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Rockin’ in the free world

Being your own DJ is easier than ever. Mac hed: Rockin’ in the free world dek: being your own DJ is easier than ever.

The fact that the Recording Industry Association of America and its member record companies are working hard to scour the Net for any and all Napster clones hasn’t stopped the creators of popular file-sharing tools from releasing program updates with new and improved features. Here are some of the latest releases to some freeware and shareware file-sharing, streaming, and recording programs that should keep the online world sharing-at least for a little while longer.

LimeWire has released a free update to its peer-to-peer file-sharing program. LimeWire uses the Gnutella network and lets users search for all types of software files, including movies, games, word-processing documents, photos, and more. You can also join small groups within the LimeWire community, a feature that makes it easier for like-minded users to swap files and get to know each other. The new version (1.7) will even let you chat with other LimeWire users while you are transferring files. Other improvements include faster auto-connect at start-up, better download performance, and a new Options screen.

CXC’s Mactella is a free open-source, peer-to-peer file-sharing network that lets users transfer a variety of file formats, including ZIP, QT, HQX, EXE, JAR, SIT, MPEG, ASF, and MOV. Mactella has added Clip2 Reflector to the recent release, which allows users with low bandwidth to connect via a reflector and perform searches at full network-connection levels. Version 1.3 also includes the ability to play media files as they are downloaded, several bug fixes, an improved download mechanism, implementation of a 0.6 connection protocol, and more.

You can stream some of your favorite albums over the Net with Arctic Software’s iStream . The MP3 server lets anyone with a direct connection to the Internet (preferably with high bandwidth capacity) to broadcast live, CD-quality sound to dozens of users. The latest version (2) is a complete rewrite that has fixed some of the playlist-incompatibility problems of previous versions, as well as troubles experienced by international users. The demo version requires a $15 registration fee and allows up to 10 users. The full version costs $35 and includes a 60-user license.

Weblast’s The Analogue Ripper will let you digitally record LPs, cassettes, or any other analog sound source for which you have playback equipment. You can break down albums into tracks, and record them to any encoder or application. The Analogue Ripper records directly to a disk, so the program uses a minimal amount of RAM. The shareware download requires a $19.95 registration fee.

Music Match has released another free version of its digital music management software, MusicMatch Jukebox. The program includes a CD ripper, MP3 encoder, playlist creator, media player, and ID3 tag editor. The program lets users organize albums or tracks in a music library and add related information to each entry, such as artists’ names, bios, track lists, etc. The program allows encoding of an unlimited number of MP3s, as well as the ability to play streaming content and convert AIFF files to MP3.

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