Pandora Internet Radio Gets Some Slacker Competition

Now playing at the iTunes store: Slacker Radio.  I have tried it a bit, and Pandora 2.0 has some real competition on its hands.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Slacker Radio, it is a (primarily) subscription based internet radio services with tons of great music and a whole bunch of stations.  Slacker makes stand-alone subscription players that are capable of both tuning in and downloading music.  

The iPhone version of the application allows users to stream the radio feeds free, skip songs, and request songs.  These features are limited in the free version however; to fully use them, you need to pay the $3.99 for the Slacker Premium radio.  

I do like Slacker’s ability to make requests, and I wish Pandora had this ability.  Skipping also works very well.  For now, however, Pandora has my vote.  The Pandora 2.0  landscape mode is very slick, and the ability to create brand new stations on the fly is something that Slacker is simply missing.

If internet radio is your thing, and you are looking for a Pandora alternative, Slacker is the (second) best of the bunch.

iPhone Rumors – Now with Multiple Cores

shhhhWow, what would the Apple-sphere be without rampant and unfounded rumors. Whether it is an iPhone Nano, or a iPod Grande, it is rumors that make Apple Fanboyism so much fun. The latest iPhone rumor revolves around the (rumored) new hardware version set to be (rumored) released in late (rumored) 2009. The iPhone 3.0 is (rumored) to be on its way to development.

The next hardware revision, according to the Macworld 2009 rumor mill, is said to contain a multi-core processor. The current iPhone processor already rivals the best that a gaming handheld has to offer. A multi-core processor would take the iPhone gaming and computing platform to a staggering new level.

According to ZDnet, the iPhone 3.0 firmware will support quad-core processing protocols. In essence, that puts the iPhone on the processing level of the early 2007 MacBooks. That, would be something to see if this rumor actually becomes reality.

Source ZDnet
Creative Commons License photo credit: friskybiznus

iToner 2.0 Makes Ringtones Easier

I am not the biggest fan of custom ringtones.  Some of them are downright annoying; for example the “Ring, Ring” ringtone from the movie bedtime stories is absolutely horrid, and I love it.  I also am a big fan of the TV show “The Unit,” and I have a ringtone of the opening song as well.

Before, ringtones were a bit of a pain.  The unlucky few bought them on iTunes, the enterprising used GarageBand, and the risky downloaded ringtones trough Cydia.  Now, Ambrosia, the makers of iToner, have released 2.0 of their original ringtone app, and not only does it sync the ringtones, but it helps you create them as well.

The interface could not be more simple.  The UI looks just like an iPhone. To sync a ringtone, simply drag it to the application and press the sync button in the program.  If you would like to edit the ringtone, simply use the cut icon to cut down the sound file.  It couldn’t be easier.  Download iToner here for a free trial.  Registration will cost $15.

Sling Player Coming Soon to an iPhone Near You

The iPhone is on its way to becoming a premier media device. We all know that it plays music very well, and that you can watch movies that you buy or rent from the iTunes store. But sooner than later, streaming live television will be hitting iPhones everywhere.

The media streaming technology Sling will soon be coming to Macs and iPhones everywhere. This week at Macworld 2009, Sling Media announced both the SlingPlayer for Mac HD and the Sling Media’s SlingPlayer for iPhone. The iPhone app will allow you to stream media directly from your Slingbox through Wi-Fi, 3G or even an Edge connection.

The application should be available soon; it is to be released in the first quarter of this year. For more information and a video of the iPhone player in action, visit the Sling homepage.

Pandora App is Updated – The Best Just Got Better

So, I flipped over to the App Store last night to see what updates were available, and there it was – Pandora 2.0.   I use Pandora far more than any other 3rd Party Application on my phone.  I have virtually replaced the iPod component when I travel or work out; I use Pandora instead.

Pandora 2.0 is a very nice upgrade. Included in the new app is the ability to see the status (progress bar) of your current song, view artist info, a cover flow(ish) history of music that has played, and genre station creation. I also noticed that the sound quality seemed a bit better over 3G then it did previously, but that might just be in my head.

The exciting “hidden feature” of the upgrade will be the ability to buy a song, directly through the iTunes store over the celluar network via Pandora.  Now that the music will be DRM free, Pandora has opened up a world of portable spending shopping.  If you are not one of the 2 Million people that have downloaded Pandora, 2.0 is probably good enough to get you over your inhabitions.

Not Much iPhone at Macworld…

20090106416There were rumors about a few iPhone secrets that might have been released at Macworld 2009, but you know what your mom said about rumors…  There was no 32GB iPhone, no iPhone Nano, and no iPod Grande.  None the less, it never hurts to catch up on the latest and greatest Apple has to offer.

If you did not catch the life feed of the keynote, here is a link.  The most iPhone had to celebrate was a restructuring of the way the DRM from the iTunes store would work; almost all of the iTunes songs will be offered DRM free, with a variable pricing scheme.  Also, the iTunes store works from the iPhone on 3G now, and if you are a Keynote user; there is a handy Keynote remote application over at the App Store for $.99.

Now, it is decidedly note an iPhone related piece of news, but feel free to drool over the new 17 Inch MacBook Pro.  It is one mean, sexy machine.
Creative Commons License photo credit: tnkgrl

Real Cloud Computing Soonr Than Later

I have used my iPhone to interact with MobileMe quite a bit. Of course I sync files, but I also use MobileFifles to gain access to my iDrive; I have to admit, that it works pretty well, but it is slow, cumbersome, and lacking in several areas. For example, I wish I could print from my iPhone, I wish I didn’t have to remember to move stuff up to my iDrive, and I wish it were faster. Well, I have been tinkering around with Soonr [iTunes Link] lately, and I am impressed.

With Sooner, I can have cloud syncronization of files from my home or work Macs. I can also set the desktop client up to automatically back specific folders or files to my cloud. The cool part is that I can also print to my home printer from the iPhone. Soonr also allows me to share my data with other users with a text message. The client side piece is both Mac and Windows friendly, and while I can’t attest to the Windows client; the Mac client works great.

Check out the demo video below. Pay special attention to the incredible PowerPoint support. It is cool to be able to selectively view and edit a specific page; Soonr speeds up the cloud computing process on the iPhone about 100 times.

MacWorld Hits This Week – iPhone Users Rejoice Then Weep Silently

MacWorld San Francisco ‘09 begins this week without Steve Jobs doing the keynote.  In case you missed the news a few weeks back, this will also be the last MacWorld that Apple Plays in.  It seems that Apple does a good enough job creating a hypefest with their own internal releases and the rabid internet, so they are leaving the trade shows to fester in their own waste.

Of course no one knows what is being announced this week, but there are a few rumors.  Some think the iPhone Nano is going to hit the streets, while others attest to an iPod Grande.  I hope that new firmware for the iPhone is announce that allows for the mythical background notification service.

Rumors are also swirling about some less “iPhone-ish” product lines; the Mac Mini and iMac are due for some love, and the iWork and iLife Suites might just be moving into the cloud.  If the shift for the iLife products does in fact happen, it might mean some cool access for us iPhone users.

Look for the Apple keynote on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.

Sometimes iProducts Are Cool…

… and sometimes they are iPhone ready gloves.  Correct me if I am wrong on these things, but I fail to see how these gloves could actually benefit me or the world.  DOTS, am I missing something?

Here are the specifics.  The gloves cost $20 for wool or $15 for the knit version.  For your hard-earned money, you get a pair of dollar store gloves with little rubber nubs on the finger tips that allow you to manipulate your iPhone in the cold.  I live in Colorado, and it is plenty cold here, but I do not see these gloves as a necessesity.  If it is too cold to have an exposed hand, then it is too cold for your iPhone.

If I did have a need for data in the cold and snow, I have a pair of WalMart knit mittens that cost $4.99 and feature a fingerless gloves with a flip over mitten.  They do the same thing but for a third of the cost.  They would do just fine.

I have to applaud DOTS for the attempt to capitalize on the iTrend, but these gloves are just silly.

Happy New Year – The iPhone Has Your Back

Happy New Year!  If you are anything like me, New Year means resolutions, and resolutions mean getting back into shape.  Good thing I have the iPhone to help me out.  Here are a few of the health applications I have taken for a spin lately.

My Weight Loss Coach
[ iTunes link] – This one is a paid app, but it is worth it.  This little guy is the very similar to the Coach application available for the Nintendo DS.  For $5 you get an iPhone pedometer, food and exercise log, health quiz, mini-games, and health tips.  The design of this application is very well thought out and it works very well. I personally like the part of the application where you set a small reward for your personal wins – I need that kind of motivation.

Lose It! [  iTunes link] – This is a free app that helps you track your eating and calorie intake, exercise planner, and weight tracker.  It is a bit rough around the edges when compared to My Weight Loss Coach, but it is free.  The food library is pretty complete, and you can add custom foods to the database.  The application works like a budget calculator for your body.  Overall, it is pretty nice.

iFitness – [  iTunes link]  – If food isn’t your problem, but exercise is; then IFitness is for you.  iFitness is an extensive database of exercises, their uses, and instructions on how to do them.  The application also features a log for tracking your progress. The iFitness also includes a series of workouts that have been designed by fitness experts.  You get all of this for $1 – not bad.  If the exercise database doesn’t include your specific mode of <strike>torture</strike> exercise, you can add your own.

So, Happy New Year – get off your butt and enjoy it.
Creative Commons License photo credit: pimpexposure