Behind the Files: History of MP3

Written by Gabriel Nijmeh

Behindrepparttar Files: History of MP3 by Gabriel Nijmeh

In just over a couple of years,repparttar 124167 MP3 audio file format has caused a big stir and capturedrepparttar 124168 minds and hard drives of millions of people worldwide. MP3, short for Moving Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer III is a compression format that compresses audio files with only a small sacrifice in sound quality. MP3 files can be compressed at different rates, butrepparttar 124169 higherrepparttar 124170 compression,repparttar 124171 lowerrepparttar 124172 sound quality. A typical MP3 compression ratio of 10:1 is equal to about 1 MB for each minute of an MP3 song.

It all started inrepparttar 124173 mid-1980s, atrepparttar 124174 Fraunhofer Institut in Germany, where work began on developing a high quality, low bit-rate audio format. In 1989, Fraunhofer was granted a patent forrepparttar 124175 MP3 compression format in Germany and a few years later it was submitted torepparttar 124176 International Standards Organization (ISO), and integrated intorepparttar 124177 MPEG-1 specification. Frauenhofer also developedrepparttar 124178 first MP3 player inrepparttar 124179 early 1990s, which wasrepparttar 124180 first attempt at developing an MP3 player. In 1997, a developer at Advanced Multimedia Products createdrepparttar 124181 AMP MP3 Playback Engine, which is regarded asrepparttar 124182 first mainstream MP3 player to hitrepparttar 124183 Internet. Shortly after, a couple of creative university students tookrepparttar 124184 Amp engine, added a user-friendly Windows interface and called it Winamp. The turning point was in 1998, when Winamp was offered torepparttar 124185 public as a free music player, and thus beganrepparttar 124186 MP3 craze.

Asrepparttar 124187 MP3 craze mushroomed, it didn't take long for other developers to start creating a whole range of MP3 software. New MP3 encoders, CD rippers, and MP3 players were being released almost every week, andrepparttar 124188 MP3 movement continued to gain momentum. Search engines made it easy to findrepparttar 124189 specific MP3 files, and portable MP3 players likerepparttar 124190 Rio andrepparttar 124191 Nomad Jukebox allowed people to copy MP3 songs onto a small portable device, no different than your Walkman or Discman.

By early 1999,repparttar 124192 first peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software application was released, one which shookrepparttar 124193 world overnight. Napster,repparttar 124194 killer app that will be remembered like no other MP3-related software was developed by nineteen-year-old university student, Shawn Fanning and his idea for Napster was to allow anyone with an Internet connection to search and download their favourite songs, in minutes. By connecting people, Napster created a virtual community of music fans.

However, along camerepparttar 124195 Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) which as a representative ofrepparttar 124196 major record companies and owners ofrepparttar 124197 sound recordings, successfully battled Napster for copyright law infringement and an injunction was issued that effectively shut down Napster. The RIAA argument is that allrepparttar 124198 free downloading is in breach of copyright laws and therefore promotes audio piracy. As a result, file sharing impacts their ability to sell CDs and make a profit. Despiterepparttar 124199 legal problems that Napster has faced andrepparttar 124200 fact that they are currently not operational, MP3 file swapping and has continued on, and for a number of reasons.

A big reason MP3s have becomerepparttar 124201 de-facto audio standard is thatrepparttar 124202 original patent holders made it freely available for anyone to develop MP3 software. This open source model allowed early MP3 pioneers to develop MP3 software that acceleratedrepparttar 124203 acceptance ofrepparttar 124204 MP3 audio format. MP3 being just one of several types digital audio formats is not necessarilyrepparttar 124205 most efficient or of highest sound quality. Better compression technologies have existed for some time now, butrepparttar 124206 success of MP3 is due torepparttar 124207 relatively open nature ofrepparttar 124208 format. Companies such as Microsoft and Yamaha have developed proprietary formats, but have placed restrictions on how developers can utilize their technology. For example, Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA) file format, which they claim is a higher quality audio format at smaller file sizes, is starting to gain more acceptance as it comes bundled asrepparttar 124209 standard audio format in Windows 98/2000/XP. Microsoft might be able to challengerepparttar 124210 dominance of MP3s or atrepparttar 124211 very least offer a second, popular audio format choice.

Unrelated Inventiions: Catering for the uncommon denominator

Written by Gabriel Nijmeh

This is a first in a series of Software/Shareware developer profiles as presented by Let's get started with a brief profile of Unrelated Inventions.

Unrelated Inventions - is an umbrella for shareware developed primarily by Andrew Fish. The name comes fromrepparttar fact that Andrew doesn't want to be tied down to writing collections of software with related purposes, preferring to keep his imagination in tip-top shape by developing a broad range of applications and using lessons learned developing one to improverepparttar 124166 other unrelated inventions. He also feels that he should develop software which doesn't pander torepparttar 124167 broadest range of people by only including those features which most of them will use, but to provide for a broad range of people by providing software which is flexible enough to be adapted to many tasks, providing many unusual features whilst lacking none ofrepparttar 124168 obviously useful ones. Few people will use all ofrepparttar 124169 features, but all will benefit from some. Hencerepparttar 124170 motto: Catering forrepparttar 124171 uncommon denominator.

Q: What motivated you to create shareware software? A: I never actually intended to create shareware. Audiotools was developed to solve a particular problem that I faced back in March 1998 andrepparttar 124172 release as shareware was an afterthought. After that I was drawn into continuing its development byrepparttar 124173 interesting code and by user feedback. Q: In developing software, what part ofrepparttar 124174 process do you most enjoy?

A: I loverepparttar 124175 actual process of working out new algorithms and techniques - Audiotools is not an off-the-peg package by a long stick of limestone, so there's a lot of scope for imagination. I also like responding to user comments - when I used to work at BSS,repparttar 124176 marketing manager told me that nobody ever contacts you just to say how well you've done: well I've got stacks of email that proves him wrong, so I'm quite happy about that. Q: Do you have a clear vision of whatrepparttar 124177 end product will be?

A: Haven't a clue. The software is partially driven by my ideas and interests and partially by user requests and, since one effectsrepparttar 124178 other, I can't really predictrepparttar 124179 future. I'm continually working out ways to increaserepparttar 124180 feature count without overburdeningrepparttar 124181 software with complexity, so I imagine thatrepparttar 124182 "end product", if there ever is one, will have some unique user interface features anyway. Q: What is your favourite feature of your software?

A:. In development terms, probably auto-track - it's a very elegant piece of code and there were some good ideas went into it. Q:. What do you think isrepparttar 124183 key to developing good software?

A: Good ears. The key is to listen to your customers - don't blindly take on every feature that they request as they request it, try to distill it into something more general which serves a wider set of purposes.

Q:. What were some of your setbacks and highlights you encountered in developing software?

A:: In terms of setbacks,repparttar 124184 obvious and periodic one isrepparttar 124185 unexplained bug. I have a virtual armoury of tools to help me test Audiotools on different versions of Windows, but I can't test for different combinations of hardware. There's nothing worse than a showstopper bug which you can't reproduce. In terms of highlights,repparttar 124186 fact that two of my users have freely given time and effort to translaterepparttar 124187 program into French and German and to continue translating as I make changes is incredible. I just couldn't have predicted that degree of support when I started out.

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