Well, Microsoft's Zune is upon us and response seems to be a bit on the underwhelming side. With onboard Wi-Fi that can be used only to sample tracks from other Zunes within 30 feet, and an audio/video marketplace with next to no video content, the tepid reception of the Zune seems far from surprising. It's a safe bet that Microsoft will eventually release patches that will improve the usability, but lets be honest--we want our goodies, and we want 'em now.
After telling you about Cingular Music two weeks ago, I was very excited to try it out. So when the new Samsung Sync (a.k.a. the SGH-A707) showed up in my mailbox, I jumped at the chance to give the service a thorough shakedown. But after pulling the phone from its wrapping, I noticed there wasn't a USB cable in the box. Considering the cable is necessary to use Cingular Music (wireless downloads aren't a possibility yet), and that the Sync is the launch handset for the service, I thought it might be a mistake. Yet a … Read more
Interested in getting a sense of Zune, but don't want to shell out $249 for the device?
One option is downloading the Zune software. It's free from Microsoft's Zune Web site.
I gave it a whirl Tuesday afternoon. The download was slow--perhaps because of high day-one demand. It took 19 minutes from the time I noticed it was taking a while to download. Once it downloaded and installed, it required a restart.
Once up and running again, the Zune software walked me through creating a Zune nickname, linking it to a Windows Live account. The software offers … Read more
When Stephen Colbert launched his "Green Screen Challenge" a few months ago--encouraging fans to fill in the background of a video of himself running around with a "Star Wars" lightsaber--it was kind of a dorky novelty, much like Colbert himself. Now, brainy indie-rock act The Decemberists are jumping on the bandwagon. The five-piece Portland, Oregon-based group, best known for accordion-filled sea-shanty rock and lyrics full of words that you haven't seen since the SAT, has teamed up with MTVU for its own green-screen challenge.
We wondered what took so long, but a major battery manufacturer is finally trying to make a play in the iPod arena. At a CES preview event in New York City, we got a peek at Duracell's new accessory, the PowerFM, which is due out soon and designed to be coupled with the iPod Nano.
Its claim to fame: The company says PowerFM is the only iPod accessory that will provide extra juice for your iPod, allow you to transmit your tunes to any FM radio, and protect your Nano with the included silicone case (it fits over both … Read more
From the Web 2.0 Conference:
In the Chair is a music education service that enables students to play along with professional instructors and groups. Unlike linear CDs that simply have missing tracks (like Music Minus One), In the Chair's technology listens to the student and helps correct them when timing and pitch are off. (And it offers positive reinforcement them when they nail it.)
New at Web 2.0: In the Chair offers improved feedback technology and the capability for more instructors and composers to put their work into the program, in part thanks to a relationship with … Read more
Ever since Engadget posted some not-so-pretty FCC photos of Etymotic's funky-looking, new, Bluetooth stereo headphones, the ety8s have been getting a bad rap. Engadget called them "the wireless abomination whose name shall not be spoke."
Well, the folks from Etymotic dropped by to show us the real McCoy, which should be shipping in a couple of weeks. The fact is the ety8's offer one of the most distinct headphone designs ever created, and when you see them you realize there's a fine line between really cool and wireless abomination. They surely lend new meaning to … Read more
I think the headline and pictures say it all, but here's a few more details on Belkin's new line of accessories, due out soon for the Microsoft Zune portable media player. According to Belkin, the cases will be available in North America in mid-November, while the TuneBase FM and TunePower will be available in late November. Click here for the full press release (yes, I'm being lazy, but Belkin does such a good job of describing its gear, I really don't think I could add anything substantive).TuneBase FM Transmitter - $79.99
Folio Kickstand Case … Read more
If this trend continues, handlebar stereos could become the next must-have accoutrement for bikers. Just the other day, we wrote of a frame-mounted MP3 player that's designed to withstand the elements. Then we saw a Ministry of Tech item about some handlebar-fastened portable speakers from Jisan Hitech. (One reader suggested that open-air music is preferable to headphones for reasons of safety and etiquette.)
(Photo: Ministry of Tech)
Almost anyone who's tried to use the "shuffle" functionality to create automatic playlists can attest that randomizing song lists or libraries is no easy task. I always seem to get one or two songs that appear far too often and some artists who never show up at all.
Enter The Filter (download it at CNET Download.com), a Windows plug-in for iTunes backed by musician Peter Gabriel. The Filter uses artificial intelligence and the All Music Guide database to manufacture custom iTunes playlists based on a variety of user inputs, such as a few songs of your … Read more