Writer’s block is not awesome. Yes, it’s used as an excuse a bit too often, but it can get in the way of creativity and deadlines in equal measure. Muser‘s an iPad app with a deck based design that will throw up ideas for you to use in your stories. It’s available in the App Store now for $2.99.
Internet Radio has been around for longer than you think. I can remember tuning into some American stations way back in 1995 courtesy of Real Audio’s player. I couldn’t stay online for long because I was on a metered ISDN line, but it was amazing listening to that station and its adverts and traffic reports.
More than 17 years later and now the vast majority of broadcasters transmit their shows online as well as over-the-air. There are also specialised Internet-only radio stations and you may even find that you can get some stations unmetered over your broadband connection. Sure you’ve got Spotify, Pandora, Last.FM and Google Music offering their services too, but proper managed radio shows remain the easiest way of listening to music you love and discovering new songs.
So the question is – what’s the best way of listening to these stations? Now it’s worth pointing out that iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Banshee can all play streaming radio stations, but we’re not interested in some bloated media centre behemoth hogging memory and CPU cycles – we’re after something specialised, lightweight and flexible. These are the three best Internet radio players for Mac, Windows and Linux.
Screamer Radio has two things going against it. Firstly, it has a stupid name and secondly it has an interface only a mother could love. Neither of these things detract from that fact that Screamer is far and away the best Internet Radio player for Windows and we shall just have to accept the name and the interface in the name of quality and flexibility.
Unlike some other radio player applications for Windows, Screamer comes fully equipped with one of the most comprehensive lists of stations I’ve ever seen. These have been divided into four sections – Categories (Dance, Rock, Hip-Hop, News etc.), Country, Foreign Language and Network. So for instance if you wanted to listen to the Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 (and why wouldn’t you!) you can find the station in Network > BBC and in Country > UK. If you listen to a particular station a lot, add it as a favourite for speedy access.
Amongst Screamer’s other tricks are recording (it’ll record individual tracks or blocks of time and can even be set up to record on a schedule), lossless audio encoding and basic audio effects. It’s incredibly easy to use, comes fully loaded with all the stations you’ve need from install and can be minimised to the System Tray for easy access. Yes, the interface is very plain, but that also makes it very simple to use. I’ll take Screamer over iTunes any day of the week.
If I’d been writing this article six months ago, then I’d have chosen RadioShift as the best Mac Internet radio player thanks to its massive TuneIn powered database of over 100,000 listings. Unfortunately Rogue Amoeba have ceased development of that app and so while it’ll continue to work for existing owners, everyone else will have to look elsewhere. That means that Radium is currently the best Mac radio player you can buy.
Radium lives in the menu bar for ready access to all your stations. It doesn’t come pre-loaded with stations – you need to search for them and then add them as favourites. This cuts down on clutter and listings for stations and shows you’ll never listen to, but it means you need to be a bit more pro-active at discovering listening sources. You can search for station names, country, city, language or genre and then click on a search result to listen or add it to your favourites.
Amongst Radium’s neater features are full AirPlay support, social network sharing, customisable shortcuts, Apple remote support and an equaliser. There’s also an awesome history feature which lists all the songs you’ve listened to online in the past and enables you to listen to them again or buy them on iTunes. Radium’s an awesome little radio player, always at hand thanks to its menu bar interface and surprisingly powerful once you start exploring it.
There isn’t a massive amount of variety for Linux users when it comes to listening to Internet radio (with the caveat that media players Banshee and Amarok will do this) but it only takes one good app and everything’s sorted. That’s definitely the case with Radio Tray, which takes its design cues from Radium and serves as a simple and reliable radio player for all Linux users.
I installed Radio Tray via Ubuntu Software Centre, but you can grab the tarball or Ubuntu distributable from the website if you want a direct download. It’s a tiny application that sits in the system tray and has to be configured manually with radio stations. Stations can be grouped in categories and are added directly via URL. It’s a bit of a pain in the arse adding all your stations manually, but you only need to do it once.
Radio Tray can play most streaming audio formats, including PLS, M3U, ASX, WAX and WVX formats. That selection encompasses pretty much every streaming broadcaster meaning it’s unlikely that you’ll find a station that the app can’t play. Audio quality was great, with swift connection to audio sources and a cool notifier on-screen showing station and song information.
If you don’t want to install an app to listen to your radio then it’s perfectly easy to do it directly within the browser. Most radio stations have their own feeds on their homepages, but if you want a comprehensive list of stations and shows then TuneIn is where you should look. You can search for stations worldwide at TuneIn and listen to shows directly in your browser using the site’s Flash/Sliverlight powered player.
Shoutcast have been serving up streaming audio for nearly as long as the format has existed and they’re still going strong. They offer 50,461 right in the browser and supply good listening to over half a million people daily. Finally, there’s RadioPaq provide access to radio station worldwide.
Hövding is an ‘invisible’ helmet for bicyclists. It utilises similar technology to cars to compute when a cyclist has been involved in an accident and deploy accordingly. It inflates in 0.1 seconds and provides full protection for the head by inflating an eveloping shroud using a cold gas inflator full of helium. It’s available now and the fashion conscious cyclist will be pleased to hear that the protective collar will be available in a range of trendy styles.
It wouldn’t make much sense running this particular app on anything less than an iPad, because your intended audience would probably need their reading glasses to see it. Letterboard enables you to create the kind of signs the limo and taxi drivers hold up at the arrivals lounge at airports. It’s classy, simple and undoubtedly easier to read than Sharpie on cardboard.
I‘ve always loved flip clocks – there’s something so very comforting about that old analog action and its coolness can even survive being transformed into an iPad app. There are plenty of flippy-number clock apps on the App Store, but I reckon FlipTime XL is the best one and the ideal app to have running on your iPad when you plug it into that fancy desktop dock of yours.
The Cobra Tag neatly tackles two first-world problems in one go. Firstly it functions as a proximity alarm, reminding you when you’ve left your keys, bag, infant child (or whatever else you tag) on the bus. Secondly it can be used to locate your missing items by sending out an alert sound when you trigger it. The whole system is controlled from an Android or Blackberry app called PhoneHalo. It’s available now for $79USD.
Whisper, “Someone who loves you,” to your ice cubes as they slowly melt in your glass of Scotch thanks to this pretty awesome ice cube tray. The Han Solo Carbonite Silicon Tray is a rubbery silicon tray that can be used for ice, jelly or chocolate to create your very own deep freeze Solos. We particularly liked the first review of this product on Amazon, which said, “I was under the impression it would hold molten carbonite as it states clearly in the title this is a CARBONITE MOLD and it’s very poorly constructed for this purpose. Secondly, it’s SMALL. No, you can’t put people in it it’s a stupid ice tray so maybe if you shrunk people down it would work. Extremely disappointed. But I guess it makes ice, whatever.”
VW have made some of my favourite cars over the years. I was an obsessive Beetle owner (I owned three) and always had a soft spot for the Golf. However nothing comes close to the awe and majesty that is the Aqua Concept – a car so cool that they’d turn Spy Who Loved Me era Roger Moore away at the dealership. The Aqua’s two motors are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell meaning it has zero carbon emissions and it features four fans and integrated airbags that inflate to make it hover.
Picked up a set of these Cable Drop cable tidies from Amazon because, despite the fact that I’ve got a relatively cable-free Macbook Pro setup, my desk was disappearing beneath a spaghetti of intertwined leads.
Love this one. The BioLite is a neat little camping stove that can run off pretty much any fuel source (including leaves or pine cones) and also generates enough power (5V) to juice up a device connected to it by USB. Genius. And only $129.
The guys over at ThinkGeek are selling this cool iPad-friendly laser keyboard. The projected QWERTY keyboard enables you to type on any surface without having to lug a full size keyboard around with you. It’s $179USD and available now.
This little sampler is a great idea for recording your musical inspiration as it occurs to you. It uses an iPhone or iPod running a special app to enable looped recording, beat creation and song development. You can add effects, record live and thanks to multitouch even launch up to four instruments at once. PocketLoops is $79USD.
We live in exciting times. Once the domain of the homebrew hacker, 3D printers are now becoming mainstream items. Cubify illustrates my point nicely – it’s a stunning 3D printer designed specifically for home use that enables you to knock up a variety of objects in sizes up to 140 x 140 x 140mm. It’s available now for $1300.
HydraCoach; calculates your need for hydration (don't know if I need this but it's a nifty gadget).
This is a hybrid bike with not only exceptional performance but stunning aesthetics as well. The motor power and battery capacity is well over the industry standard and a truly futuristic look will sure attract some eyeballs around you. The Terminus is the ultimate trail-machine for the ones who appreciate the best availa
Camalien LED concept watch changes its colors depending on your surroundings - Designers Peter and Sam have come up with a concept watch they’ve dubbed the Camalien. It’s an LED watch with a sleek design that also comes with a camera built into it that will record your surroundings and will change the watch’s color accordingly. | #Design #Watches |