Tag Archives: Radio

In Pod We Trust



BBC LogoMy love of audio extends back to childhood, listening to late night radio shows under the covers while the rest of the house slept. Living not far from France, I’d pick up foreign channels, their exotic chatter filling the airwaves. For me, podcasts represent the current evolutionary peak, the ability to listen to whatever I want, from wherever in the world, whenever I want.

Aside from the lack of hours in the day, I’ve always been frustrated by the lack of curation with podcasts as it’s actually quite hard to find really good podcasts. Many are all too similar, many are too ephemeral and many are too full of themselves. I want podcasts to inform me, to disturb me, to challenge me, to tell me that I’m not alone.

So I have high hopes for the BBC’s new podcast series, In Pod We Trust, in which “Miranda Sawyer presents a round-up of the best spoken word audio podcasting from around the world.” There’s only been one episode so far and it’s looking promising, with an excerpt from a podcast where a father discusses a very personal event with his son in a candid and revealing way. Mainstream media would never have got the story, never mind broadcast it.

I’m looking forward to the next download already.


Apple Announces Apple Music at WWDC 2015



After months of speculation following their acquisition of Beats, Apple has announced its own streaming music service.

1433792824-apple-musicAt yesterday’s WWDC keynote, Eddy Cue (Apple’s VP of Internet Software and Services) introduced Apple Music, “a revolutionary streaming service” that gives users access to a collection of over 30 million songs right from their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Android phone. Users can also access their ripped CDs and previous iTunes purchases.

In addition to creating their own playlists, users have access to a variety of curated playlists from noted entertainment personalities. Apple has hired an impressive team of DJs, musicians, and other experts in the field to curate exclusive playlists to fit any mood, genre, or situation. In addition to human curation, you can explore Apple Music using Siri. Ask anything, from “play me songs by The Cure” to “play the greatest hits of 1993”.

Apple also launched Beats 1, a 24/7 live music radio station broadcast to over 100 countries, with programming by DJ Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York, and Julie Adenuga in London. In addition to a curated selection of songs, Beats 1 will offer exclusive interviews, guest stars, and news on the latest and greatest in music and music culture.

Apple Music Radio, a new and improved version of iTunes Radio, allows users to create custom stations based on their favorite songs or artists to discover other tunes that fit their taste. And in other news that’s sure to delight music lovers, with membership there is no limit to how many songs you can skip– yay!

In a move that’s somewhat surprising given the failure of 2010’s iTunes Ping, Apple is launching a new social network feature called iTunes Connect. With Connect, artists can share lyrics, photos, videos, and exclusive sneak peaks with their fans. Fans can follow their favorite artists, comment and like posts, and share content with friends via iMessage, Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Apple Music launches on June 30 in over 100 countries. Users can try it out with a free 3-month trial, after which the service is $9.99/month, making it an attractive competitor to the equally-priced Spotify. Users can also opt for a family plan, which gives access to up to 6 family members (iCloud Family Sharing required) for $14.99/month.


Vertix Raptor Helmet Communicator



Vertex Raptor II Helmet Communicator

Veteran biker, Andy “Hog” McCaskey, checks out Vertix‘s Raptor helmet communicator. Let’s roll!

Vertix Raptor-i is a Bluetooth-based helmet communication system that brings together phone, intercom, radio and music player functions into a single unit. It’s perfect for any activity where wearing a helmet is the norm including motorcycling, motorport and skiing.

A microphone and speaker are fitted inside the helmet and Raptor unit goes on the outside. The unit’s controls are designed to be operated with gloves on and a remote control will be available in a few month’s time. Noise-cancellation and auto-gain control to ensure that voices can be heard clearly even at speed.

For the intercom function, two Raptor units can be paired together so that rider and pillion can talk or two riding buddies can chat between bikes.

The MSRP for the Vertix Raptor-i is $160 and it’s available now.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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The Master Switch



Once in a while, a book comes along that contains ground-breaking insights.  Such is the case with a book I’ve listened to over the past couple of days, the Audible audio book version of ‘The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” by author Tim Wu.

“The Master Switch” is a compelling look into the history of major information industries such as the telegraph, the telephone, commercial broadcast radio, the commercial movie business, and commercial broadcast television. The book points out an identifiable, slowly-repeating cycle obviated by the fact that these industries were able to gain and hold monopoly status. Each in turn became quite adept at retarding disruptive technological innovations that threatened their respective business models.

Today we take an open Internet for granted, but these same and other forces are looking to take over control of the Internet and turn it into a closed, much more tightly-controlled system.

The book is extremely well written and well researched. The Audible audio book narrator Marc Vietor brings the book to life in a wonderful way.

Mr. Wu does a fantastic job of laying out the often-fascinating histories of companies such as Western Union, AT&T, NBC, etc. As consumers, we think we know these companies through their consumer advertising. The real history of these companies is often quite different and very eye opening.

If you enjoy stories about technology and business, you will almost certainly enjoy “The Master Switch” by Tim Wu.


Sony Debuts DAB+ Radios



Sony has debuted two new DAB+ radios, the XDR-C706DBP clock radio and the XDR-S16DBP portable radio. Both radios can received DAB and FM broadcasts too.

DAB+ is an enhanced version of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), which is being rolled out in several European countries and Australia and the main difference between DAB and DAB+ is support for more efficient codecs such as AAC+ and MPEG Surround.

DAB+ is not currently used in the UK, though may be introduced in the future. The whole digital radio transition has been a bit of a debacle here with only about 25% take up since it was introduced in 1995. The high cost of the radios and little perceived benefit has been the main source of the problem and the current UK government has backed away from a previous commitment to turn off the FM transmissions in 2015.

As you’ll see from the pictures, both devices are stylish and I like the retro looks of the portable radio, though I can’t find any evidence that the “portable” radio runs off batteries – they’re not mentioned anywhere in the blurb.

The XDR-C706DBP clock radio is £59 and the XDR-S16DBP, £79. Available now.

 


Lookee TV Desktop WiFi Internet TV & Radio Player



Ted Aguirre talks about the three models of Lookee TV (www.lookeetv.com), a table-top model, a portable model, and a set-top box model that connects to a TV. Lookee TV devices retail for about $150 and are available right now. Lookee TV receives over 30,000 streaming radio stations and over 1,000 streaming TV channels. The company maintains its own strategically-located international content servers. All the content carried on the Lookee TV devices is free. Lookee TV devices are especially useful for international travelers who want to watch foreign television content or listen to streaming radio from other countries.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Etón and American Red Cross TurboDyne Gadgets



As the Boy Scouts would say, “Be prepared” and the latest additions to Etón Corporation‘s American Red Cross TurboDyne series are a good step forwards for everyone.  Showcasing at CES, the Road Torq, Axis and Rover are all aimed at helping during those unexpected emergencies.

All the devices are self-powered through a hand crank which charges up the internal battery, so there’s never any worry about the batteries running out – just wind it up.

The Road Torq is a roadside assistance tool, with a spotlight and emergency beacon.  As you can see from the picture (left), it’s a little tripod with a hinged lamp so you can put it on the ground or your car roof and direct light where you need it.

The Rover is a combined AM / FM / NOAA radio, torch and USB phone charger. Shown right in the picture.

The Axis, centre, is the slightly bigger sister to the Rover. It too has a AM / FM / NOAA radio but comes with a digital tuner.  The torch is also present as is an additional flashing red lamp.  The Axis can be powered from multiple sources, including the crank, 3x AAA batteries and a DC input.  The USB phone charger is there too.

“Our long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross enables us to provide products that help our friends and families stay prepared for unexpected situations,” says Esmail Hozour, CEO of Etón Corporation. “Our new TurboDyne Series represents a new design and increased functionality, and we are proud to help support the efforts of the Red Cross with its introduction.”

I think this is a great little set of products for emergencies, so I’ll be picking up a Road Torq for the car and an Axis for the house as soon as I can. Available in black and white, and coming soon in 2011, a portion of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, but no price was announced.