Sandeep Venugopal’s Weblog

August 11, 2008

Onebox: Google’s free music search in China! Cool!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:47 pm
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Google Inc. said Wednesday that it has launched a music search service in China that allows users to access music legally online in a forum backed by some record labels and supported by advertising revenue. Paid music downloads in China are virtually nonexistent, and Apple Inc.’s iTunes digital music store is not offered there. Downloadable pirated versions of songs are widely available for free online. Google’s service, called Music Onebox, directs users to Top100.cn, a site that names as an investor basketball star Yao Ming, to download or stream music for free. Users outside China are blocked from accessing the music.

Top100.cn is a Beijing-based Web site that already has licensing agreements with about 100 labels. Talks are ongoing with Sony BMG and Warner Music Group Corp. to become partners. “This legal music service will help users avoid dead links, slow downloads, inaccurate search results, and poor quality or incomplete songs,” Google said in a statement. Google said it is not participating in any of the advertising revenue from the site. The International Federation of Phonographic Industries says more than 99 percent of all music files distributed in China are pirated. It says that despite China’s large potential market, the country’s legitimate sales of $76 million a year account for less than 1 percent of global sales.

Source: Reuters, Martin

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March 27, 2008

DRM-free music store from Sony!… Interesting!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 11:29 pm
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SonyBMG is working on an all-you-can-eat, DRM-free subscription service, says SonyBMG CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz. In a Monday interview with the German-language newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schmidt-Holtz discussed the new service and was quoted as saying that the “simplest option would be a flat rate,” offering access to Sony BMG’s catalog for a monthly fee of 6 to 8 euros ($9 to $12). The service will provide downloads in a format compatible with all music players, including Apple’s iPod. Naturally, unless Apple decides to license its proprietary FairPlay DRM format, Schmidt-Holtz’s announcement means that service will likely offer its music as DRM-free MP3 files – a concession that he indirectly confirms, noting that it is “even possible that clients could keep some songs indefinitely, that they would own them even after the subscription expired. “

Speaking with the Associated Press, a Bertelsmann spokesman confirmed the interview but refused to provide additional details. Schmidt-Holtz said his company is also in early talks with mobile phone companies like Nokia, in an effort to provide a subscription service over cellular networks: users could pay a one-time fee, he speculated, and then have unlimited access to music downloads over the air. In fact, Schmidtz-Holtz spoke warmly of Apple – who is reportedly working on its own subscription service – calling the company a “very strong partner” and noting that everyone benefits from Apple’s success in the digital music arena, even if Sony BMG may soon be competing with it.

Source: DailyTech, Martin

March 10, 2008

Linux Communications Suite Enters Beta

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 3:09 pm
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Software developer Unison has launched what it claims is the world’s first fully-unified communications suite based on Linux.

Announced at CeBIT, the suite (also simply called Unison) combines IP telephony, e-mail and instant messaging with diary, address book and presence capabilities, all in a single Linux server. It is available free as a public beta.

“You can get all these elements separately on Linux, but this is the first time they have all been in one server,” said Rurik Bradbury, Unison’s chief marketing officer. Other unified communications (UC) schemes, such as Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) can require three or more servers to do the same thing, he added.

“If you’re reasonably familiar with Linux, you can deploy Unison in a couple of hours, and have a complete system running for a company of perhaps 50 or 60 people in half a day,” he said.

The server software works with a Unison client program for Windows PCs. This provides a genuine alternative to Microsoft’s combination of Exchange and Outlook, Bradbury claimed.

“We’re amazed no-one has done this before — build both a client and a server. Others have either one or the other,” he said. He added that a Linux version of the client will come later this year.

Unison is aimed at 20- to 300-seat organizations, but the US-based company plans to add server clustering in the future to support more. It is partly based on open source technology, such as Thunderbird for email and Jabber for instant messaging, and partly developed by Unison’s own programmers.

The software is initially offered as a free beta version but is already fit for use, Bradbury claimed.

“It is almost finished — it is relatively stable software,” he said, joking that he uses commercial software that’s less robust.

Once the beta program is complete there will be a free “community” version for up to 20 users, and per-user or perpetual licences will be sold for larger systems, although pricing for those is not yet fixed.

Source: pc world

March 4, 2008

Nine Inch Nails Uploads New Album on Torrent Sites!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:08 pm
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Nine Inch Nails has just released the first volume of their new album “Ghosts” on BitTorrent sites as a free download. The band encourages its fans to share the album with friends, post it on websites and play it on podcasts

“Ghosts” is released under a non-commercial Creative Commons license and can be shared freely, something their fans weren’t allowed to do when the band was held back by a record label.

In the release notes the band writes: “Now that we’re no longer constrained by a record label, we’ve decided to personally upload Ghosts I, the first of the four volumes, to various torrent sites, because we believe BitTorrent is a revolutionary digital distribution method, and we believe in finding ways to utilize new technologies instead of fighting them.”

This sounds is music to our ears, in more ways than one. For now, only the first volume has been uploaded onto BitTorrent sites, but the entire collection is available for download on the official website for only $5.

“Ghosts I is the first part of the 36 track collection Ghosts I-IV. Undoubtedly you’ll be able to find the complete collection on the same torrent network you found this file”. They further write in the release notes “But if you’re interested in the release, we encourage you to check it out at ghosts.nin.com, where the complete Ghosts I-IV is available directly from us in a variety of DRM-free digital formats, including FLAC lossless, for only $5.”

Trent Reznor, the frontman of Nine Inch Nails has always been a supporter of sharing music via BitTorrent, even when it’s copyrighted. He isn’t frightened of talking about file-sharing. Back in May 2007 he admitted to sharing himself: “I steal music too, I’m not gonna say I don’t” he said. Later that year, when OiNK was pulled offline he admitted that he was a member there ,and said , : “If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now.”

The new Nine Inch Nails album including artwork is available for download on the official site, as well as on The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites. This is exciting for all us hard-core p2p users.

source: torrentfreak.com, Ernesto, mr. x

January 29, 2008

Qtrax free music player disappoints

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:13 pm
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Qtrax had promised a working beta last night, but we knew there was going to be problems after visiting the website. The company warned that downloads weren’t yet available and posted this message on the site.

“We’re thrilled with the massive response we’ve received. To ensure the best user experience, we’re activating accounts in stages. In the meantime, enjoy all the functionalities of the Qtrax player like importing and playing your music and searching for artist-related content.”

Disregarding the warning, we downloaded the 9.4 MB install program anyways. After the install, the program scans your hard drive for music and appeared to crash several times during the process. We had to continually close and restart the program to get Songbird working again.

We then tried downloading a few music clips and at first everything appears to be ok. You are presented a description of the CD and songs. You are even given a nice shiny download button, but a pop-up box saying “Downloads Coming Soon” appears when you click the button.

But don’t be completely disappointed folks, at least Qtrax got the ads to work correctly. Take a look at our screenshot gallery and you’ll see some giant Samsung banner ads appearing along the top and side of the Qtrax player.

Source: TG Daily

January 28, 2008

Qtrax: 25 million songs in mp3 for free

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:50 pm
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iTunes better look out because a new music service will soon offer millions of songs for free. New York-based Qtrax is launching a beta application that will aggregate up to 25 million songs from peer-to-peer networks. Of course the old saying of, “there is no free lunch”, applies here and users will have to endure ads to listen to their songs. The service works by centralizing music from P2P sites and then reoffering the songs with some extra DRM attached. Songs are downloaded to the listener’s computer, but they can only be played back inside of the Qtrax ad-supported player. The player expands to fill the user’s screen, but don’t fret because you can still surf the web with a Mozilla-based browser inside of the player.

For those of you old enough to remember the dot-bomb days, think of the Qtrax player as a music version of the much loathed NetZero web browser. While a full-screen player plastered with ads will probably turn off many people, we believe this could bring new life to your unwanted laptops and desktops. Just download and play the songs on the spare computer while you continue working on your primary machine. The company promises to share ad revenue with the song owners and claims that deals have been made with the four major record labels: Universal Music, Sony-BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI. Interestingly enough, those labels haven’t yet confirmed any plans. According to the Qtrax website, a PC beta program will be available at midnight Eastern Standard Time. Wow, this looks more than promising!

Source: TG Daily

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