RSS

Tag Archives: apple

iTunes Matching followup #1

iTunes Music Match is a service offered by Apple to extend their reach into the music business even further than before. If you’re old enough, you may remember that there is another company called Apple, Apple Corps, in the music business. If you need a hint, think of the illustration in the center of your Beatles albums – one side was a green apple, the other was of the same apple sliced in half.

Would you rather install your program from a floppy disk or a cassette tape?

Would you rather install your program from a floppy disk or a cassette tape?

Back in 1978, Apple Corps sued Apple Computers over the name and finally settled in 1981 with a payment to Apple Corps and an agreement that Apple Computers would not enter the music market. At the time, apple was selling the Apple II Plus with coming with a whopping 48k of memory installed.

By way of understanding what 48k can hold, one minute of CD quality music runs about 1MB – compressed. The ability to play something as awesome as the Mario Brothers theme music was still a good four years away.

So, safe bet, Apple.

Music did, however, enter the picture eventually. In 2001, Apple launched a music management service you may have heard of. They called it iTunes, and 14 years later, almost everyone is still using it.

But I’m getting distracted. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that iTunes music match might be the best way for my family to manage our bloated and fragmented music collections. I was dubious.

I’ve had time to play with it a bit now and I thought it was a good time to check in. One thing Apple is known for is simplicity, unfortunately, iTunes is becoming so large, and managing so many types of media that this does get in the way of clarity. The other

click this image for The Atlantic's article on what made Clippy such a hated icon

Click this image for The Atlantic’s article on what made Clippy such a hated icon

con is that Apple Music is a separate service that provides instant access to a wealth of music following a model something more like Pandora or Spotify. I didn’t want that service, but I do find that Apple keeps asking me, “Is this what you’re looking for! Sign up for a three month trial today!” Frankly, that’s almost as annoying as Microsoft’s Clippy.

The cons break down to clarity. But a little bit of intuition and practice worked that out for me.

The pros are that every machine in our household now has access to our combined music collection. Further, each computer doesn’t have to duplicate this file space in its own storage because as long as you have an internet connection, you can stream anything in your library. If you expect that you won’t have internet, or you want to go on the road and not be hit with data limitations, you can download anything from the library to any of your devices and have it there when you need it later.

One thing I still have not figured out is an easy way to combine your music libraries in a way that eliminates duplicate files and makes it easier to get all of your music ‘Matched.’ There are third party organizers that will do this for you – some of them quite well (Wondershare TunesGo is one example), but having paid once to get your music organized, it’s not an attractive option to pay twice.Recall that my primary reason for subscribing to iTunes Match is to organize and combine our family’s music in one place that we can all access.

It’s entirely possible that Apple has solved this last problem already and I just don’t know it – however, that’s another problem in itself.

If Apple could help with the organization (perhaps have a ‘load library’ function where you can simply point to the various libraries you wish to add?) and make the iTunes Match a bit more distinct a function from Apple Music, I would become a hardcore fan. Presently, I would say, proceed with caution and know what you’re getting into. On a scale of 1-10, I call iTunes Match a 7.5, with a possibility of jumping up to 10 with a few tweaks.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Another Semester Ends .. A quick note

Suddenly, the end of every semester rushes in surprising me with how little time is left to finish the material I wanted to cover. As with any semester, I could have used more time. Despite reaching the end of my syllabi, I could easily have used another week or more to fully cover that material for each class.

But done is done. All in all, I’d call it a good semester.

But what’s next?

My next semester brings a return of Microbiology, where I will again try to sit material from the front end of the course in order to have more time to cover immunology at the end.

I will also be teaching Ecology. This will be a first time for me doing this class, so I expect it to be interesting. My ideal is a discussion-based class where we do a bunch of reading, maybe watch a film or two and then talk through the big ideas. Because I expect us to spend a good amount of time talking about evolution, we will be reading Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, and follow his blog for some spontaneous talk about evolution and related topics (like cats).

Image

HHMI’s Earth Viewer complements readings from Shubbin’s Your Inner Fish

In the meantime, I’ve been invited to speak on the use of technology in the classroom- featuring my use of the iPad to present an interactive handbook, apps that go along with course material, games (and/ or gamification) as learning tools and other online resources like HHMI, NobelPrize.org or iTunes Course Manager.

I look forward to the opportunity to find out what others are doing in this area and maybe even find collaborators to help put together even better materials.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

iOS7

ImageiOS7 is here. It’s strange and new and transforms the experience of the iPhone into something drastically newer, as opposed to the iterative changes the iOS has been going though since its inception.

Part of me dislikes the new look, but like anyone who has ‘drank the Apple juice,’ I’m more than willing to give Jonathan Ives’ new design a chance. In fact, I already like it more now than I did several hours ago when I first downloaded it (ps – I’m a little peeved that I was not able to download the beta earlier through the developer program … i have to look into that to see what’s going on). Mostly, I’m impressed by the way that the OS itself has incorporated so many new gestures that bring up new screens and control panels. It does a lot to bring more functions closer to a ‘one touch’ feel.

I expect a lot of users will be up in arms by the weekend demanding that Apple restore their old OS, but I say, ‘To hell with ’em.’ Apple is a walled garden that we’ve all bought into. I say jump in and enjoy the new surroundings.

Skip over to Mat Honen’s article at Wired and get a walkthrough of some new features (and some gushy praise)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Now What?

A number of software development courses, such as Codecademy or even traditional university classes, prepares the student to solve problems using their language of choice, but leaves them unprepared to go to the next step.  This next step is to take what you have created and fold it into something free-standing and usable; Something you can share with friends; Something attractively packaged.

My own dilemma is that I have been taking classes and practicing programming C++ on my mac using XCode as my IDE. Now that I have actually created something (a personal summertime project between classes), I want a good way to present my work. Something more attractive and user friendly than the Terminal environment I currently have.

According to apple, my next step is Cocoa. But, what is Cocoa?

Apple defines Cocoa as “Cocoa is an application environment for both the OS X operating system and iOS, the operating system used on Multi-Touch devices such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.” Which could be meaningful… but not very descriptive to me.

Image

                            Hot Cocoa

For anyone familiar with Apple lore, Cocoa was first introduced as NeXTSTEP in 1989: A product of Steve Jobs’ successor company NexT. “You can use several programming languages when developing Cocoa software, but the essential, required language is Objective-C … You can even mix C++ code with your Cocoa code and link the compiled code into the same executable.”  It is this last phrase that gives me hope that I can figure out how to possibly use the work I have don’t so far and weave it (somehow) together with cocoa to add a friendlier appearance to my work. Furthermore, it looks like I could also use Ruby or Python with Cocoa, two languages that I have been working with and find to be somewhat less awkward at times than C++.

So, how to actually put this together: C++ and Cocoa?

            -I’ve been sifting through resources for a couple days now trying to identify some starting point to this without much luck.

-Perhaps this is the wrong way to go about using my C++ code, but is there another way?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

C++ coding in XCode

For some reason it took me forever to figure out how to use XCode as a C++ compiler. Recently, I figured it out and have worked on several projects without incident. 

I needed a compiler to use on my mac because I am currently taking a class on C++ algorithms that uses Microsoft Visual run on Windows. Not surprisingly, Visual doesn’t run on OSX (and it’s frankly too much effort and processing power to install windows on my mac and then run Visual through that. – possible, but unwieldy.) 

Frankly, once I started using Xcode for C++. I realized that it’s both simpler and better than Visual anyway. Especially for a new user: I’d rather spend my time and energy working in C++ than trying to figure out a complex compiler. So, without further ado…

Protocol:

1. Install XCode on your machine (it’s huge, so plan accordingly)

2. Open XCode and select File > New Project.

3. Select ‘Command Line Tool’ from OSX > Application

Image

4. Give your New Project a name

Image

5. Click Next and select a location to save your file (desktop / developer folder/ etc.)

Image

6.Your New Project will open and you just need to select main.cpp to get the familiar ‘hello world’ skeleton program.

Image

7. I erase the skeleton and replace it with a simple :

int main(){

return 0;

}

and start from there. 

8. In order to to compile and run your program, select Program > Build, correct any errors and Build again if necessary. Then hit the play button in the upper left corner of your window to run the program (intuitive is nice, isn’t it?)

Your program will run, giving you an output window at the bottom of the main window. You may need to click on that window in order to provide input if your program requires it.

I hope this helps you speed along to programming quicker and with less hunting than I had to do. I don’t know why I even tried to find something outside of XCode to start with.  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Christmas Eve

Staying up late on Christmas eve to wrap presents while watching ‘Sixteen Candles’ brings memories of years gone by. 

Merry Christmas to all!

 

Image

Mac Classic

Here’s a blast from the past:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Beware

I just walked into an Apple store for a few minutes while I was getting a coffee next-door. I have to warn you NOT to go to an Apple store right now unless you want to buy an iPad Mini or iPhone5. I took some time to play with these devices and wish I hadn’t. 

On the plus side, my 2 yr contract with Verizon runs out in January, which will make it possible for me to upgrade to the new iPhone.

On the minus side – that seems too long to wait now. But even more tragic is that the iPad Mini is too damn cool. Having held one in my hands, it pained me to put it down and walk away. They work exactly like an iPad, but let’s be honest – it’s just a better size: Big enough to get a ‘full screen experience’ (it also loads iBooks that don’t run on iPhones – like mine.) but small enough to thumb-type easily a la iPhone.

-crap… gotta run. 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,