Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category:

Best Music and Audio Players on Android

July 21st, 2012

Last fall i switched from iPhone to Android and for the most part am happy I did.  Apple has great design, but you can only do things the apple way and i wanted more options.  One of the things I wanted was more audio playing/managing options.   I don’t just want any player, I am picky – I’ve listed my requirements below.

Goal

Sync audio (music and talk/news radio) with Android.  Specifically:

  • Make it easy to create/edit playlist on mac, and sync it with bionic, the way iTunes and iPhone work.  Includes adding and removing songs from a existing playlist, and those songs get sync’d .. easily.
  • Make it easy to do daily syncs of podcasts from iTunes (or skip itunes and sync android with internets)
  • Make it easy to delete songs/playlists from android.
  • Do it all for Free.

Environment:

  • Mac with 5,000+ songs and podcasts in iTunes.
  • 400GB of mp3s on backup drive.
  • Fast wifi at home, but dsl (slow) between home and internet.
  • Android bionic phone, limited storage (8GB, can only sync a few playlists of songs from my collection).

Solutions

.


Winamp is similar to the classic program from the 90′s. For android, its a complete and quality program, few bugs.  Similar to Doubletwist.

Pros

  • UI is functionally complete and then some.
    • Bottom always has a drawer that you can drag up to get info on what is currently playing.
    • Clicking on winamp lightening bolt logo in bottom right goes to main menu
    • Has a progress bar showing elapsed and total time of current track, and you can drag current position marker to move to end or beginning of track.
    • Pressing and holding next/prev arrow buttons goes fwd/back a few seconds in track.  Great for fine-positioning tracks over an hour (too hard to do with position marker on progress bar).
  • You can’t sort songs, but there are 3 useful built-in playlists: Recently Added, Recently Played ,Top Played
  • Pauses when headphones are pulled out
    • nice if you’re out and about listening on your headphones and someone asks you a question, you can immediately pull out cord, talk, and then spend time with android to start playing where you left off.

Cons

  • Updating playlists duplicates them, should replace. You can manually delete older ones by tap and hold, but if you want to auto-sync 5 playlists, you will have to manually delete 5 every time you sync.  Gets old real quick.

.

Doubletwist is complete music app, appealing to those who like iTunes

Pros

  • UI is functionally complete and then some.
  • Very easy to manage through iTunes, then ready to sync, launch doubeltwist, connect phone via usb, and done

Cons

  • Adding new songs to existing playlist in iTunes does not update playlist in Doubletwist on phone.  However, there is a fix – open Winamp and delete all but most recent version of a playlist, then come back to doubletwist to see most updated version of playlist (see Winamp Cons)

.

Google Music Beta, now Play Music, is Google’s version of iCloud.  You sync your music from your computer to the cloud, then either download to android or stream real-time.

Pros

  • Sync without wires, over the cloud
  • Stream is useful if you have fast connection and not enough space on device

Cons

  • Cloud syncing is WAY too slow.  Syncing one or two songs is fine, but to sync GB from mac to internet and back to android takes forever.
  • UI for app is pretty basic
  • Has bugs .. like syncing unknown albums

.

DoggCatcher (DC) Podcast App, is for the android only, does not run on a computer (a mac).  You  setup your podcast feeds directly on your phone.

Pros

  • Best way to manage podcasts – on phone directly
  • Intuitive interface
    • Feeds – lists all your podcast feeds, add by category or suggestions or search. Perfect.
    • Playing – summary and complete description about podcast (other players cut this info off)
    • Audio – lists all downloaded podcasts, tap and hold to reveal many options
    • player at bottom – always there, pause easily.
  • Free for trial period

Cons:

  • Content is very limited compared to what is possible with iTunes
  • When the headphones pull out, it plays off speaker (winamp pauses automatically)

.

I want to use these a bit more before I review them

.

Summary

I have been using a combination of the above for months now. I love winamp the most for playing audio for all reasons listed above.  I use Dogcatcher to automatically get the latest news and talk radio podcasts, like NPR’s This American Life, AC360 from CNN, the Nerdist, and Comedy Bang-bang. And I like doubletwist to easily keep iTunes playlists on my mac in sync with my android.

Note: I will update these as i try new music apps.

 

 

Coachella Rules

April 29th, 2009

Last week I got back from Coachella, a 3-day music festival in Southern California.  It was my 4th time going, the other years being 2001, 2002, and 2006.  This year, like previous years, was awesome – good friends, good drinks, pimpin’ house and pool, and tons of cool bands and DJs to rock out to.  Here are noteworthy moments followed by details from the whole weekend

Coachella 2009 Lineup

  • Groove Armada doing superstylin for like 20 minutes, including a few mins of daft punk in the middle.  After “Around the World” they unloaded the superstylin’ drop that totally electrified the crowd.  This was my favorite moment this year – 3rd favorite coachella moment of all time, after daft punk in 2006 and my personal fav squarepusher in 2001.
  • The Do Lab giving off a great burningman vibe, sick music, interesting art and decorations, water hose, and central location. My favorite spot. Video. Big UP to Jupiter, Random Rab, Beats Antique, Lucent Dossier, and many more.
  • The Dome was another sound location in addition to the Do Lab and the 5 official ones – they provided sound as you entered and left, going till 5am for those in camp city.  LA Riots played sunday night.
  • Naked Hippie getting tasered.  3 fat cops using a taser on a dude out of his mind. article.
  • Contact solution containers are very useful.
  • The Ting Tings singing “Whats my name” (my fav song of 2008)
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocking it – love that gold costume, Karen O. video.
  • Girl Talk really knows how to rock a party, short-attentions span style. milkshake.
  • MIA was good, but Blackstar (her Coachella DJ) went a little crazy with that air horn – could barely hear the songs. Lame.
  • Public Enemy doing the entire album of “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”
  • The Black Keys got Soul, damnit.  a video.
  • Leonard Cohen rocking it at age 74.
  • Morrisey left the stage early cuz he smelled burning flesh.  Sigh. Pass the Bacon.
  • The Cure did almost 3 hours – including 2 songs after they cut the sound and lights (only saw first hour, tho).
  • I heard Paul McCartney, would have been really impressed if i still loved him.
  • Wish I saw Etienne De Crecy. Awesome video.
  • Wish I saw MSTRKRFT, saw them in 2008.
  • Wish I saw Roni Size, The Kills, Atmosphere, M Ward, Crystal Castles, the Orb, etc.
  • Out of 166,000 people attending coachella, I ran into my boy Zac (chicago) twice. I ran into tons of other people from California as well. Attendence was second only to 186k in 2007 (src).

Team Coachella

It all began with my arrival Thursday night, along with checkoway and kerry, crashing at my friend Rob’s place in Ontario. Friday morning our new best friend Jason picked us up in his super 80′s Van – Our Carpoolchella.  The rumor was that one lucky crew with “Carpoolchella” written on their car/van would win lifetime vip tix to coachella.  No, wed were not that lucky crew.  Anyways, we drove 80 miles to Palm Springs, got supplies, checked into our house for the weekend, and met up with Isabel (not Babs), Jess, and Brian.  We got our drinks on and headed to coachella friday, coming home around 1 or 2 and staying up till 5 in the morning.  2 hours later I’m up for some reason and ready to go.

Saturday started with more drinking, a surprise arrival by Ding Dong, Cake-Oh, and Katheeee.  Yay.  After some pool shenanigans we left the house for the iMeem party – more pool, free-drinks, DJs (A-Trak was there but did not spin), and great people watching.  It ended up being pretty fun, till the Asahi ran dry.  We made it inside the coachellas around 5 or 6 and lasted till about midnight,  then home and more drinks and late nite grilling by Chef Checkoway. Sunday was more of the same, morning cocktails, donger made eggs, pool chillin, a few visitors, and music at coachella from 6 to midnight.  I was planning on leaving sunday night but I aborted that plan due to lack of sleep and desire not to get sick.

Monday we cleaned up and left the house by noon, made it to LA where most of us did more pool side chilling at the roosevelt in hollywood.  Around 6pm everybody left but me and checkoway – he was in LA for biz and my flight didn’t leave for chicago till 6am the next morning.  Lee Williams showed up, instigating round 7, and with the help of Katie Curry we were out drinking till the bars closed.  After some post-bar pizza I took checkoway back to the hotel where i crashed from 3:30am till 4:30am (thats 1 whole hour of sleep for you kids at home), got up and taxied to LAX.  Needless to say i slept the entire plane ride home.

Good times, Good times.

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

March 13th, 2009

IMG_0580.JPG

The last week I’ve noticed lots of green in Chicago – People are getting siked for St. Paddy’s Day.  This year St. Patrick’s day falls on a Tuesday, and the parades are the weekend before.  That’s right, There are 2 parades in Chicago – the “official” one downtown (which moved from the south side in 1960) and the one in the south side (recreated in 1979). Here are the deets

  • March 14, Saturday’s Parade:
    • Where: Downtown, Grant Park, On Columbus from Balbo to Monroe (src).
    • When: 10:45am River turns green, Noon: Parade Begins
  • March 15, Sunday’s Parade
    • Where: South Chicago, on Western from 104th to 115th (src).
    • When: Noon Parade begins.
  • March 17, Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day

Some say the southside one is where the party is at.  That’s good, cuz it will give me time saturday to prepare my leprechaun costume.  I’m still gonna check out the green river and parade saturday, tho.

UPDATE: Southside parade might be canceled due to drinking (54 arrests) (src)

More Info

  • http://www.nbcchicago.com/around_town/the_scene/South-Side-Irish-Parade-Cancelled.html
  • http://www.southsideirishparade.org/index.php?id=1
  • http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/parade.html
  • http://www.saintpatricksdayparade.com/chicago/index.htm
  • http://chicago.about.com/od/museumsattractions/p/StPatrickParade.htm
  • http://chicago.metromix.com/events/community_event/54th-annual-chicago-st-grant-park-museums/889687/content
  • http://www.timeout.com/chicago/events/comedy/50395/490045/downtown-st-patricks-day-parade

Not My Name

February 9th, 2009

Every month or so since last summer I listen to this song over and over. So good, So catchy, So fun.  And its even better mixed with “party in my tummy”.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8G2TUtJ5Ro

The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name (Yo Gabba Gabba Mix)

Four letter word just to get me along
It’s a difficulty and i’m biting on my tongue and I
I keep stalling, keeping me together
People around gotta find something to say now

Holding back, everyday the same
Don’t wanna be a loner
Listen to me, oh no
I never say anything at all
But with nothing to consider they forget my name
(ame, ame, ame)

They call me ‘hell’ (ye-ah)
They call me ‘Stacey’ (ye-ah)
They call me ‘her’ (ye-ah)
They call me ‘Jane’ (ye-ah)

That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (ye-ah)

They call me ‘quiet girl’
But I’m a riot, yeah
Maybe ‘Joleisa’
Always the same

That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

I miss the catch if they through me the ball
I’m the last kid standing up against the wall
Keep up, falling, these heels they keep me boring
Getting glammed up and sitting on the fence now

So alone all the time at night
Lock myself away
Listen to me, i’m not
Although i’m dressed up, out and all with
Everything considered they forget my name
(ame, ame, ame)

They call me ‘hell’ (in my tummy)
They call me ‘Stacey’ (party party)
They call me ‘her’ (in my tummy)
They call me ‘Jane’ (party party)

That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (in my tummy)
That’s not my name (ye-ah)

They call me ‘quiet girl’ (ye-ah)
But I’m a riot, yeah (ye-ah)
Maybe ‘Joleisa’ (ye-ah)
Always the same (ye-ah)

That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (in my tummy)
That’s not my name (party party)
That’s not my name (ye-ah)

Are you calling me darling?
(why are you sad? we want to goto the party, the party in your tummy.)
Are you calling me bird?
(the party in my tummy? ye-ah! OK, Lets GO!!!)
Are you calling me darling? (party partay)
Are you calling me bird? (…)

(repeat chorus)

LA Riots

April 30th, 2008

LA Riots Rock. I saw them last night at rickshaw stop in san francisco, and this DJ Duo kept us on our toes mashing it all up – punk, electro, rock, hip hop, booty bass – including a lot of annoying yet polished static (bring earplugs) to produce an incredibly energetic fun show (altho a fight between two drunk girls erupted around midnight). I also saw LA Riots when they opened for MSTRKRFT at Mighty on March 1, 2008, which obviously kicked ass. And the best part about last night – it was free, part of scion’s 20th CD sampler release party - the second one i’ve rocked here in SF. Read more on LA Riots, download MP3′s. Go Team.

Oh, and there was this one killer track last night that went something like “back it up” or “backup” .. I need a copy.  Ya feel me?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrTwg06FXe4

Downloading Movies, TV shows

November 29th, 2007

I haven’t had cable or satellite since 2003 – over 4 years. Just a DVD player and computer connected to my TV. And i think its great – easier and better suited to my lifestyle. Everybody knows how to rent a DVD from the local video store or get’em in the mail from Netflix, so today i’m just gonna discuss watching from your computer (I connect my macbook pro to my HDTV and watch it on that).

So what to watch? Well, some people really like Tivo to get shows – it saves stuff for you as it comes on TV, makes it easy to skip passed commercials, etc. I prefer to download an entire season of a TV show at once, like LOST, Heroes Season 1, or my favorite, The Wire. But sometimes you need more recent shows, like The Colbert Report.  You can also get classic movies like caddyshack or browse the latest comedies or latest action movies.

Note – the system is not perfect – if something is not popular, its hard to download. Thats why i always tell people to sort the results by number of seeders (people sharing), and only download ones that are easy to get (like 10 seeders minimum, 50+ seeders is best).

On the techie side, you’re just downloading a small torrent file from the links above, which just tells your torrent client where to get the rest of the data. Kinda like google search results tells your browser (firefox) where to get the thing you’re looking for. Once you have the torrent file, you wait anywhere from a day (new movies are popular) to over a week (Heroes season 1 is 4 GB) while your torrent client does all the downloading. What torrent client should you get? I like Azureus for Windows and Transmission for Mac OS X.

Mininova is the most popular site to get torrent files, but there are other torrent sites.

Disclaimer: Don’t download any movies you don’t already own – thats illegal.

Burningman Done

September 5th, 2007

Last of my big trips for the year – Burningman. My ninth time going, always glad i went. This year’s favs include the dust storm thursday, my boy pete hudson’s monkey-snake thing (read wired, mercury news, grist.org), the big rig, and the oil rig tower (hello? coolest fire EVER). Oh, and the glowing ping pong balls – best visuals ever. And how could i forget our very own monkey island art car. Good times, good times. Check out my flickr pics and the youtube videos.

Burningman is ON

I’m finally getting in gear for this year’s Burningman. This will be my 9th year going. Yeah, i’m old, and nine times may seem like alot, but each year is different at burningman and for me (where i am in my life). Why do i keep going? why don’t i get burned out? Well, i see burningman as life – you get out of it what you put into it. You don’t have to party or drink or build large things that take all your time. You just have to participate. You do have to abandon some comforts of home, but you get more creativity and freedom in a larger context. I like that alot.

This year i’m going small again, minimal planning, small camp of friends tied together by the Monkey Island Art Car – brainchild of Sir Checkoway (and chef ben as the workhorse). The island is a ford taurus station wagon with the back chopped off, wood platform for the island, rocks, green plants, a generator, dj setup, and tastee beats. Right up my alley, and i’m lucky to have close friends that let me join in at the last minute. Sadly, i’m not staying with the brasstax bunnies – they’re way over at 3 o’clock and we’ll be at 9 o’clock area.

I’ve only been back in SF for about 2 weeks, so i’m still getting my feet wet in this year’s theme – the Green Man – but its right up my alley. Mainly cuz i’m looking into doing a Green MBA – environmentally and socially aware business – but i admit i’m still just looking.  But if you know me at all, you know i love nature – especially hiking in mountains.  I read that the man will be on a green mountain peak this year.  Can’t wait to climb that mtn !!

I also put together a list of DJ lineups at Burningman 2007. This will be updated till i leave on Monday. Enjoy.

Treasure Island Music Festival

June 22nd, 2007

Move over Coachella, here comes something meatier.

Saturday, September 15th focuses on electronic and dance oriented acts with an eclectic bill including Thievery Corporation, DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist, Gotan Project, M.I.A., Ghostland Observatory and Zion I. Sunday September 16th features the best and brightest in indie rock with Modest Mouse, Spoon, Built To Spill, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and M. Ward. In addition to the above acts, there will be a second stage featuring up and coming and local bands.

I already got tickets for both days.  I’m excited to be back in SF!!!

Let the beat rock.

January 31st, 2007

This song kicks ass and the video chops up the ass and gives it to you on a platter.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwd-hZHvok0

Child 1 :
Why don’t you tell me a story?
Child 2 :
Please tell me a story too.
Man :
You know, I think I’ll tell you the story of my life.
Child 1 :
You tell me!

Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto!
Check me out!
Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto!
Check check me out!
Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto!
Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto! Ghetto-ghetto!

I’m a bad ass motherfuckin’ DJ
This is why I walk and talk this way!
I’m a bad ass motherfuckin’ DJ
This is why I walk and talk this way!
I’m a bad ass motherfuckin’ DJ
This is why I walk and talk this way!
You suckers!

He’s the master of disaster and the master of beat

Come-Come-Come-Come-Come with it
Ghetto-ghetto-ghetto-ghetto-ghetto-to

He’s so quick
He’s so fast
He’s so quick, he’s so fast
He’s upper-class player / He’s on the crossfader (?)
DJ Shadow with the scratch
Moves through town like a skater
Come on, rock
Check out the cut you suckers

This is why, this is why I walk
This is why, this is why I walk
I’m a bad ass motherfuckin’ DJ
This is why, this is why I walk
This is why, this is why I walk
This is why, this is why I walk and talk this way
Check me out

Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Holy shit!
Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Rave! Holy shit!

Let the beat rock.

- DJ Shadow, Walkie Talkie