Archive for March, 2005

iTunes OGG support

Ok, so it turns out that while the QuickTime plugin for OGG enables iTunes to play OGG files, iTunes is completely daft in that the equaliser doesn’t then work for OGG files…

I’ve given feedback to Apple saying they need to add native support for OGG files, but I suspect they’ll ignore it like Microsoft does… each wants to promote their own proprietory WMA or AAC standards, and so ignore the rest of the world, including ‘open standards’. Sigh.



I always resist change, but sometimes you have to explore new options in the marketplace so I thought I’d give Apple iTunes a go. I installed it last night and played for about 30 minutes and then after discovering that it wouldn’t play .OGG files, essential for someone who has most of their CDs ripped as OGGs promptly uninstalled it.

Today, I went back to my favorite player, xmplay, and decided that I didn’t think the quality was as clear as iTunes… so I decided to investigate whether you could play OGG files any other way through iTunes. Fortunately, this site came to my rescue: QuickTime Components Project, and following downloading a ZIP file, installing the files in the C:\Windows\System32\QuickTime folder and reloading iTunes appeared to enable it to play OGG files. Usable enough to play some more…

One neat thing about iTunes I found is that you can turn off the Store in the options, making it a standalone player. This is especially important to me because I have never bought music online other than CDs. I love the concept of instant access music, but some changes need to take place before I’d buy:

– Either the file I download needs to be the exact, lossless copy of the CD track, unprotected so I can copy it to any PC, run on linux, re-encode and play on mp3 players etc
– Or stores must allow multiple (unlimited) downloads once I have purchased the file, so I can download to any of my PCs and copy around etc.

My view is if I’ve bought it, it’s mine. If I reinstall my PC once a year, I should be able to get the track back, just as I could re-insert the CD and rip it back. Sadly the Apple music store only allows 1 download and 5 copies when you buy a track. No where near flexible enough, but no big deal since CDs will do until someone catches up with the fact that I’d probably buy twice as many tracks online as I would CDs from stores…

Back to iTunes, the radio feature is pretty neat. Many totally free radio stations instantly accessible from your desktop. This feature may be what keeps it installed, that and my perceived better playback quality (which is of course subjective, and may just be an equaliser setup that better suits my laptop.)


ADSL Checker

With all the news about potential free ADSL speed upgrades, spotted this site:

It determines not only if you can get ADSL, but also the speed capability of your line. Very neat.

Sadly my parents can only get upto 1MB by the looks of it.



For those of you who are Firefox or Mozilla users (and if you’re not, you should be), check out the Adblock extension. It’s a really neat add-in that basically cuts out bits of your page, namely those annoying banner ads, and so makes browsing quicker and have less distractions.

You can find it here

Blocking adverts can be done in two ways:

  1. Add URL wildcard
  2. Block a specific URL

The best system is to block using wildcards, as they tend to catch more ads, and the extension site shows a few good generic items in the picture on the front page.


Back in ATL

Well, I’m back in the U.S.A. It was a good flight that Delta provided. Half empty which makes for a relaxed time as you get more space and the staff always have bigger smiles.

Amazingly the Atlanta immigration section was totally deserted. That must be a first. In peak summer you can queue up to two hours if you arrive at the worst time (4pm), which is why I try and catch the 9.30 DL11 – arriving at 2pm makes such a difference.

The immigration dude was taking his time, so we got talking. First time I’ve ended up asking them more than they ask me. They took my picture and finger prints again, just in case I’d changed them since I last arrived in the country I guess.

Baggage handling was simple, other than the Atlanta bag drop off. Delta have an infuriating habit of moving it every 6 months, so I went off to the front left after customs, only to find the new conveyor was at the far back left. Oh well, I guess it checks that we’re awake when we arrive.

Drove home. House is still here. Car needs a wash.


Back to the US

Well, I’ve been in the UK for a week and have caught up with lots of friends, family and work, but time to head back to the US tomorrow. The bad thing is getting up early to drive up to the airport. At least it offers time for movies, reading and potentially some interesting chats.

Now I’ve started writing here, I must remember to not get out of the flow and continue tomorrow.

Good night.


Mini Mac

Went down to PCWorld in the UK and had a play with the new Mini Mac from Apple. I’ve always been a Windows user and developer for ever, but there’s something particluarly sexy about the Mini Mac that just makes you want one.

The low-down is it is truely tiny. OSX looks stunning and the package of applications that comes with it appears to cover everything you would need out of the box. The only thing I couldn’t find was the maximize button on a window, but apparently the Mac doesn’t have one! Mind you, I found a neat feature just playing with it – swing the mouse around in a big circle and all the windows went small and enabled you to select the one you want.

When I return to the US, I may well get one to play since they are only $499, much better value than the £399 in PCWorld.


In the beginning

was this post…


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