Stick with WinAmp, not RealOne or WMP...
March 25, 2002 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Stick with WinAmp, not RealOne or WMP... Security vulnerability with RealOne and Windows Media Player, but not with WinAmp. Files with embedded URLs or JavaScript can be mislabeled as MP3 and RealOne and WMP will play them and the attachments. WinAmp will just complain... A demonstration can be found here...
posted by Samizdata (27 comments total)
I've always said this... Winamp Rocks. Period. Winamp3 is even better. I love the new sound processor. Sounds much better than Winamp2. I can't wait until it's out of beta. It looks like so much fun!
posted by spidre at 9:25 PM on March 25, 2002

Winamp is a quick download, compact, fast loading, and offers everything you need with nothing you don't.

The best program ever.
posted by Mark at 9:28 PM on March 25, 2002

Exactly, Mark. It is everything aprogram should be: small, focused, and uncluttered. RealAnything and WMP are just too slow, even on my fastest machine. The fact that Real and WMP can interperet javascript at all is just one indicator of the real problem: bloat.
posted by Nothing at 9:32 PM on March 25, 2002

I recently discovered Quintenssential Player and like it a lot. Looks great, lots of skins and visual plug-ins. Worth checking out.
posted by Fofer at 9:37 PM on March 25, 2002

Problem with QCD is that it's got very few good low desktop footprint skins. and it's a but clunkier than Winamp. I've used QCD since 1.x, and once Winamp started using CDDB and ID3V2, I saw no reason to use QCD.
posted by riffola at 10:06 PM on March 25, 2002

RealOne is evil. And they owe me a spindle of CDRs

Let me explain:
Shortly after I installed RealOne I began getting buffer underruns just about every other time I tried to burn a CD. I ruined about 20 or 30 CDRs this way. Also, my disk defragmenter would perpetually restart itself most times I tried to use it. After a while I started bringing up the Close Programs box every time I had a buffer underrun and began to notice that a program called "Rndal.exe" was always running. Sometimes it was running two, three or four times simulateously. Rndal, I eventually figured out, was an evil little component of RealOne Player that starts up every 20 minutes or so and uses your internet connection to talk to Real, telling them lord knows what about your computer. The evil part is that under RealOne's default settings, rndal runs even when RealOne is not running. In short, if you have RealOne on your computer, it is probably talking to Real over your internet connection either right now or within the next few minutes.

I eventually figured out that you can set Rndal to only start up when RealOne player is actually running, if you can find the correct checkbox in the preferences menu (which you have to counterintuitively check ON to turn rndal OFF) and then notice that the warning box that pops up telling you that RealOne won't work as well without Rndal running all the time requires you to check "NO" to confirm your changes. Also, according to the lovely people at Real technical support, there is no way to disable rndal completely. You can only disable it when Real is not running.

Anyway, the buffer underruns and disk defrag problems immediately went away after disabling rndal. I've burnt about 30 or so CDs without making a single coaster. Tell your friends: RealOne is evil.
posted by boltman at 10:37 PM on March 25, 2002

I like winamp, but my firewall likes to tell me that winamp is also sending out data to its masters just like the other 'evil' software. Also, winamp (as far as I know) doesn't have an IE/NS pluging to play embedded MP3s. Worse, quicktime does and it'll crash explorer like its saying, "Buy a Mac, buy one, you'll like it."

When you installed Winamp, there was a little checkbox that said something along the lines of "Send anonymous usage statistics." I'm imagining this is what you're seeing from Winamp.
posted by zempf at 10:42 PM on March 25, 2002

skallas is that just for CD or also MP3 playback? 'Cause it looks up the CDs at CDDB/Gracenote, & what zempf said.
posted by riffola at 10:47 PM on March 25, 2002

boitman, check if "evntsc" runs at start up in your start.ini, I have to keep disabling it, and reverting the CD Audio settings back once I am done using RealOne.
posted by riffola at 10:52 PM on March 25, 2002

Well I just downloaded Winamp3, seeing as how from what I hear it got a lot better than when I first tried (never ever try an alpha). It is great except my most used key was the "." on the num pad. I'd use to search for songs in my unbearably long playlists. Sigh... I cannot find that feature in the new one.
posted by geoff. at 10:52 PM on March 25, 2002

I think the idea of embedding URLs in mp3s is pretty neat, does anyone know how to go about doing that? How is it done?
posted by banished at 11:03 PM on March 25, 2002

Spidre: Why does Winamp3 sound better? Something I read—which I of course can't find now—said, in somewhat irritated tones, that the audio decoder hasn't been touched. Can anyone back me up here?
posted by Su at 11:03 PM on March 25, 2002


It's under Components and Plugins, then under Input/Output plugins in the Tech Support FAQ. Don't ask me. I didn't write the thing.
posted by Su at 11:07 PM on March 25, 2002

geoff. Open up playlist editor, hit tab, it's not as good as "J" or ".", but it works (kinda).
posted by riffola at 11:14 PM on March 25, 2002

People also might want to check out Freeamp, an open source free alternative to winamp. I have been using it happily for over a year now. It doesn't send any data to anyone (except on CD lookups) ;).
posted by phatboy at 11:22 PM on March 25, 2002

I like winamp, but my firewall likes to tell me that winamp is also sending out data to its masters just like the other 'evil' software

aside from the other things people have mentioned here, another thing that could be causing winamp to access the net is the option to check if there's a new version available each time you start the program. i think it's on by default, but you can turn it off.
posted by chrisege at 11:44 PM on March 25, 2002

The second I run it it calls home.

aha. yeah, i think that's the "check for new version" thing. if you go to the "setup" option under preferences, you can turn it off. you can actually choose "no internet connection available" and it won't try to connect for anything.
posted by chrisege at 11:47 PM on March 25, 2002

Y'know, even though Nullsoft/ Winamp is technically an AOL subsidiary (I believe they bought out Justin Frankel for something like $86 million- the lucky bastard), it's never stopped being a kick-ass team; in addition to Winamp's charms, the program's developers then went on to create the original gnutella software among other creations. One of the few dot-com multi-millionaires that I don't begrudge their success...
posted by hincandenza at 2:28 AM on March 26, 2002

Yes! Justin Frankel - easily my favorite now-wealthy programmer of all time. I admire a programmer who can sell his product and maintain a wonderful degree of control over the direction of his baby - now that's what I call involvement. Screw that Shawn Fanning. Look at what happened to his code once he sold out - managed by others, politicked to hell and back, ripped from his control. Does he even code anymore?

Sorry, I'm still bitter that he totally let Napster slip through his fingers.
posted by salsamander at 6:11 AM on March 26, 2002

Quicktime player and iTunes are also unaffected.
posted by schlaager at 10:40 AM on March 26, 2002

Yeah Winamp stil; rocks, but one of the reasons is htat they've got a whole bunch of new people working on it. Winamp 3 is actually being made by the guy(s) who made K-Jfol.
posted by riffola at 11:17 AM on March 26, 2002

Weird-- I upgraded from WMP to WinAmp this morning, and my MP3s sound great. I mean, there was obvious quality loss before, and now I'm picking up things I haven't heard in my CD originals of this music.

Thanks to MetaFilter, my quality of life has gone up!
posted by rocketman at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2002

I upgraded from WMP to WinAmp this morning, and my MP3s sound great. I mean, there was obvious quality loss before, and now I'm picking up things I haven't heard in my CD originals of this music.

That's because Microsoft has purposely crippled the playback of MP3 from WiMP in order to try and push their own proprietary format. The bastards.
posted by Maxor at 7:17 PM on March 26, 2002

The only problem I've discovered with WinAmp is it's such a computer hog that I can't listen to a CD without massive sound quality loss. It was very interesting when I tried to listen to MP3s. Hit quit, walk out of the room, come back in five mintues and it just shut. Nasty. So I use the CD player off Windows, because that actually allows me to use programs as well as listen to CDs.

Would anyone know of a very low processing power MP3 player?
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:53 PM on March 26, 2002

stoneegg21 - what are you running, a 486?

On my athlon 650, I'm only seeing around 5% cpu usage when playing mp3s (the cpu has to decode them), and less than 2% when playing a CD. The processor does basically nothing in order to play raw CD audio. I'm no expert, but unless you're running a really old system, I'd say that it's some sort of a memory allocation problem, or something else is completely out of whack. Winamp is most definitely not a cpu hog.
posted by canoeguide at 1:37 AM on March 27, 2002

I love Winamp, but it chokes on "enhanced" CDs (those that have movies/software junk added, like 2 of my beloved Squirrel Nut Zippers albums).

And ever since I installed some other player or other, it doesn't play *any* CD audio tracks anymore. It'll load 'em in the playlist, then skip over them rather than playing them. Feh.
posted by Foosnark at 6:54 AM on March 31, 2002

That hardly sounds like Winamp's fault.
posted by NortonDC at 7:47 AM on March 31, 2002

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