Norway's one-stop hacking expert, Jon Lech Johansen, has now reverse-engineered the encryption coding in Windows Media Player that prevents .NSC files from being accessed by users of other platforms.Geek-to-nerd translation: An .NSC file carries information about a media stream, including the port name and file address of the stream server. When Media Player opens the file, it decodes this information and connects to the stream server the code specifies. Johansen doesn't believe there's a rational reason to encrypt this information since, upon opening the stream, the information is usually displayed by the network utility running the stream anyway. Johansen reportedly said that his hack will make WMP streams available to users of open source streaming media players, such as VideoLAN Client (VLC).
It's been a while since the Stereophile website was freshened up. Probably too long. So this time we decided to start from scratch and combine the stack of reader suggestions we've received with the thousands of articles and other features already online to create something that we hope scratches your audiophile itch better than ever.
Imerge merged: Linear, LLC (Carlsbad, CA, USA) has acquired Imerge, Ltd. (Cambridge, UK), one of Europe's top providers of Internet-connected, hard disk-based audio products and media appliances. (Imerge's relational XiVA-Link database software is used in such products as the Linn Kivor media server.) Linear is best known for its engineered radio-frequency (RF) products and as a major supplier of wireless residential security systems, intercoms, garage door operators, gate operators, short- and long-range radio remote controls, and medical/emergency reporting systems. In recent years the company, through acquisition, has expanded into consumer electronics, home entertainment products, and structured wiring systems for the builder market. Imerge will join Linear's Home Technology Group.
Warner's new e-label: In an announcement datelined "Aspen, CO," many news services reported, Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. introduced a new Internet music distribution system called an "e-label," which would eschew CDs by allowing artists to issue their music in clusters of three songs every few months.
Editor's Note: The matter of whether—and if so, how—speaker cables and interconnects can affect the sound of an audio system has vexed the audiophile community since Jean Hiraga, Robert Fulton, and others first made us aware of the subject in the mid-1970s. Most of the arguments since then have involved a great deal of heat but not much light. Back in August 1985, Professor Malcolm Omar Hawksford Ph.D (of the UK's University of Essex and a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society) wrote an article for the British magazine Hi-Fi News & Record Review, of which I was then Editor, in which he examined AC signal transmission from first principles. Among his conclusions was the indication that there is an optimal conductor diameter for audio-signal transmission, something that I imagined might lead to something of a conciliation between the two sides in the debate. Or at least when a skeptic proclaimed that "The Laws of Physics" don't allow for cables to affect audio performance, it could be gently pointed out to him or her that "The Laws of Physics" predict exactly the opposite.
Firms that specialize in architectural acoustics usually concentrate on the big jobs—churches, schools, and auditoriums. Rives Audio is unusual in that they specialize in "small-room" acoustics, for residential listening rooms and home theaters. Rives is unusual in another way: they consult on a nationwide and even international basis.
For all its excesses, high-quality audio is filled with purists. Some are committed to single-ended amplifiers, some to all-analog circuitry, to crossoverless speakers, or to recordings made with only two microphones. Purists seek simplicity in their quest for good sound. But how simple is it to scrub contacts, adjust tonearms, or meticulously clean discs before nearly every listening session? Maybe committed purists should just be committed.
Using a personal computer as an audio component has certainly gained ground with gearheads in the last several years, and many new products, such as media servers, blur the line between a traditional component and a PC. At the same time, the general public is still resisting the idea of booting up their stereos or TVs.