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Free Loops

I’ve been playing around with Garageband quite a bit lately, and having a good time. I’ve started to look for other loops I can use, but the problem is, all the “free loops” I’m finding out there always say something like this:

All of our free Garageband loops are free for personal use.

And that’s it. I mean “Personal Use” doesn’t mean a lot to me. (I assume it means non-commercial, but is that just my assumption? Can I freely publish works I create with these “free” loops?) I want things laid out in terms I can easily understand, perhaps using the Creative Commons licenses. Is there a listing of Apple Loops somewhere that are available with CC licenses? So I can easily see what is attribution, or non-commercial, etc?

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iPod Review – One Year Later

I’ve had an iPod for just over a year now, so I thought I would make a few notes on it. I know the iPod is a beloved product, and the music player in some people’s minds, but it, like any other product (by Apple or otherwise) could use some improvements…

I have the 5th generation 30GB iPod with video. It was given to me by the lovely Dana. Before the iPod I was using a Rio 500, and an iRiver IPF-180T.

I had one annoying issue with syncing my iPod, but other than that, it’s been pretty much problem-free.

Now, in comparison, the Rio 500 still beats the iPod for bookmarking. The Rio has a button that will set a bookmark in any MP3 file. No so with the iPod. It does not support bookmarking of any audio file. This is annoying, especially as it was a feature I used daily, and had to give up on when I moved to the iPod.

The iPod does remember what is playing when you turn it off and continues from there (of course my cassette player did this in 1975 as well) but this fails when you plug your iPod into your computer! So if I’m half way through a podcast, and then want to charge or sync my iPod, it forgets where I was after ejecting, and I’m back at the home screen, and damned if I can remember what I was listening to. Sucks…

The iPod interface is simple, but I know at least one other person who has one that occasionally will not turn off, and has said “Couldn’t they just put a damn ON/OFF button on it?” Sometimes mine won’t turn off, so I just put it in my bag and hope it turns off automatically after a few minutes.

The iPod interface also requires you to look, or at least be able to feel around and guess where to push. Other players (with actual buttons) allow you to memorize where the buttons are and what they do. I could operate my Rio while driving and never take my eyes off the road. This seems to be a big concern with the iPhone as well, it will require visual attention to be able to use it.

The Rio kicks the iPod to the curb in regards to bookmarking, but that’s about it. As for the iRiver, the one I have is a cheap, low-end model, and the interface is horrible. The advantages it has is that it can record using a built-in microphone (I wish mine had an audio input though) and has an FM tuner. You can also combine these and record live from the radio. I guess it also plays WMA files, but I don’t have any of those. I mainly use it as a cheap, portable recording device, even though the quality is fairly poor in noisy situations. (I did use it to record myself snoring once.)

In summary, I do love the iPod, but it’s not the ultimate player. It could use some improvements. I’m not sure Apple will ever improve it to my satisfaction, but I thought it was worth critiquing.

(This post just talks about the iPod as an audio player. I plan to follow-up with it’s use as a video player as well.)




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DRM (Done Ripping Music)

I spent much of my time since Xmas attempting to explain how iTunes, iPod, DRM, and freedom all work. Together and against each other…

I used Senuti and CopyPod to move files from different iPods into different iTunes libraries. I did my best to explain DRM and “Protected AAC” files to family members, and I didn’t even get into the doomspeak of “if something goes wrong, you can lose all your music!” I kept it pretty high-level, and just talked about how to manage multiple iPods on multiple computers with one iTunes Music Store account.

I did find it a little sad that things are still more complex than they need to be. I still have vinyl records and cassettes that are over 25 years old which I can play on any compatible device. Now that’s my definition of “Plays For Sure!”

I also bought a bunch of blank CD‘s which will be used to strip the DRM, I mean, make backups, of any songs I’ve gotten from the iTunes Music Store. It’s always good to have a backup.

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Songbird 0.2 Developer Preview

I finally got around to testing out Songbird

Songbird 0.2 Developer Preview

First impressions? It’s cool. It’s usable. It’s still in development, but I love the concept. It even says “Now with video hack!” which you can see the results of in the image above, where I visited my videoblog at tinkernet.org.

Songbird (the application, and the idea behind it) is cool. I see potential for this thing. As Apple & iTunes seem to take away our rights with each new release, I see Songbird opening things up more and more with each release. When it comes to consuming media, that’s what I’m all about.






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I Heart 8 Bark

Doug Ward (of Fourth Rotor) is an old friend of mine, and I like the things he’s done…

I really wish I would have known that he released all of the 8 bark music on 8bark.org over two years ago (since I spent a lot of time digitizing my copy of Structurally Sound about 2 and 1/2 years ago) but that’s ok, I’m just glad he did it…

Sure, I may have to talk to him about applying a nice license to the recordings, but dammit Doug, you done a good thing! Thank you my friend…