[NTLK] Science Experiment #1,256,241,892

From: MKow1234_at_aol.com
Date: Fri Dec 17 2004 - 06:25:05 PST

Hello Everybody,
I just began experimenting with a couple of ideas:

* I started writing an eBook that (hopefully) will help more folks get up to
speed with the whole "use-your-Newton-as-an-iPod" .MP3 music experience. I
wanted to reference specific text from a few web sites, but I have not heard
responses to my inquiries yet. I'll probably just paste some links from various
Newton software download web sites at the end, as a rudimentary
bibliography...Some of the specifics I'll focus on will be the drag-and-drop .MP3-to-.PKG
convertor application, optimal bit-rate settings when ripping .MP3s, and so forth.

* I read on Roman Pixel's site that a few folks had reported success in
getting music onto their Newton eMates, and that Mr. Eckart Koppen was continuing
to look into improving this capability further. It was my understanding that
the significantly weaker processor of the eMate was the main stumbling block.
Anyway, I started running some tests.

I have two eMates (temporarily, as I am tweaking the apps on my niece's eMate
at the moment), one with PCB Man's upgrade, and one without. Last night, I
looked at the standard memory eMate. I took a John Lennon CD-Rom and ripped
several .MP3 files at various bit-rate settings: 8, 16, and 20kb. (Note that these
bit-rate settings are VERY low; the idea was to create a file 'footprint'
that the processor wouldn't choke on. CD-quality is roughly 128kb, FM-quality is
64kb; I normally use 32kb for .MP3s that I import to my MessagePad 2100).

I converted the .MP3 files to the .PKG format, with a drag-and-drop Newton
app and then loaded the files on to the eMate. The eMate seemed to do everything
correctly while transferring the files, but unfortunately, I did not succeed
in getting any of the three files to play back. :O( My next step will be to
duplicate the procedure with a memory-enhanced eMate. Perhaps its increased
memory and double bus characteristics will make the necessary difference.

One other thought I had was that perhaps there is a limit to how far one can
reduce the bit-rate setting and still produce a decent .MP3-to-.PKG file.
I've had problems in the past when trying to get FM radio-to-.MP3 files (a 50-50
prospect at best). I'm going to try loading the 8, 16, and 20kb music files on
to a standard MP 2100, to see how far one can push the envelope in this
direction. If this works, it wil mean we can increase the number of songs MP 2100
users can carry with them! I expect there will be some sound degradation, but
on one tiny speaker, it should be negligible.

More to follow...

Matt K.

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