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Make Free Ringtones with Myxer

April 14, 2007

MyxerTones - Ringtones from your musicFor several years, one of the most popular posts here has been a nice, simple 247 step process for making your own ringtones. Download this, convert that, do something else.

There’s a MUCH simpler way — MyxerTones is quick, free, and doesn’t require a degree in obfuscation to use. Got a piece of music you want to make into a ringtone? Upload it, and Myxer will message your phone with a link to download it, in a format that works on your phone. All you pay is the cost of the text message.

Granted, this does require you to have web access on your phone, and in certain cases, it can’t guess the format (it offers you all of the possibilities; AAC worked fine on the N95), but still, this is worlds easier than anything else I’ve ever used.

Give it a shot!
[tags]ringtones, cellphone, myxer, nokia[/tags]

Nokia N95 First Impressions

April 14, 2007

Nokia N95
Yesterday the FedEx guy showed up with my new Nokia N95, fresh off the plane from Hong Kong. The idea of a well-connected, web-enabled feature-rich phone that also had a decent camera was just too tempting.

I like the idea of shooting pictures and videos, but I seldom leave the house with the intention of doing so; even though I’ve got a nice small digital camera, I hate dragging it around with me on principles, and even when I do want to use it, it’s seldom charged up.

The N95 is a better camera than my little pocket digital, and since I keep my cellphone charged and with me 24×7, I won’t have any excuses not to take a few pictures.

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Cooler MacBooks Prevail

April 13, 2007

Similar to my experience a couple of years ago, I shipped the MacBook Pro off to AppleCare on Tuesday evening, and on Thursday morning, it was back. About what I expected would happen, unless I was counting on it, in which case it would take every bit of the quoted ten days.

So, I prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best.

The repair documentation sticks to the story; they replaced the logic board, and “other parts as required”, which I’ve pretty much got to believe includes fans — it may not have been the entire problem, but a logic board failure doesn’t seem likely to sound like a fan on its last legs.

Whatever.

At least it’s fixed — and running much cooler. By about 50°F, in fact. The fans are now reporting an RPM above 0, as well.

Interestingly, the MacBook I borrowed (2GHz Core 2 Duo) ran about 20° hotter than the MacBook Pro does now. On reflection, that doesn’t surprise me overly, since the aluminum case on the Pro is a terrific conductor of heat.

The MacBook was nice — one of those snappy looking black ones — but even with 20 gig more hard drive and 802.11n, I’m still happier to have my MacBook Pro back.

Woke Up This Morning & Got a Mention in the NYT

April 11, 2007

Larry LoveAlabama 3, that is — AKA “A3” in the US, AKA “The UK’s best live band” AKA “The greatest band nobody’s ever heard of”.

Apparently the New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan managed to hear of them, and decided to talk a bit about them, in place of the last season of The Sopranos, the show that almost put them on the map in the US…

As Mr. Lucas explains: “So you know, although ‘The Sopranos’ is certainly one of my favorite programs, I can tell you that Alabama 3 got royally screwed by HBO/Chase & co. out of getting an ongoing weekly credit for their theme song on the program, which would have helped their currently no-profile career a great deal (I mean, their song really helped make that show … much as the Rembrandts’ tune ‘I’ll Be There for You’ helped make ‘Friends’ a hit — and the Rembrandts get a credit every time ‘Friends’ airs anywhere in the world).

If you’d like to find out (and listen to) a bit more, feel free to peruse the archives here, their official site, or (my personal favorite), FreeA3 – The Unofficial Alabama 3 Fan Forum, which manages to be haunted fairly frequently by not only some great music, but a few members of the band.

(Thanks to Harry for the heads up!)
[tags]Alabama 3, A3, FreeA3, Larry Love, D.Wayne Love, Woke Up This Morning, The Sopranos[/tags]

“We don’t need no water (don’t) let the MacBookPro Burn…”

April 6, 2007

I finally got bit by one of the various bugs of the early-build MacBook Pro Core Duos.

A week or two ago, I noticed an occasional rattle-y sound from the ‘book. Actually, it took me awhile to narrow it down; when I’m in my office the ‘book perches on a shelf along with a small-form-factor PC and a collection of external drives that makes up my media server. At first I thought it was a bearing going out in a drive, but eventually I narrowed it down to the MacBook, and decided it was a fan getting a little noisy, and resolved to keep an ear on it (so to speak).

The noise quieted down, so I figured maybe it was just some little piece of debris (label off a chip or something) got caught in the blades.

A couple of days ago, however, I started to have stability problems — the Mac would occasionally lock up for no discernible reason, and even threw a couple of kernel panics.

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Giving away business

April 5, 2007

I just had a not-atypical experience… I saw a review of a nice little item that I thought would be a great gift idea for a friend.

I went to the site, decided that it was what I wanted, and I clicked on the “order” button.

THe order page consisted of a phone number, and a pair of credit card icons, with instructions to call to place my order.

I closed the window, and told myself that maybe I’d go back later, although I know I won’t. If there’d been an online order page (like I expected), I’d have probably ordered it.

Why?

An order page runs 24 x 7. I can see at a glance that I’ve actually ordered the right size and color. I get email confirmations that I can track. If I get interrupted, I can come back and finish the order a few minutes later.

I don’t get any of that with a phone order, typically.

Setting up a basic shopping cart is pretty simple; if you don’t want the bother or expense of doing it on your own site, there are tons of places like Yahoo that will handle your purchases for you with a little bit of online setup.

Not doing it is just giving away business.
[tags]Online Selling, E-Commerce[/tags]

Unleaded DRM

April 3, 2007

No DRMI’m already tired of hearing people bitch about the new iTunes Store / EMI deal to offer DRM-free music. The typical whine is about paying $0.30 more for them not to put DRM on the music.

Get a grip, folks — for your $0.30, you also get a reasonable sampling rate (256Kb/s AAC – double the old rate — is awfully close to CD quality), and if you don’t want to buy ala carte, the whole album (without DRM, at 256Kb/s) is the same price as the old DRM’d up one.

Besides, it’s not like they don’t know you’ll go for it — how much extra money did you pay the oil companies to not put lead in your gasoline? And they didn’t even include a feature that was two times better than an old one.

[tags]iTMS, DRM, Big Oil, Apple, EMI[/tags]

Ennio Morricone Photo Essay

April 3, 2007

I loves me some Ennio Morricone — the man behind the soundtracks of some of the best “Spaghetti Westerns”.

Time has a great Photo Essay of shots from Morricone’s career, shown to a medley of some of his better known works.

Nice stuff.

(via Binary Bonsai)

[tags]Movies, Music, Soundtrack, Ennio Morricone[/tags]

Jott (mini Review)

April 3, 2007

JottI know that Jott has been around awhile, but I’ve only just started messing with it — and now I’m a believer.

The concept is elegantly simple — you call Jott (typically from your mobile), tell it who you want to leave a message for (in my case, usually “me”), and speak a short message. A minute or two later, the message (transcribed) shows up as text in your email.

This is a great application for the terminally disorganized (again, usually “me”) — tie it to a speed dial number on your mobile phone, and when something occurs to you that you need to deal with later, press the button, and leave your message. When you get back to your computer, there it is, ready to be dealt with or dropped into the task management system of your choice.

If this kind of thing keeps up, I could start running out of excuses for not getting stuff done.

You can also add your own contact list (I now have too many web apps with contact lists — I need some way for them all to be synced automatically), and send Jotts to other people or groups.

The transcription is very good, and in fact, appears to be manual. There are a lot of assurances on the site about the privacy of your messages, but if you want, you can ask to leave your jotts untranscribed, and do them yourself.

All in all, another great “voice 2.0” application. My only concern is whether they’ll start charging for the basic service once it’s out of (open) beta, and if so, how much.

Jott

[tags]Jott, Voice 2.0, Mobile, Smartphone, Task Management, GTD[/tags]

Notes on Apple TV

April 3, 2007

Apple TVOne week in, more-or-less, and I’ve had time to form a few initial impressions.

It pretty much “just works” — the only problem I’ve had (and still have) is using the Harmony through the Xantech remote extender. Annoying, but livable until someone comes out with alternatives.

The interface is still very nice, yet slightly crippled (in Apple’s traditional fashion) by having an interface device that’s short a button. There needs to be some way to do things like “adjust aspect ratio” and “view metadata”, but even if such was built (or hacked) in, there’s not a button on the remote to support it. Video playback could also benefit from “skip forward” and “skip backward” buttons (preferably with configurable durations).

Having access to my music library with a nice interface, plus the ability to conveniently watch video podcasts that I’ve always avoided before (my attention span for watching video on a computer is rather short) is almost worth the price of admission by itself.

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