I want my MP3

There has been a rush recently of MP3 books onto the market, and most are simply not worth the time. I want my MP3 is typical. From the outset, the author never really establishes that he fully understands MP3s.

In nearly 400 pages, the magic that converts WAV or CD music files to 10 per cent of their original size is not explained. Even the important issue of bit rate and the significant effect it has on sound quality is not covered. Instead, you are given page after page of instructions for in-stalling MP3 software, which are repeated for more than 10 programs - with space-filling screen grabs. How many times do you need to be told to accept the licence, choose an installation folder, press next to continue? At the end of it all there are a few details about burning your own CDs - most of the CD chapter is dedicated to using just one program (no mention of Adaptec's Easy CD Creator), but there is no discussion of issues such as burning speeds, sessions, converting file formats or CD media. In addition, WinAmp is omitted entirely from the book, despite being the most popular MP3 player on download sites.

The book sticks to traditional distributions through Web sites and doesn't cover Hotline, Napster or IRC, while the portable MP3 player section is already falling behind. The Web sites mentioned are generally useful, but a visit to www.mp3.com could provide most of the MP3 resources covered. The book's CD has a scattering of MP3s and just nine programs on it - most of which are out of date, as the CD was burned in September 99, but the programs were downloaded in late July/early August.

In short, don't waste your money.

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Scott Mendham

PC World
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