REVIEW: Fission – Lossless Audio Editing for Compressed Files

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 13:50
Category: Software

rogue-amoeba-fission.pngRogue Amoeba (makers of cool sound tools, such as Audio Hijack / Pro and Airfoil) has released Fission, a unique sound editor that allows for “Lossless” editing of compressed (mp3, AAC) audio files. The compressed formats split up a sound file into a series of small frames (~1/40 of a second each), which are very difficult to manipulate independently. Most applications simply decode an mp3 or AAC file to uncompressed audio for editing, and then re-compress the edited sound for export. The additional re-compression step results in some sound quality degradation.
Fission allows you to perform simple edits (cutting, splitting, and fading) in the compressed domain (without having to uncompress and re-compress), resulting in no additional quality loss (of course, the mp3 or AAC files you started with are lossy formats to begin with), hence the quotes around “lossless”. It is ideally suited for the editing and splitting of large compressed files recorded from radio streams (e.g., using Audio Hijack Pro or a Griffin radio SHARK). Fission also includes a “Smart Split” feature that can automatically segment your files by searching for silence (that typically occur before and after songs or commercials). Very cool!
The interface is extremely easy to use (simple for novices, but familiar to anyone who’s ever used a sound editor). I do have two small feature requests: 1) The ability to add split-markers in real-time during playback would be really helpful, and 2) Allow time to be displayed in units other than just minutes:seconds (e.g., samples). Overall, Fission is a great addition to any Mac/audio/music-lover’s set of sound applications.
UPDATE: I just heard from Rogue Amoeba that my first feature request is already there (choose “Split at Playhead” or Cmd-T). My mistake! So my revised (very minor) feature request is to make this keyboard shortcut a single key, or allow it to be user-assignable.

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REVIEW: NFL Follow Your Team and GameDay on iTunes

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 10:00
Category: iTunes

itunes-nfl-gameday.pngOne of my favorite new products on the iTunes Store (in addition to the games, of course) is the NFL’s Follow Your Team subscription. Being a huge fan of the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles I was excited to sign up for the service which went online on Monday.
It works like this, a subscription (or Season Pass) to Follow Your Team costs US$24.99 or US$1.99 per episode. The day after your team’s game you receive an email notification to download an 8-12 minute video with highlights of the game. It was perfect for me to catch the highlights of the Eagles game that I missed while I was at ACL this weekend. Too bad the ‘birds lost in OT and Kearse got a season-ending injury. I’m actually glad that I missed the game.
In addition to individual team highlights iTunes also sells a Season Pass to the NFL Network’s NFL GameDay for US$19.99 or US$1.99 per episode. NFL GameDay is hosted by Rich Eisen with Steve Mariucci and Deion Sanders. The all-inclusive Sunday night wrap-up show offers the most comprehensive NFL coverage on television, with highlights from every NFL game plus post-game reaction and expert analysis. New episodes are supposed to be available each Sunday night at 11:30pm ET, but week 2′s GameDay didn’t arrive until midnight eastern time last night (Tuesday). Perhaps it was delayed to include the Monday night game?
NFL GameDay is 90 minutes on the tube, but only 70 minutes on iTunes thanks to the lack of commercials. If you’re into football and can’t always be planted in front of the plasma screen all weekend. Check it out!
NFL 2006 - 2006 NFL GameDay

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Play MP3 Ringtones on Your Treo with mRing

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 10:00
Category: Mobile Phone

mr650_1.gifMotion Apps’ mRing (US$20) allows you to assign MP3, MIDI and WAV ring tones to each individual contact or contact category in your Treo address book. Features include:
- Use MIDI, MP3 and WAV ring tones
- Assign ring tones to Categories and Individual Contacts
- Different ring tones for phone call and SMS
- VIP and Silent mode support
- Ascending ringtones and vibrate before ring options
- Assign ring tone to system sounds, known and unknown callers, SMS and voicemail notification and more
The company is offering a promotion through the end of today where you can purchase mRing + mLights for US$21.54 (regular price: US$27.98).
mLights manages the Treo’s backlight behavior alowing you to save your Treo battery. Feature include:
- Dim the screen during the night
- Keep your keyboard backlight on during the night, and stay turned off during the daylight
- Save your Treo battery

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TechRestore Offering Glossy Screen Upgrade for PowerBooks

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 10:36
Category: PowerBook

TechRestore, Inc. (a PowerPage sponsor) has begun offering an overnight glossy screen upgrade for PowerBook G4 Systems.

PowerBook G4 owners that are scheduling an overnight screen replacement now have the option of selecting from the standard matte finish LCD screen or upgrading to a glossy display. TechRestore’s Overnight LCD Screen Replacement service provides a fast and hassle-free repair method for Macintosh laptop owners that experience a screen failure due to mechanical issues or accidental damage. The LCD screen repair program has a 24-hour turnaround time and flat-rate pricing that includes parts and installation at prices starting at just $449 for PowerBooks and $349 for iBooks.

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Free iTunes Giveaway at Austin City Limits

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 09:07
Category: iTunes

acl-itunes-promo.jpgI mentioned in a post yesterday that I attended my first Austin City Limits over the past weekend (Matisyahu, Tragically Hip and The Flaming Lips were my favorites). Anyway, on the way into Zilker Park people were handing out lanyards with laminants that included a redemption code for “30 free iTunes” on the back.
I thought that this was really cool until I realized that the code wasn’t redeemable for any 30 iTunes, it was for “a special collection of songs from this year’s artists.” Ok, no such a a bad deal, I thought. Once I got home, I fired up iTunes 7, clicked on the Store, then Redeem (hint: it’s a text link on the right). Here is the list of free iTunes that the redemption code gave me…
(Click through for the list and a free redemption code to the first reader.)

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Parallels Workstation 2.2 RC Runs Windows Vista

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 09:14
Category: Software

Everyone’s favorite virtualization tool, Parallels Desktop, has released an update that allows users to runs Windows Vista RC1 as a guest OS and eliminates the need to manually limit RAM via the command line.

We also released a new build for Desktop for Mac that eliminates kernel panics and substantially improves the performance of virtual machines running on Mac Pros and 64-bit iMacs. The build eliminates kernel panics and major bugs and adds support for Windows Vista RC1 as a guest OS. The new build is available at the main Desktop download page (http://www.parallels.com/en/download/desktop/update/).

In previous builds, Mac Pro and 64-bit iMac users who have machines with more than 2GB of RAM had to manually limit RAM via the command line in Terminal. In this build, we’ve included a tool that will help you take this action without any command line coding. With a single click you can limit your RAM and make your Mac Pro fully compatible with this build. You can easily revert your memory back at any time to the full configuration with the same tool. Its very important to note that limiting your RAM configuration to run Parallels Desktop will NOT prevent you from running any other OS X application (although they may run slightly slower). It simply helps our hypervisor “play nice” with the Mac Pro.

Download Update RC of Parallels Desktop for Mac

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The Apple Core: MacBook Pro arriving fashionably late to the Merom party

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

Almost every PC notebook vendor and their brother is hawking Core 2 Duo powered notebooks these days and Mac-heads are starting to get a little miffed. Understandably so.
Didn’t Apple jumped into bed with Intel because they had a great chip pipeline and they could deliver the silicon – fast? Yes and yes. This time Apple can’t blame their inability to ship on Intel, though. It’s their own doing.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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More Bad News for Enviro Mac-Heads: MacBooks are Toxic

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Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2006, 01:11
Category: Environment

We all know that Greenpeace isn’t too happy with Apple’s commitment to the environment. The latest news is that Apple portables have some of the highest amounts of toxic chemicals in them of 5 manufacturers tested (Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Sony). The MacBook has the highest concentration of tetrabromobisphenol A, which is a flame retardant.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

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