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Paradise found?

Readers sound off on the greed of the music industry, the Kubrick epic, and a pointer toward a freeware replacement for WinZip.

I read your article “The jukebox of paradise”. I found it interesting that you wrote, “The day might come when the ultimate 24/7, on-demand music service is a reality.” For a couple of years now I’ve been using the same pay per download service of songs. They have all the music, sorted and categorized. The payment is simple: 1MB of download is 1 cent. That’s it. If I download 100MB worth of music it costs $1. And since the company is overseas it is pretty much untouchable from a legal standpoint. And whatever Wal-Mart or iTunes offers, they’ll never beat that rate. In addition, that service provides video clips on demand for the same price. Go to www.allofmp3.com, change the screen view to English, and you’re all set to go. And they even accept PayPal. It seems that no matter what U.S. companies do, offshoring will always prevail. — Eugene Hohlov, Chicago, [email protected]

Eugene, we wrote about these types of sites recently as well. — Ed.

Yes, it would be nice if the scenario outlined in your article “The jukebox of paradise” was realized, and the sooner the better. However, anyone who has an understanding of the incredible greed infesting the souls of those who pull the strings in the music business industry, as well as the conglomerates behind them, will have to come to the sad conclusion that not only won’t the “jukebox paradise” happen soon, but perhaps never at all. These people will fight with all the political cronies they have in their pockets to make sure that you and I will always spend top dollar for whatever they can cynically foist upon us. Even if it hurts them in the long run? Probably. The fact that the Universal conglomerate which promised a while back to lower the retail price on CDs has recently and quietly reneged on that promise; the fact that CDs keep getting more and more expensive; and the fact that the supposed decrease in sales in the last couple of years is only a piece of sham accounting (the numbers are deliberately misinterpreted to give the “impression” of declining sales) proves that for the suits that run the entertainment industry, the customer be damned. Remember the advent of the CD and the sloppy, incompetent way the music corporations delivered on that new media? It won’t be any different this time. — Jeffrey Slott, Jackson Heights, N.Y., [email protected]

HAL’s ABCs Regarding James Mathewson’s article “If it ain’t broke…”, it is a bit of a myth that straddles the worlds of both science fiction and computers that the initials of the “HAL 9000” computer in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” were inspired by a giant computer company whose 3-initial name follows H-A-L consecutively. Both director Stanley Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke consistently maintained since 1968 (when the movie came out) that the parallel between the initials was just a bizarre coincidence that was never thought of nor intended. For the record, HAL stands for Heuristically-programmed ALgorithmic computer. Meaning, essentially: self-taught/mathematically-based computer. Just in case it ever comes up on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” — Ernest Farino, [email protected]

With respect to “Bargain bin”, I would like to point out that in addition to AVG Antivirus, there is a freeware replacement for WinZip. FilZip can be found at www.filzip.com and not only does it unzip files, but it also supports a number of compact utilities including rar, bin, hex, bh, cab, jar, lha, tar, gzip, and arj. — Curtis Vaughan, [email protected]

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