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iWow is right! September 28, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Audio, iTunes, Music, Share/Freeware, Updates & Patches, Utilities.
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One of the Doodler‘s most-favorite-of-all-time-extreme-to-the-max apps is the SRS iWow Plug-in, which tweaks audio from iTunes to create fantastic audal soundstages and environments that make you disbelieve that all this goodness is actually coming from your two cheap, tinny, bargain speakers. The plug-in lets you adjust bass, focus, stereo separation, and definition from your own preferences or the built-in presets and make you feel like you owned Wharfdales.

It’s certainly a plug-in I can’t imagine being without. It’s the best US$20 I ever spent.

Well, SRS has an update available for download as we speak. iWow 2 now lets you save your personal presets, and adds  auto-presets based on the material you’re playing (“Cruise Control”), and more of its own. Best of all, it adds Movie Mode, which has the ability to create. Virtual. Surround. Over. Headphones. (Granted, this is only with the SRS 360 Headphones, but still…)

It usually sells for US$29.99, but the introductory promo gives it to you at US$19.99, with upgrades for old users at US$11.99. There’s even a Free Trial, which I urge you to take so you can be a true believer.

Go get SRS iWow 2 here. iWow indeed.

Coffee and a song: 50,000,000 iTunes tracks for free September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Free Stuff, iPhone, iPods, iTunes Store, Music.
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Starbucks announced today that they are giving away 1.5 million songs everyday from October 2 to November 7 across its 10,000 branches in the United States, for a total of 50,000,000 by promo’s end.

This is part of the launching of the “Now Playing” arrangement with Apple that allows iPhone or iPod Touch users or those accessing the US iTunes Wifi Store at one of 600 initial Starbucks outlets in New York and Seattle to preview, buy and download the song current playing at the coffee shop as instant gratification. The “Song of The Day” promo will give customers iTunes cards for a complimentary song download for a specific track selected by Starbucks.

The songs will be selected from a wide variety of artists including Bob Dylan, Joss Stone, Dave Matthews, Bebel Gilberto, John Mayer, KT Tunstall, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney, Sia, Band of Horses, Hilary McRae, Frederico Aubele and Sara Bareilles. Customers have until the end of the year to download their free tracks.

Lennon on iTunes August 18, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iTunes, Music, News.
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First it was Paul, now John. It seems the Apple Wars are about over, as late Beatle John Lennon‘s solo work is made available for commercial download on the iTunes Store, and paving the way for the Beatles’ catalogue to eventually be available on the service.

The long-standing feud between Steve Jobs and the Fab Four stem from the Apple trademark, which both use: Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) vs. Apple Corps the record label. The legal dispute was settled six months ago, and Paul McCartney tested the waters by releasing some of his solo material on iTunes three months later. Now John Lennon’s solo material is on there as well, available in both Fairplay and iTunes Plus formats, plus several old music videos of his.

There’s more. Beginning Aug.28, Ringo Starr‘s solo work will also be available on iTunes as well, leaving only George Harrison‘s music as the last remaining sticking point (Harrison’s material has been unavailable online ever since), and of course, the collective Beatles library.

Stairway to iTunes August 1, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Audio, iTunes, Music.
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The last few major holdout music acts who don’t want their stuff available on the iTunes Store used to be a trio: the Beatles, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. Now it’s just a duo, since Led Zep has caved and allowed some of their songs on iTunes.

Led Zeppelin, creators of that old sing-along/karaoke classic Stairway to Heaven, enemy of piracy and hater of digital music has sold 200 million analog copies of their albums in the past. But now they’re looking to add to that, so they had a change of heart and put together a specially assembled digital set of their hits for download on Apple’s online music store. The compilation album titled Mothership includes Stairway and Dazed and Confused and a bunch of other hits. The songs were specifically chosen by band members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, and will be available beginning November 12.

Best to squeeze every drop you can, at their age. Now let’s hope everyone follows suit and climbs the stairway to heaven.

Shocking news July 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, iPhone, iPods, Microsoft, Music, News.
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A recently completed survey by the Eagle Research Group found out that 70% of Zune users surveyed are not happy with their players and intend to switch to either an iPod or to an iPhone as soon as their service contract expires.

36% said that had they known Apple was coming out with the iPhone they never would have purchased a Zune. Also of note is that 3% of the survey respondents were either employees or contractors of Microsoft.

Imagine that.

Hey, those are my toys! July 17, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., iTunes, Music.
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One of the agreements made between Apple Inc and Apple Corps, which is the record label of the Beatles, to prevent bloodshed over the same name is that Apple Inc only dip its feet in waters entirely different from the waters Apple Corps wades, so that the record company, who’s got dibs on the trademark, will not summarily chop off the feet of the computer company when they start dipping them into the Apple Corps pool.

Who can forget that big stink raised by the record label after Apple Inc. started selling music on the then iTunes Music Store, a clear violation of the agreement? Things have cooled off a bit since then and there’s been an uneasy peace in the orchard. A judge ruled last year that things will go well as long as both parties engage in distinctly different businesses. There has even been talk that Beatles music will be sold on the iTunes Store.

Well, looks like the peace might be short-lived if the rumors are true that Apple is getting set to do exactly what it shouldn’t – become a music label itself (let’s see you try to weasel out of this one, Steve).

In the wake of Universal renegotiating the terms of distribution of their music through the iTunes Store, talk has been circulating that Apple is close to becoming precisely what they should not be – a music label – with acts like Jay-Z and Beyonce, if the rumors are to be believed.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Spun July 14, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iTunes, Meta, Music, Wala lang.
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Hee hee.

Spin.com, the website of music mag Spin, a site which I read, respect and love, quoted me on a story they did on Apple‘s Next Big Thing initiative on the iTunes Stone.

Nothing really. Cheap thrill. In my native language, kilig. Just thought I’d mention it.

Next Big Thing July 7, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in DRM, iTunes, Music.

There is life outside the iPhone.

There’s the iTunes Store.

iTunes is now selling select whole albums from indie bands at much lower rates of US$5.99 and US$6.99 in the Next Big Thing section. Some of them are even DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks. (Clicking on this link will open up your iTunes app and take you online to the Store’s NBT page.)

In the spirit of democratizing music and allowing access to excellent indie bands and giving these bands a crack at getting somewhere, Apple‘s move is commendable. That said, when the heck are you opening up the store to our region of the world? *grumble*

Stoning the competition some more June 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Music, New Stuff, The Other Side of the Fence.
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Creative announced late last week an update to their new iPod shuffle killer Creative Zen Stone, dubbed the Zen Stone Plus. What, so soon?

Build quality and plastic look comments aside, the Zen Stone’s advantages over Apple’s shuffle are considerable – the price, and the sound quality, which has been a Creative strength across the board ever since. Apparently they’ve had another Stone up their sleeve the whole time.

And it’s not one of those ninny incremental upgrades – it’s a whole new animal – with the big surprise that this one has a screen! Not in color, though; that’d be asking too much – but at least it’s blue OLED, if that’s significant.

It has lots more goodies : it’s twice the capacity (2gb), it’s got an FM tuner, it records, it has stopwatch and timing abilities, runs for 9.5 hours, plus some other features that’d put it up against the nano more than the shuffle (save for the color screen, of course). It also has a host of new accessories available, including a strap that lets you wear the Stone Plus as a wristwatch.

And for all this, it just retails for about US$69!

Take that, you iPod meanie, you.