MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions how to find the currently installed version of Java on your Mac, a question on whether the Mac can be used as a media center for Blu Ray content, and fixing broken lyrics on an iPod Touch.… Read more
MidiRunner is a basic program that allows users to create MIDI files and play other audio file types. Although the program may have some useful features, its disastrous interface undermines any potential assets.
MidiRunner seems like a straightforward program. Users can play a variety of MIDI instruments using an external keyboard, the computer keyboard, or a virtual keyboard. That part worked well enough, although the virtual keyboard is frustratingly tiny. The program separates the keyboard, playlist, and control panel into three toolbar-like modules, which were cumbersome to navigate and littered with tiny buttons and text. Although we were able to … Read more
ALSong is an innovative music player that lets users view lyrics to thousands of songs as they play. Although the program's design could be better, its unique features still make it worthwhile.
ALSong's interface is fairly intuitive (it's set up much as any media player is), but we didn't love that several of its features open in different modules. The media player opens in one window, the playlist in another, the lyrics viewer in yet another--things get cluttered pretty quickly. We were also irritated by the small text used throughout the program; anyone whose vision isn'… Read more
Internet memes travel in waves. A fun site can lie dormant for years before suddenly being rediscovered.
The latest example I've found is Let Them Sing It For You, which has been around for years, but has been drawing new attention on blogs in the last couple of weeks. On Tuesday, I received my first personalized message through the service.
Created in 2003 by Eric Bunger, Let Them Sing It For You is a simple but fun Web application that lets you enter a text message, then translates the words into audio. The catch: it uses popular song snippets … Read more
We'd never award it prizes for looks or design, but like all the software in the TuneWiki family, this streaming app's capability to spool lyrics in time with the music makes it an application well worth your attention.
TuneWiki begins with an online database where community users upload song lyrics, Wikipedia-style. When you use TuneWiki as a media player, it hooks into this database to stream lyrics in time with the music. There are occasionally mistakes, and songs without lyrics, both of which are a function of the underlying community Wiki and not the application itself.
But the … Read more
Remember Lyrical, the free app that lets you look up lyrics for the currently playing song? TuneWiki does it one better, spooling out lyrics as the song plays. (All that's missing is the bouncing ball.)
With TuneWiki for iPhone (and iPod Touch), you choose a song from your library (using the TuneWiki interface, not the standard iPod menus), then watch the lyrics scroll past as it plays.
That's assuming, … Read more
Just the other day my daughter was trying to sing along with Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"--but, let's face it, those are some tough lyrics to catch. If only I'd had Lyrical, a new app that looks up song lyrics--for the currently playing song.
That's pretty slick. Just start a song on your iPhone or iPod Touch, then run the app. In a matter of seconds it retrieves the lyrics from crowd-sourced site LyricWiki.org.
Of course, you don't have to play a particular song to get its lyrics: Lyrical also lets … Read more
Women sometimes buy quality audio, but that doesn't make them audiophiles.
With rare exceptions, all the audiophiles I've known are men. The unifying mantra for audiophiles is that there's always something, maybe an amplifier or speaker just out a reach that might get them a little closer to the music. Audiophiles are gear junkies. They want to have Aretha Franklin or the New York Philharmonic or their favorite music sound like it's in the house. Audiophiles crave an emotional, visceral connection with their music.
That pretty much sums up Margery Budoff's audiophile urges. Like most audiophiles I know, Margery had an unusually strong affinity for music at a young age. She described herself as "A child musician with an industrial design fetish." Even as a little kid she loved the look of stuff, especially older, big and clunky 1950s and 1960s record players.
The first record Margery bought was "Telstar," then Dionne Warwick, then the Rolling Stones. The record player was the thing that could "Decipher the secret code encrypted in the records. I wanted to hear the sound in all its glory. That's how I became an audiophile."… Read more
How many times have you whipped out your iPhone and fired up Shazam, only to have the song end too soon to get a reading?
There's a fallback app for that: ClickOnRadio Pro, which not only streams radio in real time, but also shows real-time playlists for over 2,600 stations.
In other words, if you know the name or frequency of the station, you can easily find the song you wanted to identify. For any given station, ClickOnRadio ($1.99) shows every song that played for the past 2 hours.
(Interestingly, it lists the ads as well, which … Read more
Updated, 8:15 p.m.: I heard back from Kluivers, and without going into details, he was concerned that Apple was taking a long time to approve Lyrics--he submitted it in January, but didn't get it approved until earlier this month. Consequently, the explicit filter was made very protective, to avoid any chance of offending the App Store gatekeepers. Jelle Krins, who co-developed the app, told me of an Easter Egg that lets you turn off the filter: just scroll all the way to the bottom of the "About" screen three times, and a filter on/off … Read more