Winamp a hot favourite on the PC audio circuit

Have you tried a nifty little music player called Winamp, a skinnable, multi-format, freeware audio player made by Nullsoft, which is part of Time Warner. Winamp was first released by Justin Frankel in 1997. You should. But before doing that, you should first check out Winamp’s website. It’s fun because it’s so irreverent, despite being part of the suits at Time Warner.

First a little background. Winamp was originally an MP3 playback, and was based on the AMP decoding engine by PlayMedia Systems, Inc.’s Tomislav Uzelac et al. Subsequent versions were based on Nitrane, an allegedly "proprietary" decoder fabricated by Nullsoft and disputed by PlayMedia. A lawsuit was filed by PlayMedia and after an out-of-court settlement and licensing agreement, Nullsoft switched to an ISO decoder from Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the developers of the MP3 format.

The current freely downloadable version is 5.13. The "bundled" version takes up nearly 11 MB of space, and if you have broadband, about 18 minutes to be transferred to your PC. There is also the Winamp "Pro" version, but you will need to pay $19.95 for it. So stick to the free version. I have played music, and video, on Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Real Player V10. The latter can be used to listen to radio online, from the BBC to CNN to the hate messages on radio stations proudly peddling so-called "conservative" views.

But Winamp is something else. The quality of the audio and the video is good, comparatively speaking, and it has a plethora of fundoo skins. One thing which many make take issue with is the heavy dependence on AOL content, but hey, they own the shop, so they get first shot at the content you see and hear. I checked ou Alanis Morisette’s video in a section called "Sessions at AOL", and it was cool. You can do a whole bunch of stuff on Winamp, from listening and watching videos on SHOUTcast radio and TV, or playing MP3 files, except rip and burn CDs, a feature restricted to the "Pro" version.

The music player has its disadvantages though, suffering from a zero-day vulnerability, which means that an an attack takes place immediately after a security vulnerability is announced. Attackers have been this, but Winamp said on Tuesday that the critical flaw in the MP3 player had been fixed. Secunia, a Danish security company, had warned that the bug in Winamp 5.12 could take complete control of a PC by getting a user to download a malicious audio playlist that uses a filename larger than about 1,040 bytes. Because Winamp begins playing a playlist once it’s download, hackers could attack PCs equipped it.

IT Industry Looks Beyond Traditional Destinations

Indian IT service providers are expanding their footprint in specialist locations, instead of focusing just on English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies.

"An interesting industry trend that has been noticed in the recent years is the expansion of the Indian IT industry’s presence from beyond traditional destinations. The industry’s focus is no longer on English-speaking countries alone, and a key strategy for Indian IT majors has been to harness local talent to tap domestic markets and de-risk the revenue model by reducing their dependence on one geographical region," it said on Monday.

Indian IT companies have been setting up centres in China for engineering and design; South Africa for insurance, and near-shore locations like eastern Europe and Mexico. "Apart from companies in the US, organisations from Europe, South East Asia, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand are also reaching out for Indian software expertise, supported by the conducive policy environment and incentives for software exports offered by India," it said. Keeping with this trend, the IT industry’s lobby group said that "Nasscom 2006: India Leadership Forum", to be held in Mumbai from February 15-17 will play host to a number of country delegations and representatives with both emerging and established IT industries. Ms Sangeeta Gupta of Nasscom said, "This year’s summit has attracted participation from a lot more countries

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