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Getting Your News as MP3s?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the the-world-does-not-revolve-around-.ra dept.

News 67

GreenKiwi asks: "I've been really interested in finding a news source that has MP3s of their brodcasts. I have an iPod and download the news in text form most mornings to it so that I can find out what's going on. However, I would love to download (preferably automatically) news in the form of an MP3 that I could download to my iPod in the morning so that I could listen to the news on my way to work. The BBC has Real Audio output, but no MP3s that I can find. NPR has them for Real and WMP. I guess I could download and then convert the files. If that's possible. I'd love to hear whether anyone is doing this and how."

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DIY :) (4, Interesting)

joebp (528430) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016974)

lynx -dump ${URL} | ${YOUR_FAVOURITE_TEXT_TO_SPEECH_PROGRAM} | ${YOUR FAVOURITE_MP3_ENCODER} > outfile.mp3

You'll probably need to tweak the voice the TTS program produces to avoid involuntarily wetting yourself laughing when it makes hilarious speak-o's.

Also, you'll need to find a decent news site with few extraneous words and crap.

Re:DIY :) Flash FXP is a TROJAN HORSE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016999)

Warning! This is a public service announcement!
FLASH FXP
FlashFXP is the root of all evil. Not only does this closed source call-home program get huge amounts of attention making all of us wonder if "Charles DeWeese the information thief" is 1) selling your information to marketeers, 2) pretending he can increase profits by threatening, as reported in some cases, paying customers with BSA actions and lawsuits or 3) trojaning your system for other nefarious activities the nature of which you will never be aware because he provides neither source or debugging symbols, and the binary is stripped. One thing is for sure. Be it here on BetaNews, or on Slashdot, or on download.com.com, there is more than a few people calling into question why FlashFXP does what it does, and what is it doing. I would recommend the use of WinPCAP, WinDUMP, and ethereal, along with the free for personal use application firewall, Kerio Personal Firewall (software with nothing to hide, such as KPF, is often free for personal use, and others, like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OpenSSL (a technology probably stolen by DeWeese and used illegally in FFXP) and Linux/GNU to name a few. With scary legislation in the US empowering copyright holders to DDOS your P2P networks, "root" your boxes in order to delete copyrighted content, and to make circumventing the mechanism by which an MP3 prevents the playing of an MP3 without a digital signature a felony, you can not trust software which calls home in an undocumented, undesirable way. This is the inroad by which these technology fascists will infect your computer with government sanctioned Trojaning devices. FlashFXP, when purchased legitimately, forces your to divulge HUGE amounts of information about yourself. You cant use cash and anonymously buy "shrink." Not only did I buy FFXP, but I excercised my right to fair use on more than one machine, the closed source binary was never run concurrently on more than one CPU at a time, yet my key got blacklisted. I have always been fond of OpenSource, but this and the EULAs for Windows Media Player, which also does various call home undocumented behavior, make not using OpenSource suicidal if you want a life where the government doesn't control and monitor your every keypress. Best of luck in the brave new world, if we continue to support fascists such as Charles DeWeese in his never-ending pursuit to force you to be tithed for non-Novel software which is built upon the stolen intellectual property of others, and prioritized. This is by no means a call for legislated digital communism, but it certainly calls into question the value of something that is not transferable, the seller has not liability of the actions of, the right to fair use is forfeit, and they law claims they copyright holder can root your computer in order to enforce copyright. Software like this I should be paid to use! Not pay for it! Be careful. He has stolen from the public domain technology to implement this secure technology, SSL, then he uses it to hide from you the true nature of his communications with home-base, as he calls home and Jon.Ashkrofts your information. I'm glad I use SmartFTP and NCFTP and run KPF as a start in the line of defense against a Orwellian cabal of software and I.P.

I've written to AD-AWARE and even asked that FlashFXP be added to the scanlist!
Eugenia Loli is a fat pig

Re:DIY :) Flash FXP is a TROJAN HORSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4017065)

"Eugenia Loli is a fat pig"

Say what you want, but I've always thought she was kinda hot.

I agree with this post. (1, Interesting)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017062)

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Festival [ed.ac.uk] is a particularly good text-to-speech program. It sounds like an English butler, so you will feel wealthy and pampered while listening to it.

Another benefit of this is that it can be modified with minimal effort to give you audio versions of not just any web site, but any plain text source, whether it be email, your grocery list, your "to do" list (so you can get in the right mindset before arriving at work), yesterday's server stats.

I first learnt of text-to-speech when my uncle lost his eyes in a fishing boat accident. He's a computer enthusiast, and I was soon impressed with his neat new software. Since then, I've noticed that many of the "accessibility" mechanisms put in place for the handicapped can be beneficial to normal people as well. I frequently browse the 'web with no images, and just use ALT tags (intended for the blind). Certain city intersections that "chirp" for blind people when the light is green allow me to cross the street while reading. Wheelchair ramps are easy on the knees, and handicapped parking spaces are usually open and very close to my destination. Text-to-speech may be your first step into a larger, more convenient world.

Re:I agree with this post. (1)

galaxy300 (111408) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017135)

Dude...you're not supposed to park in handicapped spaces. Don't you watch Seinfeld?

Wadda cute lil troll... (1)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017137)

"handicapped parking spaces are usually open and very close to my destination"

I just have to believe you are kidding since the rest of your post made such sense.

Re:Wadda cute lil troll... (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 11 years ago | (#4026541)

I think what he meant was that when he goes somewhere, he notices that the handicap spots are near the door, and frequently are open (maybe he meant open like wide, uncrowded open?) If it was a troll, then hats off, it was snuck in there pretty nice.

Re:I agree with this post. (2)

gaudior (113467) | more than 11 years ago | (#4020268)

Wheelchair ramps are easy on the knees

This is true, but ramps and especially, curb cuts are often an annoyance and even dangerous to the blind. If you do not use a helper dog, and most blind people do not have one, your only recourse is the cane, and curb cuts are very difficult to detect. Chirping croswalks are fine, where they exist, but many intersections, even in fairly busy areas do not have signals.

Re:DIY :) (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019875)

Hey this isn't a bad idea! Wish I would have thought about that! Although I have a PDA for Avantgo and I ride a bus so I have time to read, but I can see how this would be a cool idea! Only problem....does the lynx dump dump html too? You'd probably have to parse the tags and javascript out as most all news sites use this stuff.

Re:DIY :) (1)

Rytsarsky (319094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4033501)

lynx -source prints the source of the document, lynx -dump strips html tags, replaces links with numbered references whose uri's are listed at the bottom.

Re:DIY :) (1)

kgutwin (243912) | more than 11 years ago | (#4022668)

In that regard...

I've written up a little perl script which fetches a slashdot story and converts it into a SABLE document - XML specific to text-to-speech synthesis applications. I use Festival [ed.ac.uk] for speech synthesis - with a British accent, I can have my computer read slashdot to me in the morning...

The script basically converts slash's Light mode into something more conducive to tts purposes. It also has a substitution list to help the tts engine pronounce words correctly (how do you think the computer would pronounce CmdrTaco?) Other than that, I've been constantly amazed at how well the process works.

If anyone's interested in the script, feel free to email me.

-Karl
-----------

thirsty post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4016976)

I could really go for a cold Speights.

bFM (2, Informative)

Stillman (185591) | more than 11 years ago | (#4016986)

Hard News, broadcast by bFM [bfm.co.nz] in Auckland, New Zealand. Russell Brown is very love/hate, but it's quite an intellectual take on current events.

Re:bFM (2)

barnaclebarnes (85340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4024488)

I vote for love him. One of the best news jounalists in NZ. Hard News is one of the few things that keeps me informed about NZ politics while living abroad. I don't always agree with him but he does give time to anyone who is willing to put up a compelling augument, even if it isn't exactly what he thinks.

Americans would do well to listen to him as well. He gives a good take on what the rest of the world may think about George and co.

Mplayer! (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017015)

I guess this could be done using MPlayer [mplayerhq.hu] and LAME [mp3dev.org].. Mplayer supports mms:// urls and about all codecs there is.. The proprietary extensions to rtsp:// (streaming realaudio/video) is also about to be supported.. It also supports writing audio to raw pcm or wav, which can be encoded to mp3 using LAME.

Re:Mplayer! (1)

funky womble (518255) | more than 11 years ago | (#4020033)

That's good, the more ways of saving realaudio streams to disk the better - maybe it will encourage the BBC to start their Ogg Vorbis broadcasts again!

textmode realplayer for unix (2, Informative)

nesthigh (447909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017020)

Since Real Audio is (apparently) the most common format

The Text-Mode RealMedia Player (TRPlayer) [linux-speakup.org] is a RealMedia player for Unix which has a command-line interface. It can play RealAudio, RealVideo, MP3, and all other media types supported by RealPlayer under Unix. TRPlayer was designed especially for blind Unix users, who don't yet have access to the graphical user interface. However, it is also useful to others; it is a good tool for background audio playback and for use on low-end hardware, such as Intel 486-based PC's.

Simply pipe this thru your favorite mp3/ogg encoder. You may need to use a cheap x86 Linux box, as OS X isn't supported by Real (yet).

next

Re:textmode realplayer for unix (1)

ptaff (165113) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017046)

Here is a snippet I use for that very purpose:
vsound -s -d -t trplayer -q rtsp://example.com/ |sox -t au - -t wav - | lame -b 128 - out.mp3
as an added bonus you can listen to the stream while recording it. All four programs (vsound, trplayer, sox and lame) are available on freshmeat.net

OS X isn't supported by Real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4017423)

Err, are you sure you know what you're talking about? [real.com]

Hint: It's Mac OS X native.

Re:OS X isn't supported by Real? (1)

nesthigh (447909) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019777)

Eee gahds Watson, You are right. But, trplayer probably wouldn't work with the included codecs anyway. ;-)

I simply looked at the requirements [real.com] page linked from Real's homepage [real.com]. Then I checked the link there to the older players, and only Mac OS 7.0/8.0 were available.

Hardly Elementary, my dear Watson.

As you probably guessed, I don't use RealOne or Mac OS X.

And, of course, real.com is a twisty maze leading, mostly, to the pay versions of their products/services.

next

Re:OS X isn't supported by Real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4038258)

RealOne player for OSX is just out (time limited til November). It is simple and works well, unlike all of the previous real players for Mac.

Has anyone come across a Tivo for radio ? (1)

tomcounsell (315692) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017024)

As a diehard fan of BBC Radio 4 and the world service I'd love a Tivo type device for radio - preferably portable.

Anyone come across one ? or even cobbled together one ?

Re:Has anyone come across a Tivo for radio ? (1)

galaxy300 (111408) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017158)

Sony makes a device that records CD's onto it's hard drive (even includes lookup to CDDB, I believe) and can be programmed to record radio broadcasts at specific times of the day, no PC required. It was in the NYTimes Circuits section a few weeks ago...

Re:Has anyone come across a Tivo for radio ? (1)

altgrr (593057) | more than 11 years ago | (#4033303)

If you're in the UK, buy a Psion Wavefinder for your PC and download a copy of DAB Bar [dabbar.com].

If you're not, the old-fashioned method of hi-fi with self-timer and set to record on to a tape is surely as good as any? Failing that, there must be timer programs to control sound recording, and you could take the headphone output of any radio, plug it into your PC (laptop if it has to be portable), and leave the laptop switched on and the radio plugged into a timer switch... The possibilities are not quite endless, but many at least.

Try listening to your local radio station (3, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017078)

Most AM stations have news every half hour.

Re:Try listening to your local radio station (3, Interesting)

bje2 (533276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017505)

well, the author didn't specify, where he works, or how he commutes, which is a problem when answering this question...obviously your answer is easy, if a radio is readily available...i'm going to assume that the author must not drive to work, because if he did, he could just listen to the news on his radio as you stated, and not bother asking this question...however, i'm guessing he probably lives or works in a major city, where he takes a subway, etc, making a radio/walkman useless (if he's going to the trouble to ask this)...if this *is* actually the case, then the author does need an alternative to the radio...of course, he could just throw a casette tape in his stereo while he's showering/getting ready for work/eating breakfast in the morning...tape a half hour or hour of the news...and then listen to it with a walkman on the way to work...i dunno, it's just hard to answer without having all the pertinent information....

Streambox (2)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017083)

Streambox VCR can save any realaudio stream to a file. Streambox Ripper can convert any realaudio file into an MP3. Unfortunately Streambox VCR was sued into oblivion by Real. (At least as far as they know.)

Re:Streambox (1)

Star Stealing Girl (586833) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017625)

I've tried using Streambox VCR to download real audio files from NPR, but it won't connect to the server for me. Has anyone downloaded audio shows from NPR sucessfully with Streambox?

News Radio? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4017109)

TechNet Home > Products & Technologies > Windows Web Services (IIS) > Deploy > Deployment Overviews and Guidelines Hard Rock Cafe Switches from Linux to Windows 2000 Topics on this Page down Solution Overview down Company Overview down Situation down Solution down Moving Forward With Microsoft down For More Information hdlinx01 Published: May 2001 Switching from Linux and Apache to Microsoft® Windows® 2000 enabled Hard Rock Cafe to easily build a sophisticated and full-featured intranet, which the company is using to facilitate all areas of its business. In the year since the switch, the powerful tools provided with the Microsoft platform have enabled the company to develop a wide range of useful applications with just two developers, resulting in lower internal costs and improving the company's ability to communicate with employees across its 50+ corporate-owned cafes. Every Hard Rock Café employee using the intranet now enjoys a customized start page, providing easy access to the relevant tools and information needed to do their jobs. Solution Overview Back to Top Customer Profile Hard Rock Café International is a $400 million entertainment company and a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based Rank PLC. Business Situation The company's heterogeneous environment based on Sun Solaris, Oracle, WebObjects, Lotus Notes, and NetWare was difficult to maintain, and required the company to rely on expensive, hard to find external expertise. This was resulting in higher costs and the inability to keep its Web site up and running. Solution By switching to the Microsoft® platform, Hard Rock Café was able to reduce its total cost of ownership and increase its ability to deliver the new applications that will improve the company's efficiency. Software and Services Microsoft Windows® 2000 Advanced Server Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0 Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 7.0 Enterprise Edition Scenario Intranet Company Overview Back to Top Founded in 1971, Hard Rock Cafe International has grown into a $400 million entertainment company that embodies the spirit of rock music through its signature cafes, hotels and casinos, collectible and fashion merchandise, live concerts and performance venues, and the Hard Rock Records music label. A wholly-owned subsidiary of London-based Rank PLC, Hard Rock Cafe International operates or franchises 104 signature Cafes in more than 36 countries, providing visitors around the world with a unique experience that combines food and merchandise with the largest collection of rock memorabilia on the planet. Situation Back to Top Until recently, Hard Rock Cafe had a mixed IT environment consisting of Sun Solaris, Novell NetWare, and Lotus Notes, with the company's intranet consisting of an Intel-based server running Linux and Apache. Although the IT group had a large number of intranet applications it needed to develop, their Linux-based platform made this extremely difficult and time-consuming. "The Linux-based intranet consisted of a few simple applications that two developers had built--looking up a phone number, browsing imported POS logs, and paging a support technician--with everyone sharing the same password," said Rob Conti, manager of network services for Hard Rock Café. "We wanted to offer additional Web-based applications for accessing detailed financial data and communicating with our stores, but the lack of security and functionality in the Linux platform meant we would have to develop everything from scratch. That made these initiatives just too cost-prohibitive to pursue on the Linux platform." Solution Back to Top In March 2000, Hard Rock Café standardized on the Microsoft platform to lower its total cost of ownership. This included converting the company's Internet site from Solaris to Windows 2000, migrating the company's mail and messaging solution from Lotus Notes to Exchange 2000, and consolidating the company's four NetWare-based file and print servers onto a single server running Windows 2000. Hard Rock Café also migrated its intranet server to Windows 2000. It still resides on a single Intel-based server, now running Windows 2000 Server with Internet Information Services 5.0 and SQL Server(TM) 7.0. In each restaurant, five or six PCs running Windows 2000 Professional and Microsoft Internet Explorer are used to access the intranet. If your browser does not support inline frames, click here to view on a separate page. "The Microsoft platform has enabled us to achieve far greater functionality than we ever dreamed, both for our public Web site and our corporate intranet. Since we migrated to Windows 2000, we've been able to rapidly deliver the tools and applications needed to support our business and reduce costs." Ron Ward Sr. Director, IT and Internet Hard Rock Café International Since migrating to the Microsoft platform, Hard Rock Cafe has enjoyed the ability to easily build and deploy new intranet applications that assist users throughout the company with doing their daily jobs. "The Microsoft platform has enabled us to achieve far greater functionality than we ever dreamed, both for our public Web site and our corporate intranet," said Ron Ward, senior director of IT and Internet for Hard Rock Café. "Since we migrated to Windows 2000, we've been able to rapidly deliver the tools and applications needed to reduce costs and streamline the way we do business." To create the extensive functionality now enjoyed across the company, Hard Rock Café developers used the Visual Studio® 6.0 development system. "The power of the integrated tools provided in the Microsoft platform was one of the key reasons we decided to use it as the foundation for our new corporate intranet," said Conti. "We've only had two developers working on our intranet--the same number we had working on the Linux platform--and the Microsoft platform has enabled them deliver upwards of 50 applications over the last year. We're definitely getting more results for our development dollars now. Not only have we been able to implement a great deal more functionality, but the Microsoft platform has been much easier to administer and maintain, requiring almost no effort at all. " Every user accessing the Hard Rock Café intranet now enjoys a personalized start page based on their role in the organization, and designed to help them do their jobs as efficiently as possible. "When a user logs in, they're now presented with a customized start page that provides links to all the functionality they're permitted to access," said Conti. "User profiles and permissions are managed using another intranet application we developed, and are stored in the SQL Server 7.0 database. This was much easier to develop on Windows 2000 than it would have been under Linux, again due to the extensive core functionality provided in the Microsoft platform." "Not only have we been able to implement a great deal more functionality, but the Microsoft platform has been much easier to administer and maintain, requiring almost no effort at all." Rob Conti Manager of Network Services Hard Rock Café International With the new platform, the company has been able to rapidly develop applications that improve the efficiency of the company's core business--food, entertainment and merchandising. "With the Microsoft platform, we've been able to build tools and applications to lower costs and assist with just about every part of our business," said Conti. "In the past, new menus required sending a large amount of materials to all our stores--recipes, food display guidelines, and so on. Now that we can do this via our intranet, we're saving upwards of $20,000 per year for just this one task. We've also developed a wealth of other applications, for everything ranging from gift certificate management to souvenir merchandise catalogs. We've even built a tool to control the functionality of our Cisco-based video playback system, which we're now running in some of our cafes." Migrating to the Microsoft platform has also enabled Hard Rock Café to take advantage of the wide range of third-party applications available for Windows 2000. "We deployed a solution from Business Intelligence Solution Group, called intelligentScorecard(TM), to provide business managers throughout the company with easy access to the information needed to run their area of the business," said Ward. "It consolidates information from systems across the company into a centralized data warehouse and gives us the ability to define and monitor key performance indicators on a real-time basis. Each café manager sees the relevant indicators directly on their personalized intranet start page, and can easily drill down to investigate the information behind the numbers. We never would have been able to deploy something like this with Linux." "We've only had two developers working on our intranet--the same number we had working on the Linux platform--and the Microsoft platform has enabled them deliver upwards of 50 applications over the last year. We're definitely getting more results for our development dollars now." Rob Conti Manager of Network Services Hard Rock Café International Moving Forward With Microsoft Back to Top Now that Hard Rock Café has built an extensive intranet to service its 50+ corporate-owned cafes, the company is planning on deploying an extranet that will service its 50+ franchise locations. "We'll be able to communicate all the corporate standards for menu items and merchandise by basically cloning our existing Intranet server--just leaving out the financial reporting tools," said Conti. "This will allow our franchisees to enjoy all the benefits of the functionality we've developed for internal use, and will aid them in achieving the same high standards that we demand of our corporate-owned cafes." The .NET Enterprise Servers are Microsoft's comprehensive family of server applications for building, deploying and managing next generation integrated Web experiences that move beyond today's world of standalone Web sites. Designed with mission-critical performance in mind, .NET Enterprise Servers will provide fast time to market as well as scalability, reliability and manageability for the global, Web-enabled enterprise. They have been built from the ground up for interoperability using open Web standards such as XML. The .NET Enterprise Servers are a key part of Microsoft's broader .NET strategy, which will enable a distributed computing model for the Internet based on Internet protocols and standards in order to revolutionize the way computers talk to one another on our behalf. For More Information Back to Top For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada information Centre at (800) 563-9048. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/ For more information on Hard Rock Cafe International, visit their web site at: http://www.hardrock.com/ © 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, Visual Studio, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Contact Us | E-mail this Page | TechNet Newsletter © 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Statement Accessibility TechNet Home > Products & Technologies > Windows Web Services (IIS) > Deploy > Deployment Overviews and Guidelines Hard Rock Cafe Switches from Linux to Windows 2000 Topics on this Page down Solution Overview down Company Overview down Situation down Solution down Moving Forward With Microsoft down For More Information hdlinx01 Published: May 2001 Switching from Linux and Apache to Microsoft® Windows® 2000 enabled Hard Rock Cafe to easily build a sophisticated and full-featured intranet, which the company is using to facilitate all areas of its business. In the year since the switch, the powerful tools provided with the Microsoft platform have enabled the company to develop a wide range of useful applications with just two developers, resulting in lower internal costs and improving the company's ability to communicate with employees across its 50+ corporate-owned cafes. Every Hard Rock Café employee using the intranet now enjoys a customized start page, providing easy access to the relevant tools and information needed to do their jobs. Solution Overview Back to Top Customer Profile Hard Rock Café International is a $400 million entertainment company and a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based Rank PLC. Business Situation The company's heterogeneous environment based on Sun Solaris, Oracle, WebObjects, Lotus Notes, and NetWare was difficult to maintain, and required the company to rely on expensive, hard to find external expertise. This was resulting in higher costs and the inability to keep its Web site up and running. Solution By switching to the Microsoft® platform, Hard Rock Café was able to reduce its total cost of ownership and increase its ability to deliver the new applications that will improve the company's efficiency. Software and Services Microsoft Windows® 2000 Advanced Server Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0 Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 7.0 Enterprise Edition Scenario Intranet Company Overview Back to Top Founded in 1971, Hard Rock Cafe International has grown into a $400 million entertainment company that embodies the spirit of rock music through its signature cafes, hotels and casinos, collectible and fashion merchandise, live concerts and performance venues, and the Hard Rock Records music label. A wholly-owned subsidiary of London-based Rank PLC, Hard Rock Cafe International operates or franchises 104 signature Cafes in more than 36 countries, providing visitors around the world with a unique experience that combines food and merchandise with the largest collection of rock memorabilia on the planet. Situation Back to Top Until recently, Hard Rock Cafe had a mixed IT environment consisting of Sun Solaris, Novell NetWare, and Lotus Notes, with the company's intranet consisting of an Intel-based server running Linux and Apache. Although the IT group had a large number of intranet applications it needed to develop, their Linux-based platform made this extremely difficult and time-consuming. "The Linux-based intranet consisted of a few simple applications that two developers had built--looking up a phone number, browsing imported POS logs, and paging a support technician--with everyone sharing the same password," said Rob Conti, manager of network services for Hard Rock Café. "We wanted to offer additional Web-based applications for accessing detailed financial data and communicating with our stores, but the lack of security and functionality in the Linux platform meant we would have to develop everything from scratch. That made these initiatives just too cost-prohibitive to pursue on the Linux platform." Solution Back to Top In March 2000, Hard Rock Café standardized on the Microsoft platform to lower its total cost of ownership. This included converting the company's Internet site from Solaris to Windows 2000, migrating the company's mail and messaging solution from Lotus Notes to Exchange 2000, and consolidating the company's four NetWare-based file and print servers onto a single server running Windows 2000. Hard Rock Café also migrated its intranet server to Windows 2000. It still resides on a single Intel-based server, now running Windows 2000 Server with Internet Information Services 5.0 and SQL Server(TM) 7.0. In each restaurant, five or six PCs running Windows 2000 Professional and Microsoft Internet Explorer are used to access the intranet. If your browser does not support inline frames, click here to view on a separate page. "The Microsoft platform has enabled us to achieve far greater functionality than we ever dreamed, both for our public Web site and our corporate intranet. Since we migrated to Windows 2000, we've been able to rapidly deliver the tools and applications needed to support our business and reduce costs." Ron Ward Sr. Director, IT and Internet Hard Rock Café International Since migrating to the Microsoft platform, Hard Rock Cafe has enjoyed the ability to easily build and deploy new intranet applications that assist users throughout the company with doing their daily jobs. "The Microsoft platform has enabled us to achieve far greater functionality than we ever dreamed, both for our public Web site and our corporate intranet," said Ron Ward, senior director of IT and Internet for Hard Rock Café. "Since we migrated to Windows 2000, we've been able to rapidly deliver the tools and applications needed to reduce costs and streamline the way we do business." To create the extensive functionality now enjoyed across the company, Hard Rock Café developers used the Visual Studio® 6.0 development system. "The power of the integrated tools provided in the Microsoft platform was one of the key reasons we decided to use it as the foundation for our new corporate intranet," said Conti. "We've only had two developers working on our intranet--the same number we had working on the Linux platform--and the Microsoft platform has enabled them deliver upwards of 50 applications over the last year. We're definitely getting more results for our development dollars now. Not only have we been able to implement a great deal more functionality, but the Microsoft platform has been much easier to administer and maintain, requiring almost no effort at all. " Every user accessing the Hard Rock Café intranet now enjoys a personalized start page based on their role in the organization, and designed to help them do their jobs as efficiently as possible. "When a user logs in, they're now presented with a customized start page that provides links to all the functionality they're permitted to access," said Conti. "User profiles and permissions are managed using another intranet application we developed, and are stored in the SQL Server 7.0 database. This was much easier to develop on Windows 2000 than it would have been under Linux, again due to the extensive core functionality provided in the Microsoft platform." "Not only have we been able to implement a great deal more functionality, but the Microsoft platform has been much easier to administer and maintain, requiring almost no effort at all." Rob Conti Manager of Network Services Hard Rock Café International With the new platform, the company has been able to rapidly develop applications that improve the efficiency of the company's core business--food, entertainment and merchandising. "With the Microsoft platform, we've been able to build tools and applications to lower costs and assist with just about every part of our business," said Conti. "In the past, new menus required sending a large amount of materials to all our stores--recipes, food display guidelines, and so on. Now that we can do this via our intranet, we're saving upwards of $20,000 per year for just this one task. We've also developed a wealth of other applications, for everything ranging from gift certificate management to souvenir merchandise catalogs. We've even built a tool to control the functionality of our Cisco-based video playback system, which we're now running in some of our cafes." Migrating to the Microsoft platform has also enabled Hard Rock Café to take advantage of the wide range of third-party applications available for Windows 2000. "We deployed a solution from Business Intelligence Solution Group, called intelligentScorecard(TM), to provide business managers throughout the company with easy access to the information needed to run their area of the business," said Ward. "It consolidates information from systems across the company into a centralized data warehouse and gives us the ability to define and monitor key performance indicators on a real-time basis. Each café manager sees the relevant indicators directly on their personalized intranet start page, and can easily drill down to investigate the information behind the numbers. We never would have been able to deploy something like this with Linux." "We've only had two developers working on our intranet--the same number we had working on the Linux platform--and the Microsoft platform has enabled them deliver upwards of 50 applications over the last year. We're definitely getting more results for our development dollars now." Rob Conti Manager of Network Services Hard Rock Café International Moving Forward With Microsoft Back to Top Now that Hard Rock Café has built an extensive intranet to service its 50+ corporate-owned cafes, the company is planning on deploying an extranet that will service its 50+ franchise locations. "We'll be able to communicate all the corporate standards for menu items and merchandise by basically cloning our existing Intranet server--just leaving out the financial reporting tools," said Conti. "This will allow our franchisees to enjoy all the benefits of the functionality we've developed for internal use, and will aid them in achieving the same high standards that we demand of our corporate-owned cafes." The .NET Enterprise Servers are Microsoft's comprehensive family of server applications for building, deploying and managing next generation integrated Web experiences that move beyond today's world of standalone Web sites. Designed with mission-critical performance in mind, .NET Enterprise Servers will provide fast time to market as well as scalability, reliability and manageability for the global, Web-enabled enterprise. They have been built from the ground up for interoperability using open Web standards such as XML. The .NET Enterprise Servers are a key part of Microsoft's broader .NET strategy, which will enable a distributed computing model for the Internet based on Internet protocols and standards in order to revolutionize the way computers talk to one another on our behalf. For More Information Back to Top For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada information Centre at (800) 563-9048. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/

old school: why waste memory? (2, Insightful)

kris_lang (466170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017148)

This may seem out of style, but why waste energy converting text to MP3 speech if you can have a system that will read it. I honestly used to have the text news read to me by my PowerBook G3 (Wallstreet) from a simpletext file. I'd download a mass of text files in the a.m., saved as plain text, trimmed of everything above the lede and after the copyright, and la voila , plain text ready to be read by my powerbook.

That is what Apple ought to add to the next redo of the iPod: a text to speech reader to read your ebooks or news or email for you. And just consider that instead of wasting 1 MB per minute of MP3 audio news reading, you could have less than 32k of plain text for 5 to 10 minutes of news reading. That would be a kicker.

I first did the Powerbook "read me my news" trick in January of 1999, when it was only a month old for me. I learned quickly to put all of the stories I wanted in either one big text file or in multiple cascaded text files so that I wouldn't have to use the touchpad. Just hitting the Apple-A to select all the text and Apple-H to have it "speak the selection".

Audible.com does this (3, Informative)

lkk17 (10176) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017460)

Have you looked at audible.com? They offer downloadable audio books, magazines, and newspapers. You can burn CD's of the downloaded audio. As of a couple weeks ago, they support iPod on Mac (with firmware 1.2), as well as several portable players for Windows.

Unfortunately, they don't support Linux (only Windows and Mac). Their files are not straight mp3's, they are something proprietary with copy protection.

Check it out, this may be what you are looking for!

Re:Audible.com does this (1)

Star Stealing Girl (586833) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017520)

I agree - *and* there is a program out there that will convert Audible files into MP3's (or whatever audio format you want. They also offer back issues of MPR programs like This American Life and Car Talk. I was a subscriber for over a year and saved a ton on audiobooks (and maintained my sanity at my data entry job!)

Re:Audible.com does this (2)

dhovis (303725) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019139)

Mod parent up.

I'm a little disappointed that Audible.com doesn't carry Morning Edition, only ATC. They are equally good programs at different times of the day.

The original asker should probably look at the New York Times Audio Digest which they promise to have available by 6:00 AM EST Monday-Friday. At $13/month or $70/year it is not a bad deal. Heck, for $15/month you can get one audiobook each month plus the NYT audio.

As a bonus, it is probably possible to write an AppleScript to download it to iTunes every day. Plus, if you are a Mac user, they have a special deal going on right now if you sign up for the $15/month service.

Re:Audible.com does this (2)

adolf (21054) | more than 11 years ago | (#4038010)

AppleScript? What is this?

I've got some shell script which handily and reliably spits out VBR-encoded MP3 episodes of whatever NPR time slots I elect to record.

The hardest part was setting up the parameters for LAME to both not sound horrible, consume up little space, and take advantage of the fact that FM radio is already mid-side stereo encoded.

It was free, too. Though it did take a $20 sound card and an old Kenwood tuner to make it work, the expense of hardware is quickly overshadowed by the lack of a monthly bill and the ability to archive things easily and automatically.

I have -years- of Car Talk on CD-R, for instance.

How far back does audible.com's archive go?

Low-tech (1, Troll)

hatless (8275) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017561)

How about just connecting a cheap, AC-powered tape recorder to your sound card and if you want to automate it, plug it into a $10 lamp timer?

People used to do this all the time back in the days before streaming audio. It's called "hooking a tape recorder up to a timer".

Granted, these things called "tapes" can't go in your iPod, but they are compatible with those three "portable tape players" sitting in your desk drawer, and they also play on that thing called a "tape deck" that you normally stick the iPod's car adapter into.

I do something like this (3, Informative)

Jerky McNaughty (1391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017593)

I have a crontab entry which just records what I want to hear each day. It uses rawrec, sox, and bladeenc to do the job.

Here is an example crontab entry:

0 18 * * 1-5 FILENAME=foo-`date +\%Y\%m\%d`_1 ; cd /archive/radio && /usr/local/bin/rawrec -c 1 -s 32000 -f u8 -t 3600 | sox -b -r 32000 -u -t raw -c 1 - -t wav - 2>/dev/null | /usr/local/bin/bladeenc -128 -quiet STDIN $FILENAME.mp3

Yes, that's a bit of a convoluted command line, but it does the job. I'm sure there's a better way of doing it, but the above has worked for me for quite a while. All you'd have to do is download it to your iPod.

Also, a lot of radio stations and programs have pre-determined times when they cut to commercials. If you're adventurous, you could have those automatically cut out. I've looked into doing it, but never got around to it.

Command line overload. (2)

willis (84779) | more than 11 years ago | (#4024332)

For the sake of example, your crontab is pretty illustrative. If I were you, though, I'd stick that thing in a shell script, and call it from the cron entry -- a lot easier to test, debug, and maintain.

TextAloud MP3 by Nextup.com (1)

delorean (245987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017604)

Nextup.com's **Aloud software [nextup.com].
I bought this program to convert books to mp3 for my exams. It's Windows based only at this point. It does a fine job.

Just start it up and copy the text you want to mp3 and it grabs it.

The best part-- is they have a program that does News from websites, just like you want it. I haven't tried that one though. I just wanted to listen to those boring manuals and exam crams instead of falling asleep reading them.

There is also Groups Aloud (for a News reader!!) and Stocks Aloud if you are still gambling in that arena. :-)

Here's a good source for MP3 news and such... (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 11 years ago | (#4017802)

Check out audible.com [audible.com] you can buy a subscription that lets you download a book on MP3 every month and have a subscription to NPR news or the wall street journel on MP3 for about $15(us). You can also buy subscriptions or books individually, I've been thinking about subscribing.

WAMU.ORG... (4, Informative)

jea6 (117959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4018470)

WAMU, one of DC's "public radio" stations streams in MP3 format. http://www.wamu.org

Re:WAMU.ORG... (1)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 11 years ago | (#4033617)

More specifically go to this link [wamu.org]

But that is a stream only, not a downloadable file like he was looking for. (yes I know there are ways to capture streams, but I think he is looking for something easier.)

Audible.com Subscriptions (1)

Stigmata669 (517894) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019179)

With iTunes 3 and a new firmware update, you should be able to subscribe to one of the Audible newspaper digests. They have a daily collection from the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, which you can automaticaly download to iTunes and thus your iPod. It will probably run you $10 a month.

kcrw.org (3, Informative)

crisco (4669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019201)

I've just discovered KCRW [slashdot.org], the NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. They provide a MP3 simulcast stream which includes the NPR news broadcasts. Even better, it is at 128 kbps, to my ears much more listenable than a lower bit rate Real stream.

Unfortunately, they don't archive these shows so you'd have to use something appropriate to save the stream.

A further consideration is the timezone. If you're on the west coast you might be better off ripping an east coast stream overnight, that way your entire morning news program is ready to upload by 6 am, some scheduled recordings could grab the hourly news bites to keep you on top of late breaking events.

Preview is my friend (2)

crisco (4669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019258)

although the button is difficult to hit before the coffee hits my bloodstream...

Thats KCRW [kcrw.org]....

I've had better luck . . . (2, Funny)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4019970)

. . . getting my MP3s as news [binaries.sounds.mp3].

Re:I've had better luck . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4033660)

While we are on the topic, pretty much all of the text => speech => mp3 solutions discussed here would be useful for taking alt.sex.stories posts and coverting them to audio pr0n.

Rebroadcast (0)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4020285)

I don't know if this is legal, but have you thought of rebroadcasting the news that is available in other formats? With coutcast or icecast it's possible just to broadcast out whatever is playing over the soundcard as an Mp3.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4020916)

I've found this magical device called AM radio.. it has lots of live news, all the time- and it's free!

streamripper + kuow.org = mp3 news goodness (1)

pillohead (553676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4021205)

Kuow is a seattle station that streams in low bitrate mp3. I setup crontab to record my favorite shows on my firewall pentium 90 then listen to it when ever I need my fix.

depressing .... (0)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4022088)

i cant belive i beat everyone else too it ....

try http://www.2600.com/offthehook/

for some informative news ......

Storing streaming audio as mp3 (2, Interesting)

randylea (64820) | more than 11 years ago | (#4025605)

I use a program called Total Recorder, available at http://www.highcriteria.com/ for $11.95 (US). It records the output of Real player, M$ Media Player, or even Winamp digitally, and allows you to save the file as wav or mp3 (using Lame or Blade mp3 libraries). Even includes a timer, so you can leave the audio player running all day, with set start and stop times. Best $12 I've ever spent on software.

DemocracyNow.org - mp3 broadcast (2)

Sean Clifford (322444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4030676)

Every day by around 2PM Eastern (US), DemocracyNow.Org [democracynow.org] - a progressive news show - posts their hour-long broadcast in mp3 format and keeps several days of shows. WebActive.com [webactive.com] - a venture funded in part by Real.com - has a lot of progressive shows but they're all in Real format. Check out these progressive news sources; you'll be suprised to hear "the other side" of the story and a well balanced news broadcast unlike the goverment warhawk mouthpiece drivel you hear on Fox News and CNN.

audible.com (2)

doublem (118724) | more than 11 years ago | (#4033649)

Audible.com has their own format for audio, but you can burn the Daily New York Times or Washington Post to CD, and Windows users can burn the audio to CD. Goldwave can convert the Audible.com files to WAV, MP3 or other formats. Trying the site and content is free.

I'm a customer, not an employee.

Windows only though. :(

Re:audible.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4038276)

Not windows only. OSX (iTunes3 and iPod firmware 1.2) supports Audible.com content fully as of yesterday, including burning disks.

They have a good news (NPR, WSJ, NYT) subscription service.
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