Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A reminder of my criteria for reviews

Wow, just when I was about to get back on the road to more reviews after a busy (day job wise) few months and a slow 3 months of reviews (have 2 to be published shortly). I am contacted by someone asking me add the "legality" of a host I'm reviewing. Just so everyone understands. I write what I think as a member of the audience. I am not a lawyer. I am not legally qualified to give ANY legal opinion whatsoever. Certainly I am not qualified to judge whether or not any karaoke MC in particular is following all the rules. Not being in the business myself I don't know all of the factors involved. If anyone wants to give objective FACTS (anything about laws in I have to verify legally to post here and quote its reference). Its an interesting topic although given increasing rumors of the RIAA's coming demise and the dwindling US economy (old news at this point I'm sure). I'm not sure its a topic of great interest to the AUDIENCE.

Happy to post something as a matter of information for people looking at going into the business themselves but...I need to be clear on something: I am NOT the RCMP. Does a typical karaoke participant approach a karaoke MC and ask "are all your songs legal"? Never seen anyone do so. Do you as a AUDIENCE members ask to see proof of legal use of every song a karaoke host has? Didn't think so. I review equipment as a member of the AUDIENCE experiences and hears. I review selection according to what an audience would like and overall selection availability. I review hosts according to what I believe people appreciate. Its my opinion and people can agree or disagree. (And people have done both). Its a blog. Some people like it, some think its nonsense. And its all cool. But please, do NOT ask me to alter, modify or even comment on whether everything an MC has is legal. Its not my job as a member of the audience, nor am I a lawyer, nor am I a member of any agency that has any commercial interest. I am not legally or professionally qualified to ask or give opinion on these matter and I will not do so. I have no knowledge and my reviews are STRICTLY from the AUDIENCE point of view. Is it expensive to be legal in the karaoke business? absolutely. I assume that everyone is paying that expense until someone is convicted in a court of law. As the citizens of the USA used to say (until recently), "Innocent until PROVEN guilty". Hope we are all clear on that. Oh, its also been commented that this blog gets a lot of hits. If it does, it is through no special doing of mine. I didn't think there was enough material or frequent enough to get the ranking this blog appears to be getting. That being, said, time to get off the developer's couch I guess and "get back to work" :D


Friday, January 18, 2008

CAVS Software Optical Drive Test - Update

Folks, my drives have arrived. I ordered a Asus DRW-2014LT1 Drive and a Liteon DH-20A4H08C Optical device. The Asus model has a SATA interface. Probably should have ready FULL description before ordering it becausing the CAVS software due to the fact it hasn't been updated properly in nearly 10 years (They made their own version of NTFS in the software so that gives you an idea of just how outdated) probably cannot recognized SATA optical drives AT ALL. But..it will make an interesting test. If it works I'll be surprised. The LiteOn disk should work according to LiteOn but...it's not like anyone has ever tested this with the dated (yet"current?!?) CAVS software. So stay tuned, after this weekend (provided I can arrange with the karaoke MC who asked this question in the first place) I'll have answer for these two drives and will probably test a 3rd CD/DVD combo drive (outdated in terms of technology but very inexpensive and outdated technology is what CAVS is sticking to). Again, CAVS, you guys are putting yourselves in a corner. Fear not: My article on CAVS alternatives is on its way so if CAVS doesn't get their software updated fast, they may find their systems going the way of Vista: Being offered, but nobody wants it because the product wasn't made for the client's best interest. (they'd do the CD+G reading on a software level if it was).


Monday, January 14, 2008

Alert! Cavs Machine/Software users. Important!

Folks, you may recall a long article about restoring an old CAVS JB-99 system. I've also had the opportunity to see the insides of a JB_199. Wasn't terribly impressed to be honest: Its a generic PC in a fancy case. (And an extremely high price given the software is nearly identical to the JB-99 with the same serious limitations. Worse yet, this software requires the Optical devices used to read CD+G disks to NATIVELY support the CD+G format. For awhile CAVS has been telling people the Plextor series is ideal for their software. I received a call from a karaoke MC asking what they should use to replace their dying Plextor CD-RW device (over 10 years old I think). Well, after referring to Plextor Technical and calling Plextor to confirm, Plextor no longer manufacturers ANY optical devices that support CD+G on a native level! The last Plextor device, the 760A, ceased being manufactured some months ago and Plextor has no plans on creating another device that will support CD+G. LG Optical devices are ALL useless for this as well. The good news is there appears to still be some possiblities.

Asus gave me a list of models that support CD+G (and kudos to Asus for being the FIRST to reply to my inquiry in very detailed form):

DVD-E616A3 and 2014L1T

Asus recommends these units for supporting CD+G format and I actually received Nero Info Tool Images to prove it! Bravo Asus. I'll be testing one of these for SURE with the CAVS software.

Lite-On indicated to me that all their Optical drives supported CD+G natively so I'll test their latest drive as well.

The final report on these two drives and any other the big Optical Manufacturers may give me (Sony and Samsung have yet to send me ANY reply and I'll check with Teac and Mitsumi for any recommendations from them as well) will be given in around 2 weeks when I'm able to hook up with the Karaoke MC who present me this little challenge in the first place. To anyone whose original CD+G drive is dying (and on the CAVS forum people are asking this question to which CAVS has yet to give an answer). To those still waiting for an answer to this important question for CAVS users, link your RSS readers to this site for immediate answer when its published. As to CAVS: wake up! Update your software or risk losing your clients. there are other solutions out there that have no dependencies on optical drives as AudioGrabber (a wonderful tool) has proven. Cheers

PS: Through my consulting business (which give me allows me full access to all the hardware I posting on this blog direct from distributors in case anyone is shopping) I'll soon be posting recommendations on the best laptop for karaoke use (assuming proper disks and/or licenses are obtained). I'm also creating my own media center (linux based) that will fully support Karaoke, as well as every other entertainment function I can pack into it. You can check my new blog, The Linux Experience, for details on that when I'm finished (Have had little time for that until recently).


Wait for news publishing, new news

Folks, first my apologizes for the long absence. I've been busy paying my bills with my professional life. With a major milestone completed, I've finally been able to go out a write a few new reviews which will be published shortly. And if course the answer we've all been waiting for: Who is the top Karaoke MC for 2007. Watch for reviews to show up. Credit must be given to the few but generous donations that have come in to help offset my costs for visiting venues (remember I do review the meals as well and each review costs me $10-20 CAD each so thank you donors, you actually make it easier for me to continue). Also to come, big news about CAVS software. Professionals, take note! This may seriously affect you. And of course, the best karaoke software. Been making inquiries and gotten some answer and some no replies. Anyway, Thanks all and "stay tuned" - Jonah