Just in time for the holidays, we’ve released the all-new non-beta version of The Levelator for Windows and OS X. A Linux version is coming soon. This is a major upgrade from the earlier beta-test release. Special thanks to our team: Bruce Sharpe, Norm Lorrain, Tim McNerney and to the users and beta testers who sent in sample audio files and bug reports.
Here’s what’s new:
- A cool new interface.
- Significant improvements in the levelation algorithms. (Thanks to all those who submitted challenging audio files. We used every one of them in our testing.)
- improved handling of background noise
- improved processing of stereo files
- fewer ‘breathing” and “pumping” artifacts
- All sample rates and bit depths are now supported. Previously, some such as 22,050Hz and 24-bit were not.
- Renaming the application files to simply “Levelator” in order to make the application easier to locate in alpahbetized lists.
- Elimination of the Java Web Start user interface in favor of a native UI for each platform.
- Easing of restrictions on commercial use. (Read the new license.)
- You can now drag-and-drop an audio file onto the application’s icon, even if the application is not currently running.
- The application window can now be minimized.
- OS X 10.3 (Panther) is now supported.
- You can drag-and-drop an audio file onto the application’s icon in the Dock (OS X).
- Temporary files are managed more efficiently.
- T-Shirts and web-site buttons!
From the wonderful folks who brought you The Levelator, we’re looking for developers who can implement audio plugins for three platforms:
These are one-time projects. We have good specs. The budget is small, but if you help us, you’ll be making the world a better place for all of humanity. Well, better for podcasters anyway. Email me at email@example.com.
A message from Tim Bourquin reminded me that I needed to re-publish my posts about MP3 encoding. I’ve pulled together three shorter pieces as The Secret Lives of MP3 Files, which discusses sample rates, bit rates and mono vs. stereo encoding.
Congratulations to Jon Udell, who is going to work as an evangelist for Microsoft. Congratulations to Microsoft, too. Jon is a hands-on developer, and his work at Infoworld allowed him to explore a wide range of technologies. He’s simultaneously on the cutting edge and in the middle of the real world. He’s also an excellent writer.
I’ve known and worked with Jon for a few years, and most importantly he’s a person of great personal integrity. Of all the tech journalists, he is perhaps the most honest and objective. Robert Scoble was an evangelist who proved he could maintain his personal reputation even if it meant being at odds with his employer, and Jon Udell will be at least as credible as Robert in this regard.
Jon could have done pretty much anything he wanted. The fact that he has taken this position says a lot about the opportunity Microsoft has offered him.
Okay, DNS gurus. This one’s for you.
I bought a domain (mediaconversations.com) from a company, Tripod UK, who claim to be domain-name acquisition experts. I paid the fee and got email from them that I could now change the name servers. I went into their UI and set them to ours, ns1.theplanet.com and ns2.theplanet.com. I then setup the zone file at The Planet to include A records for http://www.mediaconversations.com, etc. But after a few days, I still couldn’t resolve any hosts in that domain. After more than two months and lots of email with Tripod UK and The Planet, it still doesn’t work. Tripod UK blames The Planet and vice versa.
Can you figure out what’s going on and who’s right? Here’s what I know so far:
- If you do a ‘whois mediaconversations.com’ you may get peculiar results. From my version of whois (OS X) I see two different descriptions of the name servers. At the top, it says the nameservers are correct: ns1.theplanet.com and ns2. But later in the output from whois, it says the nameservers are dns1.name-services.com and dns2, which are incorrect. Using other whois utilties, people tell me they only see the wrong ones.
- The above suggests that the problem is with the gTLD servers, but if you run dig or use dnsstuff, it appears that the gTLD servers all have the proper (theplanet.com) name servers.
- If you use dig to query the nameservers at The Planet, you’ll see that the zone file for the domain is correct for host ‘www’.
The folks at Tripod UK say that although whois may return incorrect data, it’s what in the gTLD (global top-level domain) nameservers that matters, and that data is correct.
So who’s right and who’s wrong and what ammunition can you give me to prove it to them? Leave it in the comments, or if you prefer, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: We got the evidence we needed to convince The Planet that the problem was indeed on their side. That problem has now been corrected. Thanks to all who replied.
If you’re an audio hardware geek and happen to be flying on United Airlines in or out of San Franciscio, allow a few extra minutes to see The History of Audio exhibit in the United concourse at SFO. I was shocked that I actually remembered so much of this gear and going back so far. The exhibit emphasizes sound for motion pictures and seems to have more than its share of gear from Dolby, but there are some real classics such as the Ampex 300 quarter-inch tape machine and the marvelous Nagra IV. (I used to own a III and IV for location film work.) The exhibits at SFO are always fascinating and it almost seems like a waste to put them there since so few people have a chance to linger.