iTunes is the ubiquitous application for those playing music on a Mac and for those that own an iPod, iPhone or iPad. Unfortunately for Apple, iTune's has as many detractors as supporters these days but this wasn't always the case.
In attempting to be an app of all trades iTunes has almost alienated itself from its original remit of being a digital Jukebox and become a behemoth of code which has been cropped, padded and modified to handle other functionality such as the iTunes Music Store, The App Store, video playback and iDevice synchronisation (which includes calendars, photos, bookmarks etc.). Even the recent change to solid state storage in iPods has had a negative affect by reducing the amount of storage space available to you when you're on the go. If you owned an iPod Classic this wasn't an issue as you had anywhere up to 160GB of space to play with and could carry around either your whole music collection or at least a part of it.
As someone with a considerable iTunes library (300GB+ / 34,000+ tracks) I was often annoyed by the limitations of my wonderful yet measly 8GB iPod touch and I quickly realised that I had to think smarter about how I handle my content within iTunes. The answer was iTune's Smart Playlists.
Now you may have used smart playlists before (they've been around since iTunes 3.0) but most likely you've used them for a quick compilation of tunes you wanted to throw together (a playlist of "Rock' music for example) or you haven't used them at all. Now, on the surface that's what they appear to have been designed for, however, for those with large iTunes libraries and/or limited iPod capacity they can be much more powerful. Let me show you how.
The playlist below is set up to only select tracks which have a 5-star rating and haven't been played in the last week. The number of tracks within the playlist has also been limited to 5GB. For me this is important due to limited space on my iPod touch.
The benefits of this playlist are that any music I have listened to on my iTunes at home (within the last 7 days) is not included on my iPod (meaning I'm not listening to the same tracks all the time) and when I synchronise my iPod the tracks I've listened to will be removed and subsequently replaced within the playlist with fresh tracks which will then synchronise back to my iPod. This keeps my iPod freshly stocked with music I know I'll like but haven't listened to recently.
The Fun Theory or How Can We Make The Mundane Fun?
The Fun Theory is taking something which we never really think of as fun and making it so! It's an interesting insight into human physiology and behaviour.
My favourite is the stairs video which didn't win although I think it should have! But that's my opinion; have a look below and see what you think!
Take ten minutes out, have a giggle and leave a comment! (turn your speakers on)
”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do?
The winning idea of the fun theory award, submitted by Kevin Richardson, USA. Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do? This was the question Kevin’s idea answered and it was so good that Volkswagen, together with The Swedish National Society for Road Safety, actually made this innovative idea a reality in Stockholm, Sweden.
To throw rubbish in the bin instead of onto the floor shouldn’t really be so hard. Many people still fail to do so. Can we get more people to throw rubbish into the bin, rather than onto the ground, by making it fun to do?
Many of us return our plastic bottles and cans. Noticeably fewer recycle their glass. Maybe that's because we don't get any money in return, as we do for cans and plastic. Can we change this attitude by making recycling glass fun to do? So you are not just rewarded with a good conscience, you also get a smile.
It's what they call 'Seamless Workflow'
The video below is probably one of the best company profile videos I've seen in a long time. The idea of 'Seamless Workflow' which is currently a CAD buzz phrase is beautifully shown using the metaphor of flowing water between the stages of how a building is put together.
I'm not one to side with any program or company but this is an example of marketing at it's best. It's fancy but gives across the message clearly and concisely. If you understand the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry you'll know what I mean. It's just a shame they're not using Macs!
Of course if you need anything Autodesk or CAD related give us a call!
connection to the creative world, and thus make a heartfelt, different and genuine statement."
In order to dispel the notion that my opinions of this product were purely a physical infatuation, I must say that they sound every bit as good as (I think) they look. The sound they produce is clear, detailed and does not suffer from my usual complaint in many headphones of muddy-undefined bass frequencies. I found the Tracks to be particularly good for orchestral and acoustic recordings, having great clarity between lows, mids and highs. Having said that, they do also work as general all-rounders for most genres also. Being a sensitive soul however, and one not to enjoy pumping excessively loud audio into my skull, it took a colleague to inform me that they were weak at high volumes at which point they would distort subtly and lose their clarity, but there is a general consensus amongst all of us here at Solutions inc. that at low-to-mid volumes, the Tracks are more than half-decent and even considered excellent within their price bracket.
Also available are the equally divisive Y-Coms. These in-ear headphones make even more of a statement than the Tracks with their remarkably thick cable (doubling up also as a remarkably effective anti-tangle cable), boldly coloured elements and coiled section of cable by the left ear. Sound-wise, these are once again considered very good, but particularly impressive for the price bracket in which they reside. The cable by the earpieces are subtly shaped to act as ear-hooks and are very comfortable to wear thanks to the plethora of ear-piece options made to keep everyone happy. Aesthetically, once again, many were offended by the purple, red, avocado-green, yellow and grey combination, but, rather predictably, I found their very un-subtle comic-book-style colouring to be endearing and perfectly stylish. Admittedly, though not much of a concern for myself, it would take a lot of creativity to effectively coordinate an outfit with these headphones, but everyone loves a challenge.
In conclusion, though primarily for the benefit of those who prefer to save time and skip directly to the conclusion, I am completely won over by the AIAIAI Tracks and Y-Coms. Aesthetically, they divide opinion with few people settling in the middle, but in terms of audio quality, for low to mid-level listening, they represent excellent value for money and are thoroughly enjoyable to use. They'll be available to try in all of our retail stores soon, so give them a go and see which side of the divide you belong.
P.S. The Tracks can also be worn as indicated in the picture below to enhance your face with a retro sci-fi feel.
With the growing adoption of mobile devices in schools, tradition ICT suites are rapidly becoming outmoded. However, when it comes to Music Production, the large screen and powerful performance of iMac coupled with professional software such as Logic and Sibelius are essential.
We have many years experience working with a large range of leading vendors to deliver state of the art music classroom solutions. We will consult with you and fully support you through the process of choosing an appropriate solution, procurement, installation, integration into your school network, software configuration, technical and teacher training, support and maintenance.
Popular components of a media classroom include:
• Apple iMac Suite
• Software Applications
• Apple Server
• Media Storage & Back-up
• Network Infrastructure
• Active Directory Integration
• Technical Services
• Training Services
• Microphones, Headphones & Music Keyboards
• Mixing Desk & Reference Speakers
• Acoustic Treatment
• Data Projectors