Apples World Wide Developer conference dates have been leaked by the hosting venues own calendar booking system! The Moscone West Convention centre in San Francisco has the dates between the 13th and 17th of June booked out, which falls inline with Apples previous WWDCs.
There’s no official news from apple regarding the event as of yet. Generally the date is kept secret until the invites land on the doormats of the media and VIPs.
The event is expected to be the launch platform for iOS 10 and OS X 10.12.. With potentially also the unveiling of new iterations of WatchOS and tvOS.
There are also rumours suggesting the Apple Music streaming service will receive an extra tier, a tier dedicated to higher resolution music. However there’s no indication of where this price point will fit. Or if this will actually be ready for WWDC 2016.
AfterShokz Sportz 2 are a pretty impressive set of bone conducting sport headphones, which differ from normal in ear headphones as they actually sit in front of the ear, and deliver sound via your cheek bones.
These headphones have been designed with the open air sports fanatic in mind, leaving the ear canal unobstructed the user is not at risk of not hearing on coming traffic etc. The build quality is good, and the headphones claim to be sweat resistant which is important when using during exercise.
However, I do feel the sound quality suffers from not being a complete in ear solution. They are certainly not a patch on my Sennheiser PMX 685i Sports In-Ear Neckband Headphones. As one of my colleagues Philip Gardham pointed out they do sound a little like holding a normal in-ear earbud to your cheek and turning the volume up. On more base intense tracks the headset actually vibrates on your cheek bone, this headset is actually better with a medium volume track. They do also seem to suffer from quite a bit of sound leak too, which is another reason not to have them too loud.
The headphones use a lithium ion battery to power their bone conduction technology, and boast a massive 12 hours of constant use between charges. Headset charging is via the included micro USB cable, and takes approximately 2 hours before fully charged.
The headphones also have an ‘inline’ volume/play/pause/power functionality, which you can see below, the black box with the orange power button.
The box also contains a ‘tough’ storage case for keeping your headset and charge cable neat and tidy. However, the case is quite bulky in size – so would take up a considerable amount of space in your gym bag.
So to recap:
I am a big fan of up and coming technology, and think bone conduction is quite frankly amazing, although the sound quality wouldn’t satisfy the most savvy audiophile, I’m sure day to day users would be more then happy. They are also reasonably priced at £59.95.
I am not a big fan of standing out from the crowd, and think that the look of these on your head will turn heads in the wrong way.. They look a little like either I’ve missed my ears trying to put on normal headphones, or I should be wearing a star trek outfit.
The sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, and they are not as comfy as you might think.
The bottom line:
Although I certainly wouldn’t rush out and buy a set (I won my set) I do like the concept, and hope they pave the way for many more advancements around bone conduction. Until then, I’ll stick with my Sennheiser’s
For some time now I’ve hunted for the perfect media center solution for my apartment. Let’s face it, DVDs are so last year! Digital media is where it’s at.
I’ve tried (and loved) many solutions, all the way from plain old Windows Media center to XBMC. Since my recent migration to OS X I stuck with the old faithful iTunes.. That was until now.. Featured on one of my daily RSS feeds was the latest release of Plex, it wasn’t that I hadn’t heard of Plex before – but I’d never actually downloaded and tried it out.
So off I went, downloaded and installed version 0.9.3.4 (latest at time of blogging). The install was start forward enough and was quite quick to complete. I was then greeted by Plex’s Media manager, which was a first for my media center trials.
Media manager makes it a cinch to set up your media locations, and uses its Internet links to download and update your medias metadata. Right from your movies synopsis’ to its media artwork.
What’s even more special, is the ability to choose different artwork if you’re not happy with the default.
As with most media center solutions Plex is also capable of managing your TV shows, audio and photos. Just like it does with your movies the media manager downloads and updates the meta data and artwork for your TV shows and audio.
Once you are happy with your freshly organised and professional looking media collection, it’s time to start-up the beast.
My current setup (awaiting further cash injections) is a 2010 17″ MacBook Pro with HDMI out to my LCD tv, and audio out to my Sony surround sound unit. Now my TV is quite dated now and doesn’t normally play well with my MacBook. However straight out of the box, Plex looks stunning.. With the slight exception of cutting off the RSS feed at the bottom and weather in the top right. Luckily a few tweaks in Plex’s settings soon had this rectified.
The Plex home screen is pretty similar to most media centers on the market, with a menu system on the left hand side and a selected menu related image on the right.
One thing that immediately becomes obvious it’s just how well Plex works with Apples remote control. The menu structure is easy to navigate and intuitive. Giving you everything you need to make this the perfect in media solution.
I am a massive fan of the movie selection screen, everything you need to know to make an informative choice. Displaying information such as the media quality, the movie rating, it’s synopsis and a movie poster. Now, there are other views to choose from, but I always seem to come back to this one.
Plex has a massive amount of features, and should be enough to satisfy any tech hungry mind. So why not dump your current media centre solution and give Plex a try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!
Not only is Plex available for download to your nice shiny Mac, but there’s also a version available for Windows users too!
Do you use something else for your media centre? Why not post its details in the comments below and we can see how it stacks up!
Back in December 2008 I posted a link to a tutorial on how to create iPhone ringtones. Which worked well, as long as you had the patience to pin point the timings of a track. Well since then I have had to get a little bit more ‘technical’ with my ringtone creation. Mainly because of the music I was trying to clip.. So I thought it was about time I put another tutorial together, but this time a little bit more in depth, covering all the aspects of clipping using the wave display.
First of all your going to need some tools to attack the music file you want to convert. I have always sworn by Audacity for all my music work. Audacity is ‘freeware’ and available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix
Once you have downloaded Audacity you will need to download and install the library, I use the FFMpeg Library which is also available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix
Once you have all the tools downloaded, launch the Audacity editor. You will be presented with a new project window which looks similar to the one below (depending on OS)
Now, all you need to do is locate your MP3WavSound file through the built in menu system, or drag and drop it into the dark area in between the menu bar and status bar. Once it’s done loading the music file you should be presented with a window which looks like this (obviously this will differ for each sound file)
Using the built in menu bar you can play the track, and locate the section you want to clip. Remembering that most devices using 30 seconds of the clip for the tone. Once you have found the section you want click on the wave table where it starts, and drag you mouse whilst keeping an eye on the field under the ‘Length’ radio button until you have grabbed 30 seconds worth. You should notice the highlighted section will turn a slightly darker grey colour:
With the section highlighted, if you press the ‘Play’ button Audacity will play the section you have selected. If you are not happy with it you can move the highlighted section back and forth with your mouse until you find a section you like.
Once done simply click Edit > Cut in the menu bar, or ctrl + x on your windows keyboard (cmd + x on Mac) to cut out the section of track. Now click File > New to open a fresh project window and paste in your clipping. (Edit > Paste etc)
Check you have clipped the correct part using the play button, and once you are happy click File > Export. Give it a meaningful name and select a location for the file, in the format drop down box select “M4A (AAC) Files (FFmpeg)” and click ok.
Once the export has completed, locate the file and rename the extension from .m4a to .m4r.
Now open iTunes, select the ‘Ringtones’ sections and drag in your newly created .m4r file. All that’s left to do now is sync you iPhone, select the new file in the settings menu and your done.
So hopefully, you will never pay for a ringtone again 🙂
Spotify has recently opened it’s doors to FREE uk membership, it’s normally by invitation only, but for a limited time you can sign up for free! “What is Spotify” i hear you shout.. Well here’s a quick paragraph or two from the website:
“What is Spotify?
Spotify is a new way to enjoy music. Simply download and install, before you know it you’ll be singing along to the genre, artist or song of your choice. With Spotify you are never far away from the song you want.
There are no restrictions in terms of what you can listen to or when. Forget about the hassle of waiting for files to download and fill up your hard drive before you get round to organising them. Spotify is instant, fun and simple.
Because music is social, Spotify allows you to share songs and playlists with friends, and even work together on collaborative playlists, Friday afternoon in the office might never be the same again! We’re music lovers like everyone else.
We want to connect millions of people with their favorite songs by creating a product that people love to use. We respect creativity and believe in fairly compensating artists for their work. We’ve cleared the rights to use the music you’ll listen to in Spotify.”