Bit Torrents (Continued)

My journey to understand Bit Torrents has taken me through the world of open source, alternative audio codecs, and live music file sharing. It’s been a very interesting and enlightening journey and I am quite a bit (no pun intended) smarter about some important technology trends as a result.

I started with the simple desire to download and play the Wilco tour opening concert that Motts sent me to about two weeks ago. I am glad to report that I am listening it now.

The first thing I did was click on the attachment link on that page. Nothing happened. So I figured that I needed some software. I went to Google, typed in Torrent, and off I went. I read all about Bit Torrents and really couldn’t figure out what to do. That was the genesis of my first Bit Torrents post.

Most of the comments suggested the originial open source client so that’s what I tried first. I couldn’t make it work for me. I tried a few other clients again without a lot of luck. Finally, I hit gold with Azureus. This client worked like a charm for me.

It took me about 20 hours to download the Wilco Tour Opener files but what I really liked about the way Bit Torrents works is that when one seeder went down, another one popped up. When i shut down, and then opened up, it started up again. Very slick. It’s a file distribution system built like the Internet for the Internet.

Then i looked at what i’d downloaded. They were all of these files with the .flac extension. I tried to play them but iTunes, Real, and Windows Media Player had no idea what they were. Hmm. Back to Google. I typed in FLAC and got an education in free open source audio codecs. Flac stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Very interesting stuff. I guess there are a lot of people out there who want something different than what Real, Apple, and Microsoft have to offer. There are other free audio codecs out there like Ogg and Monkey’s Audio that appear to be quite popular as well.

So, i then went through the exercise of figuring out what audio player i should download that plays FLAC files. I downloaded something called DBpowerAMP that seemed like it would do the trick. But it was eye-opening to me how many free open source audio players there are out there.

In the process of installing DBpowerAMP, i realized that the same developer made something called DBpowerAMP Music Converter that converts one audio file format to almost any other. Ironically, even after this incredibly educational journey through the world of open source free audio technology, I prefer to use iTunes to play my music. So I downloaded the Music Converter and converted the .flac files to .wav files and am now playing them on iTunes.

I will figure out how to play these FLAC files in native format because I suspect that the sound quality will be a lot better. But that’s tomorrow’s project.

So now I am hooked up with Bit Torrents. If you know any good live Ben Kweller, Death Cab, Modest Mouse stuff that’s available in Bit Torrents, let me know. And I’ll be spending a lot of time at Sharing The Groove and Supernova for the next couple weeks.