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Whammo (2555)

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Journal of Whammo (2555)

Wednesday January 02, 2002
12:54 AM


[ #1862 ]

"Get out old Dan's records. Get out old Dan's records
We will dance the whole night long
It's fun to play the old time songs
If old Dan could see us now, I know he'd be so proud"
-- Gordon Lightfoot

The wonderful people of Xiph annouced RC3 of Ogg Vorbis 1.0 yesterday. Most of the code base has been frozen, with a few tweaks on the algorithms left open.

Now, as if you couldn't tell, I'm a music junkie. I listen to a wide variety of styles, and have tunes running constantly. I recently replaced a worn-out Pioneer cartridge changer with a Sony 300 CD carousel, but the general unhappiness with the interface convinced me not to buy a second to hold the rest of my collection. Instead, I bought a 60 gig hard drive, and began investigating audio codecs.

I considered just buying a rack of drives and ripping all the audio natively, but decided that compression was more desirable from a portable device perspective. Although VCF's sizes were impressive, I felt its quality was about that of MP3, which I felt was worse than Ogg at comparable bit-rates. Plus, I liked the openness of the Vorbis standard, which meant I wouldn't need to recode my music every other year. (Choosing to is another matter. :-) This was also around the time that Microsoft said they would deliberately downgrade MP3 quality in favor of WMA.)

So until I slap a database back-end on the collection (5500+ tracks over 18 gigs, with about two dozen CDs I need to repair before I can rip), I've been using a dumb randomizer to mix my tracks, and running them through XMMS on my primary Linux box. Eventually, however, I want to be able to pipe them through the stereo, and possibly beyond.

So it was exciting to see that Icecast 2.0 is also nearing completion. (2.0 will provide streaming support for Vorbis.) So I grabbed the latest from CVS and had at it.

I'm guessing they really want you on their mailing list, because there is little documentation beyond configure and make. I could only assume that functionality didn't change all that much, and that they assumed I knew what that functionality was.

But I got it working (locally) in a couple hours or so. And after tackling my first iptables DNAT configuration, I managed to hold my first successful broadcast. This holds promise. (But what does a simple audio streamer need with a quarter of my Athlon 1 GHZ?)

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  • The first time I heard MP3s many years ago, I was surprised at the incredibly low sonic quality. I tried ripping some CDs about a year and a half later, but still got some pretty bad sound. Apparently, the issue revolved around bad encoders and bad encoding rather than limitations of the format.

    Once I decided to start ripping CDs, I played with a few schemes, until finally settling on a two-step process:

    • Copy the raw audio files from a series of CDs
    • Convert everything in the queue, deleting the raw aud