Wednesday, October 26, 2011

iTunes Match is an Instant Hit

I've been able to participate in the developer preview of iTunes match and I can report that after some initial bugs, it seems to be working quote well now.

iTunes match allows you to get a digital copy of your entire music collection stored in the cloud. It costs $25 a year and you can access your entire music collection from iTunes or any IOS device and either download or instantly stream any song.

The initial process can take some time to set-up. A little longer than advertised. Itunes will provide an AAC digital copy for every song in your collection, but if you have music that isn't part of the vast itunes library, you will need to upload your own copy and that can take some time. However, it is much much quicker than competing services from google and amazon that require you to upload everything in your collection, which can take days or weeks depending on the size.

This is most useful if you have a large collection of CD's that you have ripped into itunes or if you have purchased mp3's from other services such as Amazon or Emusic. If you buy from itunes, you will automatically have access to any songs that you have purchased from the itunes store for no additional cost.

I tested this using the new Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto (Amazon Affiliate Link). I purchased the album via the amazon mp3 music store and imported the mp3's into my itunes account. Itunes match picked up on the new music and synced with the server. A few minutes later, the album was available for streaming or download in the music app on my iphone. Pretty cool.

Songs seem to take a few seconds to start streaming so if its something you listen to a lot you may want to just download a copy to your ios device. This is also a good idea if you are on a limited data plan because streaming music will use up your monthly data allowance.

Overall, its a great service at a low cost and I would recommend it to anyone that has a large digital music collection. It provides a great backup option and allows you to easily access your entire collection at any time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Excitement over the iPhone 5

Here is the dilema....I have the iphone 4 on AT&T and I will be eligible for an upgrade to the iPhone 5 when it comes out (likely in October). The problem is, I really want to switch to Verizon's network which would currently require me to pay an early termination fee to AT&T. Although AT&T works for me most of the time, there have been other critical times where it has failed me.

The other factor is whether or not the iPhone 5 will be compatible with the new high-speed LTE network that AT&T and Verizon are both rolling out. Verizon currently has a large lead in LTE coverage but I believe that AT&T LTE will cover my area by the end of the year.

If the iPhone does have LTE, I will be very tempted to upgrade with AT&T for the iPhone 5. However, if it does not, I'm pretty sure I will wait until the LTE iPhone and by that point I should be able to switch to Verizon without penalty.

Here are the rumors I have heard regarding the iPhone 5 - all unconfirmed.

  • Bigger screen
  • Redesigned home button
  • 8 megapixel camera
  • Thinner design
  • Upgraded processor
  • NFC for mobile payment capabilities

The iPhone 5 will also come with the new iOS 5 operating system which is rolling out Apple's massive cloud computing service. 

I'll have more instructional articles on all of these features coming soon. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How to take Screenshots in Mac OSX

Mac OSX has a nice built-in option for taking screenshots and turning them into images that you can email, post, etc....

I prefer using the command-shift-4 shortcut which allows you to select the area that you want to turn into an image. Once you select the area of your desktop that you want to capture, the image will appear on your desktop in a png format.

If you just want to save it to your clipboard, hit command-control-shift-4.

How to Set-Up Open DNS

Switching your DNS from your ISP's address to Open DNS can provide a number of useful benefits including:

  • Parental controls
  • A faster and more reliable internet
  • Anti-fraud and phishing protection

Its easy to switch and all you really need to do is sign-up for a free open dns account and then enter the openDNS static dns addresses in your router settings. 

I use a cisco E3000 router and I have attached an image below of where to enter this info. It may vary for your router so you will need to check your router manual for locating these settings. I logged into my cisco router using the address and entering the username admin and the default password of admin. 

The openDNS address numbers are:

Once you have switched, you can add your network within your openDNS account to access advance features such as parental blocking. If you have a dynamic ip network, you may want to download the openDNS client software so that you keep your ip address updated as it changes. 

OpenDNS is free and really provides some great features for your home network. I highly recommend it. 

Stream Sunday Night Football

If you don't have access to a TV, you can stream NFL Sunday Night Football for free. This is available for every Sunday night football game including tonights game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons.

My favorite feature is the ability to select multiple camera angles from which to view the game. Check out the excellent cable cam view to give you the best, "I'm in the game" feeling. Other options include end-zone camera, star camera, sideline camera, and of course the live broadcast feed.

You can also pause, rewind and skip ahead. Its a great feature and honestly it provides a superior experience to television over a good internet connection.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stream NFL Sunday Ticket

I've been wanted to cut the "cord" on my DirectTv service for a while now. The only thing that has held me back is the ability to watch every NFL game live in HD.

Well it looks like that may be starting to change. Starting with the 2011 NFL season, directv is offerring non-subscribers a way to stream the NFL sunday ticket via a playstation 3 for $340 for the season.

Early reports on the service were negative with lots of technical difficulties in the first week. However, I'm sure that these problems will get corrected eventually.

I am already committed to the NFL sunday ticket on directv this year. NFL sunday ticket to-go subscribers have multiple streaming options including the ipad, iphone, pc, and playstation.

However, I will have to consider terminating my DirectTv service next year and sign-up for the streaming only option for the NFL sunday ticket. At this point, I rarely watch DirectTV for anything other than sports and I have always wanted to switch to an a-la-carte option so that I'm not paying every month for channels that I don't use.

If I make the switch, I'll follow-up with a full report and how-to.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stream Thursday night NFL football

NBC sports is offering an online stream of the opening kickoff thursday night football game. Go to NBC sports to find the stream.

Quality is good over a decent broadband connection and the broadcast even let's you switch between different camera angles and includes picture in picture...something you can't do with a standard television broadcast.

The online broadcast will also be available for all NBC Sunday night football games.