join the fun with - NAPSTER ON YOUR MACSTER

Macster PR5 Review for PROMAC

Scott Williams <> 8/10/00

Macster PR5 by BlackholeMedia FREE. Download at Blackhole Media web site:

or at the Napster web site:

Last year I heard about a free method of sharing music with people over the internet called Napster, a massive online music community with millions of shared songs. During the music industry's attack upon Napster, I got interested and discovered a Macintosh program called Macster, which allows you to search this huge online storage of songs, and download any song you want in mpeg class three (mp3) format. The song files reside on a members hard drives and are shared with the world through Napster, Mactser and other applications. For example I keep 10 cd's worth of music in mp3 format on a single cd and this is what I share Users can search for files, see what you have and download it. This is where the community thing comes into play, as users have to be willing to share their files for the benefit of the others.

Macster's first release was December 1999, so we are in the early stages. PR5 in the name stands for Preview 5 - it is a beta but I have run it for 2 months on my home G3 (system 8.6) computer, and for one month on my office G4 (system 9.04) computer with no crashes. Occasonally, I have to reboot the program to get it to do something correctly.

The best thing about Macster is the search engine, for example, now, 11am Monday morning I search for Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, and 100 (the maximum) sites show up. Similarly, I search for the Zimbabwe musician Thomas Mapfumo and 78 sites show up. Now I want Don Cherry's dedication to Mapfumo. Two choices show up, the speed of their connection, and whether they are online is exhibited. Now I wonder who has one of these copies - click on it and get info, the name "whodatfire00" comes up. I can discover everything "whodatfire00" will share. In addition to the Mapfumo piece he has a John Coltrane song, He is also connected to two Napstar IRC like channels, one called Classical and one called Dutch, I go to the latter and everything is written in the Netherland language. The faster a user's connection speed, the faster you can download the files. Bit rates tend to vary between 32 bits and 160 bits, and higher is better. The same is true of frequency, which can range between 16 KHz and 44 KHz.

Yes, you can specify the folder where you download and, more inportantly, where other folks look around so that your machine is not open to the world. Further, you can leave file sharing off and can, as do I, even have a fire wall running.

If you like music and have stereo speakers on your computer (even cheap ones like mine), you'll love Macster.

Want to know what to play your mp3 with read my review of SoundJam. Want to know more about mp3s and the programs used to manipulate them, read my article: Your Macintosh & MP3s


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