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Re: [ARSCLIST] RealNetworks -- a horrid format from a horrible company

I completely agree with the description of the horrors
of the Real Player - I have experienced everything
described and more.  I refuse to update to new
versions because I have no need for them and because I
have finally got my player set up so that such
distractions are rare.

That having been said, I am, nevertheless, one of
those people who uses Real Audio to stream audio
content on his website (my radio station, Radio
Dismuke, however, streams in mp3).   Another site that
uses Real Audio and with which I suspect most people
here are familiar with is redhotjazz.com

The reason I still continue to use Real Audio is
simple: it is what I started out with and the time it
would take to convert everything to a different format
would be tremendous.  I am already hard pressed for
time simply with the task of adding new content.  For
me to go back and convert everything over to some
other format - well, I simply do not have the time to
do it.  And to suddenly start using multiple formats I
think would make things rather user-unfriendly for a
lot of people. 

The orgins of my website date back to 1998 when my
computer had a 33k modem.   My first experience with
streaming audio was on the old Wolverine Antique Music
Society website which had a handful of Real Audio
clips with vintage music.   MP3 existed at the time -
but I was unaware that it could be streamed.  My
experience with mp3 files was that one had to download
the entire file to one's computer before listening to
it - which took a few minutes per song on a 33k modem.
  To me, the ability to stream over dial up was very
important as the purpose of my site was to introduce
people to vintage music who were previously unfamiliar
with it.  Somebody who is already a fan of vintage
recordings MIGHT wait a few minutes for a file to
download - but those who merely wish to check it out
are not going to be so patient.  Real Audio provided
the means by which one could simply click on a link
and hear music almost instantly even on a slow modem -
and if the listener did not like a particular song, 
they could easily click on another song's link and
immediately start listening.   The ability to encode
mp3s at lower bitrates and to stream them using m3u
files might very well have existed back then - but I
was not aware of it.  All the streaming audio sites I
was familiar with used Real Audio - so that is what I
went with. 

I am not sure of the exact reasons why redhotjazz
continues to use the format - but I would not be
surprised if the reasons are similar to my own.  That
site dates back even earlier than mine does and has
many hundreds of files on it.  Converting it over
would be just as much of a nightmare as it would be
with mine - perhaps even more so since I believe a lot
of that sites material has been donated by collectors.

As for Riverwalk - from what I can tell, the streaming
audio services for the clip mentioned was provided by
Public Radio, not Riverwalk itself.  My guess is
Riverwalk simply uses the resources which have been
made available to it probably at no cost to them and
has no wider control over what Public Radio chooses to
provide in that area.  Public Radio probably has its
own reasons for using the format. 

While I am very sympathetic to the concerns people
have about Real Audio,  if someone were to write me
that they would no longer visit my site because of it
- well, all I can say is that they probably did not
value the site that much to begin with and are able to
find plenty of other sites out there with content they
enjoy in more convenient formats.  I, for one,
however, am not willing to give up the wonderful and
obscure content which, unfortuantely, is only
available through Real Player.  Are you willing to
give up Riverwalk Jazz?  How many places besides
redhotjazz can you go to and have a decent chance of
being able to hear that 1920s recording by Irving
Aaronson and His Commanders that you saw people
discussing in an online message board?    On my
website's "Hit of the Week Update" this week, my guest
contributor features the 1931 "Victor Artists' Party"
33 rpm Program Transcription - a demonstration disc
introducing the new long playing format which only
lasted a couple of years.   How many places online can
you go to to hear a Program Transcription? 

Finally, writing site owners about the horrors of Real
Audio probably does not provide them with information
that they don't already know about.  After all, they
have to work with the format and undoubtedly listen in
to at least make sure the streams are working.   Trust
me, they too have been through everthing which has
been described. 

--- Erik Dix <edix@xxxxxx> wrote:

> Hi Tom!
> You could try real
> alternative. 
> and this for quicktime:
> It worked for the files i tried to play. I refuse to
> install the
> "real" real player or quicktime on my computer.
> Hope this helps.
> Erik
>   At 08:12 AM 10/27/2006, you wrote:
> >OK, now it's time for a short rant, one user's
> viewpoint.
> >Archivists, please avoid using this awful format
> for your
> >public-available content.
> >
> >My favorite over-Internet radio show, Riverwalk
> Jazz, had a bonus
> >thing -- excerpts from a 1973 WRVR
> >interview with John Hammond:
> >http://tinyurl.com/yd6s2e
> >
> >Unfortunately, no playback options except
> RealAudio. I smelled
> >trouble immediately. Real player launches and
> >demands to be updated. No playing the clips unless
> it updates. OK,
> >sigh, now I know there's trouble
> >coming.
> >
> >Download takes 5 minutes. Install takes another 5
> minutes. Then the
> >post-install process, where Real
> >shows itself as the most goniff-y, classless
> company out there. I
> >think all websites should be
> >strong told by their users and patrons not to use
> this format. I
> >always send messages to webmasters because I feel
> that Real is truly
> >a horrible company.
> >
> >You have to UNSELECT all the formats you don't want
> Real to take
> >over. Instead of telling it what to
> >do, you have to take 5-10 minutes of CAREFULLY
> telling it what NOT
> >to do, or you'll find that Real
> >takes over all audio and video formats -- and
> throws its bloated
> >player and ads all over your
> >computer. Plus, you have to go into buried menus to
> turn off
> >auto-update, and if you don't register
> >it under a fake e-mail, they will spam you whether
> you uncheck all
> >the spam options or not. HATEFUL!
> >
> >Oh, and they also default select the pay-to-use
> player on the
> >install, so if you don't pay attention they'll be
> asking for credit
> >card info. Yeah, over my dead body! And these
> goniffs sued Microsoft
> >over alleged "monopoly" issues! At least Microsoft
> provides a player
> >as part of the OS on 95% of desktops, not as some
> bloated, ad-laden,
> >invasive, spamming option.
> >
> >I sent a very strong e-mail to my friends at
> Riverwalk about using
> >this format. Real should be
> >driven out of business or forced to change their
> >spamming/invasive/toxicware ways.
> >
> >By the way, Quicktime is the same kind of setup --
> you have to
> >carefully go thru several steps or it will also
> take over all your
> >media formats. Big strike against Apple on that.
> Also, Quicktime
> >used to be toxic to some Windows computers,
> although that's improved
> >in recent versions. But I wouldn't have Quicktime
> on any of my
> >computers if it wasn't required for iTunes.
> >
> >-- Tom Fine

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