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Mad about music?
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2004-02-16
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iRATE radio is a truly exciting and genuinely innovative collaborative filtering client/server mp3 player/downloader that works like this:

a) Tracks come from websites with free (and legal : ) music downloads.

b) You (and everyone else using iRate) 'rate' the tracks and the iRATE server then selects other music to send to you from a database of more than 50,000 free songs by correlating your ratings with other users' and finding people with similar tastes.

c) Unlike streaming audio, iRATE saves the tracks to your hard drive which means playback is smoother and doesn't have the problems associated with streaming media - such as high bandwidth usage.

iRate came out last Spring and yesterday its creator, New Zealander Anthony Jones, turned version 0.3 loose.

Written in Java and licensed under the GPL, it, "features a new, more intuitive user interface, a refined track selection algorithm, and better download performance," says Jones in an InfoAnarchy post here.

"Other improvements include a new icon (following the recent icon contest), tool tips, ID3 tag display, artist's website link support, playlist management, and many others."

Windows users can get going with iRATE radio using Sun's Java Web Start and Internet Explorer, says Jones, going on:

"For other browsers on Windows and Linux, users may need to download and install Java WebStart separately. There are also native Debian, Mandrake, and Redhat Linux packages available. Mac users will be pleased to hear that a disk image (.DMG) file for OS X will be released within a week."

The user base now has 8,000 people but, says Jones, there's still ots to be done and he's appealing for volunteers to work on tasks including:

  • Translations
  • Native playback (for improved decoding performance
  • Better server-side track selection
  • Multimedia key binding support
  • Audio prompting

If you'd like to help out in these (or other) areas, contact Jones here.


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