Tag Archives: itunes

Are You Using Google’s Music Beta?

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Google’s Music Beta allows you to place your music collection in the cloud, quite similar to what Amazon’s Cloud Player and Apple’s iCloud do. The tech giants appear to be ready to get into a head-to-head battle with each other, with your tunes up for grabs. As of right now, Google’s Music Beta is free to use. How does it compare to the other offerings, though?

You can download free tracks when you receive your invitation to the Music beta. As soon as it was announced, I signed up for my invite. I received it in fairly quick fashion. The email told me to click to accept, and had me download the program for my operating system. I was then easily able to sync my music into the Cloud with just a click or two.

I don’t use iTunes to manage my music, so this was something I wanted to try out. I have to give Google props for allowing me to turn this into a preference pane. I love the way it’s laid out, how it looks and works on my desktop and the various preferences I can tweak to make it work the way that is best for me.

I’m not the kind of person who really buys digital albums. If I purchase one, it’s a physical disc. I prefer to subscribe to music services, such as Rhapsody. I am able to listen to a large variety this way at any point in time. However, Google’s Music Beta is a great solution for managing and listening to the music I DO happen to own.

I had to run Music in Safari because it doesn’t run well within the development version of Chrome. That’s a pretty big oopsie, but I’m sure that they will address this in a future update… at least, I hope so.

I can browse through my Music folders and find what I want with ease. I can sort via album, genre and artist. The service even lets me give a thumbs up or down to every tune in my library. I’m not sure why you’d choose to own or upload a song you’d want to thumbs down… but that’s a story for another day.

Are you interested in using any of the Cloud-based music services? Which one do you prefer?

Are You a Fan of Amazon Cloud Player?

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Just after Lady Gaga made headlines by releasing her full album for less than a buck on Amazon’s new Cloud Player, a community member began to wonder if this service was something he should be using. He asked the question on our Q&A site, and the answers surprised me. Nearly everyone claimed they do not plan to use the new Cloud Player – unless some big changes are made.

Yes, I plan to use it. I have several GB worth of music stored in the Cloud Player. However, I listen to another service to listen to music. I pay to access music subscriptions through services such as Pandora and Rhapsody. I happen to feel it’s important to support artists by paying for what I listen to.

I prefer to consume my music without having to manage it locally. It’s just easier that way. I’d rather just subscribe to something instead of having to buy an album outright. I like being able to rent it indefinitely. I can listen to pretty much anything that might be available in those libraries at any given time.

The Amazon Cloud Player is good for remote storage. I plan to move all of my MP3s there, but I might hold on until they offer a bit more. I want the ability to tag my stuff and sort it in the way I want. Yes, I can dump it all in there and let it import, but it’s just not for me. Not even iTunes is for me. Heck, I’m not even happy with Google’s newest offering at this point.

What do you think? Are you a fan of services such as this? I gotta admit: if I have to choose, I’m going to go with subscription services… for audio and video. I love being able to listen to a huge variety of things without having to burn a disc.

I will use Amazon Cloud Storage – but it will never be my music home.

RememberIt: Never Forget Things Again

Admit it: you’ve forgotten things many times in your life. You don’t have to be elderly, scatter-brained or even blond in order to lose track of something. You’re human. It happens. If you have an iPhone, though, Fernando Pizarro has created an app that may be a life-saver for you. RememberIt will sound an alarm if you move out of range of whatever item you want to be sure not to leave behind. Fernando came up with this idea after he had been out at a bar with friends. He had handed his credit card to the bartender in order to keep a tab open – and left without it. He didn’t even realize it until he tried to pay for his coffee the next morning.

There are a ton of little ways we can try to remember things, including tying a string around our finger. The problem lies in trying to figure out what the heck that string signified to begin with. This is the main problem with the RememberIt app, as well. You’re going to have to know what it is you wanted to remember when that alarm goes off. There’s no way to enter a note into the application to help you out. In the case of leaving a credit card behind, the author could have added “Don’t leave credit card at bar!” into the app. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to do this.

You can set the alarm using a built-in noise or any song from your iTunes library. A sort of geo-fence will be set when you enable the alarm. Choose your range: 50, 200 or 500 feet and the alarm will alert you when you stray out of that range. There is a lot of room for improvement in the application, but I’m not sure there will be any. This has been created as a side project for Fernando. Any and all proceeds from its sale will be going to help fund his new business venture, which is a social video creation app that he is working on.

When was the last time you forgot something, and what was it? I know for me, the things I tend to leave behind are the things I generally end up needing the most. I’ve been told I’d forget my head if it weren’t attached to my shoulders. Thank God for those shoulders…

Giveaway of an Apple TV

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Streaming content into your home is more than just some passing fad. Thousands of people have already “cut the cable cord” in favor of set-top boxes such as the Apple TV. Using a device like this gives you more control over the content you are watching. It’s also cost effective – it will cost far less than traditional cable or satellite programming. The Apple TV is a fantastic device – and this one could be yours.

This tiny little black box (it’s just under 4″ square, sits about an inch high off the table and weighs just .6 ounces!) packs a lot of punch. Inside, you’ll find the A4 CPU, the same chip that powers the iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch. There’s a built-in 6-watt universal power supply and several ports: HDMI2, Optical Audio, Ethernet, IR receiver and a Micro-USB slot that Apple claims is for service and support.

It supports a slew of different formats. For video, you have:

  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.
  • Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format.

Audio files supported include HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through. And for photos, you can browse anything ending with .JPEG, .GIF and .TIFF.

So what can you DO with an Apple TV? I’m so glad you asked! Turn your TV into an HD photo album. Listen to your extensive music collection. Browse and play YouTube videos, watch your favorite HD podcasts, and listen to Internet radio through your home entertainment speakers. Watch Netflix movies and television on the device in HD and with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound when available. Rent your favorite TV shows on the spot, commercial free and in HD for just 99ยข per episode as soon as the day after they are aired. And of course, with the Apple TV, you get instant access to all of the best movies – usually the same day they are released to DVD.

Are you drooling yet? Are you ready to win?! Anyone in the United States is eligible to enter. I apologize to those of you in other countries. International laws and restrictions prohibit us from running contests worldwide.

Jump over to your Twitter account and make sure you are following the Lockergnome account as well as the one for the Frugal Geek. Once you’re following both of us, send out a Tweet stating the following: LockerGnome is Giving Away an Apple TV http://bit.ly/fcyJRE @LockerGnome @FrugalGeek. The giveaway is open from now until April 15th. One winner will be chosen at random who meets all qualifications laid out in this paragraph.

Are you using a set-top box? Which one do you prefer – and why?

Be the Life of the Party with an iPhone and djay

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djay is an iPhone and iPod touch app that acts as a portable DJ system in combination with your iPod library. You get access to your favorite tracks and playlists via a realistic touchscreen interface. Perform live as a street corner DJ or be the life of the party from your iPhone.

Record mixes on-the-go or enable Automix mode and let djay mix your favorite playlist from your iPod library automatically. With a simple rotation of your iPhone or iPod touch, djay’s intuitive dual turntable setup beautifully morphs to each turntable individually, allowing you to beat-match, adjust EQs, loop, and cue with even greater precision and control.

Features of this awesome app include:

  • Direct access to iPod library
  • Hyper-realistic low-latency turntable interface
  • Exclusive portrait and landscape modes
  • Automix mode with automatic transition control (Fade, Backspin, Reverse, Brake, and Random)
  • Automatic beat and tempo matching (BPM sync)
  • Looping (Auto, Manual, and Bounce)
  • Cue Point Trigger
  • Live Recording (with built-in organizer for recorded performances)
  • Seamless AirPlay integration (wirelessly transmit your mix to Apple TV or AirPort Express base station)
  • Pre-Cueing (with optional headphone adapter)
  • Full visual waveform
  • High-quality scratching
  • Mixer, tempo, and EQ controls
  • Pitch-Bend
  • Beat-synchronized scrubbing
  • Fully optimized for iOS multitasking and background operation

Yes, you’ll find apps which are free, unlike djay. However, you will NOT find a free app that is better than this one. You get what you pay for in most cases, and that is definitely true when it comes to most apps available for your devices.

djay can turn you into the life of the party – every single time. Isn’t that “feature” alone worth its weight in gold?

Which apps are you using to become a dee-jay for a day?

Top Apps of All Time

Apple is marching steadily toward that magic 10 billion number on their App Store downloads scale. With that magical date seemingly just around the proverbial corner, Apple has compiled lists of the top Apps of all time, including both free and paid offerings on the iPhone and iPad. Of particular interest to most of us are the entries on the iPhone free Apps list. Not surprisingly, Facebook has the number-one downloaded free App of all time, with Pandora running a close second. However, the number three spot – now that one is a surprise. I’m sure that Google is loving this, even if Steve Jobs is gnashing his teeth.

The Google Mobile App holds the number three position on that almighty list, folks – GOOGLE. I actually shouldn’t be so shocked by this: it really is a great app. You can use it to navigate to other Google services, such as Maps and Gmail, Search through your contacts, Google Maps, Images, News, and Shopping. Search with your voice instead of by type – which comes in handy when you’re driving. Heck, you can even search the web through pictures with Google Goggles. What shocks me is not that the App made it on the list, but the fact that Apple so willingly admitted it. Oh and by the way – Google Earth shows up on that particular list at number seven.

There were a few other surprises, of course. Who would have ever guessed that something called iFart Mobile would have made a top-ten list such as this? Unfortunately, I’m not joking. I’m also not admitting that I happen to have this particular App, nor that I have used it on more than one occasion.

Where do your favorite Apps fit into the list?

All-Time Top Paid iPhone Apps

  • Doodle Jump
  • Tap Tap Revenge 3
  • Pocket God
  • Angry Birds
  • Tap Tap Revenge 2.6
  • Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
  • Traffic Rush
  • Tap Tap Revenge Classic
  • AppBox Pro Alarm
  • Flight Control

All-Time Top Free iPhone Apps

  • Facebook
  • Pandora
  • Google Mobile App
  • Shazam
  • Movies by Flixster
  • The Weather Channel
  • Google Earth
  • Bump
  • Skype
  • Paper Toss

All-Time Top Paid iPad Apps

  • SoundHound
  • StickWars
  • FlightTrack
  • Backbreaker Football
  • Calorie Tracker
  • BlocksClassic
  • iFart Mobile
  • GoodReader for iPad
  • Cro-Mag Rally
  • Ambiance

All-Time Top Free iPad Apps

  • Pandora
  • Google Mobile App
  • Movies by Flixster
  • Google Earth
  • Yelp
  • Fandango Movies
  • Remote
  • iBooks
  • The Bible
  • Solitaire

BaldBooth – Are You Sorry for the Loss?

Whether it’s due to heredity or from your kids making you tear it out strand by strand, you will lose a small amount of hair in your lifetime. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not. Why not take control of your head and turn yourself bald with just a couple of clicks? BaldBooth lets you instantly remove all of your hair – without having to head to a beauty shop.

You can have a lot of fun with this app. There are a ton of different ways you can use the app. Turn yourself bald and send a photo to a friend going through chemotherapy to show your support and cheer them up. Play a practical joke on your best buddy by making him the bald one. Heck, why not use a photo of your boss and then hang it above your desk at home for inspiration? The possibilities are endless. Or go to an event and get a social media photo booth shot taken.

What app are you having the most fun with these days?

Free iTunes Movie

Everyone loves free stuff, including me. Apple is reportedly sending out free movie codes to many of the registered iTunes users. There has been no official announcement about this. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who can receive a code. The free movie rental promotion lets you rent one of the 8,500 compatible movies and you have 30 days to start watching and 24 hours to finish.

You can watch iTunes movies on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV or computer (including a Windows machine!) at any time you wish – and from anywhere you choose. iTunes doesn’t charge late fees. There are no return envelopes to worry about. You don’t have to wait in line or join a queue. You can even use your iTunes Store credit to rent movies or to purchase movies. One of the coolest things about the iTunes movie rental service is that you can move the movie between devices as many times as you wish during the rental period. However, the movie can only exist on one device at a time.

Renting a movie is as simple as purchasing music or apps. Simply choose your movie, purchase it and download to iTunes. Connect your device and transfer the movie to it… and then enjoy. You don’t need to sign up for a separate account or service like you would if you use Netflix or another rental company. You likely already have iTunes for one reason or another. Why not use it to rent your movies, as well?

Do You Want the Beatles on iTunes?

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A chat room member asked me recently whether I thought it was important that the Beatles are now on iTunes. My initial reaction was a big snooze. I like the Beatles, but why is it such a big deal to have them on iTunes?

It’s not like we couldn’t listen to their music in a million other ways, people. There are still CDs and casette tapes out there. Heck, I’m willing to bet many people still own original Beatles vinyl. There are numerous ways to get those songs onto your computer and playlists. Anyone who truly cared about having the Beatles in those areas already HAVE the Beatles in those areas.

I’m sorry, but to me this is just a non-event. I will never understand why such a big deal was made out of it.

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iTunes Exciting Announcement Coming Tomorrow

If you’ve opened your iTunes account today, you were greeted with a very understated photo embed at the top. “Tomorrow is just another day. That you will never forget. Check back tomorrow for an exciting announcement from iTunes.” Under that are a few clocks representing different time zones to let you easily figure out when to expect this big news. The question is – what the heck does Apple have up its sleeve this time?

There are already any number of rumors and speculation circulating around the web. Everyone is weighing in with their predictions. The truth of the matter is that for once, none of us have a single clue.

We know that iOS 4.2 is supposed to drop tomorrow morning around 10:00AM Pacific time. With that information in hand, one can easily assume that the iTunes announcement has something to do with the new firmware. MacStories wonders if Apple is going to “change the system underlying the whole software update process?” However, that’s not really a big deal, and certainly not something we’ll never forget.

Is iTunes finally going to release a music subscription service to rival options such as Pandora? Will we soon see a web-based version of the software? Your guess is as good as mine at this point, so leave me a comment and let me know what you think the folks in Cupertino have planned for us.