Suzanna Vega: Mother Of The MP3? quotes a Business 2.0 article (subscribers only; seems to be bugmenot-proof) that dubs Suzanne Vega the “Mother of the MP3” because her voice was used in fine-tuning the compression algorithms developed by Karlheinz Brandenburg of the Fraunhofer Society that became the basis for the MP3 file format:

To create MP3, Brandenburg had to appreciate how the human ear perceives sound. A key assist in this effort came from folk singer Suzanne Vega. “I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm,” Brandenburg recalls. “Somewhere down the corridor a radio was playing [Vega’s song] Tom’s Diner. I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a capella voice.”

The ubiquity of the MP3 suggests that Brandenburg has done his job well, although most people agree that if you encode MP3s with too low a bitrate you’ll end up with pretty crappy-sounding music. For a good tutorial on the subject, check out this link. Personally, I use at least 160 kbps when I rip audio from CDs, but I often use VBR (LAME –alt-preset standard) to get the best results, although it takes a little longer.

Phonetic Alphabets

In order to avoid confusion when saying letters over radio transmissions etc., many military and other agencies employ phonetic alphabets that assign words to each letter. For example, the United States military uses “alpha, bravo, charlie, delta…” For a complete listing of this alphabet as well as many international versions, check out this page of phonetic alphabets.

Froogle Shopping List

Froogle Shopping ListFroogle, the Google-created online comparison shopping website, has introduced a Wish List service similar to the ones offered by and other online merchants. The difference here is that Froogle encompasses a much wider breadth of items than most sites and will also aid you in finding the best price. In the brief time I spent browsing through Froogle, I was able to find several things in Froogle that aren’t available through

Oh, and in case you’re interested, buttons linking to my amazon and Froogle wish lists are in the left sidebar… 😉