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Toronto Star: Muzak to our ears

  • August 2, 2003
  • iPod

“Activaire, a New York-based company that provides mostly underground electronic music to high-end boutiques and galleries is at the forefront of what could be a muzak renaissance.

Companies like Activaire are using muzak — as in the background music that gets played in stores and malls — to build brand and identity, in co-ordination with other aspects of a store’s image, like its products and architecture. [...]

Once Activaire has selected a playlist, an iPod (Apple’s digital music player) full of songs is delivered to the client for $100 (U.S.) per month.”

National Post: That new white magic

  • August 2, 2003
  • iPod
“It’s white, it’s expensive and it’s instantly habit forming. Beck uses it. So do Moby and Madonna. And Ozzie’s boy Jack. (Question: Did he take it to rehab?) It’s a shiny, sleek objet de désir whose users are just one big happily addicted family. No, it’s not cocaine or the Raelian movement: It’s Apple’s iPod, the much-fetishized music player that’s more life-altering than any drug. But how exactly does an impersonal gadget inspire such high fidelity in all who touch it?”

“How to make your iPod screen red!”

pic Max Feinstein has turned his 3G iPod’s LCD display into a red display. Max disassembled his iPod and placed a 40 cent piece of red transparency on top of the LCD unit - making his screen red. Note: Opening your iPod will void your warranty.

“Since my little operation, I have had no problems operating the iPod. The backlight is really sweet looking now (the blue and red colors don’t blend - it’s just red). My hold button is just fine.. the music plays correctly… I can still transfer songs to the iPod… it’s all good! Best of all, there aren’t ANY scratches on my iPod from opening it.”

iSkin eXo Now Shipping

Today I received my shipment confirmation for my new iSkin eXo for my 3G iPod. The iSkin was supposed to ship a couple weeks ago, but was delayed because of quality control issues with the screen protector at the factory.

Syllabus: iTunes and the Technology Beyond MP3

“What’s the difference between MP3-encoded sound and AAC-encoded sound? AAC became part of the MPEG-2 standard in 1997 to provide efficient encoding for surround sound audio. It supports up to 5.1 channels (Left, Center, Right, Left and Right Surround, plus a low frequency channel). Its quality at 64Kbps is comparable to MP3 at 128Kbps. MPEG-2 AAC is a continuation of the MP3 coding scheme. Like MP3, AAC exploits the psychoacoustic properties of human hearing, using sound-masking techniques to achieve efficient compression with very little noticeable degradation in audio quality. Finally, it provides a compression advantage of about 1.3 to 1.4 that of MP3 with better sound quality.”

First Science: Review of Etymotic ER-4P headphones

“Ear-Bud Headphones (the type you put directly in your ears) are generally fairly useless. This seemed to be one of those universal truths that was right up there with food that tastes the best being the worst for you and computers always crashing 3 seconds before you were about to save a vital document.”

Editor’s note: You can also read our review of the Etymotic ER-4S.

UK Guardian: iPod nail in the coffin for CDs

“First they killed off vinyl 45s. Now even the days of CD singles are numbered. In the future, laments Paul Morley, pop fans will collect nothing but lists in cyberspace. [...]

The iPod, at once a nail in the coffin and some kind of saviour, is an object that seems beautiful enough to honour the history of the popular song as a vast and varied art form, and to be the futuristic replacement to the vinyl single. It represents a brave new world in the way that the CD never did. The iPod, the place where storage becomes magic, now helps us say for sure: It’s all over.”

iPodSkinz Coming Soon

The company that brought you MacSkinz for Apple Macintosh G3/G4 and recently announced for 12” iBook laptops, is currently developing iPodSkinz. The ‘Skinz’ are made from form fitting plastic and come in several different designs. No pricing or shipping date is set, but we’ll announce news of iPod Skinz as soon as it becomes available. MacSkinz for 14” iBook and 12” Powerbook are will also be available soon.

iTrip illegal in UK

The iTrip has been deemed illegal in the UK according to AMMICRO, a UK based reseller.

“In the UK FM broadcasts are allocated for the exclusive use of licensed broadcasters. No other systems are permitted to operate within these bands. The UK authorities have allocated all existing analogue FM bands. Therefore, use of the iTrip in any FM broadcasting bands is strictly prohibited.

Use of the iTrip in the UK therefore constitutes an offence and can lead to prosecution of the User, the dealer and the seizure of all iTrips in the UK.”

Register: UK ‘bans’ iPod radio add-on

The Register reports that “Griffin Technologies’ iTrip iPod add-on is illegal in the UK”. It goes on to state that “While its operation in the US is permitted by the Federal Communications Commission, over here the device contravenes the UK Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949. ”

MacSlash: BuyMusic.com Ripping Off Artists

MacSlash reader and musician, Jody Whitesides has reported that BuyMusic.com is ripping off artists.

” Here’s what I’ve deduced… BuyMusic.com (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called the Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists by not paying them for CD’s sold nor returning unsold CD’s or cancelling contracts. So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of the Orchards catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.”

Move over LimeWire, here comes Poisoned

I was on techtv.com today when I saw a download for a file-sharing program called Posioned. Basically it connects Mac users to the Gnutella, FastTrack (KaZaA), and OpenFT networks. This is good news for anyone that is sick to death of LimeWire. Hope you have a good time!

Editor’s note: Don’t steal music.

30GB iPod for $399

Macs Only! reports that they have overstock items for sale, including (2) 30GB iPods for $399. “They are sealed in their boxes and never opened. We are offering them to our readers before they go on eBay this Saturday.”

Billboard: iTunes Headed To PC, Biz Mulls Download Prices

“In the afternoon keynote session yesterday (July 29) at the Jupiter Plug.In conference in New York, Peter Lowe, Apple’s director of marketing for applications and services, said the company intends to launch a PC service with broad content-usage rights similar to those enjoyed by iTunes consumers using Mac computers. [...]

Meanwhile, Plug.In attendees questioned whether the 99 cent download model employed by Apple and others will drive the digital music business going forward. “We still have a long way to go in terms of figuring out how everyone makes money in the space,” Yahoo! Inc. VP/GM of music David Goldberg told attendees in a Billboard-moderated roundtable discussion on the state of the digital music business.”

BusinessWeek: Why iTunes Has Bands on the Run

Byte of the Apple columnist Charles Haddad writes how iTunes has shifted control from artist to consumer when buying music.

“DISTANT WAILS.  In the hands of listeners such as McGinley, Apple’s iTunes is a tool of liberation. It gives them the freedom to pick and choose, and, in essence, make their own compilations from favorite tracks. And that’s just what many of those who wrote in told me they were using iTunes to do. In fact, the opportunity to compile personalized play lists and track selections may be one of the service’s biggest draws.

Fans of iTunes represent an unstoppable force. Who wants to keep all those CDs if you can carry around 1,000 songs on an iPod and easily expand that library through the Internet? Not many I suspect. Nor is this growing army of Internet-savvy users going to stop at music. Not too far in the future an iVideo and perhaps an iTome, for downloading literature and audiobooks, respectively, will be available”

Apple 20GB iPod for $279

Dealmac: Small Dog Electronics offers dealmac readers the Apple 20GB iPod for Windows for $279. That’s $50 off and well below the next-best price we could find. Offer ends tomorrow. (These are new, factory-sealed units that can easily be converted to work with Macs.)

Next generation iPod does TiVo?

  • July 29, 2003
  • iPod

Michael Sippey of ‘stating the obvious’ weblog has posted an excerpt from a concept document proposing several new features to be added to next generation iPods.

“The iPod and Tivo share more than a few characteristics: they both enable the user to manage and experience entertainment content, they both are made possible by the ever-decreasing costs of local storage, and they both share a similar interface metaphor.  But to date we’ve missed out on an opportunity that Tivo takes advantage of brilliantly:  the ability to provide rotating promotional content and messaging as a component of the menuing system.”

Jason Kottke’s weblog, Kotte.org Undesign has posted a rebuttal to the concept proposals, and said, “If Apple is pushing me advertisements and marketing which I can’t opt out of and are draining *my* battery while I look at them and taking up *my* hard drive space, is my iPod really mine or is it Apple’s?”

30GB iPod $419 and 15GB iPod $329 - Today Only

Deals on the Web: Dell is offering the 30GB iPod for $499, an instant 10% discount drops the price down to $449.10. TODAY only, take an additional $30 off with coupon code “50C322C30D4” for a final price of $419.10. With Free ground shipping, it’s the lowest current price we’ve seen. Offer ends tonight at 11 PM CST

Deals on the Web: Dell is offering the 15GB iPod at $399, less an automatic 10% off to bring the price down to $359.10. TODAY only, use coupon code “50C322C30D4” to save an additional $30 for a final price of $329.10. You’ll need to add something with a cost of $1 or more to your cart to use the $30 off coupon. Searc for “media” and add some cheap CD-R discs to your order. With Free ground shipping, it’s the best current price we’ve seen at $70 below the retail price. Offer ends 7/29 at 11 PM CST.

Windows iTunes “on track to launch by the end of this year”

At the 2003 Jupiter Plug.IN Conference & Expo, Peter Lowe, Apple’s Director of Marketing for Applications and Services addressed attendees at the keynote address, and mentioned several items in regards to iTunes.

“We fundamentally believe subscriptions are the wrong path…that’s not what consumers are doing offline…they want to buy downloads.
If digital distribution is about one thing, it is about being simple…as simple as a CD player…and it needs to be consistent….take the “but” out of it.
We believe Web is not the best interface to enjoy music…
Apple for Windows is on track to launch by the end of this year…Usage rules for Windows version of iTunes: certainly it is our intention to have the broad music rights…
Out of all our iTunes sales, 46 percent has been sold as albums..the disintegration of the album has not happened, contrary to what people are saying…”

iPod sound quality and AAC encoding tests

iLounge reader, Marc Heijligers has posted the results of his encoding tests for AAC using iTunes and QuickTime. You’ll also find reviews of several headphones and a comparison of the iPod’s sound quality to other audio digital devices.

“Although the AAC 224bit/sec shows some artifact, you have to compare it with the original and critical source material in order to recognize those artifacts. The AAC 320 kbit/sec encoding results in much larger files, for just a little bit more quality, which was my reason not to select it. For less critical material, I use the 192kbit/sec AAC encoding, just to save some space on my iPod.”

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