Friday, September 08, 2006

Effing Entourage

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit wanted to be all slick and create this unique format for adding notification sounds for their all-in-one application, Entourage. Most applications allow you to select your own sounds, and they usually use AIFF to do it.

Not Entourage, oh no...

They use 'Sound Sets', which are packaged System 7(!) sounds. Fine and dandy... for the old days when everyone used Classic, and System 7 files were around. A keystone in the Macintosh has been customization. No two Macs seem to be alike. I use my Mac to run my life, and I use Entourage to do so. Fed up with the stock beeps and boops, I whipped up some beeps and boops of my own. In fact, here are some I created.

Here's the rub: Microsoft never published a way to make your own Sound Sets. The Internet being the breeding ground for creativity it is, a website popped up called Soundset Central. This was a place to upload and download Sound Sets made with Soundset Central's own Expression software. Those Sound Sets, and that software went bye-bye when the owner of the site went missing. No real problem, since I still have a copy of that Expression app. All I would need is some sound effects, right?

A quick browse through the official list of supported formats shows that System 7 isn't supported by QuickTime in OS X anymore. Which is a shame, since I have an Intel Mac which can't boot up into OS 9 to convert these files.

So I have no way of making the sounds I need, no way of making a proprietary Sound Set to store them in, and I have no way of publishing them on a site to enable others to use them.

Way to go, MacBU! In the next revision, please use the AIFF standard, so we can continue to customize Entourage!

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