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tape casette recorders are compatible with literally every. single. thing. im out here living in 2095.

things you can record (audio only), simply by lying to your computer, telling it that the tape recorder is actually a set of headphones:

  • discord call
  • podcast
  • documentary
  • radio and internet radio
  • music, from any source. without having to download it at all.
  • music you make on virtual pianos/etc
  • noteworthy news items (fireside esque, interviews, huge events)
  • stand-up comedy
  • rented or borrowed media
  • any other sound your pc can produce

and with a VCR you could do all of this AND have the visuals as well… but an audio cassette recorder is a good place to start, since they’re small and simple. I would not recommend a boombox, because those are large and nowadays all very, very bad quality.

Now you may be saying “how is any of this helpful, I want a digital file…” here’s the fucking magic. You go into Audacity (free program), and lie to it that the tape recorder is really a microphone. Then you hit record on Audacity, and hit play on the tape, and let it play at regular speed. Trim and export the digital file, and you’re doing gangbusters. You’re cooking with gas. You’re thinking with portals. You’ve won the internet.

Congratulations, you can “pirate”* anything you want, and literally no one can catch you, because you’re not downloading in the traditional sense. You’re streaming to an external device, and that device is recording what it receives. It’s exactly like taping a live tv show to a VHS. This is a very low-key and non-strenuous task for the computer, since your tape recorder does all the work.

*Is this piracy? No. Well- it’s time shifting. Sort of. Tell it to my Steely Dan albums. Tell it to my The Sims: Hot Date VG Soundtrack album.

OP, dropping surprising knowledge from across time and space:

Fun fact: this is called the analog loophole, and it’s completely impossible to close, even in principle. No matter how much copy protection you add to a piece of media, it will eventually have to be sent to a display and then turned into an audio/video output that humans can interpret, because… that’s the whole fucking point

So even if they find some way to encrypt the signal sent to the display so you can’t intercept it with a VCR or tape recorder (which would be exceedingly difficult if not impossible), at the end of the day you just can’t do anything about someone pointing a camera at the screen or a microphone at the speaker. Yo ho ho

(By the way, I’d love to see someone actually talk about the legal precedent of this wrt it being literally the same thing as recording a TV show on a VCR or recording a mixtape off of the radio, both of which I believe are absolutely unambiguously legal. OP may be right that this is literally, legally, not piracy, but I’m not a lawyer nor am I opposed to crimes so don’t ask me)

What’s the advantage to including a tape recorder in this process, rather than cutting out the middle steps and just having Audacity record your headphone output? Is it just that it bears a closer resemblance to the situations that set legal precedent regarding time-shifting?

Don’t get me wrong, it did occur to me (though by the time I decided it was worth including in my response, I’d already left for work) that OP’s username is magnetictapedatastorage: presumably they take pleasure in integrating tape into their stream-archiving workflow.

But looking at the notes, there seem to be a lot of people under the honest impression that a separate recorder is *required*, and I would like to be clear that–at least in terms of practicality: I can’t speak to legal camouflage–the tape is in fact optional. You can plug a pair of non-lie headphones in and instruct Audacity to record what’s sent to them.


#reply via reblog #oh look an update #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers

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