How do you get songs from your music library to your DSi? We don’t use the DSi much as a music player, although the kids enjoy it. And with Flipnotes, you can use music files in the animations.
You might want to watch a free music library tool/player called Doubletwist, which was just released for beta and which will include in a future release support for the DSi, including converting the file to the acceptable format.
I like, too, that Doubletwist includes integration with Amazon’s music store [though not yet for the Windows version]. I’m always in search of a good replacement for iTunes, and this could eventually be it. [Songbird is still a little rough for my wife's use at this point, who has a low threshold for bugs.]
Lately, I have become an avid use of Media Monkey and Amazon MP3. Media Monkey’s interface can be a bit clunky in places, almost offering too many choices, but its performance is excellent, especially compared to iTunes. It scans my 150GB drive to update the music library very quickly, seemingly in less than a minute. But it’s Amazon’s MP3 site that I’m enjoying. Sure, I have to download a file and then install it to my PC, all of which isn’t nearly as one-step friendly as iTunes. But, besides the DRM-free files, I like Amazon’s prices, not to mention the wealth of bargains and free songs. While iTunes gives customers a free song each day, Amazon has over 500 free songs.
So, do you use Amazon for downloading songs? And do you take advantage of their free songs?
A while back, I mentioned putting together a superhero playlist for a family roadtrip. The kids loved the songs, and my wife and I even enjoyed them. The following were the favorites. I found “Aquaman’s Lament” very addictive for some reason. There were some other good songs, which I’ll post later. Even though Johnny Quest isn’t a superhero, I loved the cartoon as a kid, and Reverend Horton Heat is just good.
We’ve done a bit of traveling this week: I was in Austin for a few days to do some usability testing, and my family came with me. Then, back for a day, we left to go to my mother’s for the July 4th holiday.
all this meants lots of ipodding, which in turn led to a discussion about itunes, which is a piece of crap for Windows. It’s such a sluggish memory hog that I have to think it has some bloat. While apply makes things easier, that ease comes at a price and DRM files is one of those costs. [Apples sells DRM-free songs at a higher bit rate--for $1.29 per song, though only for some songs and artists as required by record labels, not Apple.] Yes, it’s easy to just purchase and download songs via iTunes [once it starts]. I mentioned some alternatives to my wife that I had tried, like songbird, but found them lacking. But mediamonkey is a different story, as seen by this comparison and this review [which includes the author's favorite addons].
After installing the latest free version, I confess I liked it immediately as its scan of my 8000+ song files took a fraction of the time of iTunes. I’m convinced the MediaMonkey is a superior player, but how about syncing with our iPods? Again, MediaMonkey quickly accessed the iPod when it was connected to the computer whereas iTunes is slower. In fact, when I inserted our older iPod Shuffle which was synced with iTunes on another computer, I didn’t see the usual iTunes message that the device could only be synced with one computer.
That leaves the trickest part of moving away from iTunes–purchasing songs from Apples music store. Being the only option, that meant just one login [which also meant that all purchases were charged to my account and my AMEX card]. MediaMonkey provides an integrated web browser, and in its navigator pane, it has a Web folder with links to amazon, CDUniverse, eMusic, HDTracks, and AllMusic. Unfortunately, rhapsody is not linked, a store that recently re-launched with no DRM and with iPod compatiblity. You can check out this 2007 comparison of amazon and itune, which has improved since then in amazon’s favor. [I still find amazon's interface clunky at times, however.]
Rhapsody requires using their downloader, and instead of using all my existing music files by artist, it saves the MP3s to a rhapsody/ folder. [The good thing is that if I move the file and rescan--which is blazing fast--I don't have to worry about the stupid duplicated songs like in iTunes.] Amazon also requires a downloader but it can be configured to use my existing file structure rather than the default Amazon MP3/ folder. Even though the Amazon music catalog is around half that of iTunes, I’ve found all the songs we’ve purchased from iTunes Music Store on amazon, including a few songs that I’ll be talking about in a future post.
I’m running this past my wife, and all seems good. While song purchasing and downloading isn’t quite as easy as with iTunes, it’s still pretty easy using Amazon and Rhapsody with MediaMonkey, and I’m not sure that we’ll have much reason to go back to iTunes.
Just a clarification: Apples and iTunes aren’t evil, but I prefer a media player that syncs my iPod with the freedom of using any download service, which MediaMonkey does.
Now, I could listen to my CDs I’ve accumulated over the years, but my wife and I both enjoy discovery music sites like Pandora. Unfortunately, the Wii’s Opera browser can’t display Pandora. But a pretty good substitute is finetune with its Wii interface. I had to create an account and my playlist from my PC, but I can use the Wii interface to enter any member’s name and play their playlists, or I can type an artist and hear songs that are like that artist, similar to Pandora. Or you can play a station of the music genre you like.
I’ve create one playlist under my guttertalk profile. You should see a guttertalk 1 playlist when you enter my profile name. The playlist must have at least 45 songs but no more than 3 from one artist. It works pretty well, especially when I’m working from home like I am this week. And I like it as a way to listen to new CDs that I’m considering buying.
My guttertalk 1 playlist is somewhat all over the place, but take a listen if you’d like.
in the 80s, I stumbled out of years of listening to just a limited kind of music. It was exciting and overwhelming to discover, for example, a whole genre like jazz that had so much to listen to. Here are a couple of clips of my favorites. Enjoy.
Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, and Al Dimeola:
Return to Forever including a lineup of legends: Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, Chic Corea, and Al Di Meola . I had a friend who played drums, and he introduced me to the Romantic Warrior album, which was amazing to listen to him play to.
for grins, i blew $13 on this fm transmitter for my computer. It’s listed as $39. The idea is that when I connect it to my computer’s usb port, any sound from my computer is transmitted to an FM frequency (88.1 by default but you can change it). You have to change your sound output from your soundcard to the rocketfm, which means, no sound for your computer (headphones or speakers).
First, why would I want this? There’s a part of me that loves gimmicks, for one. But I got tired of burning CDs for my daughter to play on her little radio. I thought this was an easy way to create an itunes playlist and just broadcast it.
Since her room is near the computer room, this worked well. But for my main stereo? Not so much. Trying to broadcast some 40 feet through 2-3 walls was asking too much for a $13 gadget. But I wondered if my wireless and computer might interfere because the cable on the rocketfm is maybe 3 feet. So, I pulled out my 15′ USB extension and placed the rocketfm nearer the door.
Now, the main stereo picks it. Nice.
Still, it is what it is for the price. It’s about FM quality sound, as you’d logically expect. However, it seems that after a while, it can somehow stop working, even though the output is still the rocketfm. I found that I had to shut down and restart the app.
Also, Dallas has a lot of FM stations, but since this transmitter uses the whole FM range, I found an open frequency. Some users complained that this didn’t work in Chicago or New York.
Is it worth the money? Personally I regard $10-20 as practically no investment. I consider my little bit of consumer testing. The usefulness is debatable, but it’s a cute thing to have. Actually, now that it works with my main stereo, it’s an easy way to play my itunes songs on my stereo, which is cheaper than or about the same as the cables you have to buy to connect the ipod directly to the stereo. So, yeah, I have to give it a thumbs up for the price.
I’m sitting here listening to Atlanta Rhythm Section’s ‘i’m so into you’ on the ipod. Many of those mid 70s songs were pretty cheesy, but I’ve always liked the rhythm guitar sound on several of those songs, like on this one. It’s just got that groove sound. ‘spooky’ is another one.
But I can’t think of these without an image of bell bottoms. And sometimes, an afro.
Yes, I had one myself. My nickname on the football team was ‘poodle.’
First, I’m a big fan of Genesis, particularly with Peter Gabriel. But I’ve never seen that version of Genesis play live. Around 1983, I knew a girl at college who had a VHS of Genesis in concert, and I’ve searched in vain for it since then. So, with that, I try to recreate a song set I would have loved to have seen. even though genesis is reuniting for a tour, they coming nowhere near Texas, so this will have to do.
[sidebar: my wife is not a fan of gabriel, but I dragged her to his 'up' tour, and it was one of the most enjoyable concerts we've seen. as she said, he really puts a lot into making a show as well as creating good music. i loved the human gerbil ball myself. I know it's supposed to be a womb, but it looks more like a gerbil ball. when he started bouncing in the ball, the crowd went wild, and it was just so fun it made me tingly. It was more upbeat even than the version in the linked video. we also enjoyed 'animal nation' , which my son insisted on playing again and again when he was little.]
I’ve seen bits of ‘i know what i like’ live but it’s nice to see the whole thing:
i gotta admit microsoft’s zunes looks pretty good. stereogum has probably the best summary of pros and cons about zunes so far.
I think it’s biggest asset is not one particular feature but the idea behind some of the specific designs: it’s pursuing a model that seems to be driving the innovations behind web 2.0. Namely, it’s actually trying to move away from a proprietary source for its content and to enable community activities. I think the comparison to Hotmail is a good (and the commenter there on stereogum criticizing the example misses the point):
If you have an account, you’re not thinking that you need a computer for your hotmail account, you’re thinking that you need a tuner to get your mail. Hotmail is about information and use, and my music is about my entertainment, not about iPod and iTunes.
Exactly. This point reminds me of a post on Mark Cuban’s blog about how people want their music anywhere, want to be able to get it anywhere as well as listen to it anywhere.
I know folks will scoff at this, but I think Microsoft is more likely to pursue this than Apple. Apple has been a very proprietary company, using its sofware to sell its hardware. Now, there’s a big advantage to that model: it makes things work more easily. Yes, microsoft did a lot of things to be the big dog, but one salient point was that their OS was somewhat agnostic about the hardware. I was primarily an Apple user in the 80s, from IIe to Macs. But when I wanted a computer for home, I couldn’t afford it, even with the student discount. But a PC? That was affordable.
It’s a different kind of innovation that microsoft doesn’t get credit for. Don’t get me wrong: Microsoft annoys the hell out of me. I’ll switch OSes or computers in a heartbeat . . . if it does what i need. Apple is riding on a lot of hype right now. And I say that as an iPod nano owner.
As an example of the trouble Apple brings the consumer, consider that in their latest firmware update, owners of nanos or older ipods don’t get the new features, like the search, fast scroll, or games. I’ve yet to see any reason why the nano, for example, couldn’t use those features. But apple’s business model explains the reason: you need to buy their latest ipods for those new features. show some love to your current customers, Apple.
One thing that really surprises me about zune is that I haven’t read anything about games. Plus, when I looked at the menu in this video, there’s no menu for games.
I’ve read a few things in the past couple of months. Here are my thoughts on a few of them.
‘godland.’ A Kirby tribute that just doesn’t make it for me. First, Kirby is Kirby. Sure, he had a way of telling stories that were larger than life, but he had a way of bringing them down, too, to everyday life, even if cliched. Plenty of reviewers like the series. I got the first TPB and had to force myself to finish it. Let me put it this way: what made Kirby great wasn’t that his work seem familiar of other comics, but that it was something different. “Different” is not a word I’d apply to ‘godland.’
‘testament.’ A book with religious overtones that definitely got me to say ‘god,’ as in ‘god, this book sucks.’ I just gave up on this book, after four issues, and there’s no big questions here, no great story, definitely no interesting characters. I think some suffer from the emperor’s new clothes syndrome. Gaim and Spiegelman created characters that were consistent and interesting, created stories that actually had development.
‘snowcrash.’ Speaking of overwrought stories with religious mythological backdrops . . . . it seems like I’m hating life right now. ‘snowcrash’ however started off very well: it had humor with good characters and a great hook [not to mention the cultural/economic setting]. then, someone realized that they had something to say and decided to just say, resulting in characters engaging in and indulging each other’s heady monologues. then, with the subtley of a thrown brick, the book ended. it was great for 2/3 before succumbing to the worst thing about scifi novels–preachiness.
‘strange itineraries’ by tim powers is very good, enough to slake my thirst for more powers’s novels. what constantly amazes me about powers is that he definitely has his obsessions, but he does more with body switching than anyone else could imagine. In this collection, he reminds me more of Philip Dick than his novels do for some reason. I think it’s because the alternate reality theme is more prevalent in these stories than in his novels. Also, his books seems to focus more on the characters as well as cramming so many references that I dang near dog-ear every page to look up on the internet later. In this collection, the characters are still important, but the question of reality is spoken louder.
‘devils & dust.’ wow. Springsteen impresses the older I get. And the single of the same name is just damn fine songwriting. Some of the other songs begin to blur, but it’s an album and not just a cd of songs. i’m a sucker for narrative songs, and this album is full of them.
The cow bell. As a musical instrument, I think it had its heyday in the 70s. So, I’ve been trying to think of songs in which the cow bell is prominent. I heard two on the way home from work the other night, ‘Jive Talking’ by the BeeGees and Cher’s ‘Gyspy, Tramps, and Thieves’. Here’s the list I’ve come up with so far.
‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’, Blue Oyster Cult
‘Hair of the Dog’, Nazareth
‘Low Rider’, War
‘Drive My Car’, Beatles
‘Jive Talking’, BeeGees
‘Gyspy, Tramps, and Thieves’, Cher
‘ In the Summertime’, Mungo Jerry
Update: Well, I should know better. Someone already has a website that compiles all the songs with a prominent cowbell, as well as an MP3 of the SNL skit in which Christopher Walken tries to get more cowbell into ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper.’
i have no innate musical talent. i’ve worked hard to know what little i know, and i’ve learned to play by ear to a degree. but, when i was visiting with some folks at church, i found out that the gospel band needs a guitar player. part of me really, really wants to try it, but this is a church full of incredible musicians, and i am very self-conscious of my musical limitations. playing for myself and the kids is fun (it’s a thrill to learn the theme to the old spider-man cartoon or ‘la vida loca’), but i’d like to take at least one chance to see what it’s like to play in a band. that it’s gospel and blues-like is all the more enticing. my wife is the better musician, having played the oboe. i keep hoping that she’ll play again.
but as it is, i had a problem with my strat (1960s reissue i bought in ’93). i tried to fix it myself, but i don’t have a good enough soldering iron or the time. so, it’ll be in the shop for another week or so, which just might settle it.