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RealJukebox

Make it stop! RealJukebox is an audio playback, management and CD ripping application created by RealNetworks in the late 90's.

Also, it is a complete piece of garbage.

The interface is garish - as you would expect from any software created by RealNetworks (from now on, RN). Way too many buttons, too much information on screen, unnecessary textures, and oh, what's that? An advertisement? So lovely!

There is also a handful of skins to make the interface a little less horrid, but they do not achieve great success in that endeavour either.

Now, the encoder... RN had just purchased Xing Tech, so they had a pretty decent MP3 encoder in their hands. Unfortunately, they decided to cripple it to drive sales of the paid version, RealJukebox Plus (US$ 29.99). Therefore, the MP3 encoder only works at 56, 64 and 96kbps. Other bitrates require Plus.

But do not despair, lad! You can rip "CD quality" files with RealJukebox, you only need to accept RN's useless RealAudio format for that. You can actually go all the way to 352kbps then, but good luck playing these files anywhere besides RealJukebox itself.

Anyway, there is more to be said about the application. It is incredibly intrusive: it installs Real Player - without asking first - and plasters your desktop, start menu and even the IE favorites with offers for AOL and similar crap. It tries to steal your file associations and installs TWO resident programs in your system tray that exist only to keep the file associations stolen and send you notifications (I can only imagine how awesome these were) and steal system resources and make your life miserable.

Last, it would not be RN if they were not genuflexing to corporate interests. RealJukebox offers (nah, insists) to "protect" (that is, encrypt) the songs it rips from CDs so that you can not share them with your friends. When you try to disable this great feature, an ominous sounding message pops up asking if you are really sure you want to be seen as a criminal.

Please do not install RealJukebox or any software from RealNetworks.


Date: 2000-11-09
Version: 2
Interface: Bloated
Platform: Win32
Download: rjukebox20.exe - 9.152kB


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