Brands keep pushing the limit on audio and video as we start to record more and more of our lives. Nokia's new has some impressive features, like four microphones to boost sound quality along with full 1080p HD, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and unpixelated zoom. Now we'll see if this phone can make a dent in the market share for Apple and Samsung.
The biggest technology and gadget show, CES, just kicked off in Las Vegas, and as usual surrounds Apple:
Microsoft made news earlier by saying this was the last year they would attend CES/ Why attend if Apple gets all the buzz anyways? Maybe Microsoft should focus on new products instead of protecting its Windows/Office cash cow? Or maybe not . . .
I'm seriously kicking around the idea of dumping my in favor of an Android device. I've been playing with the HTC Inspire for the past few days and really loving it. The notification bar alone could be reason enough to say goodbye to Apple for a while, at least anything running iOS. One of the things I loved about my iPhone was the ability to get any music, anywhere. The MOG app was amazing for streaming and allowed for downloads when I would be without a connection. The Android version does the same thing, just much more shittily.
This is one of the problems with Android in general - different apps will behave differently on different devices. That differentiation (wink wink) is good in some ways - there are a lot of options for users - but it can also be a bit painful. Right now my app has a constant "Artist Radio" overlay along the bottom of the screen, no matter which screen I'm on. It blocks the Download button. It blocks the Play Album button. It infuriates the hell out of me. The app also randomly starts playing any time I receive a notification on my phone. Yes, any notification will start whatever music has loaded provided I've used MOG earlier in the day. I have to restart the damn phone to turn it off.
I got a bug in my ear to listen to a song from Glee today. Stay with me; I know you want to click away but I promise this post is about streaming services. I looked up the song - an a cappella version of Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream' (again, please keep reading) - and was pleasantly surprised to see that had it. I turned it on, turned it up, then realized I should be doing some dishes.
No problem - I'll fire it up on my phone and run it through a Bluetooth speaker system in the kitchen. There's just one problem with that - logging into MOG on my phone logged me out on my computer. Come back to the computer later and log back in, go out to get some coffee and log out and in on the phone for the car ride and then back home, log back in, blah blah blah, you get the picture. It's too much, and it could be so easily solved. Build a feature into both the web app and the iPhone app that allows me to tie my account to my phone so that both can be logged in.
So begins my letter to companies that dream of providing a music streaming service. You absolutely to make a smooth experience across devices. I've been so pleased with MOG that I've gone through and deleted a shload of my own digital library, the stuff I just didn't listen to much or was so ubiquitous I could always get it on MOG (do I really need of Aerosmith's ?). I'm so annoyed with the device situation, though, that I'm ready to jump the MOG ship the moment someone else can do it better.
Another simple thing - make the app more like a music player. I want access to my player all the time from anywhere. I don't want to have to play a song to see my player, which already has songs queued up by the way. Yes, I could make playlists, but I shouldn't have to. The whole advantage of the cloud isn't a cumbersome experience. It's the opposite. I want your streaming service because I don't have to keep hundreds of gigs of music around in case my taste changes. I literally dumped 30 gigs of songs last night because the cloud is so convenient. I'd love to dump 30 more.
I love Reddit, especially for things like this. This image shows the . Was it years of careful industrial design an planning? Nope. It was the scissors tool in Photoshop.
If you take a look at the two new music players it gets harder and harder to deny that it just looks like the old iPod Nano has been cut in half, leaving behind a screen (which is now touch sensitive) and a control scheme (welcome back, hardware controls - glad you're off those headphones).
As good as Reddit is for these little gems, the discussion can be a bit polarized. Continue through those comments at your own risk.
I constantly struggle to find new music. Yes, there are a million resources out there - blogs, fan sites, news and reviews, venues, torrents, etc. etc. - but there's so much music in the world that a lot of it ends up sounding the same, and I don't want something that always sounds the same.
I decided I was going to try a streaming service for the sheer amount of music available. Pandora isn't on-demand so that was out. I gave a shot because it was free and had just launched but their selection was woefully slim (they were missing big names like The Arcade Fire among some lesser stuff I was hoping for). From there I turned to MOG and I've been fairly impressed. Their selection is good, the iPhone app is passable, as is their web-based player, but I don't think I've discovered all that much.
MOG does have a feature on the web player that allows you to broaden your horizons by including similar artists to the one at the top of your playlist, but it's just not diverse. It's the same thing with Pandora. What I want is some sort of discovery mode, where the player throws a wide selection of stuff at you, based not just on the you're listening to, but what other people interested in that selection listen to. I would love if it there was even some sort of blacklist feature so that you wouldn't get the same old mix.
As a for instance, I'm listening to The Hold Steady right now. The similar artist list is about what you'd expect - Modest Mouse, A.C. Newman, Spoon, White Rabbits - all bands that someone listening to The Hold Steady would probably say, "Hey, you'd like these guys, too." I don't need that kind of guarantee, though. I want to hear a mix of stuff I might not like and might like and might be surprised I like, and I haven't found a music service that provides that.
I probably won't renew my MOG subscription beyond a month because I'm not getting a whole lot more from it than I can get from a Pandora. The on-demand is nice, but the web-player is a little clunky, and I have plenty of music to get through on my own.
You may remember the story of a grad student last summer who, after a bout with the RIAA, was served a $670,000 fine for illegally downloading 30 songs. A judge ruled this past week to , all the way down to $67,000. Unfortunately, the student says, that fine is just as unpayable as the first.
The judge did say the new fine was still "severe, even harsh," to which the RIAA gave its usual "profound economic and artistic harm" defense. Regardless of where you stand on the moral points of the story, I think it's fair to say that making a spectacle of one individual to scare off the masses isn't the best use of our judicial system. is still a huge deal, but when I see the lifestyle most musicians lead, I'm less inclined to give a shit when they get ripped off a couple times. We've heard time and time again that tours are where artists can really make some money.
For the RIAA, here's a thought: find a new way to monetize your options. There are, I dunno, a billion ways you can make cash that won't piss off the people who love the music you supposedly protect. Find a way to work the free market. Create a convenient and comprehensive service. Do something, but cry foul when the internet finds a way to distribute media for free. It will happen for the rest of your lives. Get around it.
This has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Well, heard, really. Most of the time when you think of audio manipulation, it's means marring the sound in some awful way. The pitch changes or the sound just goes all to hell. That's what makes this process so special. It can swing a song, any song. You should recognize the example above.
The code comes courtesy of . Be sure to check out the other examples they've got.