Copyright 2006 Peter NisbetThe word codec is short for Coder/DECoder or Compressor/DECompressor. It is a technology used basically to render data suitable for transmission using a set of protocols which must also be used for its reception. MP3 is an example of a common codec. They can be applied in hardware, software or in a combination of both. This article is specifically about audio codecs. Video signals will be discussed in another article.Audio data can be compressed, resulting in a file smaller than the original. How much smaller depends on the type of codec , and data can be lost, resulting in a reduction in audio quality. The type of codec where data is lost is called Lossy, while the other type where data is not lost is called Lossless.Lossless codecs work rather like Zip files. In zip files, the data is compressed to take up less space. In fact a zipper is a lossless file codec: you use the zipping software to compress the data, then you subsequently required the zipping software to decompress it to a readable form. NO data is lost, and this is how a Lossless codec works. It compresses the data for transmission then decompresses it to replay it. The file is in exactly the same form when played as it was prior to transmission.Examples of Lossless codecs are Monkeys Audio, WavePack and FLAK. This gives the best playback sound quality. Typical players are Media Center and Winamp. This type of file naturally requires a Lossless codec for play-back, so will not play on an MP3 player. The main problem with this type of audio format is that it compresses at best only to 4:1.Where greater compression is required, Lossy codecs must be used. With this type of system, part of the file data is lost or discarded to allow the enhanced compression. Lossy codecs can compress audio files down to 10:1 which is a massive saving in storage requirements. The way it does this is to discards parts of the file it considers is not required by the human ear. For example, the maximum frequency the human ear can detect is around 16 KHz so frequencies above this are cut out. Some codecs go down ever further to 12 KHz.Also certain sound combinations are discarded, such as soft sounds occurring immediately after harsh loud ones. The human brain tends not to distinguish these soft sounds, so they would not be missed if removed from the file. Once the audio file is decoded, it is not restored to the original size. Hence Lossy codec is more of a coder-decoder than compressor-decompressor.Examples of Lossy audio formats are MP3, Musepack, OGG Vorbis, WMA (Windows Media Audio) and MP4. There are various codec encoders and decoder also available, though the average person generally has no choice since they are ready installed in the hardware being used. A description of the software which actually carries out the work is beyond this article, but there are three main types: constant, variable and average bit-rate encoders. Higher bit-rates give better sound quality, but larger file sizes. The development of Lossy technology has revolutionized the way we buy music from hardware to downloadable software, but this is another subject.You may have to download a specific codec to be able to open certain audio and video files you have either purchased or downloaded. If you have purchased the file, the codec will generally come with it, but with a free download, you may also have to download the relevant codec. You will probably be informed what codec is required to decode or decompress it. You should then search for the codec using a search engine and you will probably find it on free download.The next article will discuss how codecs work with audio-video files and how their developed has tremendously reduced the download time for movies to such an extent that downloading from the internet is now commonplace and proving a problem for the movie studios.
You probably have heard or even used Virtual Serial Port Driver 6.0 by Eltima Software. It is an advanced utility, which emulates unlimited number of RS232 serial ports connected via virtual null-modem cable using special driver, which can be easily included in your own software providing simple and convenient way to create and configure virtual serial ports directly from your application. Now let us introduce the new appearance of Virtual Serial Port Driver 6.0. Not only new features were added, but the interface was re-designed as well. Let's start with the new features. There are plenty of them and we are sure you will like each and every one. First of all, all internal modules of Virtual Serial Port Driver are digitally signed, meaning that now the driver will work correctly under x64 platforms. Another platform that VSPD fully supports now is Windows Vista. Now all Vista fans can surely use Virtual Serial Port Driver without any problems, both as 32-bit, or 64-bit edition! As for the technical aspects of VSPD functioning, Eltima has put much work into it to make VSPD as feature-rich as possible. The new version offers you unique emulation of serial cable pinouts, including totally custom ones for your professional needs. Moreover, you will be able to allow or restrict applications access to any created port easily directly from the GUI. In this version we present the new and completely revamped Serial Ports Explorer, which will be your help in getting all the information about serial ports present in your system. Virtual Serial Port Driver's interface has been thoroughly re-designed. We have left the simplicity and logical architecture of previous versions, but changed the overall colors and shades to make VSPD GUI appealing and user-friendly. Virtual Serial Port Driver has a proven reputation of a must-have tool for system developers. The application will cut down your development time dramatically providing you with the full arsenal of its features and capabilities. Read more about VSPD, the leader of virtual ports creation, by visiting its features page. If you are interested in trying Virtual Serial Port Driver 6.0 you are welcome to download the free trial now: http://www.eltima.com/download/vspdxp/
Online Reservation Software can make the difference in travel agency growth or decline. Travel companies work on small margins and efficient online reservation software is the lifeblood of travel companies. While tourists have visions of up, up and away, travel agencies have their eyes on the bottom line and how "online reservation software" can increase profits. Improved Productivity - Online Reservation Software Improved productivity is the key benefit online reservation software offers travel agencies. The airlines, hotels and tour operators set prices and the agency commission is fixed. How can a travel agency earn more money? By streamlining the booking process to increase sales per agent per day with industry leading online reservation softwareEnhanced Client Management - Online Reservation Software Online Reservation software cuts operating costs by automating the travel booking process. A key feature of online reservation software is the creation of a unique passenger record that ties the passenger the travel agency. When an agent knows the client's travel history, preferences, spending habits and more, it's a powerful incentive for the client to book future travel with his or her agent.Online Availability - Online Reservation SoftwareA sharp agent using online reservation software which offers online availability can close a client's travel bookings in minutes. Referrals are the life blood of the travel industry. Travel agents using online reservation software offering immediate confirmation have become the standard by which all travel agents are judged. Combined with the growing travel destinations and packages, an agency's online reservation software provides agents every possible travel service that might interest the customer at a glance.Back Office Issues - Online Reservation SoftwareDo you know anyone that enjoys paper work? The client, on the other hand, is keenly interested in a convenient record of travel outlays for tax purposes. An agencys online reservation software automates the tedious process of creating receipts, invoices, confirmations, vouchers and more. The same goes for tracking the many wholesalers, airlines, and tour operators a travel agency deals with each year.Travel Agency Expansion - Online Reservation Software While generating more revenue is the goal of expansion - [*_*] is the vehicle. Today, every travel agency owner asks "How can I survive today and grow in the future?" While the answer varies from agency to agency, those without fast, efficient and cost cutting [*_*] won't have to worry for long, they will be "Up, up and Away" and out of the travel business for good.
Creative Technology made its debut in the global PC community with the powerful Sound Blaster cards, and we all knew how Apple notebooks changed the way the world looked at laptops and computer accessories. It was a decade ago, and no one has heard much of them ever since.Now, they are coming back, in full force, in what is seen as an explosive MP3 player war that started brewing the very moment Apple released its first iPod products that yet again changed the way teenagers had listened to music.CNet reviews, as well as most other industry papers, consistently rank Creative and Apple undisputed leaders in the industry. Both produce cutting-edge MP3 players that go beyond even stringent standards of the avid music lover. Player capacity keeps breaking limits, from the mere 256 Megabytes three years ago to the current huge 60 Gigabytes. Furthermore, there are also added features of photo viewer and video screening that define the modern MP3 experience.The war seems to promise a long-standing stalemate as both titans flex their technologies to outperform the other.As I see it right now, perhaps "Creative and Apple" are misusing their precious microchips on hip-but-not-exactly-necessary attributes, photo and video viewer and personal organizer for instance (fortunately they have not released camera Zens or iPods), and essentially missing out on the definitive feature of MP3 players that could determine the number 1 leader between them.I'm talking about MP3 music, and music editors.Imagine the scenario in which you owned an MP3 player that not only excellently playbacks but also edits your music, molding it to your will. Imagine how your MP3 player could not only record your voice but compare it to your favorite artistes' vocal qualities as well. That, I say, would truly be the defining music experience by not only an MP3 player, but an MP3 player morpher, one that plays and personalizes your music collection.Unfortunately, we could only imagine right now, as neither Creative nor Apple seems to shift the direction of this MP3 war, from feature-loaded to feature-focused. MP3 player users still have to endure a long wait before both factions realize the unending nature of the war.However, when there's a will, there's a way. Though there's yet to be any MP3 player that could morph music in the market, PC users could savor the luxury of music editor software that not only morphs songs the way they like it but is also loaded with features such as voice comparator and multi-track editing panels that help mix music professionally. In addition, software products the like of Audio4Fun Music Morpher Gold further offer built-in special audio effects to be applied to users' collection of songs.I wonder when Creative and Apple could develop this kind of genuine music software to be added to their MP3 players to make music truly creative.About the Author:Josh Nowell is a press correspondent for Media Morpher. He is an observer of technology trends and is keen on analyzing how technology could enrich the human life.He could be contacted at email@example.com (Attention to Josh Nowell).
Blackworm is a nasty internet worm which can delete DOC, XLS, MDE, MDB, PPT, PPS, RAR, PDF, PSD, DMP, and ZIP files. In addition to Blackworm, the worm has been named Kama Sutra, Blackmal, MyWife and Nyxem. This worm started on the 3rd of February and has been programmed to attack an infected computer on the 3rd of every month thereafter. So far it has been estimated that over 300,000 computers all over the world have been infected. Besides destroying those types of files, the worm also tries to disable anti-virus software so that it stops updating. It can also disable the keyboard and mouse of infected computers. Some Internet users have already lost important files after becoming infected by the Blackworm mainly because the clock time on their computer was wrong.Like many Internet worms, Blackworm attempts to spread by mailing itself to contacts in a user's address book. The e-mails containing the worm can have a wide variety of subject fields and attachment names. The worm also tries to add itself to the auto-start programs in the Windows registy. Once a computer in a network has been infected, Blackworm will try to infect all other systems in the network.To prevent getting infected by Blackworm you shouldn't open attachments or click on Web links within these e-mails, especially if these e-mails have a porn-related subject line. Use caution before opening any e-mail attachments, even if you know the sender. You should also backup any important files that you want to preserve. Most antivirus products will detect Blackworm assuming the worm hasn't disabled the antivirus software. Because of this, it is important to frequently update your antivirus software. It is also recommended to scan your computer for viruses and use a firewall. To prevent the worm from spreading to other computers in a network, you should use strong passwords on all the users accounts.