the cd writer
Magazine, October 2000
Copyright © Online
t wasn't necessarily
a surprise when Microsoft announced that it had integrated Adaptec's
CD recording technology into Version 7 of Windows Media Player.
It's about time Microsoft got serious about CD recording. But this
is not the way I expected it to happen. Years ago, I mused that
native packet writing would be an ideal addition to the Windows
operating system. That still has not happened, of course. The integration
of audio recording technology into Media Player came about not through
any foresight or market acumen on the part of Microsoft, but rather
just because the other leading programs in the field, like RealJukebox
and MusicMatch, had already implemented recording technology in
their software MP3 players.
Of course, we still hope that Microsoft
will someday realize that when you put a blank CD in your recorder
that you plan to use it, and Windows someday may have the smarts
to offer to format it as a UDF disc. But don't hold your breath.
Beyond the built-in support issue, the good
news for recording fans is that Windows 2000 Professional seems
pretty stable, although several recording programs initially did
not work with it, and needed revisions to comply with whatever they
did up in Redmond to screw it up. Personally, I prefer it to 95
or 98, but it takes a little getting used to since it is based on
NT, even though the familiar Plug 'n Play features are there. A
few things like Device Manager are moved around, so you have to
go out and look for them a little. The main problem on my machine
is that Windows 2000 cannot start or shut down the computer. When
you turn the thing on, the hard drive accesses some things and then
it just sits there. You need to reset it to make it start. When
shutting down, it saves the settings and then locks solid. You have
to hit the power switch manually to shut it down. Never mind that
it is an ATX motherboard and amenable to being powered down by the
OS. Cannot start, cannot stop, works okay in between.
Now we hear that some recording programs
that did work without modification will not work if you install
Service Pack 1. I love that term, service pack. Sounds like what
Detroit calls it when they send you a letter saying that a million
or so of the model car you just bought have connectors on the
master brake cylinder that "might fail under certain adverse conditions,
causing a loss of braking ability." Yeah, that would be a bummer
for sure. If recalls were applicable to computer operating systems,
Windows would have been recalled long ago and would be recalled
every time a service pack was released. Then they would have to
recall the service pack, too.
But that won't be happening anytime soon
either, so next time you get the Blue Screen of Death, or perhaps
get it five times in a single daywhatever it takes to drive
you over the edge completelydo this: back up your data and
reformat your drive. Go over to http://www.be.com,
take that $59 that you have been saving for Windows ME, drop another
dime and buy BeOS Professional Edition. When it comes, install it
in 10 minutes, go over to http://www.bebits.com,
download for free any applications that are not already in the OS,
and you can forget Windows altogether. You'll never regret it.
Except that you will need to learn a few
new recording tools. But it's a small price to pay not to have to
use Windows anymore, right? For audio, you can start with CDBurner,
an application that comes with the OS. Then move up to CD Manager,
which gives you a few more features and detailed drive information.
While the supported drive list is rather short, at 10 models, other
off-list drives work anyway; the only way to find out is to try
it. The HP 9300, for example, was not on the list but worked fine,
returning an error message at the end that meant nothing to the
integrity of the disc.
For data in addition to audio, start
with CD Record and add the Melt interface. Record away. And don't
look for cartoon characters here. The interfaces are so simple
that none are perceived as needing such lame-brained leavening.
Be programmers don't lack humor, however. Whatever an 0x26 Qual
0x00 is, I got one. The button on the pop-up box says "Damn" instead
Other audio tools abound for BeOS, if
it's audio you are into. The Bebits site (http://www.bebits.com)
shows many audio compression and editing utilities. They've even
got BeNapster and Napster for Be. If you are worried about other
utilities that you might need in your Windowless room, shoot over
to this site and take a look. You'll find hundreds of programs.
Even if you can't give Windows up completely,
Be will install its boot manager and peacefully coexist with Windows.
If you can't do that because your job or other obligations bind
you to Windows, download the free Personal Edition, a 512MB file
which, when run from within Windows, kicks Windows out of the
memory and processor and takes over your machine. Of course, the
options of current Be recording software are a little sparse at
this point. But I'm not kidding, folks, this thing really works
and is a true alternative to that other operating system whose
name now escapes me.
Bob Starrett (email@example.com)
is a contributing editor for EMedia Magazine and co-columnist
for The CD Writer, and an independent consultant based in Denver,
Colorado. He is the co-author, with EMedia Magazine contributer
Joshua McDaniel, of The Little CD Audio Recording Book
, published by PeachPit Press.
Comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.