Nov 25, 2013

The Day The Music Died

#AOL to discontinue Winamp as of Dec 20th


After 16 years of Whipping the Llama’s Ass, it looks like the company that should never have survived the dotcom bubble is discontinuing the media player that is a hallmark and legend.






Of course, we’re talking about AOL deciding to shut down Nullsoft altogether, meaning Winamp and all related products and services go dark as of December 20th 2013. Users are (of course) looking for alternatives to Winamp while many are simply saying they’re going to continue using Winamp until it spontaneously explodes from being abandonware.


I have a mixed feeling about this situation... I’ve been using Winamp for the entire 16 years that it has existed (I remember the initial release in 1997), and it’s been my favorite media player since then. To see it being discontinued by AOL is like the ultimate “Are you fucking serious?” moment followed by the invention of a string of obscenities that are dangerously close to tearing a hole in the fabric of time|space and unleashing flying technicolor ass-cracks onto the executives of AOL.


Of course, I have an alternative player (being AIMP) but it has some quirks...


Screenshot_4As you can see on the left, you can make AIMP look just like Winamp if you really want to. At least a reasonable mockup, though I actually used the “Good ‘Ol Winamp” setting on the modern skin in Winamp to get the purple and green version.


I can’t exactly get that same color setup in AIMP so I’m sorta stuck with the blue and silver skin (for now). I have (most predominantly) taken to using the Eternity skin for AIMP which is dark with orange though I can’t horizontally resize it, which aggravates me to no end. Luckily I can resize horizontally with the Winamp Modern Skin for AIMP... To remedy the situation, I’ve inquired about having the skin author do a Good Ol’ Winamp purple and green version... so we’ll see how that goes.


It’s not like Nullsoft wasn’t making any money... last time I checked, they were pulling about 6 million bucks a year, which is definitely more than AOL was worth in their heyday (zing!)


There is (of course) the rumor that Microsoft is already talking with AOL about buying Nullsoft, which means Winamp and Shoutcast services. I think it’s the only time I’ve uttered the phrase “At least there is a glimmer of hope... Microsoft could buy them.”


I feel very dirty saying that out loud.



I really do like the darker skins for media players, and preferably ones that aren’t too busy. So, the Eternity skin on the right is actually pretty nice and it’s less of an assault on my eyes. Though I can’t resize it horizontally so the thing looks a bit small on my screen... Like I said, AIMP has a few quirks but overall it’s a good player.


I’ve attempted to use Foobar2000 and have come to the “Oh, hell no...” conclusion. I do have VLC installed as well, but it’s more of a no-frills Swiss Army knife.


At least one good thing about AIMP is that it has a nice docking feature where it can dock to a side of the screen and then slide out of view. Very classy. Then there is a ... information bar at the top which displays the current song and information when the song starts. It displays across the top of the screen itself (though I suppose you could disable it entirely if you wanted).


I think no matter what, I’m going to be a fan of Winamp. It’s been a part of my digital life for 16 years, and there really isn’t anything that captures the feel of it. Sure, we all had a fit when AOL bought it and made it bloated – after all, the Winamp I grew accustomed to was lightweight and powerful. Minus all of the bloatware baggage in the code, I think under it all there is still the Winamp we grew to love before AOL got their hands on it...


I think the best case scenario... despite my better judgement, is Microsoft buys Nullsoft and all related services in order to keep it going under the //shudders// Micro...soft... banner...


I think a piece of my soul just died.


What are the odds Microsoft doesn’t buy it up and AOL discontinues it but decides to Open Source the whole thing?


I can dream, right?


If you’re looking for a good lateral move from Winamp, you can check out AIMP at the following address:


And also the Winamp Modern skin on deviantArt. Just do a search.



Freeze-ray. Stops time. Tell your friends.


At this point, all I can say is that all sorts of crazy acquisitions are going on in the tech industry. Apple bought out Primesense (the company behind the original tech for the Kinect) – so you can take a wild guess what the iPhone 6 is going to have. But then, Intel and SoftKinetic are teaming up to make short range depth cameras to stick into laptops, tablets and smart-phones next year... so you get the gist about what everyone is up to.





There’s this sudden rush to the AR market, as I predicted from the catalyst effect stemming from Google Glass (and the real reason Google wanted to make Glass). And even before Google Glass (a few years ago) I forecasted the rise of Augmented Reality in a bigger sense. But it’s still a few years off at this point since everyone is rushing into it with half-cocked thinking just to be on the bandwagon.


I’m not sure why everyone is stuck thinking in localized space and PTAM. I never really had any faith in the idea of one trick pony apps for mobile that were AR. But that’s neither here nor there because that’s not something I have to deal with personally.


ptam_screenshot Speaking of AR, I had a wonderful meeting with Primesense earlier this morning, and will have a follow-up December 5th to figure out what the hell Apple is going to do with their 350 million dollar acquisition. In the bigger picture, it would seem Liza Roumani and I are both hoping Apple isn’t going to liquidate Primesense and lock the technology behind closed doors, but Liza isn’t sure yet what Apple is planning. Seems like they’re just as in the dark at the moment as anyone else about what’s going on (either that or they aren’t allowed to say publicly). I’m all for Apple and advancing their products (it’s a business after all) but I hate it when bigger companies buy up little companies and then lock it all up in a vault.


Doubly so when Primesense was facilitating OpenNi with the hardware worth using in conjunction with the open standard for 3D framework sensing. If Apple were to nix that, I’d be pretty pissed off at them for being colossal dickweeds.


But I suppose Liza wouldn’t have wanted to have another conversation on December 5th if she knew Apple was going to liquidate Primesense entirely. So there’s still hope that I won’t have to pay a visit to Cupertino and deal with Tim Cook... but I suppose if I have to, then so be it.


Though I’ve been talking with SoftKinetic as well about the possibility of a long-range RGB-D sensor. Considering ZCam and Canesta were bought out by Microsoft, I’m going to have to pick my poison...


Microsoft... Apple ... or Intel.


Maybe Apple actually is the lesser of the evils at this point.... or maybe I’ll get lucky and Primsense will continue being around to support OpenNI with their sensors while Apple just licenses it while using it for their own stuff. That seems to be the hope from Liza as well because she’s actually interested in what we’re up to with Parallel Worlds, and I think she sees that Primesense Capri3D would be a perfect fit. Probably a hell of a lot better than cramming it into an iPhone and iPad.


2014 is going to be a huge push for augmented reality and related devices, so prepare yourself now. Luckily, I’m already ahead of the curve and past the small localized spaces augmented reality and thinking into the very large spaces...


Honestly, it only dawned on me recently that the problem with AR is actually more to do with solving the long standing issues with Virtual Worlds, which I happen to already be good at. Turns out they have more in common than I thought, but for entirely different reasons than the industry thinks. Plus, those solutions are at a level of complexity that I’m pretty certain few are in a position to solve.


There is still the nagging issue that a lot of those sensors seem to fail when outside. It makes me wonder how the hell anyone was going to use them attached to tablets and smart phones if they only work indoors under very tight conditions... I wouldn’t think Apple would spend 350 million dollars on Primesense if the sensors didn’t work outdoors... but I suppose I’ll figure that out anyway at some point. That’s why I’m talking with a few companies to figure out a good solution that isn’t going to explode like a vampire in daylight.


Either way, I’m still about 5-10 years ahead of the curve, assuming Captain Hammer doesn’t throw a car at me.






I often forget I’m technologically spoiled. Kinda hard to stay grounded when you’re offered access to 32 geo-synchronous satellites, a super-computer, and all sorts of technology on a regular basis. It’s made me into the sort of person that doesn’t take something as read when people say it’s not possible – I’m almost sure a lot of things are possible, but nobody has questioned it enough to figure it out yet. Makes me feel like Dr. Horrible sometimes, building a Freeze Ray to stop time... I just hope Apple Computer doesn’t act like Captain Hammer, corporate tool...


Somebody has to think of the bigger picture and ask the proverbial “Why not?” – I think it’s just coded into my DNA at this point.


Anyways... yeah... 2014 is gonna be a huge augmented reality year. Tell a friend.


Also, the Freeze Ray stops time... it’s not an Ice Gun. That’s Johnny Snow.


1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much impact losing Shoutcast will have on SL's DJ's and Clubs ?