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Sony building a digital walkman 79

Tim Trampedach writes "Sony has previewed what they think is the MP3 killer by storing audio on a "Memory Stick". Not too much technical detail, but interesting that Sony is joining the crowd. "
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Sony building a digital walkman

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not supposed to pick up some 14 year old'd debate, but here it is,

    if you saw "wired" a few months back (i think), then you would see an article about a main stream rap artist(i don't listen to rap so i forgot what his name is) who put his brand new song's mp3 on web site. a few hours later the lawyers were banging on his door. He basically said: recording artists are more than willing to sell at 3 bux per song on mp3. he sees free mp3 as promos.

    oh, and i have to add, mainstream music are always the lowest quality. The reason is simple: record companies like you to get sick of a song real fast and go out to buy another one. As long as they play the songs again and again and again for a month, eventually it gets into you head. you buy it, get sick of it, buy a new one, and so on.

    long live underground music! (oh, and classical, too)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Too late about SONY insisting new downloadable standart. MP3 already taking root.

    There are plenty of good quality softwares, music and it's supporting softwares. and Hardwares too. Two fairly competent computer hardware companies who doesn't give a fart squat about Recording Industry politic, already make player. (Diamond,AudioLab)

    and during the past 2 months several chips which has MP3 capability are already being introduced. This will drive down players like crazy. Soon MP3 player will be cost lest than $50, since it is not a complicated or exotic system. (maybe even sub$30 where it becomes a true almost disposable consumer product)

    that plus the continues slide of memory price. The overall momentum are on MP3 side.

    It's a classic case of Open vs close standart. 80's Wintel vs Apple for the turn of millenia.

    The only way Sony can win, If it can create top to bottom infrastructure within 3-6 months with competitive price against MP3. (admitedly MP3 is not a mainstream way to distribute or listen to recording music yet)

    Sony must create cheaper than MP3 Player, complete Music distributions and it's secure copy standart, Signing Artists, turning around Record industry about it's perception of internet music, Educating the public about new medium and the use of this new player)

    I say Sony has no chance. but than again, who knows. They have done the impossible before like in the console gaming war.
  • MP3 is a great technology, but all of the artists listed on the legit MP3 sites are no-names

    This statement doesn't logically pan out. You call these guys no-names I assume you say this because they aren't played on mainstream media (radio). Nearly all the "big names" in music are basically forced to deal with huge corporations to get big in the first place. Radio is a limited medium, so generally only the most popular groups get play time.

    MP3 is taking the power to promote yourself (as a music group) away from the mega-corps and putting the musicians at an even level. Ultimately as these corporate strongholds fall, we (the music consumer) will get music WE LIKE rather than what is forced on us.

    the artists that are in demand right now are not releasing full listings on MP3. CD is still the king

    Of course that is the case...the old system is still in place. Once the mega-music corps lose their power, that will change. The process has already started.

  • MiniDisc really isn't as 'propietary' as other technologies: there are at least two independant implmenetations of the ARTAC, from Sony and Sharp. I also own a Sharp MiniDisc recorder (the 722 []) with excellent sound quality, 40 second skip protection, yada yada.. However, you can get your hands on a previous generation 702 [] for about $210 now...

    Take a look at [] and Minidicso [] for see some prices...

  • Posted by DarkGamer:

    I find it interesting how the RIAA claims they are protecting the artists, when they are really covering thier own asses. Mp3 could make them obsolete by allowing musicians to eliminate the middleman (and the main piece of income they steal). Now they have gone too far with what happened to They really need to stop harassing the music enthusiasts or they will alienate thier biggest fans.
  • Be careful with ATRAC numbers. ATRAC 2, 3, 4 etc usually refers to generation of the original algorithm as used in MD. ATRAC2 - note no space - is different (but uses the same underlying techniques) and defaults to about 10:1 compression for the same audio quality. (Can't find a link right now. Sorry.)
  • Read all about it from Sony's web site:

    "Solid, durable and protected within its own cartridge, Sony MiniDiscs are small enough to fit into most shirt pockets. But don't let their small size fool you, a 2.5 inch MiniDisc can hold up to 74 minutes of music. That's about as long as a compact disc"

    You can read all about it at Sony's Blank Media [] page for MD's.

    This sounds to me like it will hold 650MB of data.
  • Why do people keep saying beta is better than VHS? Last time I checked, they both used passing tape over a helical scanning head. From what I remember, the beta just had the advantage of mechanical linkage optimized for editing (not something you do with a rental movie.)


    MP3 is better than some proposed RIAA format, because it is available now for use in any way I see fit, anytime, even in bizzare configurations that might be imaginable. With music that can only be played on a memory stick, I will be stuck with the stick and the only place where they disigned it to fit. Not with my ass.
  • Getting on the top 40 chart [] at is sure to garner some attention.


  • From encoding our cd's in mp3. Doesn't require any new hardware. Any credit cards. Anything like that. And I can have all my music in one place.

    Fsck these new "mp3 killer" formats.
  • Actually the current FLASH max capacity is 128MB. Check out They are supposed to have a FLASH 320MB CF in couple months.

    -Huang Bao Lin
  • ATRAC codec is by no means fixed. Minidisc players themselves are fixed to 5:1 or >300kb/sec compression.
  • Actutally, Sony did make a portable SCSI Minidisc Data Drive called MD-DATA. This was released long before Zip drive. Although few made it to the states, it sold okay in Japan. MD-DATA blanks (same as blank MDs with a little more space to accomodate for corruption) can still be purchased for around $5-11 a piece. Sony abandoned the product (dumb mistake) because higher speed/ capacity MO drives became very popular in Japan shortly thereafter. MO has been super popular in Japan for the last couple years, outselling all other backup alternatives combined. 3.5" MO drives range for 230MB-1.3GB and many now run at 5400RPM with 25ms access times, nearing performance of that of notebook HDs. Blanks are also cheap.

    Actually, Sony, Sharp and Memorex had designed a second generation MD that had a 4.3GB capacity at quadruple the tranfer rate. It was supposed to be the future media format for the Playstation 2, but they adopted DVD (bad move, in my opinion)

    -Huang Bao Lin
  • The device debuted in either late 93-early 94, which at the time double speed CDRs wheren't available, not bad considering the time period. Besides, for 120MB and under media, what difference does >150kb/sec speed matter. Zip parallel drives are only 384-512kb/sec max.
  • not to be picky but they actually have their own label, Grand Royal []. They also have a shoutcast server set up too. kick ass :)

    so skinny and livin so phat
  • I think you may be putting the cart before the horse. The artists are "in demand" because they have widely distributed CD's, not the other way around. However, I think that within a couple of years there will be bands which are widely known and whose success is built on MP3 distribution, not CD distribution.
  • Um because CD's suck for portability -- the only reason to come out with anything BEYOND cds really is portability unless you are talking about 32 or 64 bit sound and like 5 or 6 speaker encoding (which we ARE NOT). No cd player would fit in my pocket and if it did it would constantly skip while I ride my bike [jumping over large objects and such]. Plus the size of the cd guarantees it will smack the player and scratch itself. On the other hand my awesome minidisc player even though its ancient very very rarely skips and fits in my pocket just fine.
  • Many of the 'no-namers' ARE real artists, they just don't get the attention that what we commonly think of as REAL artists get.

    In the entertainment world a huge part of getting attention is through getting promotion. That takes money. Radio stations for example have to make money off sponsers and thus play music that they KNOW their demographic will like. They give ATTENTION to the artists they know give will bring ATTENTION to the radio station.

    To compete with CDs (or whatever other formats are pushed by the 'industy') as a legit and legal format MP3s need their own 'attention' system that is in competition with the existing one.
  • Sony and the rest of the RIAA pundits seem to be missing the fact that consumers will not stand for ANY format that utilizes copy protection. Get a clue.

  • #3 - Why doesn't sony just make a discman that can play cd's with MP3's on them?

    I like this idea, I have been playing with the idea of making MP3 compatable CD players for my stereo and car systems... (stereo would come first of course, it is much easier to build, but then why not just have the stereo linked to the lan? :)
  • I dunno, what use is a flexible codec if Minidisc is unable to play them? For playing ATRAC encoded songs on my computer then? The reason why MP3 is flourishing over superior codecs like VQF is that the standard is free for anyone to mess with. I like being able to make MP3's on my computer at any bitrate on any of a variety of encoders and being able to play them back on my Mac at work, my friend's Linux box or my Windows box at home (with several players to choose from on each computer). The spice of life.
  • The article says that the new Sony thing isn't going to play MP3s, and Sony doesn't have plans to make any MP3 products at all. It's probably gonna use some new SDMI chain-and-shackle music format, maybe MP4
  • Atrac compresses 5:1, not 10:1, nowhere near 128kb MP3, which is 11:1 Where did you get your numbers?
  • Actually, Sony's memory sticks have been on sale for a few months, maybe longer than a year. It's not exactly vaporware, although yeah, they're trying to use proprietary-pushing techniques learned from the Microsoft Academy of Proprietary Formats.
  • They have to have the music stored in a way that prevents copying. If you put it in an existing standard format, anyone can use existing tools to copy the data.

    Now I have no idea how they'll prevent copying, anyway, but using a closed architecture for storage is one move in that direction.
  • Remember this [] slashdot article?

    Bootable CF's... and the site linked to has CF interface that's not extremely expensive.

    So when will compact flash or the memory stick replace the floppy?

    The whole point of floppy is a disposable, ultra portable, ultra cheap way to transmit data from one box to another.

    For me it looks like a tossup. CF is cheap and doesn't have the proprietary rash, but the memory stick is pretty cute and that smaller footprint would make it ideal for Palm-sized computers.

    Sony is allready deploying the memory stick in desktop machines, but CF supporters can possibly catch up quickly and create a CF or CF2 interface and not lose the market completely.

    I think whoever puts out the first mini-media for less than $5 will win, and for free market's sake I hope it's CF or some non-proprietary variation.

  • 1. PE rules, has and always will.

    2. MP3s benefit the consumer, less crap (of course some of us like crap) and the artist, more money for less work. The record companies are the only ones who will suffer, the reason they exist is because they control distribution. So like parasites they benefit off the work of others.

    3. Musicians become popular, then they release CDs. MP3s will serve to eliminate the genre of mainstream, aka no more spice girls - sorry.

    No record labels means no need to compromise.
  • The olympus compact flash memory is 'smartmedia' which is basically just your everyday compact flash memory card without an onboard controller.

    This format is nice and cheap, and will become cheaper as there is more demand for it. The last thing we need is another proprietary doohickey for storage. (5.25" floppy, 3.5" floppy, zip, jaz, syquest, superdisk, sony`s new 150 meg high density 3.5" lookalike) Enough to drive you crazy even if you don`t throw in rival music type manufacturers.

  • Anyone still have a BETA VCR? Didn't think so.

    Although the consumer Beta format failed miserably, the professional line of Beta continue to dominate the professional industry. Digital Betacam SP has a picture that just can't be beat. Sony is known for it's huge failures and huge successes. Hopefully this Memory Stick thing won't hamper PlayStation 2 development.
  • There is a HUGE difference between serial numbers and encryption.

    Furthermore, mass produced CD's are injection molded. They are all identical. Catalog number, yes, unique serial number, no.

    Even Windows-95 and 98 CDs of the same pressing are all identical. That serial number you have to input? There is simply an alogrithm on the disk that determines if the serial number you input is a legitimate one. You can use the serial number printed on the package of ANY windows-98 CD to unlock any other from the same pressing.

    Anyway, audio CD's are unencrypted (and NOT serial numbered). Ripping a digital copy of them is trivial. (Well, not according to "Monty", the author of CD-Paranoia ;-).

    These Memory Sticks would be ENCRYPTED, implying a marrage to a specific player (or smart card or some such) for DECRYPTION. Not unlike Divx, except, presumably, without any "pay per play" requirements. But, with an encrypted system, this would be trivial to impliment later.
  • "My guess is that because you're an independant artist, you're not part of the industry and are therefore irrellevant."

    Uhh, not quite. I see your point and how you got there. But it doesn't quite work that way.

    Regardless of whether you have a label or not, you still have to get your work pressed and/or burned. You still have to employ print companies to do your jackets. You still have to purchase equipment. You still have to pay for repairs or buy the equipment to do the repairs yourself.

    The list goes on and on. Oh sure, a label can do all of that for you as well, but the only real thing of value that they can do, and this is the only real reason they exist, is to promote you.

    So basically if an artist doesn't have someone promoting them, you are saying that they are not part of the industry. Which to me sounds like a bunch of phoophie.

    I'm not on a label, yet I pour money into areas of the industry that a signed band does as well. I'm not on a label, yet I've enjoyed air time on commercial radio. I'm not on a label, yet I've brought money into venues because I've played. I'm not on a label, yet I spend time in the studio.

    Again the list goes on. There are far more artists like myself than main stream artists or signed unheard of ones. Except for maybe the Video arena, a large chunk of the industry's cash flow comes from the little guy.

    There's a lot more to the industry than just distributing (IE. Labels). I'll take care of that part myself. Ergo, indi's are not irrelevant.

    So back to my original question which was... Is this secure file format going to be beyond the little guy's reach if the little guy so wishes to use it as an additional option for their site? That question may be a little premature still.

    I myself am not particularly interested in secure formats as I plan to (hopefully) make money in a different way. But others hosted on the site may not agree with my ideals themselves.

    If it turns out to have a license not too much different than say REAL's server, I can't see it becoming anything big except allowing proprietary music remain proprietary when it appears on the 'net. Which is no threat to me or any other indi artist. I can't see it changing piracy either. Unless they start messing with CD's and players as well.

    Basically I don't understand why I've read so much that is either against it or worried about it. I just can't see it changing much of anything.

    If anyone has a better idea of it's implications, feel free to comment constructively. =)

  • Ahh, interesting. I wasn't sure (and still am not though) that this player or others that will conform, will be the 'be-all end-all' for storage. If this is the route that this secure format is going to take, it's of no importance to anyone except those already caught in the loop so to speak.

    I don't really see a secure format being all that bad if an artist that gives away free music on their site who also sells CD's with tracks not given away, to add the format as an option to buying the CD instead. But if it requires them to buy more hardware, I don't see that as a good thing at all.

    Assuming that one could afford to license the format as well. Which the more I think about it, isn't any different than having a label gouge you for your product.

    Take an indi artist who's doing somewhat ok, he/she decides to license the format for a theoretical 1000 dollars for 500 secure streams which might have to be renewed every year. Who does that money go to? I'll bet precisely the same people that previously had no connections to the artist, of which made the distinction of that artist indi in the first place.

    This is potentially a way for parts of the industry to make money off of artists where they in fact didn't prior to the format. Sort of reminds me of companies wanting the Linux community to program for them for nothing in return.

    I guess it all depends on how they decide to implement it.

    Hmmm... Maybe I'm just paranoid. =)

  • What Sony forgot to mention is that the music is compressed, using a lossy algorithm. Not too different from MP3! 650M : 140M ratio is about 4.5:1 compression. MP3 is about 10:1 I think. That sounds about right, because MiniDisc quality is noticably higher than MP3.
  • by AT ( 21754 )
    So far, they've decided is it will use "memory sticks"?

    Standard vaporware tactic -- announce a product barely out of the conceptual planning stage so people hold out 'til the market leader does something. Did Sony hire some MS marketers?

    Yawn -- wake me up when they have a product!
  • No, CompactFlash II (or CF+, or CF2, depending on whom you're talking to) is a little thicker than standard CF. It is an agreed-upon standard, though--a number of companies have started making CF2 Ethernet cards, modems, etc. for those WinCE devices. Since there are so few MP3 portables out there right now and so many on the drawing board I can't help but think that SOMEONE will be smart enough to make one with a CF2 slot.
  • Damm, I knew I should have gone with a camera with FLASH and not Smart Media :(

  • It seems to me that a company like Sony will only be pandering to artists that are already signed and wish to distribute their music on the 'net. Basically furthering the distinction between an indi and signed artist.

    My guess is that because you're an independant artist, you're not part of the industry and are therefore irrellevant.

  • OK, let's get something straight--CF is smaller and Pretec has already announced--get this--a 128MB CF2 card and a 320MB CF2 (same size as IBM MicroDrive) card!!

    Do the CF2 cards fit in a normal CF slot at all?

  • Those idiots at Sony R & D are nothing but big kids, they have the toys and they won't share!

    They tout new tech all of the time, and they don't do much in the way of getting it produced at reasonable prices - just look at the minidisc, if they got off their arses they could make a huge impact in the IT industry with it, but no, they are stuffing around as usual whilst we are stuck with floppy's, cd's and zip media, nowhere near as effective as minidisc (650Mb rw on one of those tiny critters sounds ok to me!).

    Then there is their attitude to the entertainment robot (as seen on /.) they have fully working prototypes but no plans to mass produce and market - are they dumb or what? Sony would make a killing selling them to geeks alone!

    I don't know what the story is with the Sony marketing strategy, it appears to be along the lines of "alienate the customer at all costs" -"promise stuff and never deliver" and "we've got one and you haven't - na, na!"

    I have tried to email them on several occasions to enquire about tech stuff they propose and never seem to market, but they are consistent - no reply!!! They just don't seem to give a stuff!
  • DVD - now there's another example of crappy tech being pushed on us at the expense of better stuff.

    Why do IT companies jump on the wrong bandwagon every time. Why can't we have decent (RW) MO and MD drives at a decent price? I do suspect it is so they can keep the media RO to reduce piracy, but when will they learn that people are smart and will circumvent these pitiful attempts anyway.

    And you know what I reckon Sony can do with their memory sticks...that's right, jam them fair up their buttholes with considerable insertion force!
  • consumers will not stand for ANY format that utilizes copy protection.

    Exactly. To back up your statement, see the difference in sales between DVD and Divx. (Circuit City is getting clobbered.)

  • Don't you ever wonder why you get stuck with "popular" artists like Puff Daddy and the Spice Girls? They aren't popular because their music is all that great, that's for certain. It's because the general public prefers to be told what it likes rather than find out for itself what is good. The popular artists are popular not because they produce better music, but because they have a multimillion dollar marketing scheme behind them. That's why record companies are running scared now. If mp3 takes off, not only will they have to deal with piracy, but they will lose their control over who becomes the next big thing. The way that they do business is going to change completely in the next five or so years. That's a long time to people thinking in net time, but to a major corporation, that's a product cycle. That's no time. Suddenly, artists don't HAVE to sign with them to be promoted and to be big. Your bigger artists will not renew contracts as soon as they realize the profit they can put in their pocket is greater by releasing on the net than it is by going through a traditional distributor. Right now, you're seeing "has-beens" because those are the people who aren't locked down in contracts, because either a)they've completed them or b)the studios aren't that interested in extending a inticing contract. What do you think the Beastie Boys are going to do when their contract comes up? They'll either negotiate something where they can distribute some tracks in mp3, or they might just go at it alone. Changes are a' coming.

    We will benefit by virtue of better music, but the record companies will lose major dollars. Don't expect them to go down without a fight.
  • This is a bit off topic, but I just thought some people might like to know how radio promotion works. Radio stations today are for the most part controlled by one of about ten companies nationwide. This means that in your town, probably two or three or even perhaps ALL of your radio stations are owned by the same company. There is no real "request line" and the playlist is composed by computer (which gets it's data from , big surprise, the record companies). I worked in radio for about two years, and I was amazed at the lack of concern for the everyday listener. The program director didn't care about what the DJ's thought was good music (believe me, most of their taste is actually quite good), but only what the distributors told her was good music(which was what they wanted people to hear). We could take polls, show requests, it didn't matter. We even had a "top 5 at 9" thing where the listeners were supposed to vote for the top 5 songs, it was all computer generated. I could go in at noon on Monday and tell you what the top 5 would be for the whole week! I can't tell you how many times I said we shouldn't play something or we should play this and nobody listened. The average listener will believe anything (s)he is told and will like whatever crap is spoonfed down their throats.

    Me, I was eventually fired for violation of station rules (making my own playlists because I didn't agree with my computer generated one).
  • That's what I've been saying for quite some time. The mp3 format is a freight train that has already started to move. You can either jump on, or you're going to get run over. How much has the RIAA spent trying to put mp3 sites out of business? It seems that there are more mp3 sites now than there were a year ago. They'll even conceed that for every mp3 site they shut down, four or five more spring up to take it's place. It's too easy for some backyard hacker to set up a server on a cable modem or hide it at work on the T1.

    However, you are talking about billions of dollars in profits, don't expect that the record industry is just going to roll over and die quietly.
  • It's often quoted "Information wants to be free".

    We already have an open, useful format. It's called MP3. The reign of music distributors over artists and consumers is crumbling.

    Music distributors are making a last ditch scramble to come up with a format that offers similar portability benefits to MP3 but is still under their exclusive control. They have only a limited time in which to do this, because the strategy hinges on convincing the public to buy into their proprietary products because it's an "upgrade" from regular CDs. They will completely gloss over or outright obscure the the freedom issues that differentiate their own format(s) from MP3.

    If MP3 becomes a mainstream format, which is already happening, there will no longer be a convincing reason to trick people into "upgrading" to a closed format. Yes, you can claim technical performance benefits, but these will not be nearly as enticing as the portability benefit over CDs.

    The way that music distributors like Sony are behaving reminds me of Microsoft when the internet was taking off. They wanted to sign people up on MSN, and derided the internet as an unorganized mess that will never go anywhere. MP3 and its descendants, like the internet, will thrive and leave the closed formats behind no matter how hard big business tries to stick our heads in the sand.

    It's also often said that freedom of the press only applies to those with a press. I don't see a fundamental reason why only only corporations with millions of dollars should distribute mainstream music. It's just been something that you simply had to accept - until now.

  • The memory stick is a marketing move by Sony to try to lock in control of the flash memory for consumer products market. This is a market with huge potential growth over the next few years, so it is only to be expected that a consumer electronics giant like Sony would want to push consumers towards a version that they control.

    Sure, they might license it to other companies, but they'll get royalties.
  • Sony of course plays all sides of the market; they sell and release music, hardware, and media. It would be terribly remiss of them not to try and offer the third leg of the stool, a digital audio/hardware format for public consumption.

    That being said, it seems sorta silly. The idea of encrypting or protecting data is not necessarily bad, especially for musicians and companies who get paid per company; but another post pointed this out, how much will it cost for a new artist to overcome the initial costs of getting access to this format? If it's as proprietary and closed as the Memory Stick seems to be, it won't do a thing to help budding artists and like.

    The idea is a good one, technologically, I think. Say your Memory Stick has some private key embedded within, like in PGP technology. Lets also say the MS has a public key. If Sony is going to sell you some song, it takes the public key, encrypts it with said key, and sends it to you, where the Memory Stick will the proceed to decrypt and store it.

    No one else will be able to unencrypt it, right? So copying won't work. I'm not sure how Memory Stick to Memory Stick transfer would work, and I assume MS to MS copying would just not be allowed. Perhaps it would just entail re-encoding the song with the other stick's public key and re-decoding it within the other stick.

    This of course assumes that there is some amount of processing power in the stick itself. Perhaps all the stick stores is the private key and the music, and the player does all the miscellaneous encoding and decoding...

    Seriously, if you believe copyright is important, how can MP3 be used to deal with this?

  • The article is short on technical details, but it mentions that the music will be encrypted.

    I suppose that the plan will be to sell music over the internet that you will download into your "memory stick."

    For this to stop piracy, apparently it would have to be encoded to work on one and only one "netman" player.

    You can't play the same music program in a portable deck, car deck, and home deck without buying 3 identical Memory Sticks of music?

    You can't take your memory sticks to a friends house?

    If your "netman" breaks all your memory sticks become useless? (How many walkmans accidentially get splattered on the pavement?)

    And what's to stop them from eventually using this technology to enforce a "pay per listen" system?

    Yeah right!

    Sony, get a clue!
  • Personally, I'm not worried about the RIAA's newest quest for a secure audio format. As an independant artist myself, at least I have a choice. There's nothing wrong with that. I'll still use the tried and true mp3 format for free downloads and offer orders on an actual CD if the listeners so choose.

    But I wonder. Once this new secure standard arrives, how much is it going to cost Joe electronic musician to use it if he/she wants to?

    I can't really see it helping too many artists out there that are indi and with it being so easy for indi artists to distribute their work over the 'net now, we could probably look forward to there being so much more new music from people like myself rather than signed artists.

    In all respect, I don't see a secure format changing my life in any way shape or form. Mpeg audio isn't disappearing and the only stuff I do copy are titles that I already own.

    It seems to me that a company like Sony will only be pandering to artists that are already signed and wish to distribute their music on the 'net. Basically furthering the distinction between an indi and signed artist.

    I haven't been keeping up with the latest on the RIAA but did see something on CNN last night about how they beleive a secure format is well needed for the industry. Well, part of it maybe is more like my take on it.

    Other than pirating, can anyone see a rational difference in the future because of this? All it would do is make proprietary music more propietary. Unless I'm still missing many points.

    If I am, I'd like to know. Guess I better look into it some more.
  • This is ridiculous. This memory stick thing will be the BetaMax of the flash industry...(although Beta was a superior technology).

    The Memory Stick is currently available in 4MB, 8MB, and 16MB versions, and will soon have 32MB capacities. By the end of this year, Sony officials expect to ship a 64MB version that could hold about two hours of stereo music in "long play" mode, they said.

    OK, let's get something straight--CF is smaller and Pretec [] has already announced--get this--a 128MB CF2 card and a 320MB CF2 (same size as IBM MicroDrive) card!!

    Flash memory is used in small capacities in products like cell phones but is still relatively expensive. The 16MB Memory Stick, for instance, runs about $66.

    Yeah, and I just bought two 16MB SmartMedia cards for my Rio from Diamond. Price? $89 for TWO!!!

    Maybe they think they can push this memory stick thing with their lame cameras (the floppy-based ones were actually innovative, but who wants to carry around a box of floppies when you can use a single CF card?!) and their new desktop (which retails for only $2500, BTW) with the built-in memory stick "drive". But I say it's more dead-end tech.

    Sony will never learn....
  • You thought that Sony was against MP3 (and portable players) because of their Mini Disc technology and the Sony Record label ... now we know the whole truth.

    Once again, Sony wishes to GRACE THE PLANET with a format war.

    Anyone still have a BETA VCR? Didn't think so.

    I guess some old dogs NEVER learn new tricks.
  • by Cassius ( 9481 ) on Thursday April 08, 1999 @01:35PM (#1942917)
    The idea of a memory stick sounds slightly suspicious (why not just stick with MiniDisc?) but I think you'll need someone like Sony (which also produces records) to get real artists behind a new medium.

    MP3 is a great technology, but all of the artists listed on the legit MP3 sites are no-names. And no, I don't want to hear has-beens like Public Enemy or Ice-T.

    I know that sounds like a slightly immature thing to say about a great new format, but I think it is safe to say the artists that are in demand right now are not releasing full listings on MP3. CD is still the king.
  • by HuangBaoLin ( 13109 ) on Thursday April 08, 1999 @03:00PM (#1942918)
    I even had a link to some pictures a while ago, but NikkeiBP is ungoing maintence in their archive section. The pictures showed a prototype integrated in a pair of regular headphones (Nice..
    no wires!) Here's a a older link regarding the technology to be used. 902/99-021/index.html

    Apparently the device will be using a variant of ATRAC 3. (Minidisc codec, which BTW, is far superior to MP3, fidelity wise for same bitrate 10:1)

    Some of you are bitchin "Why does Sony want to use the memory stick?" Some legitimate reasons: Slimer than Compact Flash (two memory sticks could fit in the same footprint) and requires less insertion force (can be ejected with a button) Its a whole lot less flimsy than SmartMedia, and doesn't require a condom for storage. Some complain about the price, which I agree, why not use slightly cheaper CF cards? Well Sony always assumes that those who want the best will pay more. But my question is, why mess with solid state formats? MiniDisc is still the most superior technology size, cost and audio fidelity wise.

    I use a Sony MZ-R55, its only 78.9 x 18.9 x 84mm. (a hair larger than the disc itself) It weighs only 190g w/disc and NH-14WM rechargeable battery. It records off the battery, so I use it for meetings, lectures, and stereo recordings of concerts. Blanks are cheap in bluk ($2 each in quanities of 20 or more) I get 4 hours playback or 2 hours of recording using the internal battery . When coupled with two AAs I get 16 hours of playback and 9 hours of recording. Whats also nice is that the things housed in a damn sexy brushed magnesium alloy case, everyone wants to see it.

    Got questions? Check out

  • by D-Fly ( 7665 ) on Thursday April 08, 1999 @01:38PM (#1942919) Homepage Journal
    Sony has been pushing this stuff for a while. In fact, my next computer (the Sony 505ZX) is going to have a slot for Memory Sticks built-in.

    The question is, why should we all get so excited about a new standard that doesn't offer much of an advantage over, say, Compact Flash? Compact flash actually costs less than Memory Stick at this point, and near as I can tell, it's smaller too.

    I have a little Olympus camera that stores on Compact Flash, and a new 4 meg clip costs about $20 bucks, vs. $30 for a 4 meg memory stick (if I recall.

    CF is thinner and shorter than memory stick, though a little wider.

    I haven't seen specs, but I assume they are about the same speed, since they are based on similar technology.

    Thus I have to conclude that Sony is just trying to push a proprietary spec on us so they can make an extra buck, even though there is an equivalent and cheaper technology already available.

    Therefore all the ZDNET and CNET and even New York Times articles on itis corporate hype and we should probably ignore it.

    As for the MP3 killer part, why would anyone buy a Sony machine that doesn't do copies when they can get one that does, and uses the widely available MP3 format? The answer, oddly enough, is that they probably will. Oh well.

In a five year period we can get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the five year period will begin.