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Is Winamp gonna die?

"If you had a PC and you listened to MP3s in the late 90s, chances are you managed your playlists with Winamp." This is how TechCrunch begins the news of AOL going to shut down Winamp website, community, services and upgrades on December 20th, 2013. Now, a few hours into the 21st, it appears Winamp can still be downloaded on the official website, but we don't know for how long.

winamp (40k)

So what happens now? On the still alive forum there's a good summary made by user Victhor; I copy and paste it here before the forum gets shut down.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Dec 21 2013 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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How to get rid of googleupdate.exe

Google Update is a tool that Google installs on a pc when some other Google software is installed, and runs each time Windows starts; it's supposed to update Google software, but a comprehensive description can be found on this blog.

I tagged this article as spyware, because Wikipedia defines it as

a computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to collect information about a user, their computer or browsing habits without the user's informed consent.
Well, in my case I installed Google Earth, and during Google Earth installation there was no mention of Google Update. As most users do, I didn't read the License Agreement - I have something better to do than spend my time reading long, capitalized, boring and incomprehensible texts full of legal terms and obvious concepts.
Point 4 of Google Earth License Agreement recites:
The Software may communicate with Google servers from time to time to check for available updates to the Software, such as bug fixes, patches, enhanced functions, missing plug-ins and new versions (collectively, "Updates"). By installing the Software, you agree to automatically request and receive Updates.
It's vague at least, pretty different than "By installing this software you agree to also install a tool that will constantly run with your system and will periodically communicate with Google servers by itself, without the user intervention and knowledge" (that's what it really does).
So, Google Update is certainly installed surreptitiously because while regular software setups show the components that will be installed, the Google Update application is never mentioned during Google Earth setup, and the only mention of something vaguely resemblant to Google Update behaviour is in the License Agreement, that's a good place where to put information which you want that nobody reads: I firmly believe there is no informed consent about Google Update installation. Moreover, it appears that Google collects information about Google software usage through Google Update, still without informed consent (usage information collection is not mentioned in License Agreement either).
So, Google Update is a spyware.

How to get rid of Google Update

Once I disabled the scheduled task, the service and Firefox plugin, googleupdate.exe was never launched anymore, neither after launching Google Earth. I'll see if the Google spyware will reappear when I will update Google Earth manually (when a new version will be available).

I hope this helps, and if you still can't get rid of it using these methods, or if you find other places Google Update is hidden, please let me know. I'm curious how deep Google decided to fall.



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, May 02 2009 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
Tagged as: , , ,



How to broadcast audio with Icecast

You need to install Icecast and Winamp with the Shoutcast plugin for Winamp.
In this howto I explain:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sun, May 04 2008 | Category: /software | Permanent link | home
Tagged as: , , , ,



How to catalog audio files (MP3, OGG, etc.)

This is one of the many ways to keep order amongst audio files and to catalog them. The purpose of cataloging is to have an instrument to always know where a MP3 or OGG file is, if it has been backed up on cd or dvd, how many audio files or hours of music there are on disk, nonetheless to generate playlists by genre or author or by other criteria.

  1. I name the audio files using this schema: Author - Title.mp3. When they are many, a big help come from tools to rename multiple files at once, such as Total Commander Multiple rename function (Ctrl + M) (Total Commander is shareware)
  2. sometimes a MP3 editor to cut and paste pieces of MP3s can be useful, for instance when you bought a remix cd and you want to keep on the disk the single songs, or you want to cut a boring piece at the begin or end of a song (some techno remixes are long and boring at the begin, but great after the first 1 or 2 minutes). A fast and very small editor is mp3DirectCut.
  3. correct the ID3 tags of title and author to make them identical to those in the file name: this way all MP3s will be displayed in the same way in MP3 players such as Winamp (for Windows) or XMMS (for Linux) and in the car audio system display (if some MP3s miss the ID3 tags or have them all uppercase or all lowercase). To do that, a useful program is ID3-TagIT: select the files, then select the menu item ID3-Functions, Filename -> Tag ver. 2 and type <A> - <T> (artist, hyphen, title) or whatever you like, then ID3-Functions, Filename -> Tag ver. 1 and still <A> - <T>; finally File, Save to apply the changes
  4. I lower the bitrate to 128 kbps when it's too high, for instance 320 kps. Why? It would occupy too much space while having no hearable advantages (for my ears). The program I use is CDex: Convert, Re-encode Compressed Audio Files; the encoding options can be customized in Options, Settings (the encoder, the bitrate, etc.).
    To see the bitrate of many mp3s at the same time, Windows XP Explorer is very useful: View, Choose Details, Bitrate; the files can be ordered by bitrate, selected and moved in another folder, so that when you have to reencode them with CDex you can select all the files in the "wrong bitrate" folder instead of selecting the "wrong bitrate" files one by one.
  5. when some mp3s have a volume that's too high or too low compared with the average, with MP3 Gain the volume can be normalized to the dB specified (I use 96.0 dB): Track Analysis to see the current dB, then Track Gain.
  6. if I'm going to add a bunch of mp3s to my collection and I want them to have the same date and time (to know they came together), I touch * them in the temporary folder they stay before moving them to my collection folder: touch.exe is a command coming from unix which sets the current (or the specified) timestamp to the specified files.
  7. organize the audio files in folders as you wish, for instance by genre or author.
Now the audio files are well organized on the disk. I used to import mp3 data in a spreadsheet and with a few macros I got statistical data and created playlists:
  1. first I generate a list of mp3s with MP3 Lister, a tool which can be configured to export all the ID3 tags you want in the order you want, and it can create a txt, csv or html list
  2. then I import the text file in a spreadsheet (I wrote a macro to make the import automatic).
  3. I wrote other macros to automatically order the MP3 files, check for duplicates and generate playlists by genre.
    m3u files (Winamp playlists) are simply text files containing a mp3 path and file name on every row.
Currently I use foobar2000, a player which creates playlists, shows statistics and updates played songs to last.fm.

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Posted by: Z24 | Sun, Jan 20 2008 | Category: /software | Permanent link | home
Tagged as: , , ,


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