Perhaps you've experienced this frustration before. There's a piece of audio on a website that you want to use in a project of your own, and it's playing right there on your computer, yet you have no way of copying it - short of holding a microphone up to your speakers, that is. Well, Kenneth Gibbs and Seena Zandipour want to change that. They've invented a little gizmo called the SLUG, that can reportedly obtain lossless recordings of any streamed audio being played back by a computer or other electronic device. The music labels will no doubt be about as happy to see the emergence of this thing as they were when blank audio cassettes first hit the stores.
The SLUG has two 3.5mm plugs, that go into the computer's headphone and microphone ports. It then takes the audio that is being output from the headphone port, and redirects it into the microphone port - an adapter is included for devices with irregularly-spaced ports. From there, users can save the music (or other audio) as MP3 files. If they're recording a playlist, the SLUG software will automatically detect breaks between songs, so it can save them as separate tracks. Additionally, users can take advantage of a feature that deletes files under a certain length, to avoid saving commercials.
Should users wish to rip audio from an external device onto their computer, the SLUG also has an incorporated 3.5mm jack on a short cable, which can be run into the headphone port of that device. Users can monitor their recordings using earbuds, which can be plugged into a dedicated port on the SLUG.
To their credit, Gibbs and Zandipour have stated that they don't condone the recording of copyrighted material. Additionally, the software won't work until users agree to the terms and conditions of its use, which include only using it to record content that is public domain, or that the user has the rights to. That said, it's pretty hard to believe that a lot of users won't be heading straight to YouTube, Pandora or countless other sites, to score themselves some free tunes.
Kenneth and Seena are currently raising production funds from prospective buyers, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$25 will reserve you a SLUG, once they're ready to ship - they should retail for $30.
Just remember, if you get one, only use it for the forces of good.
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