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Bye-bye, physical media? Sony closes CD plant

Sony Corp., the company that brought us the Walkman and parent company of music label Sony Music Entertainment, plans to shut down a CD-manufacturing plant in southern New Jersey in March.

About 300 employees will be laid off once the 50-year-old Sony DADC plant in Pitman, N.J., is closed. Sony said it plans to shift CD-making operations to a facility in Indiana. The company moved DVD manufacturing from the plant about a year ago.

Lisa Gephardt, a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement: "In light of the current economic environment and challenges facing the physical media industry, Sony … Read more

Book Saver device takes a page from CD rippers

Here's something that could have publishers quaking in their books: gadget makers continue to look for ways to do for books what the CD ripper did for music.

Ion Audio, a company known for helping vinyl-record owners digitize their music, says it will trot out sometime this summer a device called the Book Saver, according to a story on Engadget. Ion said the Book Saver is capable of digitizing a 200-page book in 15 minutes. An owner of a Book Saver, which will likely sell for $150, places a book into the scanning cradle and the device makes color … Read more

Music organizer and more

Too many music lovers rely on their media player's library and file management features, which too often aren't up to the task of finding, organizing, and even playing all your music files, not just MP3s. Mp3nity is a free all-in-one music file organizer, manager, converter, and even player. It can rip CDs, generate playlists, and convert and compress files. It has some unique tools for managing large numbers of files simultaneously, including editing tags, renaming files, and fetching updated information online.

Mp3nity has an efficient layout that does a good job displaying tons of information, though of course … Read more

Onkyo 'rediscovers' stereo components

Onkyo may be best-known for its receivers and home theater-in-a-box systems, but the company planted deep roots in audiophile-grade hi-fi in the 1970s. As I recall, Onkyo had more street cred among audiophiles than Sony or Pioneer in the days before home theater ruled the roost.

Today at CES in Las Vegas Onkyo will debut a new range of elite stereo hi-fi components, with a style reminiscent of the company's classic models of the 1980s. All three components--the P-3000R preamplifier, M-5000R power amplifier, and C-7000R CD player--incorporate Onkyo's new Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry (DIDRC), that is said … Read more

'Untitled DVD' folders remaining in Finder sidebar

When a blank CD or DVD is handled by the Finder, a special burn folder is created for that disc which appears on the Desktop or in the Finder sidebar. Burn folders in OS X usually are static folders that remain until you remove them, but the ones representing optical discs should be created when the disc is inserted, and then destroyed when the disc is either ejected or burned. Despite this, some people may find that after managing a number of blank CDs or DVDs, the Finder will retain a few burn folders in the sidebar that are labeled &… Read more

Why does digital sound better than analog?

Digital audio won the popularity contest years ago, and nowadays almost every sound you hear coming out of a speaker is digitally encoded. Sound is always digital, whether it's on your phone, computer, radio, TV, home theater, or in a concert hall. I'd go so far as to say most people never hear analog recordings anymore. Unless you're a musician, or live with one, virtually all the music you hear live or recorded is digital.

Digital audio eliminated all of analog audio's distortions and noise-related problems. In that sense digital is "perfect." When analog … Read more

Tools and techniques for printing folder contents

There aren't many of us left who remember using PCs before Windows arrived. While I don't pine for the good old days of DOS, I was comfortable operating those old machines from the command line.

Back then, I frequently had to print a list of the files in a folder. Doing so was as easy as copying the list to a text file that I opened in my text editor and printed from there. This trick still works via the command prompt built into Windows.

Instructions for using commands to print the contents of a folder--including various command … Read more

Disk cataloging tool

WinCatalog Light is a free disk cataloging tool that scans and catalogs your system's disks or files. You can use the listings it creates to quickly find specific files in your disk collection without having to insert a bunch of removable disks and search them one by one. It also extracts file descriptions and automatically fetches MP3 song names online. It can scan any storage device that Windows can access.

WinCatalog Light's interface is a slightly smaller version of the familiar Windows app style: File menu, icon-based toolbar, left-hand navigation panel, and main window. With a pretty good … Read more

MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we have questions on SUID file errors when fixing permissions, options for ejecting optical drives, problems with optical drives immediately ejecting, and the lack of a track joining option for audio books in iTunes 10. While we continually answer e-mail questions and present a few here, we certainly welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: SUID File errors when fixing permissions

MacFixIt reader "Ian" asks:

When I do a Permissions Repair … Read more

The end of Digital Noise

All albums eventually come to an end--even super-gonzo triple live CD sets--and the time has come for this blog to end as well.

I've had a great time exploring the intersection of music and technology for the last three-plus years. And even though the music industry is going through some wrenching changes, the public's interest in music has, if anything, gotten stronger.

I was at Coachella this April along with a record sold-out crowd of more than 90,000. Some of them were there for the party, but the musical lineup made the party happen. I've seen … Read more