Enabling 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

Enabling 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10

I had a maddening issue in Windows Media Player on my Windows 10 machine where I could only rip CDs at a maximum bit rate of 192 kbps. Since storage is so cheap anymore, I prefer to rip at 320 kbps. Here’s how to enable 320kbps bitrate MP3s in Windows Media Player in Windows 10. Read more

Stream from Windows Media Player to Android

Stream from Windows Media Player to Android

I wanted to be able to stream from Windows Media Player to Android. I have lots of media stored on my Windows computers, but what if I’m in a room that doesn’t have a computer, or outside?

Good GenXer that I am, I spent decades collecting CDs. Some of my stuff is as common and ordinary as it gets. But some of it isn’t on any of the streaming services and probably never will be because there were exactly two other people alive who liked it.

I ripped most of them with Windows Media Player and stored them on my PC with the biggest drive. But that’s not necessarily where I want to listen to music from. Media Player can stream between multiple PCs, but it can also stream to an Android phone or tablet, which, in many cases, is even more convenient.

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Windows XP rises from the dead… accidentally

I’ve been hearing predictions for a year that after Windows XP went out of support, it would only be a matter of time before people started backporting patches to it.

As it turns out, they don’t have to. Windows XP has a close relative, Windows Embedded, that doesn’t go out of support until 2019. The people who are fretting over XP-based ATMs and cash registers don’t realize many of those devices–those built in 2009 or later–are running Windows Embedded. It looks just like XP, works just like XP, and installs a lot like XP, but it’s still supported. The bigger question is whether the people running it are patching it, but that problem has existed ever since Microsoft released Windows Update.

Well, with a simple registry hack, it’s possible to make Windows XP look like Windows Embedded and keep getting updates. Microsoft quickly issued a statement, and some people are predicting Microsoft will quickly close that loophole.

I’m not so sure about that. Read more

Baidu: The lightweight browser for low-end Android

I went looking for a resource-friendly browser that would run well on a 1 GHz-ish Android tablet. Everything I read said that Baidu was the lightest browser on resources. Since Baidu is a Chinese company and very low-end Android tablets are common in China, this makes sense.

I’ve never been one to shy away from alternative browsers on low-end systems on other platforms. Usually I sacrifice some rendering quality, but I frequently found that preferable to waiting around for minutes for bloatware to load and pages to render at glacial speed.

So I tried out Baidu, in spite of criticisms of its user interface and annoying defaults. The annoying defaults, it turns out, are easy enough to turn off, and I found the user interface, though out of style, makes it easier to use. It has forward and back buttons, unlike most other browsers on Android, and tapping those buttons is far more responsive than gestures on high-end browsers. I’m willing to give up 8 pixels of vertical space for that. Read more

Why PC makers love tablets, or should

PC Magazine has a nice analysis of why tablets are selling well and will continue to sell well, but they aren’t taking over the entire industry.

PCs are mature and not changing a lot at this point, while tablets are changing a lot. That’s good and bad. Read more

Barnes & Noble punches back

Slashdot accuses the new Nook HD and HD+ of punching above their weight.

Now, granted, B&N has an uphill fight. But to me, there are several compelling things about these new devices. Maybe these devices don’t have what that particular contributor seeks, but to date, there’s still no one-size-fits-all tablet.

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The good (or at least decent) $89 tablet

Right around a year ago, I wrote about the difficulties of making a good $100 tablet. But then, today, I read on Slashdot about someone finding a nice $45 Android tablet in a Chinese bazaar, then finding a similar unit at Fry’s back home in the States, priced at $89.

That raised a couple of questions. First of all, what’s the tablet?

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I can save you $99

Microsoft is willing to install a clean copy of Windows in its retail stores on any PC for a flat fee of $99. (Windows license not included, of course.) They’ll also optionally include Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials programs, the ad-supported starter editions of Word and Excel, Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus, and Zune media player software.
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How to buy a sub-$100 Android tablet and not get burned

Last year, a flood of $99 tablets built with extremely low-end hardware running dated versions of Android appeared. This year, slightly better tablets running slightly less dated versions of Android are readily available, sometimes for as little as $60. And I have to admit, these devices got me thinking. I didn’t quite pull the trigger. But here’s what to watch (out) for on the low end.
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