You can get a lot of Blu-ray player for under $100 these days, including built-in Wi-Fi and a full suite of streaming media services to supplement your disc playing needs. If you're looking for a player that offers a reasonable selection of apps and does a good job with most discs, the LG BP530 is a decent choice. While neither the best performer nor the fastest player available this year, it also doesn't have any deal-breaking flaws. Sure, the interface is unnecessarily cluttered, there's a minor issue with some film content, and the "Private Listening" … Read more
Listen to YouTube quickly downloads your favorite songs off of YouTube, as well as YouTube videos, but its format support is limited. It only supports one major audio format and makes you pay for the full version to use the converter.
Listen to YouTube isn't just geared to music, but would work with TED talks and other lectures to make a podcast to listen to on the go. The program's installation process was clean with no alerts from our antivirus software. While its interface isn't much to look at, it is quite intuitive. By default the interface … Read more
Every now and then I get e-mails from readers who like to listen loud -- really loud. One recent one asked, "Can you recommend a nice pair of tower or bookshelf speakers capable of keeping the party going?" Well, there's loud, really loud, and there comes a point where it's so loud your neighbors call the police.
The guy's budget was limited to around $600 for a pair of speakers, so I immediately thought of Klipsch; its larger bookshelf and tower speakers can play really loud, and sound good while raising the roof.
I rang … Read more
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This week on Crave, we stand under the Listening Cloud, an LED sculpture that storms according to social-media activity. Jimmy Kimmel reveals that he's been making fake viral videos on YouTube, and a frog photobombs a NASA rocket launch. Oh yeah, and we listen to the soundtrack of outer space. All that and more on our latest episode. … Read more
Art and commerce have intersected once again in the office for the RPA ad agency. The Listening Cloud is a fluffy cumulus sculpture with LEDs embedded inside. When social-media mentions start to heat up for the ad agency's clients, the cloud storms with colorful, glowing lights.
The sculpture uses feeds from Instagram (purple lights), Twitter (blue lights), and Facebook (red lights). It can be set for a particular client, like Honda. If a post on Facebook suddenly gets an avalanche of "likes," the cloud starts flashing with red lights. It's a quick hint for the ad agency to check out what's going on and monitor the impact of new marketing campaigns.… Read more
Safety has rather become the mantra of authorities over the last few years.
Government exists, so we're told, to keep the people safe. As opposed to, say, happy, employed, strong, proud or free.
A school district in Southern California is also committed to the safety of its kids. And, given that social media sites are where kids are at these days, it's decided to keep tabs on every single public post its kids are making.
Naturally, the Glendale Unified School District doesn't have the time to do this itself. So it's hired an outside company to do its tab-keeping for it.
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While a guy plays the "Breaking Bad" theme song with gear you'd find in a meth lab, we surrender to the soothing sounds of Wikipedia as random people edit entries that get turned into audio. Also, get excited about the Ubi Interactive, which turns any surface into a touch screen. All that and much more on this week's Crave show. … Read more
What does Wikipedia sound like? That might seem like the opening line of a joke told at South by Southwest, but it's actually the basis of a new open-source project that turns Wikipedia edits into audio and animations.
Listen to Wikipedia mines data from Wikipedia's recent changes feed, turning additions into bells and subtractions into guitar strumming. The resulting audio, somewhat surprisingly, makes for the kind of soothing soundscape you might hear during a meditation class or massage. (NSFW if you want to stay awake.) The pitch changes according to the size of the edit. … Read more
This isn't just for audiophiles. I don't care what kind of speakers or headphones you have -- once you start listening, you'll hear more of what's going on in the music. The only "downside" to focused listening is that you might turn into an audiophile. Once you focus on sound, the more you'll hear, and the opposite is also true, and the music matters less and less. I usually stick to acoustic music when evaluating sound quality, but this time out I went for highly processed, totally unnatural, but beautiful sounding recordings.
"… Read more
Editors' note: This review was updated March 25, 2013, with information on how to subscribe to third-party podcasts.
Apple's Podcasts (for both iPhone and iPad) gives you a standalone app that lets you subscribe to, play, and discover podcasts from any category. The app got off to a very shaky start with several missing features, but a new update might give podcast fans some relief.
The Podcasts interface is easy to navigate. You have a Store button in the upper left where you can search the iTunes App Store for podcasts by category, most popular, and other criteria (the … Read more