one complaint with the service is that you can't download the source file multiple times. So, I may have a license to listen to it, but I have to get the file from somewhere, if I lose it. They let you listen to your music on 5 machines, but you have to transport the file itself to those machines, by yourself. A real pain in the butt.
    Beyond that, it's fantastic, and I recommend it to anyone shopping for a service.
  • iTunes campus goals (Score:5, Informative)

    by poleman13 ( 766922 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:46AM (#8996198)
    More important than this update is Apple's new push to provide music to college campuses. Their information is available here http://www.apple.com/education/itunesoncampus/. As a Penn State studnet whos money is being wasted by a garbage contract with Napster, I hope that iTunes begins to displace Napster all over the country. Napster is a shoddy, two bit service that offers a marginal utility at best. I'm rooting for iTunes and AAC in the battle for university contracts.
  • Also new (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:47AM (#8996214)
    iTunes on Campus [apple.com], which lets academic institutions site license iTunes Music Store content for their users delivered by Akamai's distributed network, which now not only includes over 700,000 songs from all 5 major labels and 450 independent labels, but also thousands of audiobooks, periodicals, and journals.

    Also new is the ability to import unprotected WMA into iTunes, and an iPod update [apple.com] to support Apple Lossless Encoder.

    And last, iMovie 4.0.1 [apple.com] has been released.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:48AM (#8996229)
    iTunes balloons to a size that is far, far to large for any jukebox. It's almost to large to gracefully use on a PB12's display (thank god for exposé).

    And thank Zeus for Desktop Manager [sourceforge.net].
  • by thesolo ( 131008 ) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:50AM (#8996250) Homepage
    Additionally, the app now also features a cool track melding feature not mentioned in the heading. This makes it a lot easy to make seamless listening possible for tracks that are supposed to proceed without pausing, So now I can finally listen to classical tracks the way they are supposed to sound. Seamless and lossless. Cool.

    If you're talking about the "Join Tracks" feature, this is not new to iTunes 4.5, it has been around for quite some time. If you're talking about a new feature for gapless output, then I'll be a very, very happy user.

    Actually, that's my only real gripe with iTunes & my iPod: lack of gapless playback. iTunes has a crossfader, which, if you set it to 0 seconds, does a pretty good job of playing tracks as they should sound on a CD, but it's not perfect, and no such solution exists for the iPod. I know it's an often-requested feature for the iPod, I just hope we see it sometime this year.
  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:51AM (#8996260)
    re: screen real estate.

    check out space.sourceforge.net. Space.app is multiple desktops for the mac. been using it since like 10.1 :)
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:52AM (#8996267)
    The Party Shuffle feature gets rave reviews from me.

    In the past, I have used a playlist I call "now playing" to move music in and out of during a party. This can be a real pain when you really just want to play a few playlists back to back.

    Party Shuffle changes all that. It allows you to easily DJ a party. You select how many "just played" songs and how many "upcoming songs to show. You then select a source, be it your music library or a playlist or a smart playlist (think Rock or Pop where 1979 year 1990). You then can easily manage what is coming up in the list and view what just got played. You can click the "refresh" (where Burn and Import are) and the list will be regenerated at random. You can also give preference to the higher ranked songs in your library.

    Lastly, and this is a feature of the entire music library, not just playlists or Party Shuffle, the same "arrow" icons that show up in the iTMS when you search for a song are present in iTunes. This means you can click an arrow for a song name, album, or artist and it will launch a search on iTMS. But say you don't like that feature? Well you can of course turn it off in preferences, but you may also hodl down "option" and click it. The result? it searches only YOUR library, not the iTMS.
  • by Herg ( 564957 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:53AM (#8996279)
    No. If you try to compress a wav file with zip, rar, etc., you will get very little compression. There is very little repeated data in a wav file. Looking at a wav file with the knowledge that it is audio, however, allows for decent lossless audio compression.
  • by clf8 ( 93379 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:53AM (#8996284)
    1. Backup your files, why does everyone complain about this.
    2. You don't have to copy the files to 5 different machines. Have it on one, iTunes will stream it to the others. The machine still has to be authorized to play it if it's protected. But you do NOT have to physically copy the file.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:53AM (#8996290) Homepage
    Yeah but the itunes files are at 128k, so a burn then rip is going to result in noticeable sound degradation at this point.
  • by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [abnerhaf]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:53AM (#8996291) Homepage
    Multiple downloads could present a somewhat large financial issue for apple... like when a person with 10,000 songs downloaded wipes their harddrive and then suddenly wants to just redownload them again. Or if a person authenticates 5 computers and wants to populate 40,000 songs on the other 4 computers via Apple instead of over a lan or firewire drive. Perhaps there should be some middle ground... like you can only redownload a limited amount of songs in any given period, but there is pretty good reasons for apple to have their current policy.

    Matt Fahrenbacher
  • by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:55AM (#8996307) Journal
    what I find a bigger issue is that iTunes can STILL not create playlists over the network. I have my G5 upstairs with all my music, but I would like to have the party shuffle (or an ordinary playlist) hold some tracks on my tiBook in the living room. Especially since the kids now also store their music on the G5 (since that machine is always turned on), but want to create lists locally without having to disturb me when I'm working.

    I've submitted this feature request to apple each time they release a new iTunes version, but still nothing :-(

    Hey slashdotters : help me convince apple of this feature ! click here [apple.com] and ask apple to provide networkable playlists (so NOT copying the tracks over the network, only their URL) Let's see if this can work !
  • Crap crap crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by tgd ( 2822 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:56AM (#8996319)
    They don't warn you that once you upgrade, you can't access shared music on older versions of iTunes. Now I have to go upgrade all my systems.

    Don't install it if you don't have time to upgrade all your computers, if that sort of thing matters to you.
  • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:58AM (#8996343) Homepage
    Support for competing MP3 portables. I think I read somewhere that iTunes may support another mp3 player besides the iPod, but that really isn't enough. Once again, I think it'd be beneficial the popularity of the program if they supported other players. Have they released an SDK for their community to toy with? The Foobar and Nullsoft teams did this, and they got great results

    Yea, they should definitely sacrifice hardware sales to support this free program! Why didn't they think of that?

    Hello? Apple makes money off iPods, not iTunes or the iTMS.

  • Re:Also new (Score:4, Informative)

    by Casshan ( 4998 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:58AM (#8996344) Journal
    iTunes on campus is not a site-license to the content. It merely allows institutions to redistribute the iTunes software.
  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:59AM (#8996354) Journal
    He is talking about a gapless output. It takes two seperate tracks and allows them to be played without gap.
  • by grahams ( 5366 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:59AM (#8996355) Homepage
    You can play uncompressed AIFF files on your iPod, and it's a pretty easy, lossless conversion between WAV and AIFF.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:02AM (#8996388) Homepage
    Actually, Zipping a wav file will do absolutely nothing. There's way too much entropy in a regular song to find similar patterns which it can compress. Also, FLAC only get's about a 60% compression ratio, meaning 100 MB of wav turns into 60 MB of flac
  • by himself ( 66589 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:03AM (#8996394)
    Well, they call your Queueing "Party Shuffle": http://www.apple.com/itunes/playlists.html
    > Now with Selective Listening
    > Of course your party deserves a great soundtrack, and iTunes
    > helps you jump-start your set list. The new Party Shuffle feature
    > creates a dynamic playlist, similar to shuffle play, from either your
    > entire library or a designated playlist. You can review upcoming songs
    > to reorder or delete on the fly, taking charge like the DJ you always
    > wanted to be. You or a guest can add songs to the mix at any time. If
    > you like the random picks, you can always save them in a personal playlist.
    > And of course, you can use Party Shuffle when listening to music alone,
    > too. So your playlist is always full, and always full of good tunes.
    And I think your "gapless playback" could have been helped with the preference for the gap between songs (though that nay only apply to burning CDs). In any case, I agree that it's a very important feature for stuff live albums and arty, no-break albums (of which I have a couple).
  • I minor nitpick... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:03AM (#8996399)
    Actually, iTunes does support several competing players, and has since well before the iPod's appearance. It's not something they advertise much, but it is there.
  • Re:wine? (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Original Yama ( 454111 ) <lists.sridhar@dh ... an.com minus cat> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:04AM (#8996405) Homepage
    I don't know about WINE, but I do know how to Install iPod Update v1.4/v2.2 in GNU/Linux [pclinuxonline.com].
  • by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <[slashthree] [at] [davidglover.org]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:04AM (#8996409) Homepage
    Queueing and gapless playback are both available.

    Queueing: Drop the track you want to queue onto the "Party Shuffle" icon.

    Gapless playback: Turn on "Crossfade playback", and drag the seconds slider to zero.
  • by sfire ( 175775 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:04AM (#8996410)
    You could just have the music stored on a network share on the machine, then drag the files into iTunes, and if you don't have it manage the library, they will stay on the network drive.
  • by KirkH ( 148427 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:05AM (#8996422)
    Someone's unofficial report on that forum also indicates that it converts from WMA to AAC.

    Umm...it's not unoffical. Apple touts it on their website [apple.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:06AM (#8996432)
    Last time I checked them in an Apple Store, iTunes and iPhoto were really stretching the limits of the poor 1Ghz iBook (fresh reboot with 10.3.3). Startup took a few bounces. Then it pauses a few seconds before popping up a window (why stop the bouncing if you're not showing anything anyway?) And after that in iPhoto the freakin rainbow disc came up a few seconds. And after everything was launched, resizing windows was still very laggy. Needless to say, I was not very impressed with the iLife experience.
  • by shrubya ( 570356 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:11AM (#8996485) Homepage Journal
    The folks at FLAC have a handy comparison page [sourceforge.net]. ALE obviously hasn't been tested yet.
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:12AM (#8996504) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you, but to me half the size of uncompressed audio sounds like a lot. How do gzip, bzip2 and FLAC stack up?

    gzip and bzip2 are meant for text. Only with rare audio files will they achieve much of any compression whatsoever. FLAC achieves about 50% compression on average, depending on the source material. All other lossless audio schemes achieve similar compression, within about 5%. The big advantage FLAC has is that it uses only integer ops for decoding (making it very fast and non CPU intensive). That also means FLAC has a number of hardware decoders already on the market.

  • by EvanTaylor ( 532101 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:17AM (#8996547)
    I wish you people would get it through your heads! You (say it with me) ARE NOT breaking the law.

    In fact unless you distribute to many people, or intend to charge money for copies you are STILL not breaking the law.
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:22AM (#8996589) Homepage Journal
    Erm, the DRM has nothing to do with the other features. It's only applied to music you download from iTMS.

    Stuff you rip yourself has no (technical) restrictions (beyond those you impose upon yourself because you want to be a good citizen and neither break the law nor undermine artists.)

    So, yeah, you have all those things and a little more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:22AM (#8996591)
    I've previously converted 19 iTMS songs to stripped AAC with Playfair 0.5 and iTunes 4.5 plays them just fine.

  • Re:wine? (Score:3, Informative)

    by larkost ( 79011 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:23AM (#8996600)
    You need QuickTime at the very least... so that would require the crossover plugin from CodeWeavers.
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:24AM (#8996602)
    Instead of downloading songs with propietary DRM, now we can encode our songs with a new proprietary DRM--songs that won't play on anything else? I think I'll stick with FLAC.

    Are you refering to Apple Lossless encoding? This is not a DRMed encoding. It is lossless and creates large files (8-10 times as large as an AAC or MP3) but is not copy protected.

    You also ripped on iTunes not working with other music players. This is just FUD. It most certainly works with a large list [shopping.com] of 3rd party players.

    Finally, I noticed how many links ot other applications, little addons, etc you listed. I ask you, is it worth all the trouble of locating these other applications and getting them to work with something other than iTunes? Why not just use the complete package. Nothing is going to satisfay everyone, but are your complaints against iTunes loading slowly or not being able to download songs off an iPod as easily as you want really worth the hastle?

    Me thinks you wish you had an iTunes/iPod music solution but are trying to justify why you haven't spent the money.
  • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:24AM (#8996610) Journal
    I wish you people would get it through your heads! You (say it with me) ARE NOT breaking the law.

    Yes I am. I live in the UK, which is in the EU which recently passed a law, not unlike the ones in the USA, which prohibit ripping from media that you already own for personal use. It's been discussed here before.

    It's only a matter of time and sods law before someone is sent to jail for it.

  • by thecombatwombat ( 571826 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:28AM (#8996667)
    Yeah, I just checked to make sure it still works in 4.5, my rio600 still pops up in my sources list and works great. Does anyone know if other players work in windows?
  • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:28AM (#8996673)
    Man, it doesn't get any slicker than that.

    When you add a WMA file to the library, it says, "One or more of the songs you are adding to iTunes, including , are in the WMA format. iTunes will automatically convert them to the MP3 format so that they can be added to your iTunes music library."

    Now I can finally convert all these old WMA files that idiots kept ripping thinking they had MP3's.
  • by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <[slashthree] [at] [davidglover.org]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:29AM (#8996681) Homepage
    "Jitter" is one of the more annoying audiophile myths floating around.

    If you are recording from one digital device to another; as long as the data stays in the digital domain, jitter is not recorded. The only thing actually captured is a sequence of amplitude values; digital media simply have no provisions for storing information about individual sample timing. The timing is based implicitly on the sampling rate and is freshly re-created by the digital-to-analog converter's clock every time the audio is played back.

    Even digital-audio tape systems don't play audio directly from the tape. Instead, they pass the data through a RAM buffer from which a clock pulls individual samples and sends them to the outputs. As a result, variations in tape speed or data spacing aren't reflected in the output data.

    Although jitter causes distortion on playback -- and can certainly generate unalterable distortion during the A/D process when recording from an analog source -- it is not recorded when making a digital dub or when recording between digital devices.
  • by BigJimSlade ( 139096 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:34AM (#8996740) Homepage
    "So, I may have a license to listen to it, but I have to get the file from somewhere, if I lose it."

    So back them up [apple.com]. Or maybe you want to do an incremental backup [apple.com].
  • by dthree ( 458263 ) <chaoslite@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:34AM (#8996741) Homepage
    Toast also burns audio CDs with CD-TEXT so that compatible players can display artist/song/album labels.
  • by Damek ( 515688 ) <adam@da[ ].org ['mek' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:36AM (#8996769) Homepage
    This is the same "Join Tracks" feature that iTunes has had for the past couple versions. It imports multiple tracks from a CD as one track. This results in one long track, in one file. This is not what is traditionally considered "gapless playback", which is taking multiple tracks/files and playing them all back without a gap in between the tracks.

    "Join tracks" is an unacceptible solution, IMHO. I still use iTunes, though. I just live with the small gaps.
  • by Chang ( 2714 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:37AM (#8996782)
    I've been using it with my crappy old Rio500 for a couple of years.
  • by vandenberg5 ( 537861 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:40AM (#8996813) Homepage
    It's an easy option for artists now to have iTunes only sell their music in an album form. I've seen a number of albums on iTMS that you can't get the songs individually.
  • by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:43AM (#8996852) Journal
    Actualy, your right to do with the file hasn't changed, it's the right you burn the playlist that has changed. You can still burn the file an unlimited number of times, just not without changing the playlist every 7 times. There is a slight difference.
  • the EU which recently passed a law, not unlike the ones in the USA, which prohibit ripping from media that you already own for personal use.

    Nope. Cross the pond and come to America--it's not criminal infringement unless its for "commercial gain." (as in, "I don't want to pay for it.")

  • by ll1234 ( 167894 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:50AM (#8996930) Homepage

    http://members.home.nl/w.speek/comparison.htm [members.home.nl]

    Apple's new lossless codec isn't included, but will have a tough time beating the speed/size ratio of Monkey's Audio.

  • by (startx) ( 37027 ) <slashdot@nOsPaM.unspunproductions.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:50AM (#8996937) Journal
    Another great app is the creatively named Desktop Manager [sourceforge.net]. You can set up as many desktops as you need (I think) and you can do the eye-delicious rotating cube effect to switch between desktops.
  • Re:ACK! (Score:2, Informative)

    by yabos ( 719499 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:52AM (#8996954)
    They only removed it for sharing over the internet, not the LAN.
  • by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:59AM (#8997029) Journal
    The "join" feature still only works during CD ripping, there's not way to join tracks that you've purchased from the store or already imported. This is SO annoying. The systems have more than enough computing power to merge these songs without having to start over.

    I'm guessing I will have to cave in and re-rip all my CDs that should not have gaps between the songs.
  • By the numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:06PM (#8997105)
    Well the results are in and between Apple's Press release [apple.com] and the Steve Jobs conference call [macminute.com] there are many numbers to consider.

    140,000,000 - Annualized song sales at current rate
    100,000,000 - Number of songs projected to be sold in 1st year
    70,000,000 - Number of songs sold the first 365 days of the service
    2,700,000 - Current rate of songs sold per week
    1,000,000 - Number of songs available by the end of 2004
    700,000 - Number of songs available now (5/04)
    450 - Number of indy publishers with music on-line
    10 - Previously allowable identical CD burns
    7 - Currently allowable identical CD burns
    5 - Current number of authorized PCs and/or Macs
    3 - Previous number of authorized PCs and/or Macs
    70% - Market share of iTMS digital music sales
    5% - Market share of Apple desktop/laptop/server sales
    0 - Number of more successful on-line music services
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:24PM (#8997298)
    Turning on zero-second crossfade makes it gapless.
  • Re:Lossless (Score:2, Informative)

    by Giant Killer ( 33130 ) <dave@NOspaM.davegandy.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:30PM (#8997357) Homepage
    Now where are those terabyte drives?
    Right here: LaCie Bigger Disk [lacie.com]. One full terabyte of space packed into an external Firewire 800 enclosure. That what you're looking for?
  • by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:31PM (#8997369) Journal
    You CAN sell you music. This was already argued and brought to a head by the eBay auction. Apple's response was "Yes, you can sell your tracks, but why bother?"
    Granted, there is no mechanism to do it (yet), but you could indeed sell your entire library at once by simply transferring your account to someone else.

  • by mookie-blaylock ( 522933 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:32PM (#8997381)
    "Crossfade" to zero isn't the same as gapless playback -- even on a Mac, never mind the iPod. A cursory listen to classical music, Sgt. Pepper's or even an unedited live disc (i.e., no fades after songs, just crowd noise -- or even better, segues between songs) shows how it's still not there.

    It shouldn't be that hard, and yet people (myself included) have been screaming for it since version 2 at least.
  • by System.out.println() ( 755533 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:32PM (#8997385) Journal
    I believe it works with anything that will mount as a drive, which is almost any relatively modern player. It works with my old Muvo, although for some reason deleting tracks causes a few garbage tracks to appear for some reason (which I think is a file system issue, since the Muvo uses FAT16, which is probably not as supported in OSX as fat32)
  • by MyFourthAccount ( 719363 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:38PM (#8997453)
    I agree with what you are saying, but just to add to that, "jitter" was also reffered to when a CD drive would not return audio samples on the correct sector boundary.

    Basically, an audio CD does not have sectors. However, when software reads data from a CD, be it audio or other data, it requests this in sectors.

    Data CDs do use sectors, I believe of 2352 bytes in size, where only 2048 bytes are used for data and the rest for error detection and recovery.

    For some reason a lot of CD drives do not return the data for audio CDs on the exact same boundary when a certain sector is requested. So if you look at the CD as a large stream of data and you request the second sector then some CD drives will one time return the bytes at offset 2350 through 4702 and a subsequent call may return 2354 through 4706.

    Hence jitter.

    Most CD ripper software compensated for this (usually through some setting or command line option). They'd read overlapping sectors to check for jitter.

    I always used Plextor drives because they were known to not have this problem (plus they could sustain at high datarates). If, or rather When, I'm going to digitize my CD collection I will absolutely use a Plextor drive.

    I'm writing this mostly in the past-tense because it has been a few years ago that I messed with this. I would imagine that most CD/DVD drives today are a lot better.
  • by ek_adam ( 442283 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:41PM (#8997484) Homepage
    You can now use other playlists as criteria for a Smart Playlist. Create one playlist that is a combination of several other playlists.
  • by nat5an ( 558057 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:46PM (#8997544) Homepage
    The whole point of the poorly-named "Party Shuffle" is to queue up a quasi-random list of songs. They're random, but you can move them around and skip around in the queue. It's a pretty useful feature, IMHO.
  • by clarkcox3 ( 194009 ) <slashdot@clarkcox.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:50PM (#8997599) Homepage
    Yes, but then you'd have the file-size of a loss-less codec, and the quality of a lossy codec -- The worst of both worlds.
  • by SpamJunkie ( 557825 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:00PM (#8997749)
    You've made a good point. There is little doubt that Radiohead would prefer to release no singles. In fact Kid A had no singles. But you saw the likes of Optimistic on MTV, right? That was recorded from a live performance.

    Radiohead's hands are tied because they are contracually obliged to produce singles and videos for their record label. Signing the contract was neccessary for launching their careers, especially in pre-Internet 1990. Perhaps they regret the contract now?

    Regardless, they have said that now that they have fullfilled their obligations and are contract-free they will be pursuing alternative methods of releasing their music. That's really the test of how true to their art they are.

    Radiohead isn't an example of a band lying about their intentions, they're just another example of RIAA member companies' continued mistreatment of their artists.
  • by SpamJunkie ( 557825 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:07PM (#8997813)
    Nested playlists are currently possible:

    Create your playlist, "Rock List" as such:
    • if genre == rock
    Then create your second list, "Highly Rated Rock" as:
    • if my rating > 3
    • if playlist is "Rock List"
    and you're done. Easy.
  • by bengal0 ( 677592 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:30PM (#8998101) Homepage
    Apple is simply the first to offer it integrated into a big package...with a marketing campaign... 50% percent on average compression has been available for some time: http://www.firstpr.com.au/audiocomp/lossless/
  • Re:Older iPods? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Hitchcock_Blonde ( 717330 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:32PM (#8998119) Homepage
    From the Apple web site: "iPod Update 2004-04-28 supports all models of iPod and iPod mini introduced before April 28, 2004. This update is required to take advantage of new features in iTunes 4.5 and the iTunes Music Store."
  • It already does! (Score:3, Informative)

    by rjung2k ( 576317 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:48PM (#8998345) Homepage
    The iPod (and iTunes) already supports WAV format.
  • by xconslash ( 521219 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:33PM (#8998968) Homepage
    The changes they made were for the better to most, and about equal to a few ( people who are, for some reason, making 10 backup copies of all their playists ).

    But what if, as you say, they made things incredibly worse? What would happen? Would fire and brimstone rain from the skies? No. People would just stop buying songs from iTMS. This is the nature of a free-market. They aren't FORCING me to agree to their terms. I have agreed because I feel, as they do, that the terms are fair, but the agreement is not binding for all future music purchases. If Apple, at the request of the RIAA, changed their DRM to a more draconian model, I would simply stop logging into iTMS and giving them money.

  • Re:FLAC in iTunes (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:34PM (#8998984)
    You should be able to at least read the tags using iTunes. A quicktime plugin to read FLAC would have both a a codec, to interpret the data as audio, as well as a file importer, which essentially converts the native file format into a quicktime file on the fly; a well-written one would convert the tags into the "user data" atoms that QT uses. As far as I know (but I haven't checked in a long time) there is no published API for reversing this: i.e. converting the QT tags back into tags that are understood by the native file format. I believe that iTunes recognizes each file specially and writes the tags to it if it knows about it.

    By the way, even if iTunes doesn't understand how to tag a file, you can still assign all the tag info; it's just that it only exists in the iTunes database and does not get copied to the audio file itself.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:54PM (#8999262)
    Yeah, but a sub-second pause (finish up playing previous song, then immediately start next one which was being pre-cached) would still be a lot better than the current state of affairs on the iPod...

    A sub-second pause is the current state of affairs on the iPod. Try to keep up.

    The iPod pre-caches about 30 minutes of music at a time, and starts grabbing the next 30 minutes into memory before the first 30 completely runs out, so it already does exactly what you say it wants you to do. The rest of us are just whining about the presense of that tiny sub-second gap, which is annoying when listening to Dark Side of the Moon or other albums where the tracks lead into each other continuously.

  • by Johnathon_Dough ( 719310 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:23PM (#8999648)
    I wish iTunes could tell you when it was having trouble reading a scratched CD, though.

    There is a pretty good way around this, but it seems to slow down importing by about 25%.

    Go to Preferences->Importing, and check "Use error correction". This has worked for me on a some pretty scratched up disks. Even allowed me to get around a CD that had DRM on it. (on a mac, haven't tried that on my PC yet).

  • Re:Apple lossless (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:26PM (#8999703)
    As far as compression sizes for lossless encoding goes. The order from best to worst is:
    1. Monkey Audio (Best)
    2. Flac
    3. Apple Lossless
    4. Windows Media Lossless
  • by whizzer1187 ( 775339 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:29PM (#8999739)
    To quickly assess how well the new iTunes 4.5 lossless compression scheme works I picked 10 songs at random from my collection to convert to Apple Lossless Encoder format. The good news is that each song only took a few seconds to convert on my 1.0 GHz PowerBook. Noticeably faster than when I ripped them to WAV files. Unfortunately the compression ratio is not that good. The aggregate compression ratio of the ten songs was 1.5:1. The min, median and max were 1.3:1, 1.5:1 and 1.8:1. This is by no means a thorough evaluation, as my collection is heavily skewed to rock music and far more samples would be required. I would have expected far better however, given that the high correlation between the two stereo channels gives an almost brain dead 2:1 compression to start with, and other lossless projects on the web claim closer to 4:1.
  • Re:By the numbers (Score:3, Informative)

    by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:13PM (#9000239)
    Good news! Steve Jobs said today [macminute.com] that iTunes would be in Europe "later this year".
  • Re:Apple lossless (Score:2, Informative)

    by GooRoo ( 245743 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:20PM (#9000358) Homepage
    A quick google search for 'mpeg4 lossless audio' turns up this link:
    http://www.nue.tu-berlin.de/forschung/projekte/los sless/mpeg4als.html [tu-berlin.de]
    Which in turn points to this link as the basis for the standard:
    http://www.nue.tu-berlin.de/wer/liebchen/lpac.html [tu-berlin.de]

    Possibly this is what they're using?
  • by berniecase ( 20853 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:22PM (#9000394) Homepage Journal
    You don't have to pay for the component after a QuickTime update. You can view past orders on the Apple store and re-download the updated MPEG-2 component. I've had to do this after two Quicktime updates that broke the component.
  • Re:Far Out There (Score:3, Informative)

    by berniecase ( 20853 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:32PM (#9000516) Homepage Journal
    So how could they start offering a download format that averages around 45 megs per song and not loose even more money on the bandwidth?

    Apple Lossless is an encoding scheme for music you import into iTunes, not music you buy from the iTunes Music Store. iTMS still uses 128kbps AAC files.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @04:40PM (#9000645)
    two solutions - use "find" and put in todays date and most recent for your search parameters - then ask to see invisble files then look for a file named "QTPluginTemp#######" copy that to somewhere else and name it .mov and you're done.

    Or if you're really lazy just get iGetMovies - a freebie app that caps safari and itunes movies easily:

  • by SphericalCrusher ( 739397 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:06PM (#9000963) Journal
    Yeah, I use a 17 inch monitor and it doesn't bother me at all. And yeah, there's no real reason to leave it open, other than to burn CDs, create a play list, import songs, or organize your current music.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:32PM (#9001294)
    Oh fuck, why did I use my last mod point yesterday?

    This is not Informative. Crossfade does not make it gapless. The best it can do is provide the illusion of gapless playback by fading into the next song before the gap starts. If you have tracks with fast beats that run together with no gap, you will notice a glitch when the fade happens. It is NOT a proper solution.

    And Steve says the people at Apple are music lovers. I say bullshit. If they were, they'd have fixed the gap problem long ago. The solution's easy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:43PM (#9001390)
    Yes, that's one part of the problem. There is an inherent gap in a compressed audio file due to space being left over (usually) in the last frame. So even buffering in such a way that the decoded audio samples run right up against each other doesn't work.

    What does work is ripping the whole CD as one continuous file and using a cuesheet in the metadata to store track info. Song names, start/stop times, etc. Then modify the player to skip around just as if they were different tracks.

    THAT part surely isn't too hard. I just don't think Apple is interested because most users don't give a shit. Send feedback now [apple.com].
  • by afish40 ( 774995 ) <mario@dotmatrixw ... c3.14om minus pi> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:06PM (#9002823) Homepage
    My 20GB 2nd-gen iPod (as in, the no-dock variety) was giving me trouble too, so I restored it to factory settings, and the install worked fine. Just make sure you pull off anything you can't live without (if you need to pull the songs off, I'd recommend iPodRip [thelittleappfactory.com] or iPod Access [drewfindley.com]). Good luck to ya!

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger