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

On 29/10/06, Dismuke wrote:

> 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.  

To avoid a serious loss of quality, you would have to encode the MP3s
from your original WAV files, not convert from an already lossy version.

There will certainly be ways of batch converting WAVs to MP3, using Lame
probably, as people do this all the time for their MP3 players.

> 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).  

This kind of problem comes up every day in web management and in
programming. A technique called Regular Expressions, which is a way to
do an intelligent search-and-replace, is used.

Any Unix expert who can write a script using Regular Expressions would
be able to help you. Either a Perl script or a Shell script could do it.

> 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.

Exactly what computers were invented to do.
> 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.   

It would be better to add MP3 downloads, while leaving the Real files
for those who want streaming.

> 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
> drain.
> 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
> alternatives.
> 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
> music!
> 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.
Don Cox

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