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mp3

The CD data disk came as a revolution when it arrived. Before the most common storage method was still the 3.5″ floppy disk that held only 1.4 MB. The size of programs was rapidly increasing and many popular programs already came on a dozen or more disks and a bad floppy disk was all too common. The arrival of the CD made larger programs and games not just easier, but possible in the days when dial up Internet was still the norm. The DVD soon followed and increased the amount of data on a single disk to 4.7 GB and also brought the digital movie to the computer user.

Installing software now most often comes from a download, whether from the Mac App Store or the vendor’s web site. The DVD adds space and weight that can seem unnecessary. Apple now shows no concerns about removing the drive to shrink the size of their computers. The MacBook Air doesn’t come with a DVD drive to save space and the new MacBook Retina also removed the DVD drive. The trend is clear that Apple considers these drives to be unimportant and best relegated to an external drive in the rare times it’s needed.

Still, computer users can’t quite completely ignore the CD and DVD yet. Most boxed software, which now is relegated to mainly large suites like Microsoft Office or Creative Suite, still comes on a DVD or CD. While digital downloads of both movies and music are the future, many of us also have DVD or Blu-ray movie collections and even (gasp) CD music collections that we’d like to bring with us to the digital world. Here we’ll look at a few programs either included with your Mac or freely available that will help you deal with those physical disks still lying around. An external DVD drive will allow you to get anything on those disks to you Mac with the programs below.

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With the release of iTunes 10, many people suddenly realised that iTunes really wasn’t that great, and might be starting to suffer from a major case of feature bloat. The interface is starting to become messy and hard to navigate, the icon is atrocious, and Ping just clutters everything up further.

But if your main priority remains to simply listen to music, what alternatives do you have?

Songbird will do everything you want your music player to do, and more. The Songbird developers realised that you don’t want an app to handle most of your media needs, you want an app which handles all of your music needs.

But how does it stack up against iTunes, and is it really a viable alternative? Read on to find out…

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