BladeEnc Old News Archive

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1999-02-13   New BladeEnc 0.76 ports available!

The following ports of BladeEnc 0.76 are now available thanks to Rob Braun:

Linux i386
Linux MIPS
Linux Sparc
BeOS i386 (Release 3 only)
Solaris 2.6 i386
Solaris 2.6 SUN
NeXT m68k
HP-UX

They are all available from my download page...
 

1999-02-13   New redirection through cjb.net

These pages can now be reached through the address http://www.bladeenc.cjb.net . Thanks to all the people who have told me about various redirection services or volunteered to give me free redirection through their own domains!
1999-02-13   What's up?!

Ok, it's been quite a while since I update anything now so I guess I better tell you out there what's going on.

First of all, I've moved to a new apartment. I did that just before Christmas so I just moved my things, cleaned the old one and left town for Christmas and New Year that I celebrated with my family and friends in Skåne (the south tip of Sweden, right next to Denmark). When I got back in town I didn't have a phone connection since there were some troubles and the phone company needed to get into my apartment to check a few things and since I had deadlines it remained unconnected for another 3 weeks. When I finally got my phone connected and could restore my internet connection I had 402 unanswered mails in my mailbox!!!

I still haven't read them all yet (I guess I'm a little bit more than halfway through) since I've both been busy at work and busy with getting everything set up in my new apartment. Btw, it's really a nice apartment for a bargain price. 86 square meters on the sixth floor with balcony and a splendid view over about a fourth of the town. It contains three rooms plus kitchen so now I have a nice bedroom, living room and computer room instead of everything squeezed into one small room. What a relief! I also took the opportunity to buy myself a new aquarium (375 litres, with a "back to nature" background) that I probably will keep some Guramis in and a new Computer (AMD K6-2 350MHz, 16 MB Riva TNT card, only 64 Mb RAM but with a 16 Gb Deskstar HD). I'm also going to get a direct internet connection (10 Mbit) in a few months and plan to run my old machine as a web server for these pages and some other stuff.

Anyway, back to BladeEnc. I have a few ports of 0.76 lying here (and probably more lurking in my unread mail) that I'll put online asap (including a Linux i386 one so you can stop asking me about it). I also took the opportunity to do some coding between Christmas and New Year and have now removed all copyrighted code from the source (at least as far as I know) and added a few switches. That means that the BladeEnc source now is almost ready for release, I'll just need another weekend on my own to fix the last things and then send it to the volunteers doing the ports so they can check that it can be compiled on as many systems as possible.

Unfortunately it seems like I can't use the LGPL license as I originally intended since it doesn't accept code containing patented algorithms (which in fact I consider to be a good precaution, although it suits me bad in this case). So I'll either have to write my own license agreement or use a somewhat less restrictive license like BSD. I'm fully capable of writing my own license agreement but it does take some effort and I don't like people having to learn a completely new license before having the right to play around with BladeEnc's source. Anyway, I hope we some day can work around all the MP3 related patents so we can have a totally free encoder.

Also, I don't think that my Newsletter has been working very well for the last months since I updated to Better Letter 3.0. I'll reinstall Better Letter 2.5 and see if I can get it working again...

And to all of you who sent me Christmas greetings: THANKS A LOT!!!  I really liked getting those, although I wasn't able to read them until mid-january...
 

Best Regards,

Tord Jansson
 

1998-12-18   BladeEnc 0.76 released, sourcecode delayed.

BladeEnc 0.76 released!

BladeEnc 0.76 has now been released. This is just a minor update from 0.75 where I have added one feature that has been asked for by many: Specify output directory on commandline. (use -OUTDIR=[path]) I have also tidied up the code a bit (can get quite messy with defines and ifdefs when you have the same source for all ports :), changed back the URL displayed at start-up to the old working one and removed one or two really minor bugs (can't even remember what they were, so they were really minor).

Speed and quality is the same as for 0.75 so there's no need to rush for it unless you're one of those who needs that switch.

The following versions are available:

Windows 9x/NT
FreeBSD & BSD/OS (i386)
UnixWare 7
OS/2
Irix 5.x
Irix 6.x

I had hoped to have the Linux i386 port available as well, but unfortunately I haven't received the binary yet so I'm afraid it will have to wait until early next year since
I'm moving to a new apartment tomorrow and then I'll leave town for my family's farm where I'll celebrate Christmas and New Year, without Internet access.
 
 

Sourcecode release delayed... :(

I know a lot of you have been waiting for the sourcecode to be released and I have earlier stated that it should be available before the end of the year. Unfortunately I haven't had
time to do some (more or less) necessary changes before I can release it under the LGPL. There are for example still fragments of code left that are copyrighted by others (but
free to use) that needs to be replaced before I can release the whole code under the LGPL license.

I want to make clear that this is just a delay due to me being totally buried in work (during November, which was my most busy month, I worked in average 80 hours a week!). I'm NOT having second thoughts about releasing the code or anything like that.
 
 

...and some info about a new great game in development ;)

Ok, I know that this newsletter only is intended for BladeEnc news, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you about what I'm doing at work.

As some of you might know I work for a Game Developer called UDS, known for games such as Ignition and Absolute Pinball for the PC. I'm currently working as project manager and one of the main programmers for our next title which has been secret until quite recently.

The name of the game is "No Fear Downhill Mountainbiking" and it will be released by Codemasters for PC and PlayStation.

No information is available on either UDS' or Codemasters' sites yet, but some short previews have been published in gaming magazines and more are certainly to come in the near future, so keep your eyes open! ;)
 

Ok, that was all for me this time, so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!
 

1998-12-13   Major update to supporting products page

The supporting products page has been given a major update. Just let me know if I've missed a program or gotten something wrong. There are quite a number of them now so I had to divide them into sections.

Also, a lot of CD Rippers now support the BladeEnc DLL. These includes Easy CD-DA Extractor 3, Audiograbber, CD-Copy and CDex.
 

1998-12-01   New Ports Available!

Some people seems to have access to more computer systems than I have underwear. Rob Braun is one of them and he has been kind enough to provide us with all these ports of BladeEnc 0.75:

BeOS
NeXT
Solaris 2.6
Solaris x86 2.6
HP-UX
Linux Alpha
Linux MIPS
Linux Sparc
 

Also, Mikael Kjellström has provided us with a new port for OS/2 and even more ports are planned.
 

1998-11-27   BladeEnc 0.75 released with Alpha FreeBSD and Digital UNIX ports already available!

BladeEnc 0.75 is now available for Windows 9x/NT, Digital UNIX and FreeBSD for DEC Alpha.

This new version is slightly faster ( 8% on my computer and testsample ) and has the same updated encoding engine as the DLL. The quality is identical to previous versions and a small bug that resulted in a totally harmless additional byte being appended to most MP3 files has been fixed.

The Digital UNIX port has been made by Stefan & Thomas Krantz and the Alpha FreeBSD port was delivered by Marca Registrada.

 

1998-11-27   BladeEnc DLL finally released!!!

The long awaited BladeEnc DLL has finally been released!

Since I haven't had so much time for BladeEnc lately Jukka Poikolainen (creator of a very good CD-Ripper called Easy CD-DA Extractor 3, available at http://www.saunalahti.fi/~poiko/cdda3/ ) volunteered to do the port. Other people have volunteered to do it before, but I have always wanted to do it myself since I had some very specific ideas on how I wanted it to work. But since I'm now more busy than ever with the game I'm working on I finally realized that I had to let somebody else write the DLL if I wanted it to be released before Christmas and Jukka seemed to be the right person for the job.

A nice side effect from this is that the latest beta of Easy CD-DA Extractor 3 already supports BladeEnc DLL! More supporting products should follow shortly, be so sure...

The DLL can be downloaded from my download page and comes with the necessary H-files and instructions on how to use it. Dead simple and straight forward if I may say so myself.

For people who don't know what a DLL is, don't bother to download it. It can't be run on its own, it needs to be integrated into another program that acts a bit like a frontend. The benefit of a DLL is that it can be more tightly integrated into another program than the normal BladeEnc.exe and can for example support things like on the fly encoding for CD-Ripping or radio recordings. It makes it also possible to use BladeEnc for internet radio broadcasting (if someone writes the necessary "frontend" for it).

 

1998-11-27   Problems reaching bladeenc.home.ml.org and new Linux i386 port available

A lot of you have had troubles reaching my homepage through the bladeenc.home.ml.org URL.

I'm using monoliths free redirection service for that URL and it seems like they are having serious problems with their server. :(

Until they have solved their problems I recommend you to use my real URL instead:  http://home8.swipnet.se/~w-82625/
It's a lot harder to remember, but it works.

Also, Zac has updated his Linux i386 port of BladeEnc 0.72, this latest version is smaller and compiled with pgcc. It was done a while ago, but I haven't had time to put it online until now...

 

1998-10-25   New BladeEnc Ports and updated Solaris ports

The following new ports of BladeEnc are now available for download: 

Solaris x86
SunOS
HP-UX

Also, the Solaris port has been recompiled and is about 12% faster than the previous 0.72 port. A special UltraSparc version has also been compiled which is 21% faster than the previous 0.72 port. 

All this has been made by Joel Fredrikson.
 

1998-10-25   What's Up?

Since the number of visitors on my homepage recently exceeded 100000 I thought I should celebrate this by making a few announcements and generally telling you what you can expect in the near future: 
 

New Supporting Products

A lot of new frontends and rippers supporting BladeEnc have been released and nearly everyone of the old ones has been updated. I'm currently in the middle of updating my supporting products page and hopefully it should be online in a week or so. In the meantime it might be worth checking out if your favorite frontend has been released in a new version. 

Also, a frontend called DistributeEnc can be downloaded from http://consist.horizon.nl/klaasjan.te.voortwis/

That is a frontend for Windows 95/98 (sorry, not NT) THAT DISTRIBUTES THE ENCODING PROCESS OVER A NETWORK! I know this is something a lot of you have been looking forward to... :) 

There are also some Unix and OS/2 frontends available and I'll add them to my Supporting Products section when it's updated. 
 

The BladeEnc DLL

BladeEnc will very soon be released as a Windows DLL. This means that BladeEnc can be installed as a dynamically linkable system component on your computer, which very easily can be supported by the programs that has support for it. Since BladeEnc then only takes care of the encoding itself it will be possible to write programs that uses it in ways that it can't be used today. Software for Realtime Internet Broadcasting and CD Ripping with encoding in one go (i.e. without saving an intermediate WAV-file) are two things that will be possible to do with the BladeEnc DLL. 

The interest for this DLL has been huge, so you can expect a lot of Frontends and CD Rippers to be rewritten for it. 

BladeEnc will of course continue to be available as a stand-alone program. 
 

The Ports

Various volunteers will continue to port BladeEnc to more and more operating systems. However, since they all are volunteers doing the ports in their spare time I can't promise any release date for a particular port or if it will be available at all :( 

A few ports are definitely in the pipeline though and I'm still hoping for a total of 20+ ports before the end of the year. 
 

The Homepage

The homepage needs a major update and facelift, but that's quite low priority, so I guess you will have to do with the current one for another month or two. 
 

E-Mails

Nowadays I get between 10-30 e-mails a day (depending on if I recently made a new release), so I simply don't have time to answer them all. However, all e-mails are being read, so don't let this discourage you if you feel the urge to tell me something. If you want an answer, please write your question so that I easily can answer it with a short sentence or two. 

Also, some of you have written some interesting e-mails that really deserved an answer which I never gave. The reason is simply that I sometimes didn't have the time to answer any of the more comprehensive letters and therefore kept them lying in my inbox for a few days, where they simply got lost and forgotten when new mail was added daily. My apologies for that. If you have written an important letter that you still need an answer to, please re-send it to me. 
 

The Next Version

I'm also working on a new version of BladeEnc. It will hopefully be released quite soon and will included: 

+ Slightly faster encoding (8% faster for the moment, but I might do a few more optimizations, so we'll see when it's released). 

+ Support for a specified output directory. 

+ STDIN/STDOUT support. This will give the various UNIX versions of BladeEnc roughly the same abilities as the Windows DLL and has been one of the most   asked for features. 

+ Support for RAW input (i.e. sample data without any file header). 

And possibly some other features I might throw in if I find the time. 
 

The Sourcecode

Ok, all you Free Software advocates out there, hold your breath... 

THE SOURCECODE FOR BLADEENC WILL BE AVAILABLE UNDER A LGPL LICENSE! 

I've had a large number of letters from people urging me to release the source and some of them explained in great detail and enthusiasm about the benefits of free software. These letters made me see that there actually were great benefits to be had, both for me and the users, by releasing the sourcecode under a license like GPL. I eventually decided for the somewhat less restricted LGPL license, since I still want non-free products to be allowed to be linked with BladeEnc. 

People who are interested in how software can benefit from making its sourcecode available or is interested in the philosophy behind free software (which means more than 'software you don't have to pay for') or just want to take a look at the LGPL license should take a look at http://www.gnu.org . It's quite some heavy reading, but the ideas are very interesting... 

However, I have some things that needs to be fixed first, so don't expect to see it tomorrow. I think it would be safe to say that you can download it before the end of the year, but considering my current workload at UDS I don't dare to promise anything... :( 
 

I also want to take the opportunity to point out a misunderstanding: 

A lot of you have thought that I didn't want to release the sourcecode because I was afraid that someone would make a rip-off encoder or derivative product that didn't contain my name and/or generated MP3 files with a noticeably worse quality. 

That's not the case. The reason was that if someone downloaded the source and compiled it himself (without modifying it), he ran a great risk of ending up with a binary that produced worse result than my distributed binaries! 

Very few people know this, but a surprisingly big percentage of all compilers have bugs in their floating point handling procedures that give the result that they lose precision in floating point calculations if certain code optimizations are enabled. This includes well known and popular compilers such as Visual C++ 4.0 and quite a lot of versions of the GNU C compiler. 

It might be hard to believe that those bugs exist on compilers that successfully can compile sophisticated programs like the Linux kernel, but most 
programs will work properly even if the floating point calculations are slightly incorrect. Just remember how long it took before the Pentium 
floating point bug was discovered. 

BladeEnc (and the original ISO reference encoder) happens to be one of those rare programs that suffers a lot if the precision isn't kept in all the 
calculations. The result is that MP3 files encoded with a bad binary includes some kind of low frequency phasing sound that might be hard to spot, but is very disturbing in the long run (it actually gave me a headache after about an hour, although I hardly could hear it). 

Since I wanted to make sure that all versions of BladeEnc produced the same high quality MP3 files I decided to not release the source and instead encourage people to volunteer to port BladeEnc for their systems. That way I could keep a close eye on every binary that was generated. However, I didn't expect that people would ask for ports to more than 30 different systems... 
 

However, now when I've decided to release the source I've found another way to ensure quality. I'll include an internal checksum routine that can determine if BladeEnc is working properly when started. If not, the process will be halted and an explaining message will be displayed. 
 

Well, that was all the announcements I had. Hope you feel that there was something interesting for you. :) 
 

1998-10-18   Solaris, OS/2 and Irix6 ports updated

New versions of the Solaris, OS/2 and Irix6 ports of BladeEnc are now available for download. 

The Solaris port has been updated to 0.72. 
A bug in the OS/2 port that made it impossible for you to enter multiple files on the commandline has been removed. 
The Irix6 port now works better for people that are using bash instead of the standard shell and has been optimized. 
 

1998-09-24   BSD port now available

A BSD port of BladeEnc 0.72 is now available for download. 

This port has been made by Giao Thanh Nguyen and has been tested on both Free BSD and BSD/OS.
 

1998-09-23   IRIX and Alpha NT ports now available

Two new ports of BladeEnc 0.72 are now available for download, the IRIX port by Markus Ridinger and the Alpha NT port by Steve Burns. 

The IRIX port comes in two versions, one for IRIX 5.2/5.3 and one for IRIX 6.x. 

 

1998-09-20   BladeEnc 0.72 Released - First ports already done and more on the way...

The Windows 9x/NT, Linux i386, Linux DEC Alpha and OS/2 versions of BladeEnc 0.72 are now available for download! 

This release features a speed increase of approximately 14% and some minor fixes (no new functions though) like the Linux i386 version no longer getting assertion failures on certain samples. Linux i386 users will also experience an additional speed boost since this version has been compiled with pgcc instead of gcc. 

The Linux i386 port has been made by Zac Livingston, Linux DEC Alpha port by Alexey Marinichev and OS/2 port by Mikael Kjellström. 

A total of 15 volunteers have received the sourcecode and if everything goes alright we will see BladeEnc 0.72 for the following additonal systems: 

AIX 
BeOS
Digital UNIX 
FreeBSD 
HP-UX 
IRIX 
Mac 
Mk Linux/Linux PPC 
MS-DOS 
NCR Unix SV5 (MP-RAS) 
Reliant UNIX 
SiemensNixdorf SINIX 
Solaris 
Solaris x86 
SunOs 4.1.4 
UnixWare 7 

So I guess we can say that we've covered the most of them. :) 

Just remember that all ports are done on voluntary basis, so there is no guarantee when a certain port will be available or if it will be released at all. 

 

1998-09-20   The Fraunhofer situation

Some of you have probably heard about the letter that Fraunhofer has sent to me and other creators of freeware/shareware MP3 encoders.This letter states that Fraunhofer and THOMSON have some certain key patent rights regarding MP3 and that you therefore needs a (extremely expensive) license in order to create an MP3 encoder, no matter if it's freeware or not. A copy of the letter can be found on MP3.com

This gave the result that most of my colleagues immediatelly removed their products from their homepages and ceased to develop them. A lot of MP3 enthusiasts got quite angry with Fraunhofer (to say the least) for marketing MP3 as an open standard and then when the userbase is big enough start to request $15 for every distributed encoder. 

However, this situation doesn't affect BladeEnc since swedish legislation specifically states that patents regarding mathematical algorithms or software implementations are NOT valid or enforceable in Sweden. I suspect that the same goes for quite a number of countries since these kinds of  patents are very questionable. 

I also sent a letter to Fraunhofer, politely asking them to specify what patents my product was infringing. I also ended the letter by saying that "If a license is needed I hope we can work something out". They haven't bothered to reply yet (I sent it one and a half week ago), so I suspect they recognised that they were a bit far out here and just tried to get rid of some unwanted competition. :-( 

My advice to all other freeware encoder authors is therefore to check what your countries legislation says about this. You can also check if your legislation specifically states that patents regulates the commercial use of a technique. If it does you might still be able to continue as long as you don't get any income from your product, but I'm not certain about that. 

 

1998-08-30   BladeEnc 0.70 Released - Major speed increase!

The Windows version of BladeEnc 0.70 is now available for download! No new features, but a speed increase of 40%

I have also made some serious internal changes in order to make this version a doodle to port, so hopefully we will now see between 10-15 ports of this version within two weeks... 

 

1998-08-30   OS/2 port updated

The OS/2 port had a small bug in the wildcard handling that now has been fixed. If you entered  "*.WAV"  you only got the first found WAV-file. You can get the new version from my download page. 
1998-08-30   New URL!

I have now registered my homepage with ml.org so now you can enter bladeenc.home.ml.org instead of my real URL. You can of course still enter the real URL so there is no need for you to update your bookmarks, but finally I have a URL that you can remember without having to write it down! 
1998-08-22   UsE! Benchmarks updated.

"UsE! -The user oriented MP3 encoding guide" is a Web page that compares different encoders, including detailed quality tests. I find this site to be wastly superior to the more well known mp3bench.com and I recommend it for anyone that is into serious encoder benchmarking. 

UsE! has just been updated with tests of BladeEnc at 160 and 192 kBit, so now you can finally see the difference yourself. It also includes some animated graphical comparisons that are really usefull when you want to compare the encoders in detail. 

The URL for UsE! is: http://kempelen.inf.bme.hu/~dancsi/USE!/

Please remember that the quality tests at UsE! are technical tests and not perceptual tests. Technical tests never gives you a 100% true ranking system. The only true way to measure the quality is to listen carefully and judge for yourself. However, I find the quality tests at UsE! to be nearly identical with what I have experienced myself and what I've heard from others. 

 

1998-08-22   OS/2 port of BladeEnc now available!

The much awaited OS/2 port of BladeEnc is finally here! I've had a surprisingly large amount of requests for this version, only the Linux i386 port has been more wanted... 

The reasons for the long wait is that we have had quite some problems with this port. One compiler generated a mutated executable that produced MP3 files of a lower quality than the other ports and two others didn't generate working executables until some changes had been made to the source. 

But now we finally have a fully working OS/2 port, thanks to Mikael Kjellström, who has been struggling for quite a while with different compilers and had to debug the source in order to get it to run properly. 

 

1998-08-13   Solaris port updated. Static version of Linux i386 port available!

The Solaris port has now been updated to the much faster 0.60. 

A statically linked version of Zac's Linux i386 port is now available for all those of you who haven't got libc6.0 yet. 

For all those who wonder when we'll start porting version 0.63 I can only answer quite soon. I want to tidy up the code a bit and add defines for practically every system we're going to port for in order to make it a doodle to port in the future (that way I hope we can get all future ports out no later than a week after the windows version). And there will be a lot of ports in the future... 

 

1998-08-13   BladeEnc Batcher added to supporting products page. New version of FrontBlade available.

BladeEnc Batcher is a new frontend written by Eugene Loginov. Two things sets it appart from the other frontends: You can manipulate the batch (add/remove files) while you're encoding and it has and option for shutting down windows when finished. It also supports Drag-n-Drop, has its own progress indicators and hides BladeEnc totally. 

A new version of FrontBlade has also been released. The new release features batch encoding and has a totally new interface. And of course, those small bugs in the interface have been fixed. Still the progress indicator doesn't work, but you can always open BladeEnc's minimized window to see the ETA. 

Both can be found on my supporting products page. 

 

1998-08-06   BladeEnc Helper and RazorBlade added to supporting products page

BladeEnc Helper and RazorBlade are two new BladeEnc specific frontends that have been added to the supporting products page. 

They both support batch encoding, drag-n-drop, all bitrates and features of BladeEnc 0.63 and they don't need any runtime libraries. BladeEnc Helper has some nice features like automatically scan a directory (and optionally its subdirectories) for WAV-files and automatically add them to the batch. RazorBlade on the other hand has its own progress indicator and hides BladeEnc completely (not even a minimized window), making it look and feel like an encoder on its own. 

They are both highly recommended! 

BladeEnc Helper is written by Shawn Anderson and RazorBlade is written by Holger Dors. 

 

1998-08-02   BladeEnc 0.63 released!

Version 0.63 of BladeEnc has now been released! This version is only a bugfix of version 0.60 where I have fixed the four bugs that were brought to my attention (like the -PRIO setting not working properly). The encoding speed and quality is identical with version 0.60. 

 

1998-08-02   i386 Linux archive can now be downloaded with Netscape.

Now THIS is odd!!! 

A lot of people wrote me and told me that the archive containing the Linux archive was corrupt, but I knew that I had extracted it to make sure that the manual was there before I uploaded it. So I thought it might have been corrupted when uploading it, so I downloaded it again (using FTP Explorer). The downloaded archive was identical with the uploaded one. Then I asked Zac (who made the port) to download it and see if he could find something that was wrong. He also said that the archive was corrupt and sent me a new one that was identical with the one I had gotten earlier. Then I finally  tried to download the archive with Netscape and  now I got a corrupted archive! 

After some testing I found that Netscape couldn't download any file with the extension ".tgz" from my homepage without destroying it! If I changed the extension to ".gz" it worked just fine. I don't know the mechanisms behind this, so I have no idea what went wrong or if it only happens with Netscape or with all browsers... 

Anyway, I have now changed the extension of both the i386 Linux and Solaris archive, so now can everyone download them correctly... 
 

1998-07-26   Updates to the link section - New site with encoder benchmarks!

I have updated the link section. The link to layer3.org has been removed since it has been down for a week now and prior to that hadn't been updated for months. The link to mp3bench has also been removed since I don't see any point to recommend it for benchmarks since it's so extremely outdated that it doesn't even contains a test of BladeEnc. Besides, the methods they used for testing gave some very questionable results. 

Instead I have added a new site called UsE! that describes itself as  "The user oriented MP3 encoding guide". It includes detailed quality tests of nearly all encoders on the market and I find its ranking system to be very truthfull to reality. Highly recommended for anyone that wants to see some detailed testresults! 

However, keep in mind that the tests are performed at 128 kBits and that BladeEnc is geared for higher bitrates... 

 

1998-07-26   New Frontend available!

FrontBlade is a frontend by SoftechSoftware that looks very promising. The current release is an early one with some flaws in the interface and it also lacks batch encoding (which has been promissed for a future version). 

Take a look at my Supporting Products page for some more info and a link to SoftechSoftware. 

 

1998-07-26   UnixWare 7 and Alpha Linux ports of BladeEnc now available!

Both the i386 UnixWare 7 and Digital Alpha Linux ports of BladeEnc are now available for download! 

The Digital Alpha Linux port has been made by Alexey Marinichev and the UnixWare 7 version has been made by Jon Coyle. 

 

1998-07-23   First real BladeEnc frontend now available!

BEShell is the first real BladeEnc frontend and it's now available for download! 

BEShell is not just another L3Enc frontend, it's a frontend written specifically for BladeEnc and therefore supports all currently available features of BladeEnc, including all the bitrates and priority settings! 

Batch encoding is supported and since all files are sent to BladeEnc at the same time you get an estimated time for encoding the whole batch. 

BEShell is written by XeT Software and can be found on my supporting products page. 

 

1998-07-20   Linux i386 port of BladeEnc released!

The much awaited Linux i386 port of BladeEnc is now finally available for download. The Linux i386 port has been made by Zac Livingston and has been proved to generate MP3 files that are identical to those produced by the Windows version, so we have absolutely no quality degradation. 

This port will be used as the base for other Linux/Unix ports that therefore should follow shortly. 

Since I don't use Linux myself (although I'm planning to install it soon), I can't test this port myself. So I would appreciate to get some comments and suggestions from all you Linux users out there. 

I have also made some minor changes to the homepage, including some new speed comparisons. 

 

1998-07-20   What's happening with BladeEnc development? 

Ok, I better think I write a few lines explaining what's happening and why there hasn't been an update to BladeEnc or my homepage for the last two weeks. 

Since I'm working as a professional game developer I usually work in projects with a development cycle of 12-18 months. Along the project you have a number of dates when you need to reach certain milestones. When you get close to a milestone you drop everything else and concentrates 100% on the work you have to do, because if you have fallen behind schedule you really need to give 100% to not get yourself or the people depending on you into trouble and even if you're ahead of schedule you still give 100% since this is your last chance to get things as good as possible for the deadline. 

Currently we are in the final stages of our project which means that we have a deadline at least every second week (beta-versions for gametesters, advertising materials for the publisher, special demo versions for shows etc). I have just completed a very crucial deadline which included 30 hours of non-stop working between Saturday and Sunday. 

What these deadlines mean to BladeEnc is that I basically have no time at all left to work on the next version, update the homepage or answer e-mails. Sorry for those who haven't received any answers yet, I'll try to answer them as soon as possible. I won't completely stop working on BladeEnc though, but the development will slow down to a crawl until I have passed all the deadlines. 

I have tomorrow off and will then upload the long awaited PC Linux port and do some modifications to the homepage. 

I have a lot of ideas for the next version which mainly will include some quite useful features (probably no speedincrease this time), but please have patience, I can only spare a few hours a week for now. 

Now I need to get some sleep... 

 

1998-07-06   BladeEnc 0.60 released - Major speed increase!

BladeEnc 0.60 is now available for download. This version has its task priority set to LOWEST so that it won't slow down your system more than necessary when encoding. It also features a new switch -PRIO so you can set the priority yourself if the default setting doesn't suit you. 

But the most significant feature of BladeEnc 0.60 is a speed increase of more than 60 %. This makes BladeEnc the fastest freeware encoder currently available!

For those of you who are interested in details: I found a way to replace some very complex and slow floating-point operations with some large lookup-tables and iteration-loops. This gave me a speedincrease of 63% on my P133. It should give even a bit more on a Pentium II since my large lookup-tables should fit nicely in the P2's big cache, but I haven't been able to test that yet. Nedless to say, the quality of the output is identical to that of earlier versions. 

Also, take a look at my new "Supporting Products" page where I present different Frontends and CD Rippers that supports BladeEnc! 

 

1998-07-03   Solaris version of BladeEnc now available

The first port of BladeEnc is now available for download. This Solaris version has been ported by Trevor Phillips and although it's still in beta stage it has been proved to generate identical results as BladeEnc for Windows, so it's safe to use. Some other versions, including a PC Linux port, should follow shortly. 

I have also made some minor changes to the homepage, and updated the FAQ with some new questions that I have been receiving lately. 

 

1998-06-23   BladeEnc 0.54 released - Coversion work begins

BladeEnc 0.54 is now available for download. This version includes support for AIFF-samples and a small bug that made BladeEnc refuse to compress files larger than 256MB has been removed. 

Some people have voluntered to convert BladeEnc to other systems and I have therefore also made some internal changes in BladeEnc 0.54 to allow for easier conversions. Hopefully you will see a PC Linux, SUN Linux and Solaris version of BladeEnc in the near future. 

Quality and encoding speed is the same as in previous versions. 

 

1998-06-14   BladeEnc Newsletter available!

Now there's an even easier way to get the latest BladeEnc related news than to read this page. Subscribe to BladeEnc Newsletter and get the latest news sent directly to your e-mail address! 

 

1998-06-14   BladeEnc 0.51 released - Small bugfix.

Ooops! A small bug managed to sneak into version 0.50. The result was that BladeEnc could crash if you passed the name of a WAV-file that didn't exist. This only happened in Native Mode and didn't affect quality in any way. 

 

1998-06-13   BladeEnc 0.50 released !  -  Use any L3Enc frontend with BladeEnc !

Now you can use any of the numerous L3Enc frontends with BladeEnc! 

This is the result of the main new feature of BladeEnc 0.50: an L3Enc emulation mode! 
The emulation mode is automatically entered when BladeEnc is called with a commandline that can be recognized as an L3Enc commandline. BladeEnc then mimics the behaviour of L3Enc by changing the default settings, reading the commandline and processing the specified WAV-file. 

The difference is that you are doing the compression with a freeware encoder that you don't need to register in order to use the higher bitrates! Also, the output is better when using bitrates above 128 kBit/s (see my quality section for more details) and the process is slightly faster! 

As soon as time permits I will add a Frontend section to my homepage in order to give you a detailed overview of the best frontends with direct download capabilities. 

For those who don't know :   A frontend is a graphical userinterface that lets you select what files to compress and set various options by just pointing and clicking. The frontend then calls the underlying program (in this case BladeEnc) with the correct parameters for performing the specified task.

 

1998-06-07   CD Copy supports BladeEnc!

CD Copy, one of the most popular CD-Rippers now supports BladeEnc. By using CD-Copy and BladeEnc together you can now extract and encode your music in one go! 

This is now the best available combination if you want to make high-quality, high-bitrate MP3s of your CDs with least possible hassle. 

CD Copy can be found at http://www.cdcopy.sk/

 

1998-06-06    New version released - Serious bug removed and speed increased.

The bug that decreased the output quality and introduced the phasing sound turned out to be the result of a bug in the C-compiler I use! It was easily solved by installing the latest Visual Studio Service Pack and recompiling the code. This didn't only get the quality back to what it should be, it also increased the speed with 18%. Not bad for nearly no work at all... :) 

I'm really sorry for that bug and promise it won't happen again. From now on I will compare the output from every new version of BladeEnc with a Reference MP3 that I have made. As long as the two files are identical no quality degradation can possibly have occured.