Tag Archives: SoundCloud

PTJ 184 News: Never Mind

Well, after all that legal grandstanding and trying to force Apple to build a back door in its mobile operating system, the Justice Department went back to court this week to say: Never mind. Thanks to help from a third-party volunteer hacking specialist, the FBI says it is now rolling through the encrypted data that was harvested from the iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist.

So now that the whole incident is over, what was it about? Some argue that corporate compliance is mandatory in this dangerous era of terror. Others, including famed NSA leaker Edward Snowden, have gone on record saying the FBI could have gotten into the phone on its own and the whole thing was about establishing a legal precedent. So, until next time…

Speaking of Apple’s iOS software, the company has acknowledged bugs in its recent 9.3 update. Patch on the way!

instagramInstagram’s previously announced move to using algorithms  in feeds has caused a bit of a panic in the Insta-community, so that’s why you’ve been inundated by people asking you to turn on notifications so that their posts will not get buried. No word on when that change to the system  going live, but Instagram did announce this week that it was increasing the maximum running time of posted video from 15 seconds to 60 seconds.

Twitter celebrated its 10th-anniversary last week and this week, the company’s Periscope app for live-streaming video celebrated its one-year anniversary from its official launch date. Periscope has reportedly been used for 200 million live video broadcasts and not all of them were Game of Thrones or House of Cards bootlegs.

People poking around in Facebook Messenger code say they’ve found evidence that points to the potential to make purchases in retail stores and fund them with Apple Pay, all without leaving the Messenger app. Facebook has made no announcements yet, nor on reports that it’s also working on Snapchat-like self-destructing messages called Secret Conversations. (But, while we’re talking bout Snapchat, that company has just released what it calls Chat 2.0, which lets users easily tap between text, audio and video chat.)

riftIn gaming news, reviews of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are starting to pop up around the web, including one from Brian X. Chen at The New York Times who called it a well-built hardware system brimming with potential. However, the first wave of apps and software will probably only appeal to hard-core gamers.

Sony is also stepping up the graphics in its console games and said it plans to release an updated version of its PlayStation 4 machine later this year. The current PlayStation 4 model would stick around, but it would add a newer version with enough mojo to handle virtual reality and other visually intense gaming experiences.

Vimeo announced this week that it’s made some updates to its channel on the Roku set-top box. As explained in a blog post on the company site, you can now you can rent or buy films and video series directly from their creators right there on your Roku TV.

Audio-sharing site SoundCloud is also stepping things up with a new subscription service here in the States called SoundCloud Go.

Oracle is not happy with Google over a little matter of copyright and is suing the Big G for use of Java in the Android operating system. Oracle seeking 9.3 billion dollars in damages. Google, for its part, has other things on its mind this week, like its new Fiber Phone service, which brings unlimited and nationwide phone calls to homes with Google Fiber broadband service for $10 a month.

fiber

Yahoo’s financial woes have not gotten any better this year and the company announced it’ll be accepting bids for its web business and Asian assets. The Wall Street Journal reports the company has set an April 11th deadline for preliminary bids from interested buyers. Perhaps Yahoo can throw a few departments up on eBay.

And finally, if you don’t live in the States or you’re too broke to buy one of those handy Amazon Echo speakers that does your bidding when you give it verbal commands, you can build your own with an inexpensive Raspberry Pi barebones computers and a little time. Novaspirit Tech has a demo video:

Lest you think this is an unauthorized adventure, Amazon itself has posted its own instructions on GitHub for getting the hardware working with its Alexa Voice Service. So, if you need a summer project this year when you’re not picking up Yahoo properties at a weekend tag sale, consider the DIY Raspberry Echo.

 

PTJ 108: Yo Apple, What Time You Got?

It was done quietly and with little fanfare.  After Apple’s traditional September iPhone launch, the fruit-themed toy maker killed off the iPod Classic.

El Kaiser “pours one out” for the venerable personal media player, Apple’s last disk-based iPod, and he and J.D. break down the latest iPhone and Apple Watch news.

The summer movie sensation “Guardians of the Galaxy” focused a huge spotlight on the power of the mixtape. This week J.D. shows you how you can make your own mixtape in today’s stream happy world.

In other news, Samsung releases two new Galaxy Note phablets; Amazon drops the price of the Fire Phone to under a buck, the FCC is collecting more comments about Net Neutrality; the Discovery Network speaks out against potential Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger; Twitter gradually roles out its “Buy” button; Home Depot stores suffer through a huge Target-like security breach; Microsoft debuts a new presentation and internal service app; and Tivo announces a new super high-end and super high-priced DVR; and

 

Mastering the Modern Mixtape

awesomemixThe top-grossing film of the year so far, Guardians of the Galaxy, brought some much needed fizzy fun to the summer box office — along with a killer soundtrack comprised of feel-good hits from the 1970s. One of the key props in the movie was an ancient Walkman and battered mixtape, and those may have led many a Gen Xer or young Baby Boomer to get all nostalgic for those days when “playlists” were the handwritten track names on the back of the folded card in the cassette-tape case. (They’re so cemented into American pop culture that there’s even a Broadway song about mixtapes in the Tony Award-winning show Avenue Q.)

For some people, the mixtape prop may have posed the question: These days, how do you share a specially curated batch of songs with a loved one, or compile your personal favorite tunes in one time-capsule collection? Cassettes are pretty much extinct; Google Play doesn’t support sending digital media as gifts and you can’t burn songs to CDs there. Apple even removed the Gift This Playlist feature from the current version of iTunes. But there are other ways.

spotifyYes, it’s become a largely streaming world out there, but some popular services like Spotify let users create and share playlists with each other. The 8tracks site has playlist sharing too, as does the appropriately named Mixtape.me site. Other streaming services offer similar tools, so if you already use one, check the feature set to see if sharing playlists is an option. There’s also a site called Tape.ly that does online mix tapes.

If you want a more physical, personal-memento way to share a mix, there’s an Australian-based start-up called Sharetapes that works with services like Spotify, Soundcloud and 8tracks. You can also use Sharetapes with YouTube, a site many people use to make and share playlists of audio and video clips.

With Sharetapes, you create an account and you then buy a pack of blank “Sharetape cards,” five for seven bucks. You make a playlist in a supporting service and click the Record button on the Sharetapes.com site to copy the track information to one of your blank Sharetape cards. Then you give it to someone. The cards have QR codes and also work with NFC-enabled devices, so when your recipient gets the card, he or she can use the QR code or NFC function to zap the info onto a mobile device and hear the tracks on the playlist.

sharetapes

But what if you want to send music mixes to someone who doesn’t use any of the online streaming services? As one might expect, Amazon also lets you send albums or individual songs as gifts.

Even in  iTunes 11, you can still send individual song downloads to another iTunes user as gifts; right-click the menu arrow next to the Price button and select Gift This Song. And, while a bit retro these days, you can still burn CDs from songs you’ve bought and downloaded from the service. Once you make a playlist and have it open in iTunes, you can even print a custom CD cover by going to the File menu and choosing Print.

CDprintAlthough there may be copyright issues involved, people have also shared tracks on a playlist by uploading unrestricted MP3 ripped from CDs to online file storage folders or passed them along on flash drives.

So even though cassettes have become fluttery antiques, there are still many ways to share your musical whims with friends and family. And going digital does have its advantages. As the Brotherhood Workshop points out in “LEGO Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord’s Mixtape,” Peter Quill’s homemade audio cassette probably wouldn’t sound too good after 20 years of constant play.

PTJ 70: When Smurfs Attack

El Kaiser has a very blue Tech Term and J.D. shows us how to make iOS 7 easier to read. In the news, some love for Google Glass early adopters; Amazon launches a new program allowing customers the option to buy Kindle versions of their previous book purchases; SoundCloud adds Instagram integration;  Netflix ponders its next move; a new report confirms that U.S. citizens pay more for less when it comes to their Internet service; Apple plans to continue its OS X freebie; and “The Zuckerberg Files”.

PTJ 70 News: Through the Looking-Glass

Those eager early adopters who joined the first-look Google Glass Explorers program are getting a little love from the Big G for sharing their opinions on the product — free upgrades! For people who already wear prescription eyeglasses, this next version of Google Glass said to be compatible with “future lines of shades and prescription frames.”

Amazon officially launched its new Kindle MatchBook program this week, which allows customers the option to buy discounted Kindle versions of books they’d previously purchased in print. To use it, log into your account on Amazon’s site to see what books are eligible. If you decide to grab the e-edition, you’ll typically pay $3 or less and the Kindle versions work with the Kindle apps for tablets, phones and computers as well as on actual Kindles.

In multimedia news, SoundCloud, the audio-sharing site, has hit 250 million listeners and now includes Instagram integration for users who want to ad cover art for the playlists and audio files they upload. After some very good quarterly earnings, Netflix is pondering its next move. One option the company is said to be considering? Releasing a “big” feature film on the streaming service the same day the movie appears in theaters. And as previously discussed, the Nielsen ratings people are going to start counting people who watch television programs on mobile devices instead of just on traditional television sets. Mobile ratings won’t start getting included until the fall 2014 television season, but Nielsen will be sending out software kits to its participants.

Thinking about hacking major government sites? If you do, maybe you shouldn’t brag about it on Twitter.

broadbandAccording to a report called The Cost of Connectivity 2013 from the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, broadband customers in the United States pay higher prices for slower Internet service than people living in Europe and Asia.  But T-Mobile, which did do fairly well in the survey, has nice plans for people who buy iPads to work on the company’s network.

In an earnings call earlier this week, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that future versions of OS X for the Mac will be free.  CEO Tim Cook also announced that the company had its best quarter in the education market ever. The iPhone’s hold on the market continues to slip, though, as many more smartphone users opted for the Samsung Experience last quarter. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is rolling out to owners of many Samsung devices and on the Smartwatch Watch, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s rumored Android-based wrist accessory is supposedly integrated with its Google Now service.

Scientists may predict how your romantic entanglements on Facebook will turn out. The paper, titled Romantic Partnerships and the Dispersion of Social Ties: A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook was written by Lars Blackstrom of Facebook and Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University and it looks at patterns of engagement and disengagement on with your social network activity.

And finally, the recent Facebook notice that the company was changing its “Who can look at your timeline by name” setting so anybody can find you with a search has some folks annoyed and ticked off and now Michael Zimmer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is building a scholarly archive of every one-the-record statement about privacy uttered by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The motive behind the project is is to keep Zuckerberg honest when it comes to his stance and evolution on privacy issues. The archive, which can be viewed online, is called The Zuckerberg Files. (Curiously enough, Google+ has seen a hefty jump in users recently.) But anyway, time for that weekly check of the Facebook privacy settings!

And your Google+ settings!

Ack!