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  1. #1
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    MP3s for Windows vs. MP3s for Mac

    I just downloaded a collection of sound files in mp3 format. Included in the collection were two folders: A folder of mp3s for PC, and a folder of duplicate mp3s for Mac.

    Having always assumed that an mp3 was an mp3, I was surprised to discover that I couldn't open the Mac mp3s on my PC. Clicking "Properties" on the Mac files confirms that they are, indeed, mp3s. The only difference I can see is in the file names.

    The mp3s for Windows look like this:. . . .Filename.mp3

    The mp3s for Mac look like this:. . . .._Filename.mp3. .(Identical filename, preceded by a dot and an underscore.)

    I tried removing the dot and the underscore from the Mac files, thinking that might be the magic "Open Sesame," but no. So can someone tell me the difference between mp3s for Mac and PC?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Is that the fork information from the mac file system?
    Can you open the files in Notepad?

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Paul, kind thanks for your post, and I'm sorry to have taken so long to reply. I checked the thread for three days, then forgot about it!

    I'm not familiar with the term "fork information," and can't open the files in Notepad.

    However, you needn't wrestle too vigorously with this, as I do have a duplicate set of sound files formatted for PC. I suppose my question really boils down to this: Are mp3s a universal file format.....or not?

    Thanks again for jumping in.

    Cheers,

    Brooks

  4. #4
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    From what I could find, it is a universal file format for the most part, barring some playback devices not handling variable bitrate so well. The ._ special file format comes from incompatibilities when a MAC file (HFS?) is copied to a network resource or FAT32 or NTFS file format drive, so it splits the incompatible information off into hidden ._ files. It's almost as clear as mud to me as to the specifics but it has to do with the fork information (whatever that is) Paul mentions.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to F.U.N. downtown For This Useful Post:

    BrooksNYC (2013-09-17)

  6. #5
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    F.U.N, thanks for taking the time to unearth that interesting bit of info.

    JPEG....mp3....txt.....zip....you'd think there would be a few basic file types that could go anywhere and play with anyone, wouldn't you? I live in a fool's paradise.

    (Make that an old fool's paradise!) . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    ... it has to do with the fork information (whatever that is) Paul mentions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fork_%28file_system%29
    "a fork is byte stream associated with a file system object" ... "File system forks are associated with Apple's Hierarchical File System (HFS)... The resource fork was designed to store non-compiled data that would be used by the system's graphical user interface (GUI), such as localisable text strings, a file's icon to be used by the Finder or the menus and dialog boxes associated with an application."

    Later in the article it's explained that Microsoft also uses "alternate data streams in NTFS to store things such as author or title file attributes and image thumbnails." Of course, the things Apple stores in its resource forks have proprietary data formats completely different from the Microsoft alternate data's proprietary formats. That's what makes the two "standard" files incompatible.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooksNYC View Post
    Paul, kind thanks for your post, and I'm sorry to have taken so long to reply. I checked the thread for three days, then forgot about it!
    Brooks:

    The easy way to keep up with everything you have posted is to go to the top of the screen and choose Lounge / Quick Links / Subscribed Threads. Doing that will list all of the things you have posted.

  9. #8
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    Thanks, jj. Makes sense.

    And it's bizarre to think that I've been using a computer for seventeen long years, never realizing never even suspecting that I couldn't share an mp3 with a Mac user.

    So what happens when, for example, people download tunes off YouTube? Are YouTube mp3s in a universal format that becomes proprietary when it hits the OS?

    I feel like I've tumbled down a rabbit hole I didn't even know was there.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    Brooks: The easy way to keep up with everything you have posted is....
    P.S. Thank you, mrjimphelps. Will do!
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2013-09-17 at 16:59.

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