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As an avid Spotify user - heck, I'm listening to music on Spotify right now, Black Eyed Peas to be precise - this news comes as a bit of a shock. The House of Representatives has slapped a ban on the use of music streaming and subscription service, Spotify.
The House has a longstanding ban on peer-to-peer technology, and while Spotify isn't exactly a P2P program, it has still been banned. The ban on peer-to-peer software was made to stop illegal file-sharing and to prevent infections on computers with malware. A spokesman for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer told Politico:
To help protect House data, our IT policy generally prohibits the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies while operating within the secure network. While Spotify is currently not authorized, the CAO has and will continue to work with outside vendors to enable the popular services that improve member communication capabilities.
After 21 years in the limelight (well, until the iPod was unveiled) Sony's MiniDisc player has been discontinued. Sony are just finishing off the MiniDisc, where the last units will leave the assembly line next month.
Debuting back in 1992, Sony's MiniDisc player was heralded as the next big step in portable music players, where it was capable of cram a bunch of music onto a small optical disc, which at the time was about half the size of a compact disc. This made it easier to take your music with you, enjoying a nice 80 minutes of listening, but it never really took off with US consumers for a few reasons.
Pricing on the format was expensive and didn't slide down to acceptable levels for years, and there weren't many new releases dumped onto the format. Japan was the place to be for the MiniDisc, but elsewhere? Not so much.
Some of you may remember the MiniDisc; it looked like a weird mash-up of a CD-ROM and a 3.5-inch floppy disk and was originally designed by Sony to replace the audio cassette. Much like the PlayStation 2, Sony kept the MiniDisc production alive to appease a loyal fan-base in Japan.
In a statement made to the Japanese website Ashashi, Sony says that it will cease production of the MiniDisc this March. The storage format used a magneto-optical disc that was kept safe inside a plastic case that featured a sliding mechanism that protected the disc when not in use.
It was able to store 74 minutes of audio in the ATRAC format with the linear PCM format and 80 minutes of record time developed later. Sony sold over 27 million MiniDisc players over its 20 year run despite being overtaken by the CD and much more popular Walkman portable CD player. We at TweakTown say sayonara to the MiniDisc and wish it a happy retirement.
While most people can't distinguish the difference in bit-rate between 128Kbps and 320Kbps, the latter has become a selling for most online streaming services. Sony has updated their Music Unlimited service to keep up with the times and that means they will now be streaming 320Kbps audio.
The updated streaming quality will first be coming to Android, web, and the PlayStation 3 players, but desktops, iOS, and the Vita won't be left out. Upgrades for the latter devices and home theater devices will be coming later this year. Sony has staggered the update to make sure it goes without a hitch.
Cooler Master has just announced its latest addition to the CM Storm line of gaming accessories. The Sirus S 5.1-channel gaming headset is a variant of the Sirus which ships with a custom 5.1-channel USB sound card.
The original Sirus dates back to spring 2011 and included a purpose built USB sound card, effectively making the unit more expensive. Cooler Master designed the Sirus S to run without the sound card and includes a simple volume control pod and 3.5mm audio jacks.
This new setup allows users to take advantage of their own sound card or even the motherboards built in HD integrated audio. We expect that Cooler Master decided that the constant driver support needed for a custom sound card was just too much and redesigned the headset as a quiet way out. The Sirus S should be much cheaper than its predecessor when released in February.
Today Amazon announced that it will begin giving free digital music files when customers purchase physical CD versions. The AutoRip program is basically Amazon's plan to get the older generation to begin migrating from CD players to MP3 players.
The program gives CD customers a digital version of their purchase at the exact time of purchase when buying CD based music. As an added incentive, any music purchased since 1998 on Amazon is also available to be downloaded in MP3 form.
Not all music will be available for AutoRip though, not all albums and even some songs on specific albums will be omitted from the program as Amazon is still working out deals with music labels. We are sure that Amazon will eventually sort things out though, so that we can all enjoy both our CD's and digital files at the same time.
RockDoc have teamed up with quite the international music superstar, Armando Christian Perez aka Pitbull - you know, Mr Worldwide. They've both teamed up to develop a "revolutionary portable speaker line" which is based on their Proprietary Weave Technology.
VisionTek have stepped in to bring the line-up of RockDoc-branded products to the North American market this holiday season. RockDoc's series of Pitbull speakers will "change the way you listen to music, at a price that will not slow you down". RockDoc and VisionTek will make the new line of products available through GameStop, BestBuy, Fry's Electronics, CDW, Dell, Costco and other retailers and partners.
The new products from include the RockDoc POWER which sports 4GB of on-board memory, 1-reflex floating portable speaker that features two Pitbull songs and comes with an MSRP of $39.99. The RockDoc BOOM also sports 4GB of internal memory, a 2-way portable speaker and includes two Pitbull songs and an MSRP of $49.99. Lastly, there's the RockDoc Bluetooth 2-way portable speaker with an MSRP of $59.99.
CES 2013 - Monster went on stage today and introduced three new models of Diesel headphones, as you can see in the picture below:
These headsets have been seen in Milan, Italy fashion shows, magazines, and elsewhere, and exemplify the fashion aspect of Monster's 2013 marketing plan.
Diamond Tears, a flashy set of headphones introduced last year have been selling well. Retailers report that it is one of the most sold units. Monster has introduced a new color of Diamond Tears today.
The Inspiration line of headphones features interchangeable headbands to match your style and now Monster is debuting the Inspiration Lite, which is lighter and thinner, though not noise canceling. It still features the same interchangeable headbands.
Now, Monster is introducing the N Credible line. As part of the line, they're adding new products to the N Credible line. There are the N-Pulse, N-Tune, and N-ERGY. The N-Pulse is capable of being used as studio headphones, while the N-ERGY are in-ear models.
CES 2013 - "Always lead, never follow." - Monster's mantra
Monster is showing off 3 active HDMI cables, called the M Series. Used to carry HD content long distances. Debuting new mobile power components and chargers for mobile devices.
beats by dr. dre were built by Monster. Monster wants to keep the market leadership they've gotten with that.
Vinyl records are making a comeback, so one Instructables editor decided to try and print his own at home using a 3D printer. Using Processing, he wrote a program to convert digital audio into 3D models. The 3D model was then printed using a high-resolution 3D printer with plastic material.
The 12-inch record is playable on a standard record player, but it won't sound very good. The issue is that the current 3D printers don't have a high enough resolution to capture the nuances contained in even decent sounding MP3s. The printers also leave a grainy residue or texture on the surface, which interferes with the needle.
It's impressive, from a technical standpoint, what Instructables editor Ghassaei was able to do. Just don't be expecting to pirate vinyl records quite yet.
You can check out the audio in the video embedded in the original source, linked below.