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Rush, Microsoft Spot Chip, Remote Controls

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Larry Karr, universal remotes, and more on today's show.

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  Top Features

Rush's Mystic Rhythms

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band Rush talk about tech and music.
programmable remote control
Remotes for control freaks

Patrick takes a look at universal remote controls for your home entertainment center.

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Today's headlines

On This Day
In 1947, Edwin H. Land first demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which was the first self-developing film for the general public.

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One note about yesterday's LAN Party. We inadvertently ran an older version of the UT2K3 server. The next LAN Party will use the latest server, which means you must have the latest patches. We apologize for the error.

Morgan's anime attack
Morgan gives us the scoop on "Betterman" series running on TechTV, anime at the Oscars, and the upcoming release of "FLCL" volume 2.

'Dick Tracy' Technology
Larry Karr of Microsoft talks about the Spot chip that brings Dick Tracy-like watches to life.

Leo talks about a current favorite, Konfabulator for Mac OS X.

Download of the Day: Auto-Illustrator
Create abstract art with this beta graphics tool.

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  • This page is updated throughout the live broadcast of the show at 7 p.m. Eastern.
  • Looking for a past article? Find it in our archive, which keeps a list of articles up to a year old.

  Live Calls

Slow audio CD playback
John in Wichita, Kansas, has a CD burner and a CD-ROM drive. When he plays an audio CD the speed isn't right. It's like listening to a 45 single at 33 turntable speed. When he digitizes music from the CDs the songs sound fine. What's the problem?

At first Leo and Patrick thought it was a hardware problem, but John says it happens on both drives. He's also using an AMD Athlon 2100+ CPU, so there isn't a processing bottleneck.

As far as software goes, John says the audio is affected regardless of the software player, whether it's Windows Media, Musicmatch, or any other player.

There might be a problem with your sound card. Try updating the sound card drivers. Find out who manufactured your card, visit that company's website, and get the latest drivers.

If that doesn't work, borrow a sound card from a friend and try it out. There might be a hardware problem with your sound card.

MP3 bitrate
Joel in Red Bank, New Jersey, wants to know the difference between VBR and CBR for MP3s. He's using LAME to encode MP3s.

VBR stands for variable bitrate. The bitrate throughout the file varies to maintain quality. It's an MP3 encoding method that's used when file size isn't an issue. Use VBR encoding when you want the highest audio quality. Not all MP3 players can read VBR files, however.

CBR stands for constant bitrate. CBR encoding maintains the same bitrate throughout an encoded file. Use this method when file size is critical and audio quality is of little importance.

Read more about MP3 bitrate.

Originally aired February 21, 2003

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There are no upcoming airdates for this episode.

Last aired on:
Thursday 5/8

   Also on This Episode
· Conquer the Universal Remote Control
· Free Download of the Day: Auto-Illustrator
· Leo's Pick: Konfabulator
· Morgan's Anime Attack for February '03
· Preview: Universal Remote Controls

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