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

My impression is that Real was first with a robust streaming server and it played heavy on the fact that it wasn't Microsoft. Yes, Shoutcast for MP3 was right there early, but it was a typical open source thing in that it was loosely organized, didn't work on some platforms, didn't work with some players, etc etc. Real had an integrated system and was a "real" company that a corporate type could meet with and sign contracts. So places like BBC and NPR, who were relatively early with streaming, got onboard. Real also wasn't as obnoxious with their software at first. This Glazer guy, who I think is ex-Microsoft, seems to be like all the worst Microsoft stereotypical traits but on steroids. I've never seen such an invasive and obnoxious piece of software that's not spyware or spam.

I believe Real will get its due because podcasting is becoming the preferred way of doing web audio, especially for broadcasters. So everything will be MP3 soon enough, hopefully. I also noted before that NPR must have gotten a good amount of pushback because they offer most recent stuff in either WMA or Real. Another thing I've noticed is that video is moving away from all the desktop-based-player/streamed-from-server models and moving to Flash, which has its own set of problems and bloated invasionware issues.

Someone should come up with a program that "firewalls" all these media players in a Windows system, so they can't take over file formats or otherwise poison the overall system. I'd gladly pay $20 or $30 for that, so I wouldn't have to go thru this rigamarole every time I update iTunes or RealPlayer or even Windows Media Player (which has been much less invasive in its last few versions).

The way I like to have my system set up is that WinMediaPlayer is the default for CD audio, MP3 and WAV as well as every video format it can handle, because it starts quick and doesn't crash or poison other apps. Yeah, it's taken 10 versions to get there. I want Quicktime fenced in so it only runs with iTunes and otherwise only does Quicktime video. Real has to be corralled so it only does Real formats. I would use iTunes for more formats but it's so bloated and slow to start that it's not worth it if I just want to hear a quick sample of something in MP3. WinMedia just pops right up and plays it and doesn't slow down anything else.

Just about all of this multi-media stuff is over-designed, over-programed and larded up with tons of useless "options" and "features," which is why it all runs so slow and is frequently toxic to other programs. Typical technology/computer type stuff -- everyone wants to build a Swiss Army Knife instead of just doing one or two jobs really well.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Frank Strauss" <fbsdmd@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2006 5:03 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] RealNetworks -- a horrid format from a horrible company

On 10/27/06, Tom Fine <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 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.

Unfortunately the BBC, which has a huge on-line program list, has also chosen Real Player. What are they thinking?

Frank B Strauss, DMD

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