This is the location of the podServe blog posts published up to June 2015.

Welcome to the podServe blog, a selection of tips, tricks, comments and various other ramblings on the topic of CD ripping, digital music, streaming and all the things that go right and wrong in being entertained.

iTunes Error 2131

Contacted by a client who suddenly found he couldn't burn CDs from iTunes. When he tried he just got an error message - the code was error 2131. How can that be fixed?

Reasonably on getting Error Code 2131 as he ran iTunes he naturally assumed that the cause of the problem was something within iTunes. Of course any single software application relies completely on interaction with the operating system which in this case was Microsoft Windows. iTunes does some things, Windows handles thousands of other tasks. For an exercise to be completed correctly, such as burning a humble CD, both iTunes and Windows need to play their part.

It is difficult to quickly see where the source of any error might lie, but my immediate thought was that this stems from Microsoft who offer a wide range of Error Codes. When we've been ripping CDs I think we've seen most of them but this one was new to me.

First stop - Google the error code. Wow, aren't there a lot of people hit by Error Code 2131 was my first thought. Looking at their posts to forums and blogs this has been going on for years. One common complaint - why doesn't Apple fix this? In my experience Apple does so having seen the age of the issue my suspicious eye turned to Microsoft.

Reading through the posts I felt that the majority of users complaining were laptop users. Next, why doesn't Microsoft fix this? Reading deeper into the messages from those who had beaten error 2131 they had done so either through an edit in Windows Registry or by downloading firmware for their drives. If you're not familiar with the term firmware its a small program a device such as a DVD or CD writer needs to function. Logically it sits "under" the operating system and therefore out of Microsoft's remit; physically it is stored on a small microchip on the logic board driving the writer.

Dell, Fujitsu and Toshiba owners were all hit, odd in itself as these are better quality manufacturers. I can't prove it but my suspicion is that they have all sourced CD / DVD drives as components from the same manufacturer. At some point something has happened resulting in a clash between Windows and the drive. Indeed this is what the error code is trying to say.

If my analysis is correct this really is the responsibility of the manufacturer and indeed several Dell users have downloaded a new version of firmware for their writers which has put an end to 2131. Owners of other makes have said this has worked for them too.

What should you do if iTunes stalls with Error 2131? Try Googling 2131 with the name of your PC manufacturer and that might give you access to a firmware update. Try your suppliers support website too, and log this as a fault with them. If you purchased your machine recently from a decent supplier think about contacting them and maybe even rejecting the machine. In my opinion far too few people do this.

Beyond these comments and suggestions I'm sorry to have to say if you get both iTunes and Error 2131 I'm sorry, I don't have an instant solution.
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AAC 1 - MP3 0

Looking at the small print in the recent Apple / EMI announcment about DRM free music it seems that the music file of choice will be Apple's AAC, and not the previously universal MP3. Why?

Well, recently Microsoft got hit by a massive lawsuit alleging copyright infringement over the technical rights to the MP3 codec. Perhaps neither Apple nor EMI fancied being hit in the same way.

Maybe EMI saw this as another way of controlling the distribution of their tracks. Maybe the thinking was MP3 is synonymous with those evil file sharing pirates, so AAC could be 'safer' in that respect.

I originally thought this was a simple marketing ploy to enable Apple to market their products (ie iTunes Music Store tracks) to Zune and the users of other MP3 players. It's more than that, each MP3 manufacturer will come under pressure to release firmware updates to support AAC on their players. users will have to find the upgrade, download it, apply it to their machine - how many will just not bother and buy a new iPod instead?

At a sweep Apple and EMI may have changed the drift of digital music. Where once MP3 was seen as the universal standard that accolade could fall to AAC.
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