For people who are really serious about audio quality--generally referred to as audiophiles--the majority of ultraportable headphones on the market just aren't going to cut it. It's this fact that gives companies like Klipsch a very compelling reason to make something like the Image X10i. This sleek, in-ear headset will set you back $350, but for that pretty penny, you'll get exceptional sound quality and plenty of compelling extras. However, potential buyers should know right off the bat that this type of investment is only truly justifiable if you listen to mainly lossless or very high-quality audio … Read more
Apple introduced iTunes on January 9, 2001, but it wasn't that big a deal; world domination took years to fully develop. I admired the effort, and Apple figured out a way to get people to pay for downloaded music. That's a good thing.
My biggest problem with iTunes is that it doesn't sound as good as a CD or LP, and Apple hasn't even bothered to offer high-resolution FLAC downloads for those who care about sound quality. No, Apple instead spearheaded the race to the bottom for sound quality. Worse yet, you can sometimes buy the CD for less than the price of the iTunes album; I paid $7.99 for the new Spoon CD, "Transference," on Amazon.
Why would anyone pay more for lower-quality sound? Or why does iTunes regularly charge the same price; downloads should always be a lot cheaper than physical product, shouldn't they? I guess not; buyers happily pay a premium for instant gratification. I don't get it.
So I'm left wondering, would CD sales have tanked if iTunes never appeared? Maybe Tower Records and a lot of great local record stores would still be around. I don't know about you, but I discovered tons of great music in small, neighborhood record stores. In NYC it was easy to score great deals on used CDs, at lower prices than on iTunes.
Maybe that's what I find so unpalatable about iTunes, the way it crushed the retail side of the record biz. In the pre-iTunes era you probably bought your tunes in your town, didn't you? … Read more
Cute. Clever. Whimsical. No, no, I'm not talking about me, but how sweet of you to think that! I'm referring to ForkedUpArt's iPhone stands made of forks and spoons. I think the photos speak for themselves; these things are just adorable.
(Um, did I just use "sweet" and "adorable" in the same paragraph? I meant to say "killer" and "bitchin'." There, manhood restored.)
There are any number of ways to childproof your PC, to rope off the objectionable areas of the Internet. But what about the kids' iPhones and iPod Touches? Safari offers no parental controls to speak of, no filtering or monitoring or search guards.
Enter Mobicip Safe Browser ($4.99), which offers a familiar Web interface, but with a raft of protections designed to keep kids safe.
The app looks and functions almost exactly like Safari, so there's almost no learning curve for kids already accustomed to the built-in browser (which, FYI, you can lock out by venturing into Settings &… Read more
Maybe it's an American thing; we love big stuff. We equate size with quality, and think that exquisitely designed, silly, expensive products are always better than more affordable alternatives. Is the new iPod always better than last year's model? Then again, how do you define "better"?
A lot of audiophiles believe more watts, more power, higher digital sampling rates, higher resolution, heavier turntable platters, speakers with more drivers, bigger drivers, or more channels of sound will always produce better sound. It ain't necessarily so.
Don't get me wrong, I love high-end audio. But I … Read more
It's been far too long between visits, but CNET reporter Caroline McCarthy is back in New York and joins our sewing circle today on The 404 Podcast. Lately it's been difficult to track down our favorite jet-setter, so Caroline's Dopplr feed comes in handy for locating her.
We start things off with a chat about Caroline's recent travels and why "Up in the Air" brought tears to her eyes. CMC tells us about her two favorite airlines and the luxurious amenities offered to those special travelers who can somehow find a way to sneak in to the executive lounge. We had no idea airports have showers, and we're starting to scheme on how we can match her frequent flier miles.
On the topic of movies, movie-goers might be thrilled or crushed to hear that a "Zoolander" sequel is in the works. Ben Stiller and writer Justin Theroux are both back for the next movie, but my fellow hosts are disappointed to learn that Jonah Hill is close to getting signed to play the villain.
More disappointing news: Owen Wilson has yet to confirm his reprisal of Hansel, who might or might not be so hot right now. However, the entire conversation gets derailed when Caroline drops a bomb on the studio and makes a polarizing comparison to the original "Zoolander" that has Jeff reaching for the mute button.
Caroline also tells us about the wacky citizens of Topeka, Kan., unofficially changing the city's name to "Google" in a sell-out move to be the first city to test Google's fiber-optic technology. As pathetic as it sounds, I guess anything is better than ToPikachu. Also, a side note: you need to click this to witness Caroline's master MS Paint skills. Who needs Photoshop?
The big story in the tech and entertainment world today is "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" getting yanked from Hulu after the two couldn't reach an agreement over extended rights from Comedy Central and its parent company, Viacom. Fans of the shows can still watch full episodes on comedycentral.com, but Wilson and Caroline have their own predictions for their final destinations.EPISODE 529 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
The world of universal remotes, IR blasters, and signal repeaters is an automated, macho technoscape of high-priced components and intimidating remote controls. But if the complexities (or price) of something like Logitech's mind-blowing Harmony 900 super remote are more likely to induce a panic attack than a stream of drool, a $49 adapter made for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad might be a more ideal match for you.
The RedEye Mini boils down the essential hardware components of a universal remote control into an inch-long plastic tube that fits in your headphone jack. Remote navigation features such as … Read more
We have no idea what today's show title means, so we're happy to welcome Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg back on the show to spell it out for us. He's also here to officially kick off "The Audiophillie Music Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound" contest! Read Steve's blog on the contest here. Keep in mind that this is not "American Idol," so entries won't be judged by musical talent, but on the quality of the recording itself. This is your chance to prove your recording skills and promote your favorite unsigned band, so submit your entry on a CD and you'll be entered to win a pair of Monster Turbine Copper or Monster Turbine Gold in-ear headphones!
Click here for official rules and entry form (must complete and send along with CD). The contest ends on April 17, so good luck everyone!
The phrase "private Web browsing" has always been a bit of an oxymoron, but a new site called Have Your Friends Been There? threatens to broadcast your NSFW surfing to your closest friends and family. We're not exactly sure how it works, but the site works like this: you create a customized list of "naughty" Web sites, HYFBT generates a link that you can send to friends, and you wait for the results to come in, essentially catching your friends in the act. Think before you click on random URLs and don't forget to clear your history, people!
We've got plenty more to talk about in today's rundown, including a wrap-up of last night's spectacular hockey game, an update on the massive PSN meltdown and a segment we like to call, "What the hell did Justin do in his sleep last night?"
Finally, our hearts go out to the victims of the Chilean earthquake, and we urge all our listeners to join us in donating money to help. It's super easy; just text "Chile" to 25383 for Habitat for Humanity, 20222 for World Vision, 85944 for the International Medical Corp, or 52000 for the Salvation Army, and your $10 donation will automatically get added to your monthly phone bill.EPISODE 527 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Music theory is a stumbling block for many amateur and would-be professional musicians. Major and minor scales are basic, and pentatonics and harmonic minors come up a lot in certain types of rock music, but when it comes to the modes, everything starts to sound like Greek--literally. (Modes are basically a major scale from one key played in a different key, and many have Greek names like Dorian and Phrygian.) If you're forming your first punk band, you probably don't care. But if you want to play with more sophisticated musicians, you have to know your scales and … Read more
Although iPhone and Android users download and spend time using about the same number of applications, iPhone users are more apt to buy one, according to a report released Thursday by AdMob.
Among mobile-device consumers surveyed by AdMob for its "January 2010 Metrics Report," 50 percent of all iPhone users and 35 percent of iPod Touch owners purchase at least one app a month. Those numbers compare with 24 percent of Palm's WebOS owners and 21 percent of Android users who buy at least one app each month. Results did not include Research In Motion's BlackBerry.
iPod Touch owners seem to be the heaviest downloaders in general, grabbing an average of 12 apps per month, versus iPhone and Android users who download 9 apps a month. WebOS users overall download only around 6 apps per month, which may be due in large part to the scarcity of available apps.
Touch owners are also the heaviest users, spending an average of 100 minutes each month using their apps, compared with WebOS users at 87 minutes, Android users at 80 minutes, and iPhone users at 79 minutes.… Read more