Category Archives: Listening

Umano Reads the News to You

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Umano got a bit of attention last night as an Android version was just released. I gave it a try today and have a bit of a mixed impression. Umano reads you the news. Unlike other apps or services, the voices are real and there’s actually a sense of intent in what’s being said. Other things I’ve seen tend to be robotic so this is a nice change. There’s a nice list of news stories to choose from and it looks like you will be able to discover interesting content you want to add into your queue.

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Where Umano falls short however is that it’s just reading the site content. I guess that would be interesting at times when you need to be looking elsewhere, but its much slower than I can read the page myself. I’ve had some connectivity issues as well and my place was not saved adding to the time required for a particular piece. Seems like there is potential here … I’ll have to see if I can find a place in my routine.

Last.fm Boffin

Last.fm Boffin importing

Last.fm is my usual streaming source when I’m at work and even when I am at home where I have access to my pretty extensive digital music library. I use the desktop application for Mac and Windows which lets you access your library, friends and loved tracks directly for streaming. If you use Last.fm and have not checked it out, I would highly recommend it …

Last.fm released a new beta application called Boffin today which looks at your local collection and then creates a tag cloud of what it finds. It took about 20 minutes to run against my library of about 30K tracks and when i was done I found this:

Last.fm Boffin

Some of the tags are inconsistent which I hope gets cleaned up in future releases, but I love that I can create a “stream” of my library with a couple of tags. Depending on how you arrange your music in iTunes, you might be able to do something similar with a smart playlist, but this was dead simple and is definitely re-presenting my own music to me in a new way. Speaking of iTunes, it would be ideal if you could just point to your iTunes library rather than a folder but perhaps that will come soon as well.

E71 Recommended Accessory – JAVOedge Stereo Adapter

One considerable annoyance of the E71 is the 2.5mm headset connection which makes using your high end headphones impossible… at least without an adapter.

I had an adapter from a few years ago when I ran into a similar situation with the Treo. That adapter unfortunately was only dual-mono which works fine for calls but definitely impacts the listening experience for music. A quick trip to google and then Amazon (via mobile during the commute) led me to the JAVOedge 2.5mm to 3.5mm stereo adapter. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is actually a Treo accessory… It works great on the E71!

Here are a few shots for perspective:

Amazon is selling a 2-pack for $4 plus shipping. I have one in my car and one in my bag and am definitely ready to rock.

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