Songbird 0.6 is out!

SongbirdSongbird, our favorite open source music manager has just released their 0.6 version. According to the website, the new release is “harder, better, faster, stronger”.

Looking at the release notes, it shows that the team has been placing quite a bit of work to improve its performance and usability. This project created by Mozilla promises to be the next big thing in the way you discover, play, and manage your music. We actually agree.

Although it hasn’t reached its mature full 1.0 release yet, Songbird has been of quite good use for us since last year. I really like the add-ons built for it and its main strength, being able to browse the web and discover songs with it.

Music Manager – aTunes

Running on Java, aTunes is a multi-platform application that manages your library of songs. Do not let the name resemblance fool you, according to the site aTunes will only read songs from your iPod but not write to them.

aTunes

The program can play pretty much all the major audio track formats (mp3, ogg, flac, wma, and more). The playlist functionality, podcast management, and cd ripper tools look to be pretty solid.

Honestly, I don’t like applications running on Java since they tend to be very sluggish. But, I like the fact that aTunes is cross-platform and can be a very nice program for those constantly working between different  operating systems.

If you’d like to try it, download it here.

Miro updated to version 1.2.3.

Miro, the social video management platform has just been upgraded to v 1.2.3. What’s new?

  • When you download videos from YouTube (whether by search or in a YouTube feed), we get an MP4 rather than a FLV, if it’s available. The video quality of the MP4s is much higher.
  • Updated translations in lots of languages.
  • We’ve updated the linux version to Mozilla 1.9.
  • We’ve updated VLC on Windows to 0.8.6f (security fix).
  • and more bug fixes.

Music Annotation – MuseScore

Although I’m not a musician, I have an aunt who is. While trying to find everything that she would need to convert to Linux, I found MuseScore, a music score typesetter.

MuseScoreFrom their official site, the list of features include:

  • WYSIWYG, notes are entered on a “virtual note sheet”
  • unlimited number of staves
  • up to four voices/staff
  • easy and fast note entry with mouse, keyboard or midi
  • integrated sequencer and FluidSynth software synthesizer
  • import and export of MusicXml and standard midifiles (SMF)
  • platform independent code for Linux, Windows and Mac
  • GNU GPL licenced

You can download MuseScore for Linux, and there is also a test version for Windows. Now I’m one step closer to convincing her to switch.  🙂

VLC updated to version 0.8.6f

VLC has just came out with a bug-fix new release, v 0.8.6f. From the site, the update includes:

“VLC media player 0.8.6e and earlier versions suffer from security vulnerabilities in the Subtitle demuxer, Real RTSP demuxer, MP4 demuxer and Cinepak codec.
This release also includes improved video output on multi-screen setups running Mac OS X and compatibility with Windows 9x/ME has been restored.”

You can get the newest version from VLC’s website.

open source DJ – Mixxx

Mixxx is an open source DJ tool that can be useful for amateurs and professionals. This multi-platform program is loaded with features such as:

  • Mixxxbeat estimation for you to know which songs that have a better sync match;
  • adjust tempo without distorting music’s pitch;
  • visual wave forms display;
  • support for many different gears such as DJ consoles and MIDI devices;
  • adjust the song’s low, mid, and high ranges;
  • and more!

The UI seems simple enough to start using as soon as you install it.

The project seems to be under constant development from its team, which is good to know since the program has more chances of getting better and better.

Watch a pretty good tour video of Mixxx:

Have fun mixing!

rip CDs with CDex

[Windows] If you want to store your CDs into your hard drive, you can start ripping them using CDex. I always like to convert my audio CDs into files so I can listen to the songs easily on my mp3 player and even to guarantee I’ll always have a copy in hand if I lend the CD to someone or it gets lost somewhere around the house.

CDex streamlines well this process by extracting the audio from the CD and converting it automatically to mp3, ogg, or WAV formats while storing ID3 tags. Besides these main tasks, the software has even more features.

CDex

The interface is pretty simple to follow, converting the audio with just a click of a button.

Manage online and your local songs with Songbird

Get Songbird

Songbird is my new favorite music management software. Why? Because with it I can organize songs on my desktop and explore music throughout the web.

Using the Mozilla platform, Songbird allows me to browse the web searching for songs while keeping track of my music collection on my computer. I can easily find music tracks available on a site to play them, download them, or dig deeper through different web pages to find more stuff on the bands and artists I like.

Songbird

It is still considered a young project, as of today it is on its version 0.4. On my machine it is a pretty stable program but with a few missing features such as ripping and burning a CD, syncing with external devices (like the iPod), and integrating well with Last.fm.

To compensate these shortcomings, you can add more power to Songbird by selecting from a long list of add-ons to install. You may also change its looks by installing different skins (which Songbird calls feathers).

Right now it is my default Windows music management software. If you want, you can install it on your MacOS X or also on your Linux machine.

If you’ve also been using this software, I’d be curious to know about your experiences. Do you think it is already stable enough to be your main music management software?

Meanwhile, here is a short video to show you some of the cools things you can do with Songbird:

Podcatcher – Juice

If you’re not much of an iTunes fan, you can still manage your podcasts easily with Juice. This open source and multi platform (Windows, Linux, and MacOS X) podcatcher will check and download your podcasts whenever you want.

Juice is extremely simple to use:

  •  Find the RSS feed of the podcast and add to Juice’s subscription list. It’ll check for new files and download them automatically when available.

Juice Downloads

  • Then you can easily manage the downloaded audio files.

Juice downloads

  • You can also search through Juice’s directory to have access to several other podcasts.

Juice Directory

Be sure to keep Juice’s downloaded files inside a directory your media manager program is monitoring for new files. This way the new files will always be added to your playlist.

Audacity – audio editor

Audacity is a great application for you to edit audio files, add effects, or even convert them. Its most basic functions are quite easy to do such as record, cut, add another audio stream, to name a few.

 Audacity

You can easily use Audacity to create podcasts, free cell phone rings, and convert audio files into a different format. This is just the tip of the iceberg when we’re talking about Audacity’s features.

Use it on your Windows, Max OS X, Linux, and on your pen drive.