Archive for the ‘music’ 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

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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.

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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)

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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

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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)

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

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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.

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

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

iPod: iTunes SUCKS !!!

January 23rd, 2007

Well, i’m just another sucker who thought Apple designed products well. Apple products sure are pretty. But what could be the absolute worst thing that could happen when you use iTunes? Besides blowing up in your face killing your baby nephew. Yes, erasing your harddrive without warning. I backup my laptop, but not my iPod. So of course today i got my iPod wiped clean by iTunes 7. For you techies out there, its like the old “sudo rm -rf /”

What do you do when iTunes erases your iPod??? well, first stage is denial. What? no songs? eject ipod, hold it in my hand, look at artists .. blank. WHAT?? Ok, maybe i can recover .. search the web .. Oooh.. “iTunes 7 erased my iPod” happened to this guy, too. Hmm.. most of the 48 responses are people complaining how it happened to them too. OK, so maybe it did happen. Any recovery tools out there .. a few for windows, none for the mac. Let’s recheck the iPod, maybe my songs are there now. Nope. Videos gone, too. But my photos are still there. Wow.

Sigh. Luckily i have copies of my mp3s on a backup server, but i did lose all my playlists. I spent many many hours creating and tweaking these playlists – those run mixes, driving in the car mixes, chilling out on a bus mixes, and many more. I hate iTunes.

iTunes WarningOk, for the record, here’s what i did – I reproduced it to make sure i got warning message and steps correct. With my iPod plugged in, on iTunes 7 I clicked on chadpod (my name for my ipod). I clicked on the Music tab, and unchecked “Manually manage music and video”. I got the warning message in the image above – “Are you sure you do not want to manually manage music and videos on your iPod? All existing content on the iPod ‘ChadPOD’ will be replaced with content from your iTunes library.  Ok, i think “merger” when i read that, not “YOUR IPOD WILL BE ERASED”?  Clearly i was wrong.  Then I clicked Summary tab just to the right of the Music tab. I tried to sync one of my playlists automatically by checking the “Sync Music” box and selecting one of my playlists. I then had an interruption, and when i got back to my computer, I decided i didn’t have time to finish this right now, so I went to eject my iPod.  Then i got the following warning: “You have changed the settings for iPod ‘ChadPod’.  Would you like to apply these changes?”.  Umm.. Ok.  At that moment it erased my ipod – i could tell cuz it took a few seconds. Now my chadpod is blank. Wha?? Unplug from my macbook pro. Yep, wiped out. I admit that popup was a warning, but i definitely didn’t expect to lose my music and playlists. What i still don’t get is that it didn’t even sync. I have tons of music in my iTunes, none were copied.. No playlists copied. Whatever happened, it definitely was not a design flaw, it’s a bug in iTunes.

Lessons Learned:

  • Use Manual Mode to update iPod (apple info on switching to manual mode).
  • NEVER accidentally click on anything in settings – especially do not try and sync a playlist if you’re in Manual mode
  • iTunes SUCKS.

Hmm… I think i feel better now that i vented.

Burningman, SF, and Yosemite

September 29th, 2006

It’s been a couple months since i updated my huge readership on what i’ve been up to and what i have planned, mainly cuz i’m not anything close to a real writer, but here it is. Basically i spent August in SF preparing for burningman, went to bman for 8 days, and been kickin’ it in SF since, except for a 3 day trip to Yosemite, which OWN3D!!

So yeah, burningman was delicious. I mean that in a rock-out with your art-out kinda way. It was my eighth year, and my best. 2003 is a close second, i prolly had more fun then, but i never really left our boombox camp. This year was well rounded: we had a nice, small camp, met new people and got closer to existing friends, had many nomad adventures where we saw lots of art installations, participated in many camps, found lots of old friends, enjoyed a beverage or twelve, and danced my ass off. Yes, my favorite moment and when i decided it was my best year was on thursday night, dancing to lorin at the root society dome (10:00/esplanade). Other highlights include the belgian waffle, serpent mother, Neverwas Haul – the jules verne steam engine car from 100 years ago, a swimming pool, the pendulum tower ride, war of the worlds, and much more ..

About a week after burningman, shayna and i decided to get some yosemite. Git sum. We came back from bman and decided this real world stuff wasn’t that great. And since shayna had never been to one of the most beautiful and most visited national parks in the country, we had to go. We drove up saturday, stayed in a tent at Curry village for $100, hiked around taft point and sentinel dome on sunday, camped in a tent at lower pines sunday night, and monday embarked on the best day hike i’ve ever done – half dome. It took us almost 12 hours, and it was teh bomb.

So thats where i’ve been. I’ll post where i’m going soon – plans are finally being ironed out this week.