iPhone 4S: a catastrophe in the making :)

The iPhone 4S will surely be a success for Apple but it will be a disaster for everybody else:

Fact: The typical iPhone (and other Apple product) owner feels the need to flaunt their new and shiny device to all and sundry.

Fact: The new iPhone 4S looks identical to the old iPhone 4, so waving it around has lost its cachet (you might be a pretender simply waving your old phone around). How lame is that?

Fact: The one way to distinguish old and new is the Siri Voice Assistant.

Sad Fact 1: It will be necessary for iPhone 4S owners to continually ask their phones about the time and the weather, etc. etc. whenever they are at Starbucks, on the train or in the subway.

Sad Fact 2: Deprived iPhone 4 owners will need to obtain voice recognition apps like Voice Assistant or Vlingo so that they can talk to their phones too!

Sad Fact 3: Not to be outdone, Android phone people will start using Android’s voice recognition capablities in public too.

A cacophonous catastrophe in the making.

Photo Attribution: Witer

On Being a Contrarian

There are wo types of contrarians: the kind that makes you rich and the kind that makes you poor. Unfortuanately I’m the latter kind.

Resuming a podcast playlist on an iPod Touch

I like to listen to podcasts on my iPod Touch on my walks. I also like to listen to music and to alternate between music and podcasts. On my previous podcast/listening solution (MortPlayer running on a Windows Mobile phone) you could alternate between two playlists, and the app would remember the track/position they left off and resume there when you returned to listening to that track. With the iPod, no such luck.

When you return to a playlist on the iPod touch however, you must select the particular podcast track (though it does resume properly from the point you left off). You are given some guidance:  the previously played podcast is marked with a small speaker symbol, but to resume that podcast, you must search for it and select it.

A solution is smart playlists together with live updating.  With these, you can cause an already-played podcast to disappear from the playlist. This assures that the interrupted podcast (the first one not completely played) is always at the top of the playlist so you can select it relatively easily.

Podcast Smart Playlist

The solution is not perfect. Podcasts have been listened to  drop off the playlist. You can’t then easily go back to relisten to a podcast once it has been deleted from the list.

Note: An iTunes bug prevented the live updating feature from working properly in some older version of iTunes (I am using on Windows with success).

I’ve recently subscribed to Slacker for my music fix. Because running slacker does not modify my iPod playlist, perhaps I can eliminate the live updating feature, and just click on “now playing” to get back to my podcasts. I’ll have to try that.

Photo Attribution

Slacker Radio available in Canada!

A bit of old news. In browsing the Internet I came across the fact that Slacker Radio is available in Canada (It has been available in Canada since mid January). It is a service like Pandora, where you can specify a song or artist and the service will form a “radio station” with similar music.

The cool part for me is that I can use theri  iPod Touch app, and via WiFi at home I can cache the radio station on my iPod and listen to it offline. I can then use it to listen to music on my walks.

Even better, at least with iOS 4 on my iPod Touch, the play/pause on my bluetooth stereo heeadset works with this app!

Bluetooth Blues…AVRCP aggravation

I’ve got a bluetooth dongle connected to a Windows XP machine that I wish to use with Stereo Bluetooth headphones. The audio works fine. It is the remote control functionality that I have issues with:

  • If I play a CD using the old version of Windows Media Player that comes with XP, no problem at all. I can pause the track, go to the next/previous tracks all using the controls on the bluetooth headphones.
  • This same functionality does not work with iTunes, nor the Zune software, nor any flash player on a website.

I want to use an app (iTunes or Zune, or perhaps some other) to play podcasts around the house and the pause function would be most helpful. But so far no luck.

I wonder if I am doing something wrong or that is just the way it is…

Podcasts to audiobook conversion: A wish

I wish there was a service that would allow me to subscribe to a number of podcasts and combine the recent releases of each into multiple chapters of an audiobook that I could transfer to my iPod Touch.

This would allow me to take advantage of the bookmarking feature of audiobooks. I like to pause playing my podcasts to listen to music, and then get back to my podcasts at the point I left off.

I imagine that what most people do is toy around with smart playlists. Perhaps I need to read some best-practices or how-to documents to see what the iPod fanboys do.

iPhone media playback…Remote Pause function…Puzzling Behavior


Is this a bug or nasty feature? I first noticed this using my Bluetooth stereo headset:

In the middle of listening to a podcast in iTunes (streaming, not downloaded) , I paused it. Then went to the home screen and pressed Music, selected and started playing the music I wanted to listen to. Then, if I hit pause on my Bluetooth headset, the music paused, but then the podcast started playing. From that point on the pause button would alternately pause and start playing the podcast.

To resume the music again, I’d have to go to the touchscreen and press the play button. And of course, pressing the pause button again on the headset would again stop the music and immediately resume the podcast.

To stop this unwanted behavior, I have to go into iTunes and press “Done”.

The same behavior occurred using the button on my Griffin SmartTalk microphone/wired headset adaptor plugged into the earphone jack (and am assuming the same behavior occurs using the Apple-supplied earbuds/mic combination).

Note: I experienced this behavior using my iPod Touch second generation with 3.0 software. I am assuming the iPhone behaves the similarly.

I’m curious if anybody else has experienced this.