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Is Qtrax the Future of Digital Music?

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220px-Qtrax Well as of now, no.

Today marks the two-week anniversary of Qtrax’s beta release to the public, and while the thought of having all four major record labels agreeing to license agreements sounded revolutionary, as of now it is nothing more than a pipe dream.

As many others have said, Qtrax’s initial launch may go down as one of the worst in recent history. Announced at the beginning of the 2008, Qtrax is supposed to be the Napster of 2008; users of the Qtrax service download the Qtrax software at the site, register for the service, and proceed to download as many songs as they please from the database of 25 million songs. In order to pay the record labels, each song has an advertisement at the beginning of the song and Microsoft Windows Media DRM applied to it in order to curb illegal copying of the songs. The Qtrax software is also laced with multiple advertisements across the top and right side of the viewport.

Eager to try out the software for myself, I proceeded to the Qtrax website and attempted to download the software to no avail. The problem: there was no download link! I gave up on downloading Qtrax for the night, even though the beta was supposed to be released at this point. The next day I managed to download the Qtrax software on my laptop and install it for the first time. As I booted up the Qtrax software for the first time and I was presented with this screen:qtrax

When you are planning on making a release of software that is supposed to become a competitor to iTunes, this is definitely not the way to do it. After failing to get anywhere on Qtrax again (mind you this is 2 days after the release) I gave up on Qtrax again.

As of today Qtrax is still in limbo. The four major labels have not agreed to a license agreement with Qtrax, and the users of the software still cannot download songs from the software. I tried to register an account today and when I clicked on the ‘Check Availability’ link on for my user ID I was given a friendly ‘about:blank’ page. Even with all these problems I still feel that Qtrax will be able to pull out of the mess they are in right now and get their service going. They already have the hype from multiple blogs/media outlets and tons of potential users, now all they need is the actual music.


Written by Daryn

February 11, 2008 at 1:40 am

Posted in Music, Review, Technology

What to think of the Macbook Air

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¬†Update: Looks like I’m not the only one that had concerns with the Macbook Air.
Photo of Macbook Air

Every year the annual Macworld Expo brings the blogosphere to a complete halt with the multiple announcements of Apple products that are to dominate the new year. 2006 was the Intel iMacs. 2007 was the iPhone. 2008 is the Macbook Air. In move that is similar to last year’s unveiling of the iPhone, the Macbook Air is sure to revolutionize the way laptops are used in the years to come. Or is it?

While the design and aesthetic look of the Macbook Air makes it one of the best looking Apple computers to date, I feel there is one problem with the Macbook Air that is preventing it from taking off like the iPod did way back in 2001: there is no clear type of consumer that the Macbook Air is intended for. At first I thought that the Air was intended for college students, seeing as Apple is one of the most popular brands for the 18-24 demographic group, and the Air is basically a computer version of the popular iPod Nano. The main thing I see going against this line of thinking is the lack of features on the laptop, specifically the absence of any optical drive and the lack of USB ports. While the idea of wirelessly installing software from a different computer’s drive sounds really cool, it just isn’t realistic for a college student who more than likely is not going to have a spare computer lying around. Also the idea of having to exclusively download music/movies off of iTunes is pretty unrealistic for a community that is much more likely to pirate

So if college students are not going to purchase a Macbook Air, that leaves the business users. Ultraportable laptops have been “the thing” in the business world for a while now, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change any time soon. My reason for not thinking that business consumers will be pumped about the goes back to the same reasons I mentioned before, namely a lack of the features. While the price will be within a business consumer’s price range and the 5 hour battery life is sure to turn some heads, the combination of a non-removal battery and no optical drive really hurts it chances at standing out from the rest of the ultraportables on the market. This is due to the fact that most ultraportables have an extra battery (not possible with the Macbook Air) and more input devices than 1 USB port (more USB ports, Firewire, etc.) than the Macbook Air.

All in all I really don’t see any reason for anyone to purchase a Macbook Air within the given features and starting price. If anyone is interested in using a Mac as an ultraportable it’s a much better move to go with the Macbook, which has several more features at almost half the cost.

Written by Daryn

January 23, 2008 at 1:33 am