Music

Vijay Iyer – Historicity (Jazz CD, 2009) Review

Because of – or perhaps in spite of – the fact that my musical tastes fall well outside of the mainstream, I have always been suspicious of something that has become the ‘latest critical darling’, even when it is from an artist I love. In recent years I remember buying ‘River: The Joni Letters’ on release because of the artist making the recording (Herbie Hancock), his guests (Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Roy Hargrove and vocalists Norah Jones, Tina Turner), and of course the subject of the tribute (Joni Mitchell). I played it a few times, since nothing really ‘stuck’ the…


iPlaylist Creator for iPhone/Touch App Review

How amazing would it be to be able to create play-lists from any songs on your iPhone without syncing or using iTunes or a computer?  I have found a way to do just that!  iPlaylist Creator enables iPhone users to create and listen to play lists on the go easily on the iPhone. Features: -Creates Playlists -Easy Drag and Drop songs into any playlist -Sort the songs how you want to play them -Reorder your playlists manually to make your favorite ones show at the top of the list -Color your playlists and change the colors to match your moods…


Why Music Subscriptions Make Less Sense Than Ever…

As Larry just posted, Apple actually approved the Rhapsody app for streaming music if you have a RhapsodyTo Go account. So now we have RhapsodyToGo available in the US and Spotify available in much of Europe. That’s awesome, and a bit of a surprise but still… I don’t quite get it. Rhapsody to Go is $15 a month. That comes down to $180 a year or $360 over the contract-life of the iPhone. (As if iPhone ownership weren’t costly enough already.) Worst of all at the end of that year you own NOTHING! Contrast that to the Simplify Music app…


Review: HP Mediasmart LX195

The single biggest problem my wife and other family members have is making sure that their data is backed up.  The HP Mediasmart LX195 will help you make sure that data is safe and a while lot more. This server is based on Microsoft’s Windows Home Server.  It’s not my normal operating system of choice, but I think that Microsoft and HP have done a good thing here.  They have done something that is difficult with Linux.  They have made it extremely easy to setup a media server and a backup server all in the same tidy package.  Try as…


Local Concerts for iPhone Review

As summer has come to a close and football has begun, I find myself without a day off until December.  For those of you who might have some time off and a spare evening, live music might be your choice of spending an evening.  Local Concerts provides a one stop resource to find who will be playing in your area.  The app is developed by a huge social music engine called iLike.It does not matter your taste or style, you can definitely find something worth going to see! Live Concerts uses your GPS to determine location, then downloads many weeks…


TuneWiki for iPhone Review

After first glance TuneWiki is just an app that subtitles iPod music synced while the song plays.  The app proves to be more than that.  Some good and some kind of meh.  There are actually four parts to the app so I will cover each part. Music: This tab is really the meat of TuneWiki.  Basically, the app acts as your iPod with a twist.  The music library is available by choosing artists, albums, songs, play lists or shuffle all songs.  Once the song plays, the album art is displayed as well as the lyrics.  Most mainstream music had lyrics…


KindleGate Blows Up In Amazon’s Face

UPDATE: The following update appeared on David Pogue’s Times column. EDITOR’S NOTE | 8:41 p.m. The Times published an article explaining that the Orwell books were unauthorized editions that Amazon removed from its Kindle store. However, Amazon said it would not automatically remove purchased copies of Kindle books if a similar situation arose in the future. My Note- It doesn’t change the core issues here! Just a few weeks ago I posted on a series of encounters I had with Amazon and their customer service. The first post raised questions about DRM. The second clarified some of the initial misinformation…


Stanton T.55 Belt-Driven Turntable – Unboxing and Review

Whoever thought I would be using a belt-driven turntable in 2009? And yet, that’s what I did over the weekend. Sure, we all know DJs love vinyl, but me, the typical end-user? What gives? Well, it turns out there are a host of treasures to be found if you “go retro”. LPs stored in the attic are just waiting to be broken out once again. And if you don’t have any disks left you can just go to your local record store where your favorite music can be had for a song. (Ha, music… song… get it???) If you DO…



An Open Letter To Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

The following email was sent directly to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Dear Mr Bezos, My name is Dan Cohen and I am an editor for the tech website www.geardiary.com. I am also a proud Kindle owner. In fact, many of us on the site’s staff have, and love, our Kindles. I’m writing to you regarding an experience I have had over the past few days that clearly struck a cord with readers and Kindle owners worldwide. It began last Friday when I got a new iPhone and iPod touch and was unable to load some of my kindle books on them….


KindleGate: Confusion Abounds Regarding Kindle Download Policy

I’ve been on top of KindleGate most of the afternoon. It took speaking with three MORE customer reps today, plus the one yesterday, to finally get accurate, or what I hope is accurate, information. This sordid tale began last night when I was setting up my iPhone 3G S, and a book I went to download to the Amazon Kindle app would not download.  I called customer service to inquire about the issue. In short order the customer representative told me that each publisher determines the number of times a book can be downloaded, and once that download number is…


Kindle’s DRM Rears Its Ugly Head… And It IS Ugly

I love my Amazon Kindle. I love reading with it, I love how light it is,  and I love the battery life. I also love the fact that it automatically syncs with the Amazon Kindle application on my iPhone and iPod touch. That means any book will open to the last page read regardless of the device last used.  it is an amazing bit of technology   that makes reading books across multiple platforms beyond simple. It’s a perfect situation — right? Well, it’s an almost perfect situation. This afternoon I discovered a huge Achilles heel in the whole Amazon Kindle…


How much is that MP3 Download Worth? How about $80,000?!?

I am a staunch anti-piracy fighter: I engage in forum discussions about it on a regular basis, and also being a hardcore PC gamer I see the direct impact of piracy on that hobby. I see how it has impacted where developers target their games, how many top-level PC games are released, and the increasingly draconian DRM schemes used to try to thwart piracy … most of which simply punish honest customers. I constantly rail against piracy and try to stop folks from doing it when I can. That said, I have absolutely no love for the RIAA , the…


Clarion Mind Review: Media, Internet, and Directions All-In-One? Not Quite

For some time now, there has been a gap between PDA/phones and notebook computers, various form factors have been introduced to fill this void, but until the ASUS eeepc, none have been particularly successful.  Of course, with the Asus, we were given the device which we now know as the netbook, and finally that gap began to close. Some devices, however, started at the other end of the spectrum, trying to fill the gap up from PDA/phones.  Chief among them has been the Archos Internet Media Tablet and the iPod Touch.  Well, now we have another newcomer to this gap-filling…


Review: Nextar I4-BC GPS

I am a GPS nut, and  I have been since I won my first one, a Garmin GPS-12 at the Dayton Hamvention as a door prize.  That Garmin had no maps in it, but fortunately it’s almost unheard of to not have included maps on a GPS unit these days.  So what makes the Nextar I4-BC special?  Let’s find out.


B&W Music Club Review

I am a real lover of good music.  I was a radio DJ in college, and through that, I developed an admiration for good music and talented musicians…regardless of the genre. When I heard that Bowers & Wilkins, the makers of some extremely nice iPod speakers (watch for my review of their speakers coming soon) had begun a new kind of music club, I knew I would have to check it out.  And boy am I glad I did. The B&W Music Club is unlike any music club I have seen.  Many of you are probably thinking, as I did,…


TuneRanger iTunes Sync from Smithmicro – let the buyer beware

I received an email offer about two weeks ago from SmithMicro. They advertise a software product called TuneRanger which promises to “Sync, manage and protect all of your iTunes libraries …with the click of a button”. I have my main iTunes library on an iMac and would like to synchronize all of the iTunes music over to my MacBook Pro so that I’d have an identical copy including playlists and any ratings that I’d created for my songs. SmithMicro was offering over 30% savings if I bought within 10 days of the mailing – which seemed too good to be…


Jaybird JB-200 Bluetooth Headphones and Adapters

Bluetooth stereo headphones are really starting to proliferate.  Not all headsets are created equal, that much is certain.  While I do like my standby headphones, the Insignia Bluetooth headphones, sometimes I wish I had a lighter set for when I am working out; this set fits the bill nicely. Jaybird sent me the JB-200 headset with adapters for the iPod and for standard stereo headphone jacks.  The JB-200’s come with a nice dock.  To charge the headphones, you plug the USB cable into the USB charger; I have also tried a standard USB port and the Ted Baker charging kit,…


Review: Insignia Pilot 8GB and the Insignia Bluetooth Headphones

I have a confession to make: I am a iPod owner who dislikes his iPod. I don’t hate the iPod; quite the contrary, I really like it but am frustrated by it’s caretaker, Apple. For everything Apple has done right, there’s lots of things that it has done wrong. For example, if you look at the files on the iPod itself you’ll see undecipherable file names for each of your music files. Plus there’s Apple’s Love/Hate relationship with DRM. Then there’s codec limitations. You can listen to MP3, AAC,Protected AAC, Apple Lossless, Audible, WAV and AIFF, but what about open…


The Sony Walkman Review: Now with Bluetooth

There it was.  At last!  Writ large upon the outer wrapping of the new Sony NWZ-A828K Digital Media Player (which most of you will know as a Walkman).  There were the words I have longed to hear from a media player for so many years.  The box read: WIRELESS. Enjoy music wirelessly with the supplied Bluetooth stereo headset. Yes, that is right folks.  This will be my first media player review without the patented Bluetooth rant.  And really, having found a media player with Bluetooth, I might as well end the review right here.  Nice job, Sony!  But no, as…


Ivideosongs.com Review: The Website Every Budding Musician Needs to See!

I still remember when I started seriously playing the guitar.  I was in seventh grade.  At that time, we were given a choice of band, chorus, or guitar.  But you had to pick one.  Well, by then I had already determined that I was done with the clarinet, so I would not be joining the band.  And I had no illusions about my ability to sing  (I was always the kid in my fourth grade concert who stood in the back lip syncing).  So, it was off to guitar for me, and I was pretty excited about it.  I mean,…