iTunes Adapts

Pressure from open programs has once again won a small but considerable victory over a large corporation. This article points out the new development in the world of the iPod and iTunes: iTunes Plus!

And, I have to admit, it’s a good idea, although I personally am not ready to bother with it. A short summation of the program’s benefit is that it gets rid of the security portion of AAC files, which, in and of itself is a good sign for the industry, as well as being a good thing for people like me, who don’t run an iPod. The iTunes AAC has a built-in encryption that makes it difficult to play it on any player aside from an iPod, as well as limiting the number of computers that have the rights to access the file. iTunes Plus removes these features, making it possible for people like me to simply slip the file on to my memory card and play away!

The other feature that many audiophiles may be interested to see is that the quality limitations are virtually nonexistent in iTunes Plus, with the ability to download songs in AAC format at 256 kbps. Haven’t tried it out yet, personally, but the thought is automatically that that must be pretty darn potent music! When you consider that a 128 kbps AAC is about the same as a 160 Mp3, then it is suggestible that those lovers of truly overwhelming detail in their files will love this change.

Slight changes in the interface make it slightly less appealing visually, as well as the new interface being substantially more difficult to work your way through initially, in my mind (see my screenshot below)… but when these little glitches in the interface are weighed against the advantaged of Plus, it’s hard to think that little things like a slightly less feature-filled interface make much of a difference.

iTunes Plus’ slightly toned-down interface.

How does one go about activating this feature? While I don’t think it’s important, one of the first things an iTunes user may do is to download the newest version of iTunes. This is done easily by clicking the help menu at the top of the screen and moving to the “check for updates” option, as shown below.

Download iTunes 7.2 while you’re getting ready to use Plus!

After the successful update, you can head on in to the iTunes store, where you hit the new “iTunes Plus” button.

Look for the Quick Links on the Right-hand side and hit “iTunes Plus”

And there you have it! The iTunes plus screen should pop up with the option to set it as your default location upon entering the store. The rest of the interface is fairly self-explanatory, although the fewer sections and the lesser emphasis on moving around the new songs and such makes it slightly less suitable for finding those tunes you want and testing new ones, as far as I’m concerned. Have a blast looking through. Oh wait. One last thing you should note:

The price increase! ;)

I mentioned I wasn’t ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. Well, the plain and simple reason is that the songs in the new format are 30 cents more expensive. Piddly amount considering the new features, I admit, but nonetheless when you are going to be buying a dozen songs, that’s a hefty price jump. Rather, I think for now I’ll stick to the use of the regular AACs and the CD burning/ripping capabilities built into iTunes. Burn it on, rip it off in Mp3, and voila! All protection removed.

More important than the new price tag attached to open files, however, is the fact that iTunes is clearly feeling the pressure of other sites that are willing to provide sharable music, as well as file-sharing programs such as Limewire. Because there’s still a higher cost, it would seem the war is not yet won… but the battle has pushed a closed enterprise to the defensive! Let’s hear it for iTunes Plus… and the victory that it represents for the Web 2.0!

The Joy of a Tune

Another bunch of very fun films for you all to enjoy! This set is put up by yours truly, and taped by yours truly!

This footage, although not great (it’s done with a digital camera, of course) was shot of the Easter Conference put on by the Trent University Choir, which my girlfriend is a part of. I had a fun time learning how to post videos on Google Video — YouTube didn’t seem to want to let me post them, which would have been my first location to upload. I confirmed my e-mail account, but it just kept on asking me to reconfirm. After confirming roughly 10000000 times, I finally went: “Oh well. To Google Video I go!” Of course, now I see I can do it… I guess it takes time to process it or something. They should kind of announce that instead of just having “confirm your e-mail” on the page you go to…..

Oh wait. I also now see that YouTube limits to 100MB, so good thing I went to Google Video. They have no limits to overall storage or to individual movie size! Yay! Less people will search it, but that’s okay!

Anyways, here’s the whole lot of them, with a small blurb after each!

The concert began with the choir, which made it nice and easy to figure out just how I was going to take the videos. This was my first idea… I put it on a book pile on the pews and just let it sit there. Nice and stable, but I decided the angle wasn’t to my liking.

The song is pretty standard choir material.

Listen close to the words of this one (that might require some cranking up… the sound volume was unfortunately quite poor, although the quality wasn’t so bad!) and you will catch that it’s about a man drinking! For all that this one was not an incredible melodic song, the tune is kinda catchy. Listening to it at the concert, I found myself tapping the feet a bit (and shaking the camera! :P ) I notice it has a little glitch in it, which is too bad. Don’t know how that happened, exactly, but not too much was missed. See if you can figure out the whole line!

This one was by far the most moving of the pieces the choir performed. There is a Latin portion, an African portion, and a portion where the choir is silent and the piano rules the show in a truly stirring series.

Now the main group of singers moved offstage in order to allow a group of 9 or so singers to do a beautiful rendition of “We Rise Again.”

After a brief intermission, the Jazz Band took over in order to give some instrumental music. This was the best song they performed. While they are not the exceptional musicians I grew accustomed to during my time at Merivale High School, it’s neat to watch them have fun with the music not to compete, but because they love it! That’s something that our band sometimes lacked, and part of the reason I feel we didn’t perform as well as we should have in my final year — we were too caught up with the level 5 pieces and the gold medals, and so we didn’t have a blast like they do!

The next and final group was one that is delightfully unique. I don’t know how many other universities have a choir that does medieval hymns, but Trent does, despite not having any official music program! The group has a beautiful harmonic resonance and the conductor is clearly passionate about his music. The group simply rocks! Admittedly, this song is not a perfect example of the hymns they do best, but you get a sense of their unity and complexity.

This final movie, this one in Latin, is a better demonstration of their hymn-like music. I ran out of memory card space, so it cut short a bit, but not by much, and you get a real feel for the type of work they are doing in this choir. Not your typical choir stuff, that’s for sure — and it makes you get chills all up your spine when they hit the notes dead on!

And that’s the final one! Hope you enjoyed some… if you watched all of them you are very dedicated and the music program surely appreciates the compliment. Otherwise, hopefully you trickle back to check the rest out in due time. There really was an impressive array of talent at something that is run by an “unmusical” school!

Animusic

Television’s effect? No single-sense can operate solo. Video and audio synced seamlessly. Sensory overload? Dual appeal?

As CBC radio puts it: Definitely Not The Opera!

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