The IETF has finished its standardization effort for Opus, a new free/open audio codec that reportedly outperforms all other codecs on all axes. The codec was jointly created by IETF, Mozilla, Microsoft (through Skype), Xiph.Org (maintainers of Ogg), Octasic, Broadcom, and Google and Mozilla promises that a comparable video codec will come next.
One of the pernicious areas for free codecs is patents. The Opus FAQ says, "Opus is also covered by some patents, for which royalty-free usage rights are granted, under conditions that the authors believe are compatible with most (all?) open source licenses, including the GPL (v2 and v3)."
Unlike previous audio codecs, which have typically focused on a narrow set of applications (either voice or music, in a narrow range of bitrates, for either real-time or storage applications), Opus is highly flexible. It can adaptively switch among:
* Bitrates from 6 kb/s to 512 kb/s
* Voice and music
* Mono and stereo
* Narrowband (8 kHz) to Fullband (48 kHz)
* Frame sizes from 2.5 ms to 60 ms
Most importantly, it can adapt seamlessly within these operating points. Doing all of this with proprietary codecs would require at least six different codecs. Opus replaces all of them, with better quality.
It’s Opus, it rocks and now it’s an audio codec standard!
JWZ documents his adventures in bringing a 1982/3 vintage Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal (a rare portrait-orientation terminal) back into service — fitting it with a Raspberry Pi and a new power-supply and getting it to boot its beautiful green-screen.
Today sees the publication of Bonnie Burton’s (previously) long-awaited new book, Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy.
Noah Swartz writes, “Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called ‘Monthly Make-It’ and it’s a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent […]
TV antennas are making a comeback, and the Ghost Indoor HDTV antenna is a great example of why. Unlike the old bunny ear-style antennas, this compact antenna is barely noticeable and picks up channels easily. Plus with the addition of streaming services like Netflix, we find ourselves with plenty to watch without a pricey monthly cable bill. The Ghost […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]