Here I was sitting and watching the live broadcast of WWDC and I thought, “Things have really changed with these Apple events.” I don’t want to get all uber-nostalgic with fanboy grandeur or anything, but I do have a comment on certain aspects of the Apple keynote that were completely missing from Monday morning’s presentation of iOS 7. In a word, defense. In a few more words … I know that Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. I don’t expect him to be. However, when you wield a company like Apple, you don’t have to justify to your audience that you still do incredible things. We know that. The problem is, we expect that. I don’t propose we give a book by Stephen Covey to Tim Cook, I just remember that in the past an Apple keynote felt more like a cult-ish mob rally and less like a formal apology at a public trial.
You know exactly what I am talking about.
You’ve seen the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 when walking through the mobile department at your local Best Buy. The Note 2 is not a mobile phone. It is a television. I have had one up to my face and I don’t like it. Not because I would have to buy new pants with larger pockets to own one, but because it simply lacks original thought. I don’t want to sound like I’m on a total rant, there is a point to this.
It should make sense, but it doesn’t. Several people were held at gunpoint during the robbery of a Baltimore GameStop this week. Thieves stole 100 copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops, along with the store’s cash. This did have a weird sense of irony, but mostly it was terrible. Why? Because this probably won’t help the video game industry if it gets a lot of bad press. Modern Warfare 2 received enough angry letters about the terrorist level, this should merit a few on its own.
Jarren Bird, Mike Alger and Colton Chesnut get together for the 7th time on the Rhombus Tech Podcast. E3 the biggest game conference of the year brought several new things from Microsoft, and Nintendo. Apple has their new iPhone in the wild, Jarren got one, he tells about the face time he’s had with it so far.
Jarren Bird, Mike Alger and Colton Chesnut get together for the 6th installment of the Rhombus Tech Podcast. Today’s topics: Apple’s WWDC 2010 and the iPhone 4. (And freakin’ Team Fortress 2 for Mac!)
Colton, Jarren, and Mike get together for the fourht installment of the Rhombus Tech Podcast. This week was all about Google’s annual IO conference. They announced Android 2.2, Google TV, and everything else that will bless the Internet for the coming year. Also, some thoughts on movie piracy as the producer of The Hurt Locker gets all bent out of shape over his stolen film.
Colton Chesnut and Jarren Bird add MikeAlger to their ranks for the second edition of the Rhombus tech podcast. This week, Steve Jobs insists that Flash smells bad, HP snatches Palm, and the fuzz crack down on Gizmodo editor (and apparently deadly threat to national security) Jason Chen.
Colton Chesnut and Jarren Bird get together for the first ever Rhombus tech podcast — and shoot the breeze about the iPad, the new iPhone OS and Sprint’s 4G network in the process. Take a listen below and share your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy!
Technology and distribution have had an exponential effect on how we’ve listened to our music over the last 50 years. Back then, we were a people who only listened to what was played on the local radio, mixed by some guy with slicked back hair and rolled up jeans. Next, it was the mania of the latest gramophone at the local retailer, because you wanted to personally contribute to the boys who brought you “Eleanor Rigby.” Then it was on to long-haired portability, because head-banging was born for your sick Camaro. Now we are an “on-demand” society. Why should we have to drive all the way down the street to buy the newest installment of Nickelback (not that we’d ever willingly do that) when we could download it from our living room couch via iTunes? There’s no use in owning the antiquated physical version of your music when it will only limit where you can listen to it. Like myself, may were introduced to digital music through illegal means (see Napster). However, it is my goal in this article to either introduce or refresh you on some of the better, more legal avenues for listening and obtaining music in 2009.
It just seemed natural to get iTunes out of the way first. Obviously Apple is the big fish here in this digital sea, so I won’t spend too much time talking about using iTunes. If you don’t already know, that’s probably because you are a rebellious Amish boy that sneaked into the nearest library because of your devotion to reading Rhombus. (Thanks for the commitment.) As for the rest of us, you may have noticed the spotlight these days on iPhone apps and HD movie rentals, making it hard to remember that the iTunes Music Store still sells music. Rest assured, because not only do they sell music, its now 100% DRM-free. Not so fast though: That license freedom did not come without a price. Aside from some deeper cuts and older releases being discounted a smidgen, almost all new releases and top selling tracks now bear a $1.29 price tag. 30 cents may not seem like a lot but, based on my library (which I did acquire solely via iTunes), if I had paid the current prices I would be out an extra $350. Overall, I would say that you would use iTunes primarily out of convenience. You probably already own an iPod, so going this route is as simple as one click to purchase and plug in to sync.
What a journey the crew at Napster has been on. They were the premier illegal source for mp3 downloads around the turn of the century. Even my Ninth Grade P.E. teacher used their service: he had me download shady versions of the Doobie Brothers in return for class credit. Despite their illegality, Napster was an important part of ushering in our current age of music distribution. However, their offering has changed a bit different since my junior high days. First off, it’s now legal, which is a plus for me. Until recently their service was a flat monthly fee of $12.95 and if you didn’t buy an official “Napster to-go” device, you were essentially paying for a glorified version of Pandora (without the clever recommendations). If your specific mp3 player of choice is “to-go” status, you can still opt back in to that plan. As for the rest of us, we get their new web-only service. For $4.99 a month you have all the access to their online library you can handle. They do have a Windows-only desktop client (sorry, Mac users) that allows you to listen and build custom playlists, but requires an internet connection to function. Included in the fee, Napster also allows you five full mp3 downloads every month. So if you find yourself only purchasing a song here or there from iTunes, this may be the perfect hybrid option for you. (For those of you who are interested, Rhapsody is another alternative service similar to Napster. CNet did a comparison of the two here.)
Online radio at its finest. Pandora takes your favorite song or artist and builds a radio station around them. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Well it pretty much was until May of this year when they added some usage limitations. Pandora has always been ad supported — that’s how they stay afloat. However, now there is a max time usage of 40 hours per month, in addition to your individual radio sessions timing out after 1 hour. You can thank/blame their new service, Pandora One: There are no monthly usage restrictions, it’s higher quality music (192 kbps), you can use their lightweight AIR desktop app and — last but not least — no more ads.
LaLa seems to have taken a different initial approach than the others. I suppose they assumed most people already had some sort of music collection on their computer already, so they decided to integrate with that. The Windows/Mac sync program called “LaLa Mover” will analyze the music on your computer and place the matches in your online LaLa library. If they cannot find certain songs you own on their site, they will automatically upload those tracks until all your music is on the Interweb. Their idea is allowing you the flexibility of filling your library with either 79 cent mp3 tracks or 10 cent online-only tracks. The LaLa ecosystem is not quite as straight forward as others, but accounts are free and there is no monthly bill. For those of you familiar with imeem, you will feel right at home with LaLa.
Colton Chesnut is co-founder and Web editor for Rhombus. He doesn’t really like Nickelback. We promise. Send him a tweet @coltonjchesnut.