Dropio has launched a new applet called Playlistio that allows users to post music to the cloud in just three clicks. According to the company, users can find the file, upload it to the cloud, and stream it anywhere they can find a Web hookup and connect to Dropio. And with the help of the company's new Apple App store application, Droppler, users can even stream their Playlistio songs through their iPhone. The free applet is available now.
MacRumors has published a report that details information about Apple once again revising iTunes App Store reviews. This time, however, Apple is wielding a big eraser.
One of the more problematic issues for iPhone developers when the App Store first opened was the fact that anyone could post an app review. No purchase was required. Negative reviews from users who had never used apps lowered rank in the App Store. However, last September, Apple's policy changed, and users could only review apps they purchased and/or downloaded.
Now according to MacRumors, Apple has made changes to some "existing … Read more
Earlier on Friday, Mufin launched its music player, which analyzes the songs in your music collection based on their audio content, rather than on human analysis or genre.
Human analysis, naturally, is subjective, and genre labeling is totally arbitrary and unreliable--I particularly hate the meaningless label "Alternative," which can apply to everything from dead-slow acoustic to fast punk; it's more about the hairstyles of the artists than the content of the music.
Once Mufin has analyzed your tunes, it can recommend similar-sounding songs from your collection. It also catalogs songs in its online database and can recommend … Read more
As an iPhone user, one of the things I've found to be increasingly irksome is the customer review system built into Apple's App Store for the iPhones and iPod Touch.
It's as basic as you get, which follows the design ethos found in the many of Apple's hardware products, such as the no-button Mighty Mouse, disappearing MacBook buttons, and I/O ports on its notebook computers and LCD displays.
While simplicity is one of the qualities that makes Apple's products more approachable for the basic user, it's something that doesn't translate well to a crowd-powered review system.
In its current state, the review system lets you very easily rate a software application from one to five stars, along with the option to write in any thoughts or feelings you have about it. This sounds great, in theory, but a good majority of the reviews found on App Store applications seem to prove otherwise.
More often than not, you'll see one-star reviews in which people are raving about the quality of an application. There are also people who give an application five stars, then go on to spend two paragraphs discussing how often it crashes and larger off-topic issues like international pricing and the handset's lack of a copy-and-paste feature. You also get a lot of comments written in ALL CAPS, with lines of Emoji icons, colored stars, and superfluous exclamation marks.
In every sense, it's like the Wild West: untamed and full of interesting characters.
To Apple's credit, on Friday, the company (as promised) removed reviews from customers who had not purchased the application they were reviewing. This may cut down on spam and ill-conceived or written reviews, but it's not a big step in improving how the review system works.
Problematic by design The problem stems from the fact that Apple has treated software reviews with the same level of simplicity it's approached movie and music reviews. These two mediums are not interactive, nor do they have hangups like development schedules and performance issues.
While you can rate an album or music track based on your enjoyment of it, it's not speaking to a truth about frame rate jitters, buggy code, or a developer who has not put out a necessary update in six months--all things you may find in iPhone applications and that can be good to know before plunking down money on a purchase.
One reason there's a lack of these types of clarifications in user reviews is that Apple has fragmented its reviews system based on platform. Mobile users don't get the same quality of review browsing as those using iTunes do. For instance, when viewing user reviews in iTunes, you get the option to flag a bad review and say whether it was helpful. You can also sort by best and worst reviews, along with the most helpful and recent.
On the iPhone, users have none of these options. In fact, there's currently only one way to view reviews--in chronological order. For a device that's slowly gaining independence from having to sync up with a computer (as seen in recent improvements to podcast downloading on the device), this is troubling.
A better system There are a three things Apple could do, explicitly to software application reviews, that would beef up the system and make reviews really matter to the potential customers who read them. All three can be found on Amazon.com, which has done a really fantastic job of creating a single ratings system that works on multiple genres of products:… Read more
Microsoft's legal team got a workout this week.
Microsoft filed two separate patent infringement actions against GPS navigation company TomTom. In complaints before the U.S. District Court in Washington and the International Trade Commission, Microsoft is alleging infringement of eight patents.
In an interview, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that the software giant has been trying to start licensing talks with TomTom for more than a year.
"They basically never were prepared to have a discussion with us with respect to licensing terms," Gutierrez said.
Although Microsoft has been on the receiving end of … Read more
As if 240Hz, 1080p/24 compatibility and contrast ratios in the millions aren't confusing enough, get ready for more product differentiation in the LCD TV space: two different kinds of LED lighting schemes. On one hand are relatively tried-and-true "local dimming" LED-based LCDs, which generally give great picture. In the other are "edge-lit" LED-based LCDs, which if the new Sony KLV-40ZX1M ($3,999) is any indication, do not.
We're sure the distinction won't stop marketers from trying to equate the two, however, and simply call them all "LED TVs," expecting consumers to assume that all LED-based LCDs give great picture. In fact, one company, Samsung, has already said it wants to create a separate "LED TV" category to differentiate the more-expensive, higher-tech-sounding sets from their lowly fluorescent-backlit cousins.
Also, who knows, maybe Samsung's upcoming edge-lit models, namely the 6000, 7000, and 8000 series HDTVs announced at CES, will perform better than the Sony KLV-40ZX1M we just reviewed. Lighter black levels and imperfect uniformity hampered its picture--as you might expect, the edges of the picture were brighter than the middle (go figure!). It sure looks cool though.
Tibesti on Wednesday launched the beta of its "social shopping destination," a site filled with consumer product reviews. There are, of course, a lot of consumer reviews sites, and there have been since the Web started. What sets Tibesti apart, slightly, is the way it pays users back for creating reviews.
If you review a product on Tibesti that hasn't been covered before, and someone then buys it by following a link on the site, you get half the commission that Tibisti earns. For this, Tibesti is channeling data from affiliate aggregators Commission Junction and Linkshare. These … Read more
I've been reading good buzz about Spotify for several months now, but the noise seems to have reached a fever pitch with recent coverage by music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz and Sunday's announcement that the new U2 album, "No Line on the Horizon," is available on Spotify in several European countries right now--a week before its official worldwide release date of March 2.
Some quick background: the promise of Spotify is music, on-demand, from any computer with an Internet connection. Which sounds a lot like Rhapsody, Napster, Microsoft's Zune Pass, or any other of the … Read more
There's been a lot of anticipation about what Amazon would do for an encore to its much-hyped e-book reader, the Kindle, and now that it's finally here we can say that the Kindle 2 is about what we expected it to be. Talk of it being a huge leap forward or going from generation one to generation five in one fell swoop was really, well, just talk.
In reality, the Kindle 2 is a nice upgrade over the original Kindle; yes, it leaves off a couple of key items--most importantly removable memory and a protective carrying case--but it … Read more
It's rare that I find myself struggling to say bad things about a product. Most times, any negatives a product has are painfully obvious. While the Dell SP2309W isn't perfect, its $329 price leaves an apoplectic taste in my mouth as I struggle to determine just how Dell was able to pack so much into such a low-priced package.
It's feature-rich, offers a great performance, has a super-high 2048x1152 resolution, HDMI and DVI connections, a 2-megapixel camera, screen height adjustability, the ability to tilt the screen completely horizontally, a customizable and unique onscreen display; 360-degree rotation; multiple … Read more