Some Sites "Say" It All

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

More and more multimedia files are being added to the Internet. This column features four ongoing audio file projects that provide interesting examples and good reasons to develop skills to access them using either a PC or a Macintosh computer and any recent version of a standard Web browser (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape).

Accessing the files depends on the speed of your connection and the size of the file. Dialup modems are relatively slow. You probably do not want to open large files through a modem connection to the Internet because it will take a long time -- about 48 minutes to open a 10 MB file at 28.8 Kb/sec. ISDN, DSL, Cable, T-3, and T-1 connections are faster. If you are accessing the same file through a T1 connection or a cable, it will take less than a minute. Check the chart (www.missico.com/personal/support/download_times.htm) to see how long a 10MB file takes to access with the system you are using.

Online Audio File Projects

Web Tools

You may already have the needed Web browser software installed on your computer and a fast connection to the Internet, allowing you to access audio files easily. But if you have trouble, the following information may be helpful.

One common type of audio file, MP3 files, works on either PC or Macintosh computers. You need appropriate software (it is free and may already be on your computer). There are different ways to play MP3 files. Some software will "stream" it, which means the file remains on the remote site, and will only play when you are connected to the site. Other software will download the file to your computer, and you can play it any time, whether or not you are still connected to the site.

QuickTime will open an audio file and start playing it as it "streams" to your computer. When the file is finished, you can replay it if you are still connected to the Internet. A free Quicktime Player for Mac or PC is available (www.apple.com/quicktime/download).

Some versions of RealPlayer will download the entire audio file to your computer and then you can play it anytime, offline. Visit www.realnetworks.com/info/freeplayer to download the free RealOne Player for Mac or PC. Other versions of Real Player and Windows Media Player work like QuickTime and also will play the file as it downloads.

Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster’s Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links http://professional.asha.org/news/news.cfm, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, Some Sites "Say" It All, ASHA Leader, November 4, 2003, p. 23