Archive for May, 2010

Sorry for the late post, readers. I’ve been attacked by some sort of virus- no, not a computer virus, a real person one. I’m finally out of the fever delirium enough to write a cohesive post (hopefully that English essay I wrote last night is good enough..)

Ok, so as college students, a majority of us tend to go to parties on occasion (I believe that’s how I caught my illness in fact- walking back in the hurricane Brockport experienced this past weekend). We all love to have a good time, blasting music and hanging out with friends. Whether you drink alcohol or not, there’s still that ever-present worry that someone is going to knock his drink onto your laptop, ending the tunes, and more importantly, deleting that final paper you’ve been working on for weeeeeks (ok, days.)

This is where technology comes in. You use Wi-Fi to surf the net while sitting on your couch, why not let it help you keep the music going too? Logitech is the clear answer here. The Logitech Squeezebox Radio does what other streaming radios can’t- it delivers music without the need of a stereo system.

According to the Logitech website, “The Logitech Squeezebox Radio works with your Wi-Fi network to stream a world of crystal-clear music to any room in your house. You can play songs from your personal digital music collection, tune in to thousands of Internet radio stations from around the globe, and connect to online services like Pandora® , Slacker® or Rhapsody® . Your listening options are as limitless as the Internet.”

In English? That free Wi-Fi your school provides can make your music accessible ANYWHERE. And if you’re looking for the perfect song, but know you don’t have it on your computer, you can connect to music services that let you look it up and play it for FREE.

Best of all, this thing is tiny. Like, clock radio tiny. (Or if you don’t know what that it, like average size of a girl’s wallet tiny). Plus, the full-color screen makes it fun. You can view album art, track and station information, visualizers and screen savers, just like on iPods (which you can plug in, if for some reason your computer’s library won’t connect). You can even use your own photos from Flickr and Facebook as a screen saver. The Logitech Squeezebox is $200, which may seem like a lot, but if you have an expensive laptop, no insurance and like to party, it may be worth the investment.

Trust me, in this case, the price is definitely worth it! Add in the fact the battery is rechargeable, and you’ll be saving dough in no time. So check it, get unconnected (in this Wi-Fi case) and throw an awesome party with no worries on how your final paper will fare.

Over 1 billion cell phones are now sold world wide annually, with well over 200 million in use in the United States alone. With almost everyone seeming to have one these days – from Grandma Pat to 10 year old Cousin Kimmie – there is a strong market for anything “mobile.”

One thing that everyone with phones can attest to is that the carrier company will charge you for anything and everything they can. As the capabilities of our phones grows exponentially – one of the basic upgrades you can do for your phone is to get a custom ringtone. Ringtones are a great way to show you aren’t technology handicapped by sporting the carriers’ theme ringer that is all too familiar to anyone not living in a box. Custom ID ringtones ring only when the person it is set for calls – so you can know who is calling before you even get out the phone – for example when “Mama Said” by The Shirelles goes off you know it’s your Mom calling you without looking at the phone, as opposed to if “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train goes off – you know that is the ID ringtone of your girlfriend, and so on and so forth.

The downside however is that ringtones from your carrier can cost anywhere from $2.99 to $5.99 for a 15 second sound clip that usually isn’t from the best part of the song, or isn’t very good quality. So what’s my tech solution? Mobile17 is a free website that only requires that you sign up for a free user name account so it can store your phone brand and carrier info so you don’t have to go though the set-up process every time you go to their site.

Cell phone selection menu

On this page you are asked to select the type of cell phone you use based on your service provider, cell phone brand, and cell phone model

After initially signing up the free account and selecting your carrier brand (Verison, AT&T, etc.) and your phone brand (Moterolla, Samsung, Apple, HTC, etc.) your phone model (Chocolate Touch, Rogue, iPone, Droid, etc.) and entering in your phone number you’re set to go. All you have to do is click “Create a new ringtone” and browse to upload the song you would like to use from your computer.

Also keep in mind that you can use websites to rip songs for free – as mentioned in my previous post “YouTube Audio Ripping – The Newest Secret in Internet Piracy.”

Uploading a song file

Here is the window used to upload a music file to be used as your ringtones. Enter file information as well as the in and out points for where the ringtone should start and end.

From there you enter in at what time in the song you want the ringtone to start at, and what time you want it to end at (keeping in mind most phones will cut clips off at anything past 25-30 seconds). A cool new feature to the site in the last few months is recognition of the song title when you enter it – and presenting time suggestions that were most popular with other users who uploaded the same song.

Wait time message for ringtone

Once the upload is complete, as message appers confirming the upload, and stating the wait time before the file can send. You can also opt to skip the line by donating to the website.

The only downside to the free service is the wait time. Sometimes it can take as little as 20 minutes for your ringtone to send, but others I have had to wait as long as 4 or 5 hours for it to go through. It all depends on how much traffic and demand there is on their site, as well as how much traffic is on your cell phone providers network. The alternative is to pay a small donation to Mobile17 and they’ll send the ringtone right away – but the point of this article is to tell you free ways to get stuff, and that is the route I recommend as long as you aren’t in a desperate need to get that latest tune as your ringtone.

Occasionally Mobile17 drops the ball and your free ringtone never comes. Nothing lost – you simply have to go back onto the site and upload and send the song again. Mobile17 also lets you custom create wallpaper images for your phone as well, but my experiences with that show it’s not as reliable as their ringtone services. The images are often not formatted right with parts being cropped or edged with a white border because of sizing and formatting mistakes.

Mobile17 is another great free tech tool out there for anyone looking to keep their technology fresh and changing. Custom ringtones are a fun way to keep your phone new, and a great trick to knowing who’s calling you before you even pull your phone out. The ease of their service at Mobile17 is great, and as long as you don’t mind a bit of a wait for the free tone to get to your phone – you are guaranteed to love this program.

Avoding iPod disaster

Imagine this: Your computer just broke. You go out and buy a new laptop and go to download iTunes.  Suddenly you realize you can’t plug in your iPod without it erasing the music off it. What are you to do, besides rip your hair out in frustration?

This recently happened to me and I luckily found a great program to help me out (after scouring the Internet for about two hours). TouchCopy is a conversion program to help people get their music where it needs to be. After downloading and installing the program, plug in your iPod and open the program. You’ll then see something like this screen:

As you can see on mine, the bar at the top says “0 Demo Copies left”. The program allows you to copy 100 songs for free before requiring you to upgrade to a full version for $24.99. I had some of my music on an external hard drive, so I used this program to get the majority of the rest of the songs I wanted.

As you see at the top, the program lets your sort by genre, artist and album, making it easy to find your favorite song. After seeing that main screen, go through the list of songs at the bottom and click one that you want. After it’s highlighted, click “Copy to iTunes” (or to PC if you don’t use iTunes/want to manually add the songs to iTunes).

The song will the automatically be downloaded (showing a progress bar as you go) and ready for you to use! After you download a song, click “Items Copied” on the far left to see what songs you already did, as shown below:

Click on “Items to be Copied” to see what songs haven’t been transferred to your computer yet or click “Not in iTunes” to see what songs haven’t be added to your library.

Besides music, the program can also copy photos, your calendar and contacts for you. This is especially beneficial to people with the iPhone who want to back up their important information.

TouchCopy works not only as a transfer program, but as a music player as well.  As you’re copying your music, you can play your songs too! This comes in handy if you can’t remember the exact name of that song you love, but know you downloaded it.  Find a song you think may be in and just push play.

So if you’re in need of a lifesaving music transfer program like I was, check out TouchCopy. It does wonders and saves you the hassle of manipulating the files within the iPod file directory, something you don’t want to risk messing up.

Finally, if you need a step-by-step video instruction guide, I’ve posted TouchCopy’s version below. If not for the instructions, at least check out the cool British voice the lady has!