It's back! I've covered Songbird before, but that's only because it's one of the best open-source alternatives to Apple's iTunes. Well, Songbird just got bumped up to version 1.4.2--a brief fix for a UI glitch that was affecting its December 21 release of version 1.4.1. The latter is really the meat and potatoes of Songbird's latest update, representing as good a time as any to try out this unique and easy-to-use application!
Why Songbird? Well, you won't be locked into using Apple's proprietary iTunes platform... sort-of. For while Songbird supports device synchronization for the app's music files and playlists, users of those i-named Apple devices will still have to use Songbird's clever iTunes export workaround to sync music to their devices. Beside that, Songbird offers a comprehensive amount of media sorting, organizing, and tagging--including playlists that automatically update with new pictures, videos, and tour dates for bands of-interest.
In fact, this is one of Songbird's strongest features. Its built-in Internet-based enhancements deliver a wealth of additional information and functionality beyond what you'd expect to find in iTunes and it's... well, it's single connection to Apple's own Music Store. Shoot, you can even purchase concert tickets through Songbird, not to mention pack a bundle of additional add-ons and customizations to truly trick out your media player/organizer as you see fit.
So what's new with this super-handy music app? Click the jump to see all the big 1.4.1 changes!
It’s hard to believe in the iTunes era of blink-and-you-miss-them CD rips, but in the mid-90s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process, fraught with peril. Ripping a single disc to 128kbps MP3 could take 8 hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade, with faster hardware and better software and CD ripping is so mainstream your mom does it.
Ripping DVDs and transcoding the video stored within into more efficient formats involves an order of magnitude more scary math than ripping audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of AVP to an iPod-friendly format. However, with the right software, a quad-core equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc rip time from hours to 20 or 30 minutes. There are still plenty of tricks and traps for first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics, then walk you through the secrets of ripping power users everywhere.
However, the first thing you need to decide is simple: what player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Are you simply interested in making an archival-quality DVD rips, in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re probably looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file, and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod. For the purposes of this story, we're going to focus on DVD rips. Getting ahold of unencrypted high-defintion video legally is still pretty tricky. We'll update with Blu-ray ripping info as ripping Blu-ray gets easier.