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Articles tagged with: iTunes

Apple’s software (for Macintosh and Windows) for syncing, purchasing music, apps and podcasts for your iPhone, iPod and iPads.

Written By: Gary on August 23, 2009 2 Comments

defygrav.jpgSo I noticed not only does iTunes still have the Defying Gravity pilot for free the next episode is also free (that’s 3 episodes, the 2-part pilot and Threshold) and it’s in HD! So if you’ve been wanting to catch up, now is the time…

Who knows how long they’ll keep doing this, it’s been three weeks for the pilot now. If I knew they were putting up HD episodes all the time, I’d be happy to watch the show a few weeks behind. I’d even be happy if they inserted advertisements to pay for it. Are you listening Apple and the TV distribution cartel?!?

And dont’ forget, all the episodes of Defying Gravity is on Hulu and they’re in 480p if you have the bandwidth.

Written By: Gary on August 9, 2009 No Comment

So the rumors this week are that in iTunes 9 that Apple is going to add Application Management. My iPhone would be a lot more useful for me if it had that, I’m always installing and trying apps and it messes with the order of everything. Here’s a concept that someone ut together a few months ago.


View iTunes App Management on Youtube

It’s very Apple-ish but some of it’s pretty complicated for what Apple likes to do.

The above is pretty close to what I’m looking for. But I’d take something way more primitive…

Written By: Gary on August 4, 2009 No Comment

So iTunes has the Defying Gravity pilot for free! And it’s available in HD! It’s probably only free for a few more days (but who knows). (UPDATE: Defying Gravity is on Hulu in 480p.)

defygrav.jpgI forgot this was going to be on this week, I set the TiVo up a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I think it’s only on for six weeks, so don’t fall too much in love with it.

It’s in 2052. It’s not a super high-tech 2052, they’ve got cooler TVs and while the spaceship is great, the rest isn’t that science fiction-ish. But you mostly forget about it. What really caught my eye was that we don’t have a Space Elevator yet!?! They had to launch to get up to get in to orbit (to get on the big space ship).


Direct link to the preview.

So they astronauts (think) they’re on a mission to all the planets in the solar system. But there is some mysterious (alien?) intelligence guiding their way, so who knows what the mission actually is.

It’s got an A Fine Frenzy song (Last of Days) in it too! About 30 minutes in if you have commercials, probably bout 22 minutes in without. She’s awesome!

Written By: Gary on July 21, 2009 No Comment

Torchwood: Children of Earth started in the US on BBC America last night and runs for the next four nights, kind of a mini-series of a season. Torchwood: Children of Earth [Blu-ray] BBC WarnerYou can already get Torchwood: Children of Earth at iTunes for $2.99 per episode in HD (or $1.99 for standard). Not bad if you don’t have BBC America in your cable package. Generally, iTunes has been that fast for US shows, but I don’t think they’ve been that fast with the BBC shows (or maybe it just seems longer since the BBC airs them so much earlier in the UK). I’m not sure what they’ll charge for the whole season once it’s available later this week (Torchwood seasons Season’s One and Two episodes are only $1.99 for HD and $0.99 for standard definition and you don’t even have to buy the whole season).

Amazon has it on pre-order Blu-ray or DVD which ships next week.

Written By: Gary on July 20, 2009 No Comment

I mentioned the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing earlier today. Here’s a few other “space” things that caught my eye:

themoon.jpg

  • Apollo 11 restored HD video.
  • Send your name to Mars and get a certificate.
  • For your iPhone and iPod Touch get SkyVoyager and SkyGazer for free today (normally $17.98 combined).
  • Photos of the Moon landing sites from the LRO.
  • And Google has added the Moon to Google Earth (desktop application).
  • That’s it for now. Please post any recommended links in the comments below.

    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Written By: Gary on July 16, 2009 No Comment

    Abnormally Attracted To Sin is only $2.99 (it’s now up to $949 [7/22]) right now at Amazon for the 17 track album. Abnormally Attracted To Sin Tori Amos/Republic RecordsI can’t say how long this offer is going to last but I just picked up my copy!

    iTunes wants $11.99 for Abnormally Attracted To Sin with one (1) bonus track (Oscar’s Theme), probably not worth $9.00 for that much more.

    What iTunes does offer is an Abnormally Attracted To Sin deluxe edition with with fifteen (15) videos for $13.99 (which also includes the 18 songs!), that might be worth it for the big fan. Personally, I don’t watch the videos enough to make it worth it.

    Obviously these prices will change eventually, but I’m sure the the $2.99 price probably wont last long.

    Written By: Gary on July 11, 2009 No Comment

    autostitch-icon.pngSo one of the coolest programs I’ve downloaded from the iPhone App Store is AutoStitch. It takes a bunch of photos and stitches them together. Alex Lindsey talked about this on MacBreak Weekly a few weeks ago. He spoke so highly of it, I plopped down my $1.99 and started using it immediately.

    autostitch-screen-capture.PNGYou take a bunch of overlapping photos and it stitches them together, it does this completely automatically, there is no user intervention. You can use pictures you’ve taken with the iPhone but you can just as easily use pictures that you’ve synced with the phone. So this can work for the iPod Touch too, just sync some photos and when you’ve got some spare time, stitch them together. It does an amazing job.

    I first used some photos that I shot on my Canon SD1100, it that just happened to be synced to the phone and did a great job of stitching them together. So you don’t need an iPhone, an iPod Touch with photos that you’ve synced works great too.

    Above you can see a sample screenshot from the program where I chose 22 photos and it stitched them together (click it to enlarge). Remember all I did was pick the photos and a few minutes later it churned these out. All these photos were taken with the iPhone 3gs. If I cropped some of the edges of the photos, it’d look like I took there with a really wide angle lens.

    Here are two samples:

    detroit-cityfestjaggies.JPG
    I chose this one specifically so you can really see how it pieces these together. It’s got gaps in it, (I think) this is the one I took 22 photos for the image; just the part with the people on the blanket in the middle is 3 or 4 images.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,500 by 800 pixels.


    detroitcityfest.JPG
    This one is more complete as I took many up and down photos to go with it. That’s the Detroit Fisher Building on the left.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,000 by 1,000 pixels.

    These pictures were taken at CityFest in Detroit this summer.

    I’ve used it multiple times and only once had a problem; it got confused when I did a 360 panorama when the same type of railing showed up several times, this was because all the condos where I live are similar so it really couldn’t match things up. There are some matching issues with color/contrast and people moving, but this is really great!

    This software is well worth the $1.99! I think I got that much fun out of it in the first hour, let alone all the time since then. ZZZ

    Written By: Gary on June 28, 2009 2 Comments

    It’s a shame to become so popular after someone dies. I guess in Michael’s case so extra popular (since he was so much more famous in the past and not so much lately).

    And it’s always shame for someone to die so young.

    michael-jackson-itunes
    This is from just a few minutes ago at the iTunes store.

    Rest in Peace Michael!

    Written By: Gary on June 16, 2009 One Comment

    tweetdeckiphone.gifSo in my attempt to start using Twitter more I installed TweetDeck today. Coincidentally, later on today they also released a free iPhone/Touch version of TweetDeck today which will sync with your columns (you need to download the new desktop version for the syncing). Syncs with multiple desktop clients too.

    It seems like a great iPhone/Touch client even on it’s own: Take photos and immediately post to Twitter (via TwitPic etc.), shake to refresh, reorder columns.

    tweetdeck.pngAnd TweetDeck appears to support multiple Twitter accounts (I don’t think that feature was in there earlier today).

    Later: Looks like it only syncs columns you create after installing the new version. At least that’s the only way I can get it to work. And I manually had to sync, it doesn’t seem to be persistent, but I’m not changing my columns that often so no problem for me. (I relaunched to test but still no joy, maybe I just need to wait?)Not getting any syncing between my “columns”. I think I’m doing something wrong(?).

    Even Later: So the iPhone version is syncing when it loads today (it was not doing this yesterday); it actually asks before adding a column. But the desktop version (for Mac) isn’t asking me to do this.

    Written By: Gary on May 22, 2009 No Comment

    Why doesn’t anyone have a bike rack to park your bike at any more? It’s a pain in the ass when I need to park it somewhere. I’m being healthy and ecological and have to climb in the bushes to find a place to lock it up. The only thing around with one is the library. Although I guess since I’m writing this from McDonald’s, healthy isn’t the first thought in my head…

    glee-tv.pngI’ve got these stupid songs from Glee (that link goes to a free HD download of the pilot), running through my head. The two songs in particular are You’re the one that I want from Grease and Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Kind of a cute show, most of the adult characters are pretty lame though (the women especially). I just noticed they’ve got the cast doing Don’t Stop Believin’ at iTunes.

    I think I need to go see Night at the Museum II and/or Terminator Salvation some time this weekend.

    It’s another awesomely sunny day out too!

    Written By: Gary on May 22, 2009 No Comment

    Assuming we get new iPhones at the WWDC in early June, I’ve got a few guesses. June 9th is when it’s assumed Apple will release the new 3.0 Operating System and announce (or release new phones). I think the upgrade is supposed to be free for iPhone users but not for the iPod touch users; I find this completely bizzaro since I think you’ll need it to purchase applications, so Apple is cutting out their market of potential iTunes App sales.

    Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerThey could just announce new phones, but people’s contracts are running out so I assume they’ll have something to release or announce with product in the next few months (there are July 17 rumors too, but it could just be the same rumor re-tweeted over and over). I’m just talking about features for the physical phone, the software has been out in beta and I don’t think there will be too many surprises there.

    1) I think we’ll get a new phone with a new camera. It’s never had the best camera and rumors say Apple has been buying 3 MP and 5 MP chips. I’d really hope it’s the 5 MP as the main camera, but sadly I’m not sure what else they’d use the 3 MP chips in. I’m assuming this would also allow you to record video. But 3 MP is pretty low when you consider the quality of everything else that goes into the iPhone.
    2) I’d love it to have two cameras, one on the back and one of the front for video-conferencing. I don’t think we’ll get that with this refresh (maybe on ‘the iTablet’?), but if they offer it, I definitely pick up that model.
    3) I think they’ll start offering an iPhone with more memory, they’ve had more memory in the iPod Touch (up to 32 GB v.s up to 16 GB)for a while so this is a no brainer (IMHO). But will they stop at 32 GB or go all the way to 64 GB?

    Other stuff:
    Lots of rumors on a faster processor and if Apple wants to make this a gaming machine it needs a little more power. Rumors indicate faster chip purchases, but these could be for ‘the tablet’, but then again maybe they need it for the rumored video recording capabilities.

    Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerI feel if Apple starts releasing very different model iPhones, people will start getting confused on which models to get. So far the only difference has been color (do they still make the white?) and storage. If they try keeping a cheaper model with less features, a mid-range with with a better (or two) cameras and another with faster processor will just confuse the masses. Even more confusing if each higher step doesn’t include every feature of the “lower” models. Nothing says “don’t buy” more than confusion between models.

    And speaking of the iTablet, which I think will be more of big iPhone/iTouch than a low power tablet or netbook computer, I’m not sure why the iTablet would need a better camera than the iPhone (I’m really hung up on the 3 MP / 5 MP chip rumors). I’d like the tablet to have to ability to be a phone to use my SIM chip from my iPhone for data. They better not release a tablet with a phone from a competing company so I need to buy another plan for wireless data for this other device.

    So I’m ready to transition to the iPhone, I’ve been playing with the iTouch (yes, I know it’s an iPod Touch) for a few months and I need the data “on” all the time. As long as they announce a way to tether my laptop to the Internet via the phone, I’m in!

    Written By: Gary on May 12, 2009 One Comment

    I got way overwhelmed with my RSS feeds, I’ve got gobs of them (almost 300). Many of those feeds don’t get updated more that once a month (if ever) so they really don’t impact the list, but a dozen or so update 2-4 times a day. Plus, I recently added everyone coming to WordCamp Chicago (list of attendees) another 100 or so feeds; I’ll prune that down later.

    I’ve been over a 1000+ unread items for ages and even when it gets back to 700-800 it just jumps back up! Lately , no matter what I do, I can’t even get it under 1000, so I cleared out all my posts. And started over…

    THey really need a way to click a button to ‘mark all posts older than __ days as read’ and that would help with when it gets full.

    Hopefully I’ll do better catching up in the future.

    I’ve got the feeds syncing with my iPod Touch (but if I’m not of WiFi there are no images, which makes some feeds useless) so maybe that will help. I use Doppler (you can try Doppler Lite for free).

    I’m really looking for an off-line Google Reader the includes the images for off-line viewing, any tips? Other than storage space, once you’ve written the reader the image caching doesn’t seem too hard, but it still eludes me….

    Written By: Gary on April 13, 2009 349 Comments

    So I get an e-mail from iTunes today stating that an episode for my new season pass for “Sophie” has arrived. The first thing I thought was that I accidentally clicked “buy season” when I downloaded the free pilot last week. But when I check the receipt I see six other items (in addition to the season pass) totaling $61.93! Not only that, I see another order for $5.97! Not a chance that I placed these orders (FYI, the orders were placed at 1 am and 5 am).

    Here’s the really strange part:Almost all of the purchase was videos (tv, movies, movie rentals) and I think those kinds of videos still have DRM in them and no additional computers were authorized. What good are these to anyone if they didn’t authorize a computer? Can they even play them? Wouldn’t it have been easier to have just downloaded torrents of these files? These oddities make me think it’s an accounting error.

    So I had to “report a problem” to Apple/iTunes for each of the 10 individual items. The e-mails went something like this:

    I did not place this order for any of the 3 items on this order. Nor has my computer downloaded these items. It’s order XXXXXXXX I also have another order from today (ZZZZZZZZ) that I did not place.

    I’ve changed my password as a precaution. I also tried to play some older protected/DRM’d music and it still plays (so I’m guessing if someone hijacked something they didn’t deauthorize my computers).

    Gary LaPointe (phone ###-###-#####)

    PS – These purchases don’t even meet my normal purchasing patterns.

    My responses appear to be identical other than contact info (and I only got one response for each of the two orders):

    Dear Gary,

    My name is Jane Doe with the iTunes Store. I’m so sorry to hear of the unauthorized charges made with your iTunes Store account. I can certainly appreciate your concerns, and will do everything I can to assist in having this resolved.

    With regards to financial reimbursement for the charges in question, these would have to be removed by a specialized team, designated to handle requests of this nature. I would urge you to contact your credit card company as soon as possible to inquire about canceling the card and removing the unauthorized transactions. A member of your credit card’s fraud department will contact the iTunes Store directly, and this team will resolve the issue. I apologize that I’m unable to remove the charges myself, but all unauthorized transactions must be handled in this manner.

    If you suspect you are the victim of identity theft, please consider following these recommendations:

    (they then gave 14 lines of tips that I cut out)

    I sincerely hope that you are able to resolve this matter with the help of your credit card company, as soon as possible, Gary. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Jane Doe
    iTunes Customer Store Support

    Please note that I work, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12:30 PM – 9:00 PM this week

    The identity theft issues don’t even make sense. Why would someone steal my charge card number and log into my iTunes account? The CC number won’t even get them into my account and if they had a CC number, they could just create their own new account and I wouldn’t have know about it for days. And Apple doesn’t display the account number. I’m thinking, it’s an accounting or some bits on the web got mixed up. And the responses were generic enough where I’m not 100% sure they read the post.

    I did notice they they did include their working schedule, which was even evdifferent for the two different people who responded (neither of whom were named “Jane”), it’s a nice touch but they both had the same return address (although the “follow-up” code could possibly redirect it).

    I responded with:

    Jane,

    I will have my charge card company dispute/remove the charges as you said to do below. I have changed my password.

    I have four (4) questions below in bold.

    Unless I’m mistaken, they only gained access to my iTunes account. They don’t have my charge card number, iTunes doesn’t display the number for them to see, correct? A charge card number will not get them into my iTunes account. If they actually have my charge card number, I’d think they’d charge more than $70 of music/videos and

    So this is either someone guessed my password (which was letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters) or some data packets got mixed up as someone else was placing their order. Since I have the two authorized computers in my possession and I know no one else was here using them, I’m assuming the latter.

    Can someone actually download songs/videos to a non-authorized computer if they guessed my password?
    Since videos still have DRM, someone wouldn’t actually be able to play them, correct?

    Someone at the iTunes Customer Store Support can’t actually intervene in some way, at least to stop someone from downloading the season pass?
    If it’s just an accounting error, it’s still going to download the season pass to my computer the next time I purchase a song.

    Without my new password I’m assuming someone cannot download more of the season pass. I don’t even see how they could have in the first place without authorizing a computer.

    Thank you,
    Gary

    And I can’t even dispute these charges yet since they haven’t fully been charge to my credit card company yet.

    If anyone from iTunes/Apple is reading this and wants to fix this. You can leave a comment below or contact me directly.

    UPDATE:

    Wow! Lots of people with similar problems these last few weeks (see comments below), but I’m the only one that didn’t seem to have gift cards purchased on my account.

    So it looks like my charge card is refunding the two dollar amounts to my charge card. This is contingent to Apple not disagreeing with my claim. FYI, after I said it was kind of stupid that they weren’t going to cancel the season pass since I was disputing it and they were still delivering the shows, Apple did contact me to say they would refund the rest of the season pass (right around the same time).

    PS – It appears the Apple does not allow you to cancel a season pass! This is insane, it’s to their benefit to get you to subscribe, the fact that you can’t cancel is a non-motivator. Obviously if it was a discounted season pass and you canceled it, you’d pay the full price for episodes already received. Just seems like an obvious solution.

    I still don’t understand what they are doing with these iTunes protected movies/shows if they can’t play them? Why not just download torrents off the ‘net if they are going to steal?

    MY UPDATE: I got Apple to cancel the season pass and I did get my money refunded from my credit card company. It was confusing the way it cam through, I might have actually gotten credited from the rest of the season too (so I might have come out ahead, but after all the e-mails/contacting, I’m sure I ended up way behind).

    ——- ARE YOU FROM BOSTON?!? ——

    A news station is doing a story on this and was looking for some people in the Boston area. If you are interested in being contacted please state so in your comment. I’ll pass your e-mail on to them. If you put your phone number, I’ll pass that on too, but I’ll delete it from the comment (if you’ve never commented before your comment should not appear until I approve it). Sadly I never heard any more details about the Boston story after forwarding details to them…

    Written By: Gary on March 4, 2009 2 Comments

    Amazon released a Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch application (that link is to the US iTunes store, not sure about international release).

    With Kindle for iPhone, you can:
    * Buy a Kindle book from your Mac, PC, or iPhone using a Web browser and wirelessly transfer the books to your iPhone.
    * Read first chapters of any book for free before you buy.
    * Download the Kindle books you already own for free (they are automatically backed up on Amazon.com).
    * Adjust the text size, add bookmarks, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle device.

    Kindle for iPhone also includes Whispersync, which allows you to seamlessly switch back and forth between your Kindle device and Kindle for iPhone while keeping your bookmarks and reading location synchronized between devices

    kindleapp.jpgWow! Now you don’t even need a Kindle now to read the eBooks. I’m assuming the “digital paper” display is easier to read on the Kindle, but this is very cool. I wonder if the images look better than on the grey-scale Kindle? It looks like it will “show books in color that were developed that way“. I’ve liked the idea of a Kindle but not the cost and I’ve also been afraid of not having it with me everywhere; if I can start syncing to other devices that’d be very useful. Even if you don’t want to read a whole book on your iPhone/Touch, you can read the first chapter of all the Kindle books for free! ANd it doesn’t appear to sync magazines or newspapers, only books.

    And did I mention that it’s free at the Apple App store? Of course you have to buy the books.

    Update:

  • A lot of nice screenshots at the iPhone Blog.
  • It looks like to buy books you need to use Mobile Safari (or a computer) and not the Kindle software. That’s not ideal, but it’s workable.
  • Written By: Gary on January 23, 2009 No Comment

    So I just found a new video podcast called TMI Weekly, three women (life, tech, style) just doing a talk show type show. I watched about 5 episodes and I thought they were entertaining and informational. I actually found this because I saw it in the TiVo somewhere and all I had to do was click and I was subscribed on my TiVo.

    I’m mentioning two non-similar episodes, both embedded below. One is the CES episode which held my interest and even the non-tech women seemed to have a blast.

    Visit their site for the CES 2009 episode.

    The other episode was dealing with drinking (eating?) a lot of juices. Way more than I think I could handle. But they made it sound appealing.


    Visit their site for the Got Juice? episode.

    I’ll check them out for a few more episodes. Or maybe dig through their past episodes. Their show is everywhere: iTunes, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, etc…

    On one episode they were wearing NonSociety T-shirts and when I went to that link the site (click on their personal blogs) it looked familiar, I know I’ve visited there at some time in the past, but I don’t remember when/what. It was before they started doing this show…

    Written By: Gary on January 6, 2009 No Comment

    So it looks like some nice stuff:

    • iPhoto and iMovie with some nice updates.
    • The geo-tagging in iPhoto looks cool. Will someone please figure out a way to sync my GPS with my photos for the location they were taken!!!!
    • iWork on-line looks great and that it’ll give GoogleDocs a run for their money.
    • And a way cool app to use your iPhone or Touch as a preview remote for slideshows!
    • The 17-inch MacBook Pro looks great, but 17-inches is just too much of a hassle to haul around. I still think my 13.3 inch MacBook is huge compared to my 12-inch PowerBook.
    • Non-Removable battery for the MacBook 17-inch MacBook Pro. But it lasts 8 hours and 1,000 recharge cycles (triple the standard). It’ll be interesting to see how this works out…
    • The new MacBook has a matte option on the display (that’s for me!) and up to 8GB of RAM!
    • Looks like all music with be DRM free by the end of the year at the iTunes store (I’m not sure if by default it’ll be DRM or if you still have to buy the ‘iTunes Plus’ version or if everything is ‘plus’). And pricing will change older stuff is cheaper and some newer stuff will be more.
    • But they will still have the iTunes plus at a higher bit-rate for more money (I think). Isn’t that how you got the DRM-free before, was with the iTunes Plus?

    Check out the MacWorld Keynote Coverage from Engadget, start at the bottom and scroll up.

    No new Mini’s, iPhone Nanos or anything that I need.

    I was hoping for tethering for the iPhone (connecting the computer to the iPhone to use it’s 3G internet) and a model with more memory…

    Written By: Gary on December 29, 2008 No Comment

    You can watch the full pilot episode of the new Showtime series The United States of Tara for free with promo code tara (pretty tricky, eh?). Toni Collette plays the multiple personality mother and John Corbett (Chris in the Morning from Northern Exposure) plays the (very accepting) dad. The semi-wild daughter is played by Brie Larson and I’m confident before the end of the series she’ll show some similar traits to her mother and Keir Gilchrist plays the smart/good son.

    As you can see by the images below, Toni Collette plays a wide range of characters.

    Toni Collette

    I enjoyed the episode, but it starts a little slow as they have to introduce everyone and all their issues. It definitely picked up towards the end and I was laughing out loud at the few scenes at the end. If iTunes picks it up, I’ll certainly try it for another episode or two.

    Written By: Gary on September 18, 2008 One Comment

    So I saw this preview for Trism a few months ago, it looks like a cool game and shows where some games are going with motion sensors in the game unit itself.

    Looks like a fun smart thinking game, I’d probably buy it if I had an iPhone or iPod Touch, it’s only $4.99.

    But that’s old news, why am I bringing it up today? Because Steve just tweeted that since July 11th (10 weeks ago) he’s made $250,000 from the iPhone Apps Store!!! I’m assuming that’s before Apple’s cut, which I think is 30%, but that shows that innovation (and fun) sells. Plus, the Apps Store make it easy to sell your product and also makes it hard to steal your product (you can only download and install from the store). (Robert Scoble pointed that tweet out in his feed)

    Written By: Gary on August 2, 2008 2 Comments

    61Qqzivjx9L. Sl500 Aa280 Okay, so I’m not a big fan of “I Kissed a Boy” but I’ve seen it so often at the thetop of the iTunes store charts I thought I would mention this sale: Katy Perry’s MP3 album One Of The Boys is only $2 for today only at Amazon in 256kbps MP3 format and it has the “I Kissed a Boy” song on it. So it’s a deal if you like her or this song…

    I’m not even sure what else she plays but this seemed like a great deal so I thought I’d mention it. Usually their $2 or $3 deals are much older albums.

    THIS DEAL IS NOW OVER AND IS BACK TO IT’S REGULAR PRICE.As of Sunday at noon (EST) it’s still listed as on-sale.

    Written By: Gary on July 18, 2008 One Comment

    So I watched the 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still last night and as I said last week it is still an amazing science fiction movie. I made Kelly sit through it so I was hoping it was as good as I remembered, it was (and she seemed to think so too).

    The line this movie is the most famous for is

    “Klaatu barada nikto”

    It’s certainly not as mainstream as “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for”, but…

    This was one of the first movie DVDs I ever purchased (maybe the first), it hit a good price on-line so I picked it up (I never bought movies for VHS but that’s about the time when I started for DVDs). I never watched it until now. THe sound was THX remastered and was very clear but the voices just weren’t as loud as the sound effects so if you turned it up to hear the next time the sound effects came on it was blaring. The good part was there wasn’t a lot where people were talking and there were effects.

    One of my favorite quotes from the movie was

    “I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.”

    It was definitely a thinking sci-fi movie…

    Instant gratification: You can rent it from Amazon for your TiVo or from iTunes (but it’s only $7.50 to buy it from Amazon).

    Written By: Gary on February 12, 2008 No Comment

    So I just downloaded the AppleTV update called Take 2 (or is it Take2?). I wasn’t thrilled with the changes that I saw in the preview because I thought the interface was pretty great. But I’ll agree that some changes for the new interface was necessary.

    Since you now can shop the whole iTunes store via the AppleTV something to surf around a larger library was necessary. They new sections fill up the cover art at a more than acceptable speed (my cable modem is 6000 down and 384 up) and it flowed pretty nicely. But a lot of the old interface is still around for the sub menus and it they really clash with each other. But I like the shopping on-line option, I’ll try it later just so I can see how well it works. I would have purchased last night’s Kyle XY episode but it wasn’t ready for download yet for some reason…

    The amount of movies and music and TV is just a little overwhelming. There’s just so many options and you can scroll in so many directions! And all the album art just looks fantastic in large high quality images!!! They need a all you can watch or listen to with the music videos, pay a flat rate and go cRaZy for a few hours.

    The podcasts are interesting, You can browse very nicely and you can view/stream but if the site is slow, you’re gonna wait a while for that hi-def video. You can select download and it’ll be there later for you. It’s strange that you can favorite a podcast, not to be confused with subscribing, but you can’t actually subscribe; this would be inconvenient if you don’t actually have a computer.

    The new Flickr photo viewing works great, but I wish there was a way to view the descriptions or titles of the photos. And I wish there was a way to look at thumbnails; for example a person has 500 photos in a folder and there isn’t a way to jump around it just goes to slideshow mode. This never bothered me with my photos, but when looking at someone else’s it jumped right out at me….

    Overall, it’s a great update in that it adds some great functionality. The new interface will grow on me (it’s not like I wouldn’t recommend it to someone). I just feel it’s missing some normal Apple consistency in the Human Interface Guidelines area…

    I’m still missing a way to build a video playlist (or a video shuffle). I’ve got hours of video podcasts and I don’t have a way to string them together as my own private TV channel. I hadn’t heard about it or this release but it just seems like a natural outgrowth of the music playlist and/or shuffle.

    The update took a while and had to reboot more than a few times installing all the features but seems like it worked just fine. I expect they’ll be a update soon to fix a few minor things, like the TV Genre of “Cops and Robberts”.

    Written By: Gary on February 3, 2008 One Comment

    This is great, it looks like Apple has semi-extended movie rental time limits. I say “semi” because once the 24 hour time limit passes you cannot go back to the beginning of the rental, but you can resume where you left off.

    This makes me very happy because I’ve thought the 24 hour was just too short. My thought from a few weeks ago was “Maybe they can do something to cripple it, maybe after 24 hours any viewed portion is not viewable any more”. It seems (at least on an iPod) that you can’t leave and do something else and still have it resume when you come back (“delete” or “resume” are your choices) your iPod is “stuck” on that screen. Maybe they’ll do it a little different on AppleTV or iTunes…?

    I think the new AppleTV software was supposed to roll out last week so it should be appearing soon.

    Written By: Gary on January 27, 2008 No Comment

    RCA gives away one song a day. Sometimes it’s new, old, from a soundtrack, rock, alternative, or instrumental. It’s different every day.

    Here’s the thing: At some point in the future when some (hypothetical) legal authority searches my hard drive or MP3 player, how do I prove these songs are mine? In the past, with sampler CDs you had the CD to show ownership. With iTunes, they send you a receipt that shows you own the song even when it’s a free download. But with legitimately free MP3s on-line, how can you show that ownership someday if you need to…?

    Written By: Gary on January 26, 2008 One Comment

    My Apple TV has been one of my favorite technology purchases and I never expected that I’d like it that much. Actually, I’d been interested in it but it took a visit to Best Buy, after happy hour, for me to finally commit to the 40 GB version. I took it back a few days later but only because I knew I needed the 160 GB version, bigger is better after all…

    Apple TV is pretty much an ‘iPod for your television’ and iPods are pretty much the standard to beat for portable media players (at least the standard for handheld audio players) so these should be selling much better. I’ve always been impressed with my Apple TV and had been surprised they hadn’t really caught on more than they have. The Apple TV interface is excellent, it’s as good as the TiVo (except it doesn’t record), you can buy videos (and music) on your computer to load it up, but that is a little inconvenient for some people. You can convert videos for it, but that’s not for the average user. I knew it was close to what people want but it wasn’t exactly there yet.

    A few weeks ago at MacWorld they announced movie rentals for the Apple TV. $2.99 for old movies, $3.99 for new ones and $1 more for HD quality. Plus, you can buy music (and music videos) on-line and view/subscribe to podcasts (for free). They changed the interface, I personally think it’s a little more complicated, but since you need to be able to browse an infinite number of music and movies I can understand it (and maybe I’ll like it too). This new interface is free to original Apple TV owners and should show up in a few weeks (I keep checking).

    I heard all this when they announced it and I’ve been mulling it around in my head, but I finally just watched that part of the keynote from MacWorld (on my Apple TV, of course) and now I really think this is getting even closer to being the media box for your TV.

  • If I can start watching a movie in about 30 seconds, why am I going to rent something from the store? (there is a 30 day wait after a DVD release)
  • Why am I going to subscribe to Netflix? (all the movie extras and plus for TV shows you I get multiple episodes on one DVD)
  • If I can purchase a song the instant I need it, why am I going to run out and buy the album? (at least I think I can purchase a song, I saw Steve purchase a music video).One of the biggest shortcomings of this (and all digital video rental systems out there) is that you only have 24 hours from start to finish. It’s just not long enough, if I start it at 8 tonight, I need the ability to finish it tomorrow at 8 or 9 in the evening. Because of that, I think 30 hours is the minimum I need to seriously consider this as a way to watch movies (at least for me). As you increase the time to 36, 48 or even 72 hours it makes this a much better option, especially for the impulse buy. I know “they” don’t want bunches of other people to borrow it and view it so they longer the time, the higher the chance of this. Maybe they can do something to cripple it, maybe after 24 hours any viewed portion is not viewable any more, that’s slightly complicated but it makes it a little more fair and might make the movie companies a little happier, IMHO…

    But TiVo has had these features for a while now: music and photo streaming from your computer for years now, podcasts (very limited menu selection) for a few years too and recently they’ve added movie / TV rentals from Amazon Unbox (but you wait hours for it to download). I wonder if there are more TiVos than Apple TVs out there??

    I’m confused about a few things:

  • Can you buy a movie from the Apple TV interface?
  • Can you push HD movie rentals down to your computer or iPod? (I don’t think they said that specifically for HD).

    Things I’m not confused about, but I’m wondering:

  • How long until I can access media from my Time Capsule?
  • How long until I can rent TV shows?
  • How long until I subscribe to TV shows at a reasonable rate?
  • How long until I can dump my cable package?
  • How long until the cable internet and DSL providers complain about the bandwidth that is being used up? FYI, where the Apple TV requirements list a “broadband connection” it also says “(fees may apply)”.
  • Is the hardware in the new Apple TV exactly the same? I know the software is going to be the same, but I don’t think they said it was exactly the same either.
  • How long until the 30 day wait before renting (after new releases) is removed and I can rent as soon as it’s out? (they don’t have a delay before music purchases).

    Complaints about the Apple TV:

  • I need a video playlist option. I want to have a way to link these video podcasts and music videos into my own personal non-stop “channel”.
  • I need a way to find this tiny remote when I misplace it. It’s so small and light.
  • It needs a regular video-out and S-video out for people who don’t yet have TVs with component video or HDMI.
  • They still don’t have a use for the included USB port.
  • I think I’m gonna need a bigger hard drive!

    Also, they announced a price drop of $70 for the Apple TV.

  • Written By: Gary on January 2, 2008 No Comment

    Hippo4Chrsitmas“I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is one of my favorite songs. And that’s what I got! As I present I got a certificate that I’ve adopted a Hippo at the Detroit Zoo. I’ve got a Hippo, a certificate and background (see the photo).

    I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is a Christmas novelty song written by John Coctoasten and performed by Gayla Peevey (10 or 11 years old at the time) in 1953. Hippo1953You can listen here or at the iTunes music store.

    This is a favorite Christmas song of mine and I remember it being on a holiday Mix tape that Jim (a co-worker) made one year. It was a few years before it got re-popularized about 10 years ago (maybe from an Ally McBeal episode).

    Plus, it includes a trip to the zoo, which (once I go) crosses another item off my 101 in 1001 list

    Written By: Gary on December 29, 2007 No Comment

    Aff-Live-ItunesSo on Thursday the 4 track A Fine Frenzy – Live Session EP came out exclusively at the iTunes store. Of course I purchased it, can’t pass something like that up from A Fine Frenzy. It’s a great EP with 4 tracks – Almost Lover, Borrowed Time, Last of Days, and The Minnow & the Trout. They don’t sound very “live” to me but that’s okay with me, they’re more like different versions of the songs. And for $3.49 you can hardly go wrong…

    Written By: Gary on December 5, 2007 2 Comments

    I have started running some Text Link Ads on the left side of the page. I apologize that I ‘sold out’ for that, but I’d much rather have someone else pay for my hosting than pay for it myself :)

    Most of the other ads on the site I pick what goes where, but I make so little on those, most will be gone soon. Most of little bits of money I make from ads are from Google or Amazon (and the Amazon ones are really hit or miss). Many times when mention a book or movie or something and you follow the link to Amazon or Buy.com, Wal-Mart or iTunes and you shop there, I make a few pennies (or more) from your purchase and you shouldn’t have to pay a penny more. Not all of the links are affiliate links, just when it’s something at one of the places I’ve signed up with, otherwise it’s just regular link.

    I’d just love to figure out how to make enough on-line from ads while sitting on the beach in Costa Rica. So consider these part of the “Gary Should Move to Costa Rica Fund”!

    Actually, if you’re shopping this holiday season and are going to shop at any of the above stores anyways, just follow any of my links to get to the only store of your choice and you can support my Costa Rica fund instead of letting Amazon (or one of those other guys) keep that commission?!?

    Written By: Gary on November 24, 2007 No Comment

    So I found a fun Internet radio station, it’s called “Girls Rock Radio. It’s all girl bands, stuff I haven’t heard in a while and some I’ve never ever heard of, but as fussy as I am, I do listen through it.

    Grr468X120B
    Although since it’s stream I really can’t change the channel now, can I? You can see on the Girls Rock Radio web site what’s playing. Some players (like iTunes) will show you what track is playing.

    No advertisements, but they do request donations (which I think are few and far in-between). I’m surprised they don’t run some 30 second ads, I would think would generate some revenue (maybe if it’s ad supported they pay different rates to play the songs, I know that’s goofy these days).

    Written By: Gary on October 9, 2007 No Comment

    Jeweloriginals So there is a new iTunes Originals album out featuring Jewel and aptly titled Jewel – iTunes Originals . I always like the iTunes Original album since it’s got some interview tracks and usually has some odd music tracks on it too. The Jewel edition has 23 tracks about 1/2 that are songs. It’s $11.99 which is a little pricey if you have a few of the tracks, you can’t buy the interview tracks without the whole album. But it doesn’t seem to be smart enough to realize that I’ve purchased one of the tracks previously although that might have been before the 6 month deadline for complete that album. But it’s not my fault the album came out after the six month limit.

    I do look forward to listening to this, I’ve got a bit of driving tomorrow to do so that’ll work. After the first few times, I can’t listen to the interviews any more so I can remove them from that playlist.

    Written By: Gary on October 3, 2007 No Comment

    AfinefrenzyonecellintheseaSo I’ve mentioned A Fine Frenzy more than a few times lately; they tour with Brandi Carlile and hit Detroit next Sunday (not this Sunday). And I can’t get enough of their album. Plus, I’ve specifically mentioned that their 14 track album of One Cell in the Sea was only $7.99 at iTunes (even higher quality DRM-free) or at AmazonMP3. But they sent me an e-mail advertisement stating that it’s temporarily only $5.99 (in the US), for fourteen tracks, that’s a deal so if you considered it before it’s even a better deal now. The ad made it sound like it was a deal for me since I’ve purchased their music before but it looks like it’s that cheap even when I don’t log in. I have no idea when this will last, please let me know if you see that it goes back up.

    On her debut album, Cell In the Sea, Alison Sudol evokes adjectives like enchanting and wistful. A self-taught pianist, she took the name A Fine Frenzy from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Inspired by fantasy writers such as C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, and musical artists Keane and Sigur Rós, the chanteuse’s sublime melodies are guided by her delicate piano work and feminine vocals, which sometimes sound reminiscent of the Sundays. The beautifully sad “Almost Lover” is a surprisingly confident song, and “Hope for the Hopeless” is a perfect remedy when you’re feeling down.

    – From the iTunes Description

    Plus you can go the the A Fine Frenzy site, and download 5 songs and 5 videos for free (some look like the same odd singles and EPs you can buy at iTunes); these 10 items are free if you purchased a CD or got it from iTunes. You do need to have a CD in the drive so you need to burn it if you don’t have a real CD; the download bonus process even works well on a Mac (for similar promotions for other artists I had to go to a Windows machine and sometimes the files only played on Windows). This really is a deal for $5.99 so I had to share it…

    Is anyone going to the Sunday, Oct 14th concert in Detroit? Leave me a message if you are. And if you’ve never been to St. Andrews Hall it’s always way too hot in there so dress accordingly.

    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2007 No Comment

    So Apple and iTunes added these myTunes “widgets” you can add to your web site or MySpace page or whatever. This isn’t new news (2 months old?), it’s just that I never got around to trying them. Here’s the thing, the options are limited, they don’t show the album artwork unless you click on something and it’s not very configurable. You have to activate it on-line through the iTunes store, so someone can’t just track your music history by adding a widget with your ID in on to a web site and then create the widget. That’s nice from a privacy stand point, although I’m generally not too picky about my privacy.

    On the whole lack of configuration: it’s got a few options 3 sizes and a few color options, but still limited. One thing that bugs me is that the “My iTunes Favorites” widget it lists people that I’ve bought just one song, that’s not a “favorite”, heck it could be only one song because I hated them! Actually most cases seem to be from a compilation album, (possibly) a free song, or I bought a song for my Mom or something, either way I should be able to set a minimum limit before they list it (or something like that). Maybe it would be more reflective if I’ve spent more money on albums (and less on songs).

    It seems a little slow for just moving text around too. I don’t think I’ll be using it (other than in this post for a sample).

    And it someone clicks on my widget and buys a song from iTunes, I think I should get a few pennies credit at the iTunes store from them :)

    Written By: Gary on September 26, 2007 One Comment

    So Amazon opened the Amazon MP3 store which has been getting some good reviews and (most importantly) it semi-integrates by pushing your purchases into your iTunes which is great for automatic syncing with your iPod. They’ve had tracks for download for ages, but this is their big jump into the market (you do need their downloader for this).

    Amazonmp3I actually spotting it yesterday when searching for some music but I didn’t realize the format change of my search results indicated a whole new service. I did notice that the tracks were only 89 cents though!

    Keep in might for 89 cents they are a dime less than the iTunes music store for regular tracks but since there is no encryption (DRM) and it’s encoded at a higher quality (even than Apple I believe) these are 40 cents less than Apple’s $1.29 a song. That’s about 1/3 less if you’ve been getting the DRM-free higher quality songs (and that’s what I’ve been getting lately). And they are MP3s, so they play on just about anything (but higher quality does mean larger songs). Buying whole albums will generally discount the price.There are exceptions to the 89 cent price for the individual songs, but I can’t figure out the rules to tell you. And like the iTunes store I believe there are tracks that can’t be purchased separately from the album, I thought I saw that yesterday but I can’t find an example of that today.

    And to be fair to Apple, their DRM free $1.29 songs are generally much cheaper if you buy the whole album (the 14 track One Cell in the Sea – by A Fine Frenzy is only $7.99 (which I think is the same as the iTunes DRM version) which is the same price as the Amazon mp3 store, except Amazon doesn’t appear to give you the booklet.

    So the end result, IMHO, it’ll never beat the seamlessness of the iTunes Music Store but but with it’s downloader (which does give you a free song), Amazon mp3 might be a good alternative or at least a second place to check when shopping for songs. If you’re not an iPod user it’s probably a great place to consider for your mp3 shopping (I think the downloader will push the tracks to other players but since I don’t have any I”m not certain). The downloader does work pretty good, I did try it. It would be nice if it were smart enough to add it to an “Amazon Playlist”.

    I fully expect to see them selling movies, television, music videos, audio books or distributing podcasts via the same mechanism in the future….

    Written By: Gary on September 19, 2007 One Comment

    Brandi Carlile’s new video for Turpentine is out.

    If you can’t see it embedded above click here to play Turpentine or to see the lyrics. This song always makes me a little sad, I’m not sure if it’s the music, the words or both…

    Less than a month to see her at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, MI (Oct. 14, 2007). Opening is A Fine Frenzy and I’ve been playing One Cell In the Sea over & over so I’m more than ready. If you’re going to be at the concert (and tickets are available) let me know…

    Is it proper to say “their CD” when I just purchased the tracks from the iTunes store and listen on my iPod or Treo?

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