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.NET not Rocking on my Sony

Saturday, January 24, 2004
I’ve just about had it with my Sony MiniDisc Walkman. It’s not the hardware – it’s the bundled OpenMG Software.

My latest disappointment comes when I try to listen to .NET Rocks! The Sony doesn’t actually play MP3 and WMA files - you need to use OpenMG to record the audio content to a MiniDisc which uses ATRAC encoding.

This is how it all works in theory.

.NET Rocks was the first chance I’ve had to record a WMA to the player. It turns out the OpenMG algorithm for WMA decoding looks something like this:


It is both impressive and terrifying to watch the diagonal line in task manager’s graph of page file usage.

Even MP3s are a pain. I’ve installed a plethora of re-sampling software because OpenMG decodes MPEG1 44100 Hz Stereo only. I like to listen to audio books during my commute and most spoken word recordings are done at less than CD quality sampling, or in mono, or both. OpenMG designers were thinking music only. I just finished a Robert Heinlein novel (Starman Jones), and if I ever get this working the .NET Rocks! Rory Blyth interview is up next. Somehow mentioning these two in the same sentence doesn’t seem that odd.

Some other good (but getting old) technical audio content is available at Dr. Dobb’s Technetcast. DDJ seems to not be updating the content anymore, but some of my favorites are Scott Guthrie’s Why We Built ASP.NET, a pre-Microsoft Don Box talk about shifting to .NET, and the Shared Source vs Open Source Panel Debate where David Stuz and Craig Mundie of Microsoft face a pro-GPL, anti-patent, anti-Microsoft crowd and manage to escape without physical harm. Mundie did a remarkable job handling some tough questions in front of a tough crowd. Very eloquent answer to a question about “what is the Microsoft Community?”

Of course there are also talks like “Getting to Grips With Secure DNS”. Fortunately, fellow commuters in the Baltimore/DC metro area are quick on the horn when they sense a driver asleep at the wheel.