Windows 8 Preview

Looks like Windows 8 is gonna be pretty slick:
http://theverge.vid.io/v/5b7e484a-6334-11e1-ab41-123139255418

Spotify Revisited . . . and just got rocked.

UPDATED – Just noticed that it’s a 48 hour deal . . . then, can expand to 30 days.

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Man, I love those moments when something comes along that just . . . well, blows your mind. If you read my previous post about Spotify, you know I was pretty keen on the service. Well, I’m ending month number two of LOVING the steady stream of anything-I-want-at-any-time-for-free music. And, guess what? My mind just got blown even bigger.

Spotify is now open to the public (no longer invitation only) for US users. This is the point where you pause your reading, open a new window, and go sign up . . . seriously, NOW. I’ll wait.

OK, here’s where the next 6 months get really nice . . . then, it’s decision time. From what I hear, free users of Spotify can get the offline sync mode functionality in their smartphone app. So, this means you can get the Spotify app on your phone, log in, then it is seen by Spotify on your computer. You can then sync ANYTHING to your phone for as much space as you have.

Did I mention that this is done WIRELESSLY. And, it’s about the most flawless execution I’ve seen. I literally opened the app on my phone and a “sync playlists to iPhone” popped up on my computer screen. I selected the playlists I wanted to include and it started chugging away – pretty swiftly, I might add.

So, here I am excited all over again – six months should be plenty of time to see if I want to chunk down $9.99/month for all-you-can-eat music.

This is just plain awesome.

http://www.spotify.com

Google Chrome Angry Birds

Well, color me unproductive . . . Google has just released a free version of Angry Birds for their Chrome Browser web store . . . head to http://chrome.angrybirds.com/ to start your addiction today.

iPhone 4

OK, I don’t have much time, but here are some things I’m really excited about with the upcoming iPhone 4:

  1. Facetime video chat – I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but a really cool feature I’ve wanted since forever!
  2. A4 chip – they say this dude’s a hair faster than the 3GS, but anything will blow away my aged 3G!
  3. Glass and more glass – the look of this guy is super slick. What thrills me is that my 3G has nary a scratch on the front glass . . . scuffs galore on the back. I might just go caseless . . . riiiight.
  4. That extra mic for noise cancellation just might be the sleeper feature . . . I’ll give it a good test in my Jeep (top’s off!)
  5. Video features – the iMovie app really got me excited. I use a Kodak Zi8 and love it. Add built in editing and I just might use my videos for once!

So, needless to say, I can’t wait. See you June 24th!

Speaking of Amazon MP3

In my previous post, I mention Amazon MP3 briefly. It’s a known fact that iTunes is the leader in online distribution of music. That’s all well and good and they’ve definitely changed the face of how music is purchased by consumers. My beef with iTunes is that in order to play [most of] purchased tracks is to have an iPod. Now, I own an iPod and will probably never use anything else (it’s that good). However, I like to stream music from my computer to my TiVo (and any other device and future device that supports the MP3 format). Well, iTunes is AAC format . . . so, no TiVo or otherwise (at least not easily).

I say all that to say this: Amazon.com has an online store with high bitrate (i.e. great sounding) files that are totally unprotected. That means you can move them to whatever player you want, whatever computer you want . . . it’s all good. My thoughts are also on the automotive future (if I ever have the dough to get a new car!). Online hard drives are on the market, most of which support MP3.

 Aaaand, the Amazon store’s pricing is on par with iTunes if not cheaper in many cases.

Now, I’ll still probably buy my favorite artists on CD so I have the prisine quality if I need it as well as a backup. But those odds and ends that I have ringing in my head . . . well, 89 to 99 cents aint bad . . .

The Disc is Dead

If you’ve kept up with high definition television in the least, you’ve probably heard about Blue Ray and HD-DVD. These new formats are the “replacement” for your standard DVD player. While both of these options offer great picture and so on, I think it’s too little, too late for the format. Here’s why . . .

I mentioned in an earlier post that TiVo has downloadable movies through Amazon. I use this feature alot. It’s simple to use, and gives instant (almost) gratification. I find a movie, I enter my pin for payment (from my Credit Card already authorized) and within the hour I have something to watch. I don’t have it in high definition, but that’s ok for now. It still looks as good as a DVD and is formatted for my widescreen TV so it looks just great. I say that to say, I can see the jump to hi-definition for downloads working just as well. I have 2 HD tvs, and all I’ve used them for is DVD (480p) signals. Once HD is in place (2009 hopefully), I can possibly upgrade to an HD TiVo and continue. No discs. No problem. And, I can buy the videos if I’d like and keep them on the player or download whenever I want after purchase. The one drawback is that I cannot take the movies with me on my laptop or burn them to DVD. I don’t mind this, but if they could figure that out . . . that’s just icing on the cake.

The second reason I don’t see the new DVD formats working is that they can’t get on the same page. The movies to watch are split down the middle (HD-DVD has some, Blueray has some, but not both). And studios won’t commit to sell to both camps. That fuels my download option even more.

To sum up, it is my opinion that the growing amount of portable electronics for video on-the-go is growing at such a rate that disc media just isn’t going to be a viable option for movies. And, hard drives are cheaper by the day.

Google Phone?

So, I was checking Reuters today . . . looks like the much rumored Google phone will become a reality next year. From skimming the article, I gathered that they’re going to make surfing on your phone as easy (or close) as surfing from your computer. I say, bring it on, Google. I just hope they don’t lock it down like the iPhone. Aaaand, I hope they don’t take away their great apps like Google Maps and Youtube for smartphones . . . will post more as news unfolds.

Update (11/09/07)
So, it looks like it’s not a phone at all (at this point). Just software. Here’s hoping it’s innovative (and works on my phone! Ha!)