[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [ARSCLIST] Try Real Alternative (was RealNetworks -- a horrid format from a horrible company)

--- Jon Noring <jon@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> However, I recently found an independent RealAudio
> player, "Real
> Alternative." It works like a charm (although
> supposedly it won't
> play the newest RealAudio codec.)

I deliberately use a circa 2000 version of the Real
Producer software to encode the files so that users
are not required to update players on account of my
site.  The only "upgrade" I have made in  regard to
file format has been to assume a user on a 56k dial up
modem rather than a 28k dial up modem.  But even the
newest content on the site should work on players as
far back as Real Player 5.0 I believe.  If they are
using Real to access other content, such as streaming
video, however, they are going to need to have a later
version.   But for the content I have, the later
versions aren't able to offer anything that the older
versions couldn't do just as well.

> And Dismuke, you should consider an alternative to
> RealAudio. You
> should now realize there's a lot of anger out there
> against
> RealAudio, and those who distribute audio with it.
> Even Microsoft is
> better than RealAudio. Why not MP3? Anything but
> RealAudio.

Well, the biggest problem is time.  Converting over
would require a great deal of work and time.   There
are over 800 Real Audio files on the site.   Even if a
bulk file converter of some sort existed (last I
checked, they were rumored to exist but I have never
seen one) converting the files is only a fraction of
the work involved in such a project.  All of the links
to the new files would have to be updated - that means
over 800 links have to be searched out and retyped
(and tested for typo errors).  And since a very
significant percentage of the population still does
not even have access to broadband Internet, it is just
as important for me to be able to stream the
selections in "real time" today as it was when I first
started.  That means, if I were to use mp3 format, for
example, I would need to create over 800 individual
.m3U files - which basically consist of typing in a
specific url and separately saving each file.  Not
only is that a LOT of work, it is tedious work of the
most mind-numbing and unenjoyable sort.

As it is now, there are already weeks when I end up
having to skip my weekly Hit of the Week update
because of a lack of time.  I have several REALLY cool
things in the pipeline programing wise for Radio
Dismuke - but making them actually happen is a real
challenge for me from a time standpoint. On top of
that, I have a full time job, a lengthy commute both
ways, a house with all the chores that requires, all
the dumb tedious errands that everyone else has to run
and, once in a rare blue moon, something that sort of
approximates a social life.  Any change with regard to
the site or station, no matter how trivial, basically
means that I have to take time away from something
else - so I have to be really picky about the projects
I undertake.

Even if I had more time on my hands to upgrade just
the website, converting away from Real Audio would NOT
be at the top of my list.   The older audio files that
I put up prior to my acquisition of a Souvenir VSP in
2003 sound pretty crappy to my ears today - especially
my attempts at using just DCart software alone which
never worked well for me.  I have managed to re-record
the files in one major section of the site - but the
files of most of my acoustical recordings and all Hit
of the Week updates prior to fall 2003 still need to
be redone.  I would MUCH rather spend time on that -
and just locating and digging out the specific 78 rpms
alone is going to be a pretty big task.   The site is
also currently hosted on two different web servers -
one of which I am paying very high circa 2001 prices
for and which I long ago maxed out disc space wise and
another, less expensive, site I signed up for as an
eventual replacement before realizing it was very
clunky.   My very next project with the site is to
consolidate everything to a third hosting service
which will end up saving me several hundred dollars a
year that I have basically been throwing down the

As for the anger that is supposed to be out there over
Real Player, I am afraid that I don't hear a great
deal of complaints about that particular aspect of it
- and trust me, I get complaints about some of the
most bizarre and trivial stuff imaginable.   The
complaints I get about Real Audio center around the
fact that people would like to  be able to download
the files and burn them to CD which is not easy to do
with Real Audio.   

Radio Dismuke streams in mp3 format.  I don't have
access to all of the statistics on the Live 365 stream
but I have total control over the Loud City stream and
have access to all of its statistics.  According to
those statistics, a VERY significant percentage of the
people who are listening to that stream are doing so
with.....that's right, Real Player which is also
capable of playing mp3.  People are free to listen to
the station using Windows Media, Winamp, itunes or
pretty much anything else.  Apparently, there are
plenty of people out there who are perfectly happy
with Real Player or are simply not familiar with the

As for it being "spyware" - my understanding is that
Windows Media player can also behave in a similar
manner by transmitting information to Microsoft
regarding one's listening habits.  I rarely use that
program so I don't know for sure.  I do know that
MusicMatch certainly contains "spyware" which needs to
be turned off or else it will track your habits in
order to generate recommendations.  Trust me, those
things never recommend artists like Sam Lanin or Don
Redman!  Still, I use MusicMatch all the time as a CD
burner and it is the very best program I have ever
found for encoding mp3s down to extremely low bit
rates - and it is the one player I paid money to have
the premium version of.  If the thing is spying on my
listening habits - well, perhaps the hippies who are
digesting it might learn a thing or two about REAL

If I were starting the site over from scratch today I
certainly would consider alternatives to Real Audio. 
But I am not and I have several years worth of
material already in that format.  As things stand,
most of my plans going forward are centered around
building up Radio Dismuke as much as possible as I
think it offers a much greater opportunity to
introduce new people to pre-World War II music and get
them "hooked" on it - which is the primary purpose of
the site and station to begin with.   I continue to
turn out Hit of the Week updates because they have
developed a VERY loyal following and because putting
them together is fun and enables me to present a wider
range of material than I usually get to do on my more
narrowly formatted station.  There are a great many
things I would LOVE to do with the site and station
which would make them really wonderful and great - but
one only has so much time.

One thing I probably will do, however, is at least put
a link on the website letting people know that
alternatives to Real Audio exist.

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]