CDs, MP3s, & 1500 Songs In Hand

U.S. Air Force Reserve personnel stand in formation prior to a ceremony Monday, Sept. 11, 2006, at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., in honor of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A U.S. flag was placed on the parade grounds for each of the 2,979 people who died in the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

If you like high-tech gadgets and gizmos, you might want to check in periodically with Walt Mossberg of ThirdAge.com.

Mossberg visited anchor Bryant Gumbel on The Early Show Friday to talk about MP3s, getting old record albums into the computer and onto CDs, and a revolutionary device coming out this fall that will enable you to have 1,500 songs at your disposal, wherever you go.

First of all, what is an MP3?

"It's a type of computer file that can encapsulate a song, like a song on a CD or an album that you hear on the radio," says Mossberg.

In order to get busy with MP3s, you need a computer and the proper software, Mossberg says. You go to certain sites on the Internet where you can download MP3 music files onto your hard drive.

You can play the music on your computer, or for about $300, you can buy a portable MP3 music player. It's small, has no moving parts as it uses memory chips, and will hold about an hour's worth of music. You simply transfer the music from your computer to the player.

Mossberg says right now it's mostly unknown bands you'll find on the Internet, "because the record industry has not yet begun to move big name acts on there."

Mossberg thinks the current disputes over the free downloading of music will be straightened out in time.
Should Music Downloads
Be Free?
There is currently a legal dispute surrounding the free downloading of music from the Internet. The recording industry is fighting outfits like Napster, which allow such downloading, and Congress is studying the issue.

Rapper Chuck D, a Napster supporter, called downloadable music "the radio of the new millennium" in testimony before a congressional committee Wednesday.

But the heavy metal band Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre disagree. They are suing Napster for copyright infringement, claiming the MP3 trading software allows users to acquire music illegally.


"Eventually, you'll be able to buy songs off the Internet and put them on [CDs]."

And, without the Internet, you can put your own CDs on the computer, pick only the selections you like, then put those on a blank CD, which you can carry around and play whenever and wherever you want to. Mossberg says one piece of software that enables you to do this is called "Music Match Juke Box."

Now, what about those od vinyl albums? Wouldn't it be great to get those onto CD, too?

Can do, says Mossberg. If you can find a turntable, you can attach a cable between it and the computer and play the music right into the computer. Using the same software, it will create an MP3 file, which you can then transfer into an MP3 player or onto a blank CD.

And what about the prospect of being able to walk around with your entire music collection contained in a device the size of your current CD player?

Mossberg says you will be able to buy it this fall. "This will hold at least 1,500 songs." It looks just like a portable CD player, but it has no moving parts and operates entirely on memory chips.

That means no longer having to carry disc wallets around. The company offering this revolutionary device is called Creative Labs.

"They're calling it the Nomad Jukebox. It's as big as a portable CD player, but it's got a hard disc in there that is bigger than what most people have on their computers at home," says Mossberg.

He promises to return to the The Early Show in the fall to show us step-by-step just how this thing works.


By CBS.Com Producer David Leslie
  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.

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