Sip. Buy. Repeat … another day perhaps

Apple - iTunes - Starbucks

I tried the Starbucks iTunes store yesterday at a few Starbucks in NYC but failed to get to work at all. I was able to connect to the T-Mobile HotSpot which directed me to the Starbucks captive portal page, referencing the music, but the iTunes application repeatedly failed to connect.

The store was supposed to be live yesterday and seems to be referenced on the portal page… just no luck getting through. I’m not sure whether it’s not really live in all Starbucks or if they were just having some technical difficulties yesterday.

I shot some admittedly poorly focused video below via N95 as I was hoping to bring home the goods on how it worked… instead, I failed at each store.

iPhone successfully updated to 1.1.1

I took the plunge and restored and reflashed my iPhone yesterday. I had previously downloaded the update to 1.1.1 but waited to get home from my trip to take care of the update. Fortunately, things went smoothly and I was able to re-activate and restore my data as it was…. minus my apps and custom ringtones and previously stored photos, which I expected based on previous updates.

For the record, I used AppTapp and had installed a slew of new applications as well as used SendSong to make a purchased iTunes track a ringtone. My screenshots taken with the Dock app are long gone, but the ones I wanted to share are posted on Flickr. While I had installed AnySIM, I did not run it to try an unlock my SIM card, which I think helped in smoothing out the process.

With the update to the iPhone I am back to the store ringtones, no new apps and of course the release of the WiFi Itunes store. Here’s a quick overview on how it works … and yes it’s WiFi, you cannot connect to it over EDGE.

iTunes - Purchased on iPhone

After you purchase and re-sync, you’ll see this in iTunes…

In general the update is very solid. The basics as you’ve probably read elsewhere by now are that you can program the home button to double-tap into the iPod and when locked a doubletap floats the playback controls which is super handy. There’s also the addition of auto-punctuation with a double space after a word which is a nice tweak and something that will please those coming from Blackberries.

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Amazon MP3 Auto-Import to iTunes

This was incredibly easy to figure out, but still something worth sharing as it substantially enhances the Amazon MP3 store experience if you manage your music on iTunes and sync with an iPod / iPhone. By default, the music will be added to iTunes, but this actually leaves a second copy in the Amazon MP3 folder outside of your iTunes Music folder. With a simple switch in prefs, you are all set.

Amazon MP3 Downloader - Preferences

I was actually going to post on how to get things to auto-import into iTunes using a Folder Action Script, but Amazon already hooked that up by default …

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Where are the AppleTV remote tools?

Apple - Apple TV

In our home, the AppleTV is one of many sources we can select within a distributed A/V system. I can play it in a single room, outside or distributed through a few zones and even the whole house. This is great and something we do almost daily, though I don’t like that I have to move to a room (or go inside) to find a TV in order to change the album or artist. The only thing the remote (and we have it re-programmed into universals and wall panels) can do without seeing what you are doing is change the track or start and stop the music. If there was a way to control things via iTunes a whole world of opportunities would open to 3rd party controllers as well as web connected devices as there are today for managing iTunes with an Airport Express.

I know Steve still regards it as a hobby and since the release of the AppleTV, the only changes we’ve seen have been an update to include streaming YouTube and a larger capacity hard drive. A software hook that lets iTunes (or an iPhone!) control things would be quite helpful and more than just a nice to have for advanced users like myself. While the initial purpose of the device is to relay iTunes to a TV, the limits seem like they by design for some reason rather than considering the possibilities of how something like this would be used. As it happens we have a few Airport Express units connected here and we will be enabling one into the house system next week, but it seems silly to have to make a decision about which iTunes connection we want to use, when it’s all being fed by the same library.

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Sirius on Sonos

SIRIUS on Sonos

If you have or have been thinking about a Sonos system, things just got a bit more interesting with the ability to stream Sirius radio. Sonos has done a remarkable job lining up partnerships to make sure you have every option available through the Sonos UI — effectively replacing the need for physical media. Now if Apple would open up an API for their DRM, Sonos would truly be able to do it all.

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Apple TV Delayed!

There’s quite a bit of buzz today regarding Apple’s announcement that the Apple TV will be delayed until at least mid-March. It seems unlikely that a bug is the cause since it was supposed to have shipped this week to make the February deadline they had announced.

My guess is that there’s an enhanced something coming and they needed to wait due to some other detail that’s still being worked out. Per my earlier post, I’m hoping it’s a distributed content system through torrent and that additional formats outside the iLife system are enabled. Granted for most people iLife formats and organization will be the ideal situation, but if you have a very large collection of media, it’s quite likely that itunes and iPhoto are not enough to playback / manage all that you want. iTunes is doing just fine for my music collection, but iPhoto needed to be passed over for Aperture, which to my knowledge gets no love from AppleTV – yet.

Just as an additional thought, there might always be something more direct in the form of a content deal that needed to get resolved for the official release. That could be pretty interestesting as well – though I’d prefer to have the option of managing my own ripped or created material in addition to what’s available in the iTunes store.

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Bandwagon is simple backup for your iTunes library!


Bandwagon which launches this week is going to enable simple point and click backup of your iTunes library to Amazon’s S3 storage cloud!! This is awesome! While I’ve got my library sitting on a local RAID, having an offsite location for over 200GB of data is a great feeling of security.

Seriously looking forward to trying this… If you have a blog and post about this page, you can get the first year free. Pricing looks like it will be about $99/year which is very reasonable in my opinion for this type of service.

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Canola 1.0 beta2 ready for mass trial

Simply point your browser to and have fun. They are using the latest installer tech for Maemo, so by simply clicking the install link, you’ll have the application repository automatically added which makes everything quite nice…

Once the repository is on your tablet, you’ll be able to track updates within the application manager as well which is quite handy – especially as you install beta software.

Have fun!

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Steve Jobs loathes DRM just like rest of us

This is simply awesome. From Steve Jobs…

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player. [Steve Jobs @]

Now there is unfortunately nothing here stating that they will in fact abolish DRM, but it is a massively public statement from the current leader in*digital distribution on how the system can be open and fair to both consumers, stores and device makers. I know I am not alone in wishing we get there sooner rather than later. DRM sucks for everyone.

Nokia – New Year 2006

Just saw this on the Nokia website… sounds like a killer party!

On December 31st, Nokia will welcome the New Year in unique style – by connecting millions of music lovers from around the world as they count down the final minutes of 2006. Nokia New Year’s Eve, a global music event stretching across four continents, will feature a number of international artists including The Black Eyed Peas and Scissor Sisters to entertain audiences at New Year’s celebrations from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro. Those unable to attend in person can experience the party via television or the internet. To orchestrate this unique global celebration, Nokia has enlisted the services of Harvey Goldsmith CBE, the producer of Live Aid and Live8.

Nokia New Year’s Eve will travel from east to west, starting in Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal, followed by Mumbai’s Andheri Stadium, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and rounding off the night in New York. [Nokia


Nokia’s pending music service…

This certainly sounds interesting …

If you connect the dots, Nokia is putting together the pieces for one of the industry’s most ambitious mobile music offers, though the Ngage disaster still probably sends shudders through their corridors. On the content side, Nokia has recruited 40 independent and influential music stores worldwide (including Fat Beats in New York, Pure Groove in Chicago, Monza Records in Tokyo and Hard Wax in Berlin) and David Bowie to “keep music enthusiasts in touch with the latest tracks and help them discover new artists”. Users of Nokia’s Music Recommender service (available in beta in November) can register to receive an instant playlist of 30 second samples tailored specifically to their tastes and purchase the tracks they like, the company says. []

More, including Audio can be found here.

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Sirius Internet Radio Launches

Orbitcast reports on the launchh of Sirius Internet Radio, which I really like in theory. What I don’t like is the Windows Media Player requirement which makes the interface on the Mac a total kludge.

You have to use Safari (no firefox) and you have to run the browser and an external media player… You also get ZERO track information about the currently playing station which is one of the nicer bits about Sirius.

I wonder what it would take for some sort of iTunes authentication. I know they are allegedly working with Yahoo on the Stilleto so I suppose Yahoo authentication is more likely which would be cool too actually if it just worked.

The Hype Machine

The Hype Machine is a pretty cool web site I’ve been missing somehow until tonight. It’s an audio blog aggregator which means you can search on an artist or song and find links to posted and discussed tracks across a great many blogs in one shot. There’s a great player which lets you listen on the page, or if you prefer you can even hit the Podcast button and get a download queued up for your iPod through iTunes. Gotta love it. Thanks Fred!

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Know your tools

I was just catching up on some email with Chappelle Show on in the background and caught a Wyclef Jean performance I had actually seen previously and really liked. He sings an acoustic version of President, which is a heavily political song as the name implies.

If I was president / I’d be elected Friday / Assassinated on Saturday / Buried on Sunday / Get the truth back on Monday

Wanting to snag a copy, my first instinct was to hit iTunes. There’s an EP there, but not with the version I wanted. (I actually just went back and picked up the Reggae version for .99) Next stop Google… even with an advanced search, I could not find the track in a form I wanted. I did find a low-res live acoustic version (MP3) from a John Kerry rally, but the quality was actually pretty bad. Then I thought about You Tube! Search on Wyclef and voilá! The exact clip I had just seen was there… though only in flash. A quick stop to with a paste from Youtube and I was able to download an FLV of the show. FLV is not really the most ideal format, but one more stop to iSquint and a few minutes of conversion and my song in video format was waiting in iTunes ready to sync.

While this seems complicated, it’s actually not bad and really did not take very long once I realized where to look for the file.

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