If you brought up the topic of MP3s a scant few years ago, a room full of blank stares is about all you would get. MP3s have come a long way since and no matter how you look at it; they are here to stay. Ever since the media and the oh-so-friendly RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), decided to make a big fuss over this amazingly compact sound file format, everybody and their mother has been trying to get the computer to be the instant replacement of the cassette tape.
Now that the RIAA is hunting down Napster and all its variants, your avenues for obtaining MP3s are slowly being cut off. If all works out for RIAA, the average schmoe is left high and dry. In the hysterical mess that you are now, you ask, "Sarj, all those evil lawsuits are depleting my easy access to MP3s. Woe is me, what am I to do now?"
Make your own.
Don't be a leech on the butt of humanity; do your part -- add to the feeding frenzy. A few years ago producing this wondrous file was hard to do. Sometimes the problem was software. Other times it was computer hardware. Now that MP3s have had so much attention, a whole slew of companies have made software, and even hardware, for the sole purpose of producing MP3s. Combine that with the immensely powerful computers of today, and you have no excuse not to try and make MP3s yourself.
I make MP3s for one reason and one reason alone -- I'm lazy, lazy beyond belief. Lugging a collection of CDs everywhere can get very tedious. Not only do they have to be organized, they have to be put in the CD player to do anything. How droll. Just like I have the sensitivity on my mouse so high that all it requires is a simple tap to get across the entire desktop, my need to stay inert extends to changing CDs. I'd just rather not do it. Enter MP3s, my solution to making sure my ass has to do as little as is humanly possible, which is odd coming from the guy who works out before he comes to work.
What goes into making MP3s? First off, you need a fairly decent computer. Anything below 300MHz paired with a crappy CD-ROM drive is asking for trouble. The amount of time spent will not justify the results. If you meet these criteria you will then need to get software. There are two parts to this, the first being a program used to get music of audio CDs, the other an encoding program to turn the data into MP3s.