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What’s on YOUR iPod? September 2014 Edition.

Published September 13, 2014 - 0 Comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything.  I guess that I’ve been focussing on different things.  A newsletter for the pickle blog.  A zillion updates in Buffer for Twitter, Facebook, even Google+ now.  Oh, and then there’s Day One, a fantastic journal program that allows me to jot my thoughts down completely separate from the blog.  So I guess that I’m still writing.  I’m just not writing as much HERE.

Looking at the current Top 25, there are some things that stand out.  Most of the ones near the top are on my Summer 2014 playlist, so it makes sense that they would have more plays than most of the other songs.  There are a couple of surprises though.  Lose You from Pete Yorn and Desire by Ryan Adams are both songs that I Shazamed  from episodes of House.  Neither of them are what I would call “happy” songs, which is probably why I fell in love with them.  Not saying that I’m not happy!  But I like to have my reflective time… and that usually entails some music that’s not exactly upbeat.

Judging from the bottom of the list, I must have had a few reflective times.

Take Me Home (feat. Bebe Rexha) Cash Cash
Am I Wrong Nico & Vinz
Jealous (I Ain’t With It) Chromeo
Gojoseon Jidax
Summer Calvin Harris
Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) Iggy Azalea
Not a Bad Thing Justin Timberlake
Birthday Katy Perry
Lose You Pete Yorn
Come With Me Now KONGOS
Boom Clap Charli XCX
Waves Mr Probz
Stay With Me Sam Smith
Best Day of My Life American Authors
Desire Ryan Adams
We Are Stars (Featuring Alyssa Reid) Virginia To Vegas
Word Crimes Weird Al Yankovic
All Out Of Love Air Supply
Drive The Cars
Faithfully Glee Cast
Forever And Almost Always Kate Voegele
Stutter Marianas Trench
Grenade Bruno Mars
Follow You Follow Me Genesis
Get It Right (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast

All I Want For Christmas is… iTunes Gift Cards!

Published December 17, 2012 - 2 Comments

Music, videos, movies, tv shows, apps… even e-books!  What’s not to love about Apple’s iTunes Store?!  Maybe ringtones… but even those I’ve bought before.  I’d buy my groceries through the iTunes Store if I could… mmmm… iBurgers…

I’ve started using the iTunes Store more to download movies and tv shows.  Since switching from Boxee to Apple TV for my media centre it’s incredibly easy to add media to my library, whether I want to purchase a movie to have forever, or simply rent it for viewing.  It’s all integrated perfectly into my iWorld.

The big downside of this is “cost”.  Torrents are free.  The iTunes Store is not.  But as a fledgling content publisher, I’ve decided to try to adopt a more legitimate approach.  We’ll see how that goes.

So remember… you can’t go wrong with iTunes gift cards… I’m even tucking them into a few gifts of my own!

All I Want For Christmas Is… iTunes Cards

Published December 12, 2010 - 5 Comments

Give the Gift of Steve Jobs This ChristmasDear Santa,

If you’ve been reading my blog (and I’m sure that you have been, as it’s the best way to tell whether I’ve been naughty or nice) then you are well aware of the fact that I have an ongoing love affair with Apple iTunes.  In fact, I’ve been considering whether I want to propose to iTunes when my divorce is finalized, or simply keep her as my not-so-secret lover. 

iTunes is the best thing to happen to me since Kraft Whipped peanut butter appeared on the shelves.  Whether she provides me with the latest music, music videos, or iPhone apps, she is always there to take care of me in my time of need.  I love her but there are days when that spark flickers dangerously low.  This is one of those days…

Santa, my iTunes account balance is $0.33… that’s not even enough for a Justin Bieber reject… I fear without an immediate injection of money, she will see me for the loser I am, and leave me for another man with deeper pockets.  Please Santa… if not for Love, then for Lust… shower me with pre-paid iTunes cards… Let an old man enjoy the sweet touch of music once more…

Going in a New Direction? My First Mac?

Published September 10, 2010 - 3 Comments

Macbook Pro

I’ve been giving some serious consideration into purchasing a new laptop.  My Dell Inspiron actually works well enough, and I have nothing against it… but I feel like it’s more of a toy, and less of a workhorse.  I can play around on the net, download crap, break it, and reinstall Windows back to it without much thought.  It’s great for a time-waster… but what I want is a serious multimedia beast, so I can work on some serious projects.  Yes… what I’m saying is this…

I think it’s time to look at getting my first Mac.

There’s no doubt about it.  I’ve been extremely happy with every Apple product that I’ve bought.  (Except that I’m a little bewildered where my ringtones disappeared to after I upgraded my iPhone OS, and iTunes 10) They’re beautiful, and the user experience is generally far superior to the competition’s efforts. Granted, they’re also pricey… the Macbook Pro starts at $1250. I think that my Inspiron was around $600, and for the price of it, you couldn’t ask for better performance. I can buy one hell of a Windows laptop for $1250. But I don’t want another Windows laptop. I’m tired of Windows. I know Windows too well, and maybe that’s part of the problem for me. I’m looking for a new direction, and I’m growing a little tired of the technical side of things. I’m more interested in content creation at this point, and that includes audio and video.. two things that the Mac is supposed to excel at.

There’s no rush. I’ve been stashing a little money away every pay in the “iPad” account… but I don’t really think that I need an iPad at the moment. I’d much rather put that money toward an iMac or Macbook Pro.

Apple… One taste of the forbidden fruit and I want more… Isn’t that always the way?

There’s an App For That!

Published May 23, 2010 - 0 Comments

A few months ago I posted my thoughts on getting a new phone, and asked people their opinions on the Blackberry and iPhone.  At the time, I was using a Motorola Q, which is a fine-enough phone, except that it uses Windows Mobile and crashes frequently.  I had just about enough, and was eager to find a suitable replacement before I smashed the Q against a wall.

I was very happy with the reader interest in that post.  The poll and comments were pretty much evenly split, with half recommending a Blackberry, and most of the others recommending an iPhone.  While there was some initial interest in Google’s Android-powered phones, I wasn’t willing to explore that possibility quite yet.  Perhaps when the operating system becomes a little more entrenched.  As for Windows Mobile, I thought that the platform was dead, until I heard that there is a Windows Mobile 7 available.  After my experience with the Q, never again will I go anywhere near Windows Mobile.  I wouldn’t wish that pain upon my worst enemy.  (well, maybe one)

So after careful consideration of my handheld usage needs, I finally opted to go with the Apple iPhone 3GS.  And all I can really say is “What took me so long?”…

It’s not perfect by any means, but I think that it’s a near-perfect fit for me.  For the most part, I’ve been able to figure out how to type coherently on the flatscreen, although there are times when I repeatedly hit the wrong key and back up, only to hit the same wrong key, and back up, and again… you get the idea.  I get a little frustrated at times, but I’m getting better.  Not to mention, the phone seems to be learning what words I like to use most often, and correcting my spelling as I go along.  Generally, this is a good thing.. but there are times when I really DO mean to type an acronym, and don’t want the phone to automatically change it to something else.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives.  For music lovers like me, the integration with iTunes and the iTunes Store is remarkable.  This isn’t anything new.  It was one of the things that people told me that I would enjoy the most… and they were right.  Whether I’m connected to the Internet through my cell account, or a Wifi connection, I can easily download a new song and have it playing within minutes.  And my music videos look fantastic on it. I’m not at the point where I want to replace my iPod completely, but the iPhone is generally all I need most days.

But how is it as a phone?  I’ve seen some pretty bad things written about the overall phone quality of the iPhone 3GS, and I have to say that I don’t agree at all.  I’m not sure what all the fuss is about because I have never had any problems.  Maybe it’s the US carrier that is the problem, but here I talk regularly on my iPhone without any problems, and no one has ever mentioned not being able to understand me.  So I’d say that it works perfectly fine as a phone.

And of course, there’s the whole “App” discussion, but I think that I will leave that for another day.

So far, so good… very pleased!  Maybe my biggest concern is that Apple is expected to release the 4th generation of the iPhone this summer, so I may have purchased mine at the wrong time.

iTunes Upgrades to DRM-Free Music Videos

Published March 14, 2010 - 2 Comments

One of the little oddities of iTunes is that some of the music videos that I’ve purchased have been DRM-free, while others have not been. Essentially that means that I’ve been able to play most of my music videos through my XBox 360 onto my TV, while a couple have had the dreaded red circle of death next to them. Unplayable.

I’ve tried to figure out what the pattern is. Did I pay more for videos that were DRM-free? I don’t think so. The prices seemed pretty constant. Maybe it was a case of those videos simply not being available yet without DRM?

Well today I logged into iTunes and noticed that I had an upgrade option available for two of my videos. Mika – Happy Ending, and The Latency – Tonight I Love You. For $0.80 each, I could upgrade these videos to DRM-free status. Sweet!

Just a quick note… it’s really not unlocking the DRM. You have to download each file again, which isn’t a big deal. iTunes will ask you if you want to automatically delete the old DRM version or place it on your desktop (whereby you can move it to wherever you want, I guess).

Good riddance, DRM. I long for the day when you are simply a bad dream.

Oh, and there are at least three more videos in my collection that I know have DRM. Ironically, these are fairly recent releases from Canadian artists… Marianas Trench, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Not sure if that means anything or not.

My Love Affair With Apple iTunes

Published February 12, 2010 - 0 Comments

It started off innocently enough. A stolen glance. The hint of a smile. A flutter deep within my core.

Oh, you like music too? I love music!

And then it just grew from there… hours spent together… listening intently… cataloging, organizing, renaming…  music, movies, podcasts.. and more! 

What’s this now?  You have your very own store!? 

I was in love!

Prepaid cards, I bought.  More music, I sought.

Sync me, love.          

I was fortunate enough that a couple of people realized that iTunes cards were a great gift idea for Christmas, and I’ve been able to go on a bit of a shopping spree.  Then I saw something that I hadn’t seen before… Walmart selling prepaid iTunes card for less than their face value?!  A $25 iTunes card for $20?  What’s up with that?  That must have been a sale, because I haven’t seen that since.  Too bad.  I need to stock up!

I never thought that I’d get as much use out of a piece of software as I have iTunes.  Is it perfect?  No… but what it does, it does extremely well.