MOG and Rdio Both Go Free to Show Spotify What's Up
Thursday, September 15, 2011 1:29 PM

Everyone was and is excited about Spotify coming to the US and for good reason, but what about MOG and Rdio, two of the biggest players in the internet music streaming market? MOG and Rdio have been around for a while in the US and offer basically the same service. So why aren't people as excited about them as they are about Spotify? Ah, it's because you can use Spotify for free, that's the big appeal. Well it seems MOG and Rdio want to get in on the fun both of which announced are going to have a free option.

MOG made their announcement yesterday saying that they were planning on a ad-supported version of the service that would be free. The service is called FreePlay and employes a video game like model which delivers real-life rewards for doing specific tasks which include social network interactions. You have a "Gas Task in the top left of your window. When you run out of gas you can no longer play music for free. To refill your tank you have to do things like create playlists, share music via Facebook or Twitter or refer friends.

Rdio, after MOG's announcement, wouldn't be outdone and had decided to offer their service for free without ads. How can they afford to do that? Well it seems most people are confused on the specifics of the service, but according to SF Gate COO Carter Adamson new users will get a free trial and how long that trial lasts depends on how much you use the product. I'm not sure what they means, perhaps you will get a certain number of hour a day or a week to listen for free. It seems the trial membership will be based on usage rather than a curtain number of days that seems to be clear. Makes me question whether or not you will be able to continue using the service with some restrictions or if you will be, at some point, forced to purchase a subscription.

One thing is for sure MOG and Rdio won't let Spotify take them out without a fight. Both of these companies have just taken the internet music streaming fight to the next level. This is a good thing for customers who get to try all the service for free and listen to music in a new way.

MOG Goes Free
Music Fight via TNW
   

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Netflix Lowers Estimated Customer Number by 1 Million After Price Change
Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:35 AM


When Netflix announced their price increase people got angry and were not shy about letting Netflix known how they felt. Many people said they were going to cancel Netflix altogether come september when the prices went into effect, while others said they were going to drop either DVDs or streaming from their plan to make it cheaper. Well it's mid september and it seems those customers have made good on their promise.

According to a statement released by Netflix this morning, Netflix is expecting to have lost around 1 Million customers to the price increase. The estimates predict that by the end of the quarter streaming customers will be down from 22 million to 21.8 million and DVD customers from 15 million to 14.2 million.

Just in case you live under a rock Netflix increased their prices by %60 which made a lot of their customers angry. The outcry started this past July when Netflix announced the plan changes which would include charging $7.99 for Streaming and $7.99 for 1 DVD at a time. This takes customers with the most popular plan from paying $9.99 a month to $15.99 a month and customers were not happy.

Even though Netflix only lost 1 Million customers they are thin ice with a lot more. Netflix stands by their decision to split up the service and believes it's the right long term strategy. I don't know if investors agree with them since they are down by 13% on the stock market at the time of this article.


Story and Image Via Mashable
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Nike Air Mag a New Hope For Power-Laces
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 3:05 PM


When Nike announced they were going to sell the Nike Air Mag, the shoe from Back to the Future, everyone was really excited. Then we found out that they were being produced in a limited quantity and were going to be auctioned off for thousands of dollars each. Though we are happy for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research which the auctions will benefit this made people a little angry. What really pissed people off was when we discovered the Nike Air Mag shoes just lights up and lack the Power-laces feature like in the movie.

I mean come on I've seen power-lacing shoes that some guy made in is basement! You're telling me that Nike, one of the biggest shoe manufacturers in the world, can't pull it off? Well there is hope according to several sources around the web Tinker Hatfield, the guy who designed the new Nike MAG and invented the original Pump sneakers, has said that this is only the first line of the Nike Air MAG and that the self-lacing technology will exist in 2015. This sounds just like the Youtube video Nike posted claiming they don't power-lace because it's not 2015, a lame cop-out I know.

This does however mean that it's a possibility that Nike is going to make more than one production run of these things and in 2015 perhaps they will add the self-lacing feature. I applaud Nike's efforts to make the prophecy from Back to the Future II a reality, but I want power-laces now! Who's with me?

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by willburns1 | with no comments
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OS X Lion Theme for Jailbroken iPhones
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:51 PM


Having the ability to completely change the theme of your iPhone is one of the many perks or jailbreaking it. There are plenty of themes out there in the jailbreak community but a new one called OS X Lion Ultimatum not only changes the look of your iPhone but also the way you use your iPhone.

As you can see in the images above the theme is more of a miniature Mac OS X than a theme. There's a finder where you can open windows and view files, a scrollable dock with badges, draggable windows, Launchpad, Stacks, Mission Control, and Dashboard. It is for all intents and purposes is a fully featured version of the Mac OS in the palm of your hand.

Mobile platforms require a different kind of interface for usability reasons which is why Apple didn't simply shrink down there Mac OS and put it on the iPhone. This doesn't mean that people don't want it that way or that it isn't cool. I think if someone saw this running on your iPhone they would be shocked with disbelief. I personally think it would be a pain having to deal with a mini version of the Mac OS rather than the current iOS, but cool nonetheless.

If you want to give the OS X Lion Ultimatum theme a go for your iPhone you can donate $3.50 to the developer to get in on the beta of the theme.

OS X Lion Ultimatum



by willburns1 | with no comments
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Logitech Brings the TouchPad to Windows
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:02 PM


The trackpad has been a thing of debate for a while now,  are touch based controls, like touchscreens and touchpads, the future of input control or is it simply a fad. If you feel touch controls are the wave of the future and are on a Windows machine you may be jealous of the Magic Trackpad made by Apple. Well fear not Logitech has you covered with a brand new 5" touchpad that's built for Windows 7 OS.

The touchpad measures 5" across making it almost the same size as the Apple Magic Trackpad. With it's software and multi-touch capability the Logitech Wireless Touchpad brings some of the same gestures to Windows that you have in the Mac OS. The trackpad can recognize up to 4 fingers at once allowing you to 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger gestures to do things like switch applications, scroll, flip through photos, page-up and down, and so much more. The device has a 4 month battery life which means you won't have to worry about changing batteries very often. The device is of course wireless using logitech's low profile unifying receiver running at 2.4GHz.

So for those Windows users out there that were secretly jealous of the Magic Trackpad this is probably as close as you can get for now. The device retails for around $45 and is only available for pre-order at the time of this article.

Logitech Wireless Touchpad

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Must Have Mac Utility Applications I Can't Live Without
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 1:22 PM
I talk a lot about Mac Apps on this blog and for good reason they are what make the internet and your computer more productive and fun. There are so many awesome application out there that you could spend the rest of your life talking about them. I wanted to share with you my list of Mac Utility applications I simply couldn't live without, the ones I use daily and install immediately on a new system. Some of them are free others are not but all of them deserve a try and are handy to have on hand.

FlyCut - Clipboard Management - Free
Flycut, based on Jumpcut, is a clipboard management tool that stores several items you copy to your clipboard. You can then use a keyboard shortcut to pull up a menu that recalls your current and previously copied items and allows you to paste them into a document one at a time. It saves so much time because you can copy several items and paste them back later without having to worry about overwriting them with another copy. It's an awesome app and it's free.


Breeze - Window Management - $7.99

I have tried several window management tools all with their own twist on the function, but I think Breeze takes the cake. It allows you to arrange a window's location and size and assign keyboard shortcut to that specific size and location. This allows you to precisely move windows around with a couple keystrokes. You can assign shortcuts globally, for all applications, or locally, only for specific applications, which makes Breeze unique and an awesome application.


Snippets - Text Expander - $4.99

Snippet is a text expander that allows you to type a special word that expands into a larger body of text. It saves you time by giving you a shortcut to typing common phrases and paragraphs. You could for example make a snippet for the date so when you try "ddate" Snippets would replace it with 09/13/2011. I have a snippet for my email signature called "ssig" that prints out my email signature for me when I want to use it. Snippets is $4.99 in the Mac App Store and is a great alternative to the $34 Text Expander app which is great and feature packed but expensive.


Growl - Desktop Notifications - Free
Growl is a free open source application that delivers customizable notifications on your desktop. There are tons of applications that use this application to deliver notifications to the user and it's super handy. I think growl should just be included in the Mac OS that's how much I love this app. I have been using it for years and it's great and free.  

GrowlVoice - Desktop Client for Google Voice - $4.99
I have been using Google Voice for a while now and let me tell you, having the option of getting SMS on your computer's desktop is awesome. Google doesn't offer an official Mac Google Voice client so it's left up to developers to fill the void. GrowlVoice is the best app for this I have found anywhere. It uses Growl to deliver notifications of SMS, Missed Calls, and Voicemails right to your computer. The interface is simple and pretty slick and they do a great job of supporting and making the app better.

Chuck - Application Launcher - Free

Chuck is a cool app that allows you to launch applications quickly using just your keyboard and a couple keystrokes. It's super lightweight and even though it only launches applications it does it well and I love it. It's not as compressive as Alfred or Quicksilver, the long time champions of this category of utility, but I don't every use the functionality those applications offer as much so Chuck is perfect for me and it's free.


Dropbox - Cloud Storage and File Sharing - Free
Dropbox is a free cloud based storage solution that is beyond awesome. Dropbox gives you 2GB of free storage to store files and sync them back to your other computers or share them with friends and family. It's the perfect way to share large files with friends or sync files you want access to on several devices. They have a mobile app, web app, and desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linux. There are so many awesome ways you can use this application which integrates with all kinds of other applications and web services. It's free for the first 2GB with 50GB costing you $9.99/month and 100GB $19.99 a month. They have a referral program that gives you 250MB for each person you sign up, so you can earn free space if you sign up all your friends. I'm up over 6GB of free space now and you can earn up to an extra 8GB of space giving you a total of 10GB for free!



That's all for now, but there are so many more out there. What utilities do you use that you can't live without? Leave them in the comments so we can get a conversation going.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Musicality - Brings Pandora, Last.fm, and Grooveshark to your Desktop
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 11:35 AM


The internet is a great place to listen to music with websites like Pandora, Last.fm, and Grooveshark you will never get bored of the music. The downside to these applications is that they live on the internet and take up space in your browser when you want to listen to them. If you want to pause/play or skip a song you have to find the browser window the website is playing in and hit the button. Musicality takes Pandora, Last.fm, and Grooveshark out of your browser and gives you control over the applications right on your desktop.

In addition to freeing these music applications from your browser you can also use the media buttons to pause/play and skip songs. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to like or dislike songs on the different music services. The menubar at the top of the window allows you to select the music service allowing you to switch websites easily. Musicality also has Growl support so you can see the current song that's playing with the Growl notifications.

The best part about this application is that it allows you to control your online music applications with your keyboard. Factotum gives you keyboard control of music sites in Chrome and Safari, but I use Firefox so it's of no use to me. Musicality works well and but unfortunately isn't free costing $5.99 in the Mac App Store. You could probably find applications that can play each of these on your desktop for free like PandoraJam for Pandora or GrooveApp for Grooveshark. Apps like these often are poorly supported making it better to just pay for an app that someone is actually going to support and update.
 
If you listen to music on one of these free music services give Musicality a go. You can get a 10 day free trial of the app from MacUpdate with the full version available in the Mac App Store for $5.99.

Free Trial of Musicality

Full Version $5.99 Mac App Store
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Clean - Mac App that Cleans Your Desktop For You
Monday, September 12, 2011 12:58 PM


If there is one thing I can't stand it's someone with a messy desktop. I actually knew someone who didn't store any of their files in their Documents folder or any other subfolder for that matter. They actually had every file on their computer on their desktop. Not only is this not good for the computer, it's not good for organization and the usability of the computer.

Clean is a cool little app that will automatically every day or every week moves the content of your desktop to new folder marked with day or month depending on how you have it setup. This allows you to start each day or week with a fresh desktop. If you want files it moved from the desktop you can go to the folder it created and access them there.

You can have the app clean your desktop every day or every week and have the items places in a folder that's marked with either the day or month along with the year. You can choose which option suites you best which depends on how you use your desktop and how messy you are.

The app is pretty simple but very useful. My feature wish list for this application is the ability to archive the desktop back to the desktop.That way your desktop documents would simply be in a subfolder on your desktop instead of spread out all over the place. This would be convenient and would eventually force you to deal with the unused files. I also wish you could schedule the desktop cleanup for a specific time that way it would never happen in the middle of your work day.

The app is free and is available in the Mac App Store so go and check it out.

Clean - Mac App Store 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Amazon Wants to be Netflix for Books
Monday, September 12, 2011 11:27 AM
Amazon has been on a roll lately releasing a cloud music service, TV and movie streaming for Prime members, and even a subsidized Kindle with ads. All these changes and new features have given Amazon a 51% increase in their revenue in Q2 2011, which is their fastest growth in a while. According to the Wall Street Journal's sources Amazon is in talks with book publishers to allow customers access to a library of books for a monthly fee.

There's not a lot of details on how the service will work, but apparently it will only include older works with a limit to how many books a person can access each month. The book service will also be a part of the Amazon Prime membership which also gives you free shipping on Amazon products and access to streaming movies and TV shows.

The big question is will the book publishers go for it? Are they already seeing their business going digital and be willing to embrace a new way of consuming books and literature, or will they see it as a threat to their business? If Amazon was to get some publishers on board for a book subscription service, Amazon's already awesome Prime membership will begin to look irresistible, especially to frequent shoppers and Kindle owners.

I have a feeling that getting book publishers to loosen their grip on their published works is going to be difficult. I think there is going to be a lot of opposition in the very traditional publishing industry, but if Amazon was able to pull it off it could be a great service. Amazon is also rumored to release a 7" tablet device that is supposably going to give the iPad a run for it's money. A new tablet combined with an Amazon prime membership could be a great combo.

 
WSJ Article Here
by willburns1 | with no comments
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iPhone 5 Release Imminent with Sprint Employee Vacations Blackout
Monday, September 12, 2011 10:55 AM


As you may or may not know rumors have been going around, and are all but confirmed, that Sprint is going to get the iPhone 5 when it's released. Sprint is the only carrier to offer truly unlimited data plans, so getting the iPhone could be huge for them. People who don't want to worry about using all their data and getting charged extra each month could just go to Sprint for an all you can eat data buffet.

New rumors are saying that according to an internal memo at Sprint they are blacking out employee vacation from September 30th - October 15th for a larger phone release. This means all hands on deck for Sprint for those two weeks and it just happens to fall right into the rumored iPhone 5 release time.

This combined with other rumors of AT&T and Verizon blacking out vacation time pretty much confirms the iPhone 5 will release in the first two weeks of October. Several sites are pin pointing October 7th as the launch date which sits right in the middle of the Sprint vacation blackout and lines up with several other reports and leaks from around the web. I wouldn't hold my breath that the date is correct but the first half of October is pretty certain.

Exciting news I can't wait!


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Facebook is Testing More Google+ Like Friend Categorizing and Filtering Features
Friday, September 09, 2011 2:42 PM


Seems after criticizing Google+'s Circle feature Facebook has been caught testing feature that are very similar. According to Mashable screenshots showing a Facebook friend filter and a feature called Smart Lists are both currently being tested.

The friend filter feature would allow you to filter the news feed by friends list, allowing you to only see post by people in that particular list. This makes items in the news feed more customized to who you want to read about. You can also filter the news feed by Statues Update, Photos, Links, Pages, and Questions. In fact the Friend Filter feature, for me at least, is already live. So if you want to give it a try go to your Facebook page and see if it's live for you as well.

The Smart List feature is something I haven't seen go live yet which supposably attempts to organize your friends list into groups for you. I'm sure it uses the level of interaction between you and your friends to organize them into groups from your best friends, who you interact with the most, to people you never talk to, the friends you probably should just delete.

Both of these features seem pretty handy and even though the smart list feature will probably require a lot of fine tuning it will probably be better than trying to organize 500+ friends in one sitting.


 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Google Music Now on iPhone and iPad - Sort Of
Friday, September 09, 2011 1:19 PM


Google Music is a service recently released by Google that allows you to upload music to their servers and play them back on the web or on your mobile device. Currently I believe you can store up to 20,000 songs for free using Google Music but the only problem is the application is only available on Android so iOS users were SOL.

Now Google was released a new HTML5 optimized web version for iOS that looks and feels like a real native application. Even though it's only a web app and doesn't have some of the perks of being a native application Google did a pretty good job of making it look and feel like a native application. The interface is nice and clean with responsive buttons and easy to use interface. Sure you have to deal with Safari's little menubar at the bottom but other than that it's just as good as a native application.

The reason Google had to go with a HTML5 web app instead of a native application is for the obvious reasons. Apple is about to release their cloud service and doesn't want the competition on their device. So Google turned to the web for their portal to the iPhone. I wish more companies would do this when presented with native app approval problems from Apple.0 I'm looking at you Grooveshark jump on it.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Disappointed - The Nike Air Mag Doesn't Actually Have Power-Laces
Friday, September 09, 2011 11:39 AM


As I posted yesterday Nike has released a limited edition Nike Air Mag shoe that looks just like the one worn by Marty Mcfly in Back to the Future. 150 of these shoes will be auctioned off on Ebay from today until September 18th. Even though I believe and support The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research it's too bad of the shoes don't have the power-laces like in the movie. Maybe it's too much to ask to to have a show that self-laces but hey it's 2011 I think we could figure that our by now.

So that's kind of a let down, but the shoes do actually light up for 4 hours on a charge like in the videos but I think that's a small consolation. I think it would be worth the thousands of dollars they are currently selling for if they actually had the power-lace feature. I have to remember it's not about owning Mcfly power-lacing sneakers it's about raising money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Checkout all the cool videos they put up concerning the shoes on YouTube and on the auction pages.

 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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That's Right the Marty McFly Selk-Lacing Sneaker is Now Real!
Thursday, September 08, 2011 6:49 PM


Nike, a while back, filed for a patent on a self-lacing sneaker. This got sneaker blogs all up in arms, yes there are sneaker blogs just go with it, with excitement over a possible Back to the Future Marty Mcfly self-lacing shoe from Nike. This would be the real thing not some fan mockup or imitation, but an actual self-lacing Nike shoe.

Well the rumors were true and Nike has actually announced that they will be making 1500 self-lacing shoes called the Nike Air Mag. The Mcfly self-lacing Nike shoe is real at least and will be auctioned off on Ebay with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is aimed at finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Though it's very cool that these shoes will be made and sold at auction it's too bad they are limited and will probably be sold at outrageous prices on Ebay. So sadly I will not be getting a paid of Marty Mcfly sneakers but hey it's cool to know that they are out there.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Amazon Might Have to Start Collecting Sales Tax
Thursday, September 08, 2011 6:36 PM
Amazon has been fighting US states for years who have tried to levy laws against them to forcing them to collect sales taxes for all purchases made in their state. Amazon has been threading to leave states that try to pass laws of this sort has prevented states like Texas and South Carolina from doing so. In other States Amazon has been pretty sly about getting around laws by shipping items using other companies.

According to Supreme Court rulings from 1967 and 1992 "If an online retailer has a physical presence in a particular state, such as a store, business office, or warehouse, it must collect sales tax from customers in that state." This means is Amazon doesn't have a distribution or physical building in your state you will never have to pay sales tax. In some states customers who don't pay sales tax are suppose to report any purchases made to online companies but who ever does that or even know that you are suppose to.

A new bill which is planning on being set before the Senate will make all retailers collect sales tax for the state in which the customer resides. This means online retailers will all be required to collect sales tax on all purchases no mater the state. The argument is that the previous law protected and helped the struggling and fledgling industry that was e-commerce. Now that it's huge the industry no longer needs the tax incentive.

Even though this is my be true I don't think this would be an issue it state and local governments weren't so crazed to get their hands on some free money. Many state and local governments see this as easy money and, according to a University of Tennessee study, will cause them to miss out on 11.3  billion collectively next year.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think online retailers should pay sales tax or do you thing they still deserve a break? Let me know in the comments.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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