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!


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.


iTablet: Steve Jobs Checklist part II

Continuing my previous post here are further checklist items for Steve Jobs to insist on in developing and marketing the iTablet:



  • Must implement a feature that you said you would never do and make it a key feature of the device (Just like the “No Video Ipod” Video iPod). Perhaps the “Kindle is flawed because people don’t read” Ebook Reader?
  • Must remember to annoy early adopters by significantly dropping the price a month after the release, when the lines in front of the Apple store have shortened, and the shortages have ended.
  • Must assure that the iTablet is totally incompatible with previous iPhone, iPod, Mac accessories.
  • Must assure that only licensed accessories work with the iTablet.
  • Must require a new version of iTunes, that will work even worse on Windows machines (if possible!).
  • Must remember to charge $10 to future OS upgrades, and blame it on accounting.

Photo attribution

In praise of push buttons: my podcast player.

In praise of pushbuttons

In praise of push buttons: my podcast player

I use my mobile phone (iPAQ rw6828) as my podcast/music/audiobook device.

Why? Because of push buttons.

With the buttons on the phone I can:

  • play/pause and stop the track
  • skip forward (great for skipping those interminable twit ads).
  • skip back (to re-listen to a bit drowned out by traffic noise on my walks.
  • go to previous/next track
  • control the volume
  • go to the next playlist (to alternate between music/podcasts/audiobooks)
  • Toggle the touchscreen on and off

The volume/play/pase/stop/next track/previous track I can also do from my bluetooth headset.

I do have an iPod Touch but it isn’t my main podcast device because you have to fiddle with it too much to do much of the above. I am especially annoyed with the Touch bluetooth support that doesn’t include previous/next functions. Hopefully this will be fixed in a subsequent release.

My the way, the phone runs Windows Mobile OS and the great MortPlayer application

(Photo by williamli1983)

iPod Touch, Location Services, how?

I recently installed OffMaps, on my iPod Touch. OffMaps is an app that lets one download maps (it uses OpenStreetMap data) onto the device. I planned to use it simply as a way to carry a map of Montreal with me to use on my walks.

It has a “locate me” button, and it was able to locate me while I was home, in range of my home wifi. Makes sense. I know that the iPod Touch/iPhone make use of Skyhook Wireless technology that can use surrounding wifi signals for location. What surprised me was the “locate me” generally worked on my walk, away from my wifi hotspot.

I understand that the location technology makes passive use of surrounding wifi signals, and then through a database lookup is able to translate this into a latitude/longitude.

On an iPhone this lookup can be done via the data connection. My question is how this lookup can occur on an iPod touch, where there is no data connection?