Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Hell froze over

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

This is great news. Really great news.

At their Macworld 2009 keynote Apple announced that the iTunes Store will become DRM-free. This sounds a bit unspectacular first, but I think this is a revolution. Finally the music labels understood that people don’t want to be restricted in the use of their purchased songs. With DRM you can’t do everything with your purchased songs that you want. Sure, you can play your purchased song … at least on the computer where you’ve bought it. ūüėČ But as soon as you want to play it anywhere else, things start to get complicated. You may have to authorize other computers. You may be limited to specific MP3 players. Your standalone player or audio streaming solution may not be supported. And so on. Basically you have some sort of copy protection, so the¬†samples¬†of the song can not be replicated (or read) by third party software. And this opens a wide range of other problems one might not think of first: You can not use your songs in applications (or other solutions) that want to do something with the audio information of your song that’s different from “just playing”. E.g. audio or movie editors. Or DJ software ¬†that does some “special playing” like scratching and mixing. And finally such great applications like iVolume that tries to enhance your music just won’t work with copy protected songs. That’s because these applications need to read out the raw sample data from the audio files to do their work, e.g. analyze the loudness in case of iVolume. But that’s not possible for copy protected songs. If it would be possible to read the raw sample data … then it simply won’t be a copy protection anymore! Because any application could just take the samples and export them to another non-copy-protected audio file.

So, removing the DRM from iTunes is really great news for all iVolume users! Finally all songs can be adjusted by iVolume to the perfect level. Apple offers the possibility to update already purchased songs with DRM to the DRM-free and higher quality “iTunes Plus” version at 30 Cent per song.

Welcome

Monday, January 12th, 2009

I think it’s time to start a blog.

In this first blog entry I’ll introduce myself and reveal some internals. Don’t worry, the next blog entries will be about other stuff, like things that I find interesting,¬†news and background information about my products,¬†maybe some technical articles about programming, some fun stuff etc.

My name is Manfred Schwind, I am living in Germany and I started mani.de long time ago in the year 1998. While still going to college at that time I’ve done a lot of programming in my spare time for the Atari¬†ST (anyone still knows jinnee?) and later for the Macintosh. My biggest project so far is iVolume, a very successful software to adjust the volume of your iTunes songs. Version 3 of iVolume was rewritten from scratch and for the first time it’s also available for Windows. It has some interesting internals like a fully cross-platform and heavily multi-threaded backend written in C++ and just a very “thin” GUI layer that is the only thing written twice specifically for Mac¬†OS¬†X¬†(written in Cocoa) and for Windows. Maybe I should write one or more blog entries about these things soon. ūüėČ The Windows specific parts of iVolume were done by Christian Lier who’s currently also working for Enabling Labs.

From 2004 to 2008 I worked at equinux as Mac OS X Software Developer. There I was lead developer of iSale, an eBay selling application that has won two Apple Design Awards ([1], [2]). I also worked on other projects, e.g. major parts of the GUI of VPN Tracker 5 and CoverScout 3.

It was a very interesting and fulfilling time at equinux, but at the end of 2008 I decided to become independent again and do my own stuff. I have never had the heart to give up my private projects, but having two jobs and a family with two kids is simply too much for one person in the long run, so I had to decide for one job. It was not an easy decision, because I had a great time at equinux; it’s a young team of nice people all doing great jobs and we had a lot of fun. But at the end I preferred to do my own things and I’m very happy with that so far.

So currently I am working on new projects, e.g. for the iPhone, and there are some great things coming out soon.

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