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02/01/2006 Archived Entry: "Wrong about iPods and MP3s"

Occasionally I am not merely wrong, but spectacularly wrong. Clearly my knowledge of iPods and Personal Music Players is deficient. Victor M. pointed out to me that just because you own an iPod, doesn't mean you have to subscribe to iTunes -- you can load up your iPod with DRM-free MP3 files.

And Keith P., while agreeing with my position on DRM, points out my gaffe with MP3s:

In fact I disagree so much on this issue that I won't buy a Personal Music Player (PMP) that only plays MP3s. MP3s are not a free/open format, and are encumbered by patents, which may be locked up at any time. I chose a player that will, also, play ogg vorbis files, which are free/open source, and not encumbered in any way (and, by the way, have much better sound qualities at equal compression rates to MP3s), and have less chance of license problems, etc.

I'll salvage a tiny part of my original argument by saying that I don't believe the MP3 format currently includes DRM features. Still, he's right about the patents and the possibility for the industry to lock up the format. If I buy a PMP, I'm going to take Keith's advice and buy one of the many which support the Ogg Vorbis audio format as well as MP3. (Keith uses the Cowon iAudio M5.)

Thank you, gentlemen, for my education.  —brad

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