Posts

Cause You Can Never See Enough Live Music

One of the best fruits to bare from the interwebspace contraption is how easy it is to find new music, or even more about music that you already love.  “Back in my day” all of that work was heavy lifting at a local CD shop, fanzine/magazine reading or – ick – having to talk to others.  And while I very much miss visiting my local mom & pop shop to dig through records and listening to others scratched up CDs in the used section, music discovery via the ‘net is a rather darned awesome thing.

Making it better is the never ending and always expanding reach of services to guide you.  Along with the new streaming music services are sites and apps that give you additional information and one of the best is Songkick – a service that keeps you aware of when your bands are coming to town.

Songkick was started back in 2007 and claims to have the largest collection of tour information in the world.  Today it is a great free service that you connect to via an app for your Android/iPhone device, a plug-in type app for Spotify or connecting via your Facebook or LastFM accounts.

Songkick will scan your music collection in iTunes, on your device or wherever and then begin to send you alerts when a band from your music collection is going to appear in your area.  Not only will Songkick alert you to national acts big and small, but also those little, unsigned bands that you have in your collection, all get deserved attention with alerts when they are making an appearance at a local venue.  Lastly, there is even a tab that will show you all of the shows that are happening in your area on each night.  No matter if the band/artist is in your collection or not, all of the shows are there for you to look through.

The service is free, easy to use and the email alerts are not annoying.

Bringing Nerds & Jocks Together

If you live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, you likely are keenly aware of the importance of high school sports, specifically football.  Now, if you both live in the area and follow such things, you can download an app that sends you the latest in high school sports scores.

In fact, SportsDayHS even gives users real time scores and play-by-play tracking for 50+ football games each weekend.  The app connects with “stringers” at each of the games who are inputting game information/stats/scoring in real time and those results appear right there on your device.

The app also includes final box scores and stats for soccer, baseball, volleyball and softball all school year long, with standings and news headlines.

You can even set the app to push notify you final scores for specific schools and sports that you want to follow without having to open the app first.

The app is free and available via iTunes (download link) and Google Play.  This is the new “v2.0” of the app with significant enhancements and big fixes from the original version.

(disclaimer – I work for the company and was involved in the development of this app.  But because this is the only app of its kind in the country, and it is really worth a look if you live in Dallas and care about high school sports)

Enhanced by Zemanta

iPhone5 Is Here. Hooray?

Its here, and because Apple has now gone from a company capable of keeping its stuff under Area51-like wraps to about as leaky as the sieve you use in your kitchen to drain pasta, what we got yesterday was a little underwhelming.

Not because it’s not cool, but because we already knew the ending.

We knew the iPhone5 was going to have a 4″ screen, LTE and be lighter, faster and all of that.  But we didn’t get any really cool new, “WOW” functionality that we didn’t already know about.  And that’s ok.

The iPhone5 is the best iPhone ever.

But “best iPhone doesn’t equal “best phone”.

Should you upgrade?  If you have any version older than a 4S, yes, especially if, God forbid, you are rocking a 3GS.  If you have a 4S the question is tougher.  Does your cell area have LTE available?  LTE is not anywhere near as widespread as 3G, and if you don’t have it, it probably isn’t worth the upgrade as, this is really the iPhone’s biggest advancement.  Yes, the bigger screen and form factor changes are nice, but $200+ is still a chuck of change for something that you will get 90% of the experience on your 4S.

If you’re not currently an iPhone users and want to be, getting the 4S at $100 is a major steal, but remember in 12 months it will become two generations old.  So think about that before you buy.  Plopping down an additional $100 ($199 for the 16g iPhone5) means that your phone will buy at least an additional 12 months of relevance.  You should also take the time to look at the slew of outstanding Android options, including the just announced Motorola Razr , and the best selling Galaxy S III.  I would also advise a look at any of the new upcoming Windows 8 phones.  Believe it or not, this new OS from Microsoft actually in many ways makes both iOS and Android look outdated.

The other big news from the event was the rollout of new Nano’s, and complete redesign of iTunes and maybe the coolest thing they debuted was a new iPod Touch.  the screen from the iPhone5, the power of the 4S, stupid thin, only weighing 88grams, and a work week’s worth of battery life (40 hours)… Five colors and $300.

below is a whole list of links of far more competent people’s opinions and some that have actually held the new iPhone.

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why Did FBI Have This Data That Was Hacked?

#ANTISEC

Those pesky internet devils, AntiSec, announced in a posting on a hacker’s site the following:

During the second week of March 2012, a Dell Vostro notebook, used by Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl from FBI Regional Cyber Action Team and New York FBI Office Evidence Response Team was breached using the AtomicReferenceArray vulnerability on Java, during the shell session some files were downloaded from his Desktop folder one of them with the name of ”NCFTA_iOS_devices_intel.csv” turned to be a list of 12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID), user names, name of device, type of device, Apple Push Notification Service tokens, zipcodes, cellphone numbers, addresses, etc. the personal details fields referring to people appears many times empty leaving the whole list incompleted on many parts. no other file on the same folder makes mention about this list or its purpose.

Out of the 12 million, the group posted one million of the UDID’s.  There’s a whole bunch of things wrong with this.

#1:  UDID’s are Unique Device Identifier numbers, which for an iPhone, iPad or iTouch is a 40 character, device specific number that identify that Apple’s device within the iOS ecosystem.  UDID’s are used in all sorts of ways between developers, iTunes and you can find your device’s UDID via a few different apps that you can download for free.   UDID’s are mostly used for testing apps before they are made available in iTunes, but there are other uses that require being able to ID a specific device.  You can check to see if your device UDID was part of the posting via this site.

#2: The group stole these 12 million UDIDs from a laptop of a FBI agent, and also there are claims that there are associated personal info with each number like, name, cell number, addresses and notification tokens (i.e.: what you’ve allowed to push notify/send info to the front of your device’s screen).  Why’d they steal it?  Because of….

#3: Why exactly was a FBI agent walking around with a laptop with 12 million private citizen’s UDID’s and how did he get them?   What are they being used for?

NBC News is reporting that a source within the FBI is claiming that the whole thing is a hoax and lure to get people to go to the site where the  original posting is hosted with malware hidden within the page.  Several other sources are reporting they cannot find any such malware on the page. (this is why I haven’t copied that link within this story, cause I ain’t sure)

What does this mean to you?  Probably nothing.  You can find your UDID, put part of it in the search link mentioned above, and if it doesn’t appear you’re safe.  But even if it does appear there isn’t much anyone can do with it at this time.  But while it is frustrating that this kind of data can be stolen, from the FBI no less, the larger question of why the FBI even had the data is certainly the larger question at hand.

More to come as it develops.

The Shortlived Stalker App

“Girls Around Me” was an app in the iTunes store, but it ain’t no mo.

The app, designed by a Russian developer, i-Free Innovations was to allow users to know when women are in their vicinity and information about them.  Using information they gathered from Foursquare and Facebook API’s, the app presented user photos, profiles about women near them and allowed them to access them directly from the app.  “It makes it easier to find and eat meet people.”

Obviously Foursquare wanted nothing to do with this and pulled access to their data from the app, claiming it violates a ban on the aggregation of data designed to prevent ‘an inappropriate overview of a series of locations’.  The app was pulled from iTunes shortly thereafter.

The developer wrote a rather lengthy defense of the app to the Wall Street Journal that you can read for yourself.  In it he points out that the app only used information that was publicly available from other sources and that there was nothing anonymous about it.  Claiming it had already been downloaded “70,000 times…nobody ever raised a privacy concern “.

Certainly their marketing of the app didn’t help.

Enhanced by Zemanta

iTunes Match: For You?

**UPDATE** PC Magazine has a complete walk-through and explanation of iTunes Match for your consumption

After a promised launch of “late October”, Apple today launched iTunes Match as part of a new download of iTunes (10.5.1).

For $25 a year, iTunes Match will scan your library, give you access to stream and load any of those songs from the 18 million song iTunes library.  If one of your songs is not in that library, iTunes Match will upload that song and absorb it.  Therefore pretty much any song in your personal library, obtained legally or not, can be accessed by you on any iPad, iPhone or computer with access to the ‘net.  All songs will be streamed to you at the passible 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality file size.  Even if the originating file was a lessor bit rate, what you get back is 256kbps.  But know that it won’t improve sound quality.   If you upload a shitty sounding file, it will stream back to you in all its shitty sounding glory.  There is some thought that if you have a song that isn’t properly tagged and identifiable via Gracenote, it won’t upload.

This is different that Spotify, Rdio or MOG in that this is your library, whereas those are essentially giant public libraries of music that you don’t own, but pay a fee to access them for a monthly basis.  iTunes Match is your library of stuff you own now, or buy in the future, but gives you wireless access to the entire thing via streaming without having to store it directly on the device.  If you stop paying the $25 a year, you still own the song and have them stored (assuming you didn’t erase/lose them while using Match) you just can’t stream them from the service any longer.

So, what does this mean for you, and why do you want to spend $25 a year?  If you have enough music to make you happy on your iPhone or other portable device, or an iPod with your whole library, iTunes Match is not a need for you.  But if you’ve wanted to find a way to have access to your giant collection without having to stuff only a part of it on a device – well, here is a system for you.  Considering that other services like Spotify cost you $10 a month to stream music that may or may not be on your library, iTunes Match is a reasonable cost to access your personal collection.  Go buy the cheapest iPhone4S with only 16gig and stream your library to it for $25 a year.  That’s something to consider.  This certainly is the future.

Imagine an iPod the size of a Shuffle today that can play you any song from your library?   What if you could in the future access iTunes Match via an “app” built into the head unit of your car?  It’s coming…

At the time of this writing word is Apple is overwhelmed with requests for the new service, so acceptance of new subscribers has been suspended.  I can only imagine the server and bandwidth needed to scan/upload all of the millions of songs from the thousands of personal music libraries around the globe.

My personal fascination is the part that all of these illegally obtained files will now somehow become legitimized.  There are a lot of people that have bootlegged thousands of MP3’s of their favorite bands and Apple is about to have a really good idea of just how pervasive that has been.  I guess ripping off the band-aid and getting over it will go a long way to creating an environment where it’s just easier to buy music than rip it off.  I just want to know how Apple got the record companies to sign off on that part.

Enhanced by Zemanta