5 February 2004 Perth, Western Australia
New Zealander Anthony Jones announced the third minor release of the iRATE radio client today. iRATE radio provides users with a powerful new way to find and download free, legal music online. Users rate tracks based on their tastes. The iRATE server then selects other tracks to send to the user from a database of over 50,000 freely downloadable songs by correlating the user’s ratings with other users and finding people with similar tastes.
Unlike streaming audio, iRATE saves the tracks to the user’s hard drive. This means that playback is smoother, without the typical problems associated with streaming media, such as high bandwidth usage.
iRATE radio is written in Java, and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Windows users can easily get up and running with iRATE radio using Sun’s Java Web Start and Internet Explorer. For other browsers on Windows and Linux, users may need to download and install Java WebStart separately. There are also native Debian, Mandrake, and Redhat Linux packages available. Mac users will be pleased to hear that a disk image (.DMG) file for OS X will be released within a week.
This release features a new, more intuitive user interface, a refined track selection algorithm, and better download performance. Other improvements include a new icon (following the recent icon contest), tool tips, ID3 tag display, artist’s website link support, playlist management, and many others.
Since the project’s registration at SourceForge in March 2003, iRATE radio has gathered an increasing number of developers. The user base now numbers over 8,000 individuals. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Jones recently made an announcement to the development mailing list detailing thirteen focus areas for improvement. These included translations, native playback (for improved decoding performance), better server-side track selection, multimedia key binding support, audio prompting, more publicity, and several others.
The iRATE radio website is at http://irate.sourceforge.net/