I recently had the opportunity to test out the Keyspan Tuneview remote control. The biggest feature with this remote control, that makes it different from all others, is the LCD display on the remote mimics the screen on your iPod. All of your Albums, Artists, Genres and Playlists are displayed on the remote, just as if you were using your iPod. If you have a newer iPod with video, you can also connect the dock to your TV to watch the videos.
The installation tookÂ 3 minutes. You plug the supplied cable into the back of the dock. You attach the 2 RCA type jacks to your stereo system. You insert the iPod into the dock, turn on the remote and within 5 seconds you have your menu on the remote.
The other benefit of this remote is that it is RF (radio frequency) as opposed to IR (infra-red). This means you do not have to have line of sight to the dock. You can be anywhere in your house and access your iPod. More importantly, you can see what you are playing and what you are accessing.
‘Tis the season, and this year there are many choices for the geeks out there. Rather than list all the stuff, below are a number of links that you can check out for yourself.
For the gadget nut, one of my favorite sites is:
They have a wish list for him and a list for her. (come on ladies, find that inner geek that’s inside of you!!)
For the iPod fanatics, you have to see the annual gift guide from iLounge This .pdf download not has a ton of product information, it also gives great review and talks about the technology available along with tips for your iPods.
Are you getting tired of listening to the same old artists and the same old tracks on your iPod? There are 3 web services out there that can help you expand your music listening experience.
First is Pandora. This service asks you to enter some of your favorite artists and songs. It then uses a very sophisticated algorithm to mathematically quantify the music from those artists. Pandora will then play those artists as well as other artists and songs with a similar scoring.
You can play this through your computer, or if you have been reading my blog, via WiFi with the Sondigo Sirocco. Also, thanks to a partnership, Pandora also works with a WiFi player called Slim Devices (which was recently bought by Logitech).
The other service is lastFM. Similar to Pandora, it allows you to select your favorite artists and songs. It then uses the social community of its members to offer up other artists that were chosen by others as favorites along with your favorite artists.This service can also be played from your computer or wirelessly using the above devices.
The 3rd service is Yahoo’s Launchcast radio. You can select your favorites in several ways using this service. You can add a list of your favorite artists, albums, songs or genres. Or, you can simply select one of the previous options and start playing. As each song plays you have an option of rating the song, the artist or the album using 1-5 start or 0 for don’t play this again.To start, you may want to spend some time with this and quickly skip through the songs and rate them. Launchcast then uses these ratings to play other songs from artist or genre you have rated highly. Over time as your rate more and more songs, the “station” becomes more and more personalized.
So now you have 3 options to expand your musical tastes.
It is rather simple to create Podcasts. You simply record a conversation. That conversation could be in person, over the phone, or in many cases over Skype.
Where it becomes difficult is processing the recording. As anyone who has tried to post a podcast in its raw state, it can be very difficult to follow due to the varying volumes of voices. There are 2 tools out there that can help with this process.
One of of the most popular open source products is Audacity. This is a complete recording studio for Windows, Mac or Linux. It is available for download here.
A new product is out in Beta called the Levelator from Gigavox Media. It is simpler, yet more complex. Audacity will level the volumes, but does it in real time as it is playing the track. Levelator creates a map of the full track first, then applies some algorithmsÂ to level the volumes.
You don’t need any hardware on your computer. Other than your existing wireless router. The system allows you to play DRM protected music on your stereo system by making your stereo an extension of your computer. Just as if you were plugging speakers into your computer.
This is and update to my previous post on GPS that talks to you. There has been a lot of hype recently about the launch of the Nike + iPod running module. Although the price is right at $29.95 US, it is still just a pedometer. A pedometer simply registers that you took a step. You have to calibrate the system to tell it how big your step is. But that assumes that you are running at the same pace, over the same terrain. If you are running uphill, then your distance will be off. If you are sprinting, or hill training, then your distance will be off.
The only way to get accuracy is to use a GPS device. One of the more popular units is the Forerunner from Garmin. However, these units are very expensive. They run in the $300 range.
In May I had the pleasure of testing a new unit. The Adeo from Motion Lingo. The company has been great about updating their firmware. The unit is a full GPS system, that talks to you as your run. You decide how often you want updates and what should be updated. Distance, Height (for skiers), Speed,Â and Pace are a few of the updates you can get. The unit comes with software that connects to the Web, so you can track and update your runs, or cycles.
The image below shows the screen where you add the updates you want to hear.
The software also allows you to set intervals. For example, if you train with the Running Room you are familiar with theÂ 10 and 1 method. This is where you run for 10 minutes and walk for 1. You can set that up in the screen below.
Once you have completed a run, you can upload your run onto the Motion Lingo web site and see your run on a Google map.
The bottom line is that you will bet accurate readings ofÂ your run, your speed and your distance.
Once you load up you iPod there really isn’t any reason to have your CD player. There really isn’t any reason to move your CD’s from stereo to stereo in your house. You can have your whole collection play where you are. You can spend as little as $10 for a cable, or as much a $1000 for a high end system complete with a built in iPod dock. Starting with the least expensive. The iPod has a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can get cables that has a 3.5mm jack at one end and splits into 2 RCA jacks at the other. This is the easiest way to connect your iPod to your home stereo.Â This will run you about $10-$15
Â One step up from this is the iPod Dock. The advantage of this is that while is connects with virtually the same cable, it also allows for a power cable to be attached so you will not run down the battery. It also make it very easy to simply drop the iPod into the dock and listen to the tunes! This will cost about $40
Â Â Both the solutions above will require you do connect to a speaker system. This could be a boom box or a full surround sound system.Â The next step up is one of devices that I use. It is the JBL Onstage II. The sound that comes out of this small unit is amazing. The unit also comes with a radio frequency remote. An RF remote allows you to be anywhere within about 20 ft. of the system and control the iPod. This also makes a great set for travelling. No more CD’s to carry along with you. At the same time, there is an iPod jack in the back that allows you to connect to your computer to sychronize with iTunes. This costs about $150
Â The JBL unit allows you to control the iPod, it is difficult to see the Playlist or the Artist name etc. Until DLO came out with Homedock Deluxe. This system will require a speaker system to hear the sound. But the best part is that it allows you to see the iPod screen on your TV! It also comes with a remote, but the difference is now, you can scroll through the menus, choose your playlists, or the artists, because you can see it all on your TV. This will run you about $150. This system will require a speaker system to hear the sound.Â
Â From there, it is a bit of a leap to the next systems. There are a lot of stereo manufacturers coming out with either iPod docks built in, or iPod cable connectors. One of the neatest devices I have seen is for the home automation specialist. It provides a dock in your wall that would connect to your home stereo system.Â Each dock is $200
I have been asked by a few people to share on how to listen to their iPod through their car stereo system. There are a few methods of doing this. The most common is connecting your iPod to an FM transmitter and listening to your iPod via the radio. There are 2 products that I am familiar with that do this. The iTrip by Griffin Technology was one of the first. They have since come out with several versions, including one that supports the Nano. The iTrip sells for about $30 US.
The unit that I use is the Sonnet PodFreq. I was told it had a stronger transmitter. I like 2 things about this unit. First, the signal strenght is excellent. I have never had to search for multiple channels to get this to work. Even if you get into an area, where there is a lot of signal cross over, you can extend the antenna and get a stronger connection. The second reason that I chose this unit was because of their partership with Proclip USA, an auto specific bracket company. I ordered the bracket for my vehicle and now I have a permanent place to sit my iPod when I am in the car. It also comes with a charger for the iPod while it is in the car. They have a unit for the Nano. The PodFreq sells for about $100 US. Both the above units are FM transmitters. The next way of connecting your iPod is to hard wire it to your car stereo. There are 2 ways of doing this. Some car stereos today have an 3.5 mm stereo jack for aux. input. You can simply buy a cable with the 3.5 mm jack at both ends and plug one end into your iPod and the other into the jack on your stereo. The sound quality is a little better, and you don’t have to worry about FM signal reception.
The other way to hard wire your sytem into the car stereo is to buy and adapter that plugs into the CD changer plug in the back of the car stereo and connects to the iPod via the iPod dock. For sound quality, this is by far the best solution. However, you get what you pay for as this is also close to $200. The most available product I have seen is the iPod2Car from Peripheral Electronics. This system is available from BestBuy or Futureshop. Note, this installation is not for the general population.
Technology that Helps Us. Technology That Wows Us.