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A Review of the new Klout Preview

If you’re logged into Klout lately, you will probably see a new option to invite friends to Klout and if 10 join, you will be given access to a preview of a new version of their social media online influence website.  I, like many others I’m sure, invited a bunch of Facebook friends to join Klout so I could check out the preview.  Today, I was granted access to the preview site.

It’s quite a face-lift from the previous version of Klout…in fact, it’s almost completely different.  But, before I kick into that review, I’ll like to talk a little bit about what goes into your Klout score. Continue Reading…

Brad Keselowski tweets from car during Daytona delay

This afternoon, at lunch, I was talking with one of my co-workers about how at random times I’ll tweet articles and randomly get alot of hits or I’ll tweet something completely off topic and because my blog link is in my Twitter description, I’ll get a spike in hits.

A perfect example of this is Brad Keselowski, the driver of the #2 Miller Lite car in the Nascar Sprint Cup who randomly tweeted a picture during a red flag period of the Daytona 500 this evening.   Continue Reading…

10 OSX Apps I Can’t Live Without

 

Here are some apps and programs that I use basically every day:

  1. Wunderlist : http://www.wunderlist.com/
  2. Google Chrome : http://www.google.com/chrome
  3. Crashplan : http://www.crashplan.com/
  4. Evernote : http://www.evernote.com/
  5. Dropbox : http://www.dropbox.com/
  6. Google Music : http://www.google.com/music
  7. Caffeine: http://lightheadsw.com/caffeine/
  8. Audio Hijack Pro : http://rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/
  9. Spotify : http://www.spotify.com/
  10. 10.   Echofon : http://www.echofon.com/

What apps and programs are critical to you?  What can’t you live without?  Let everyone know in the comments section below.

Spotify: New limits placed on listeners on October 14th

If you haven’t heard of or used Spotify recently then you are seriously behind.  Spotify started out as a free music service that was available to international users and on July 14th of this year, took the US by storm offering the best free music listening service to date.  Their deal with Facebook pushed them past competitors such as Last.fm who were trying to create a music driven social network.  Their edge came because it was a free service that gave you unlimited plays where services like Last.fm cost money.

Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.  Today, if you logged into Spotify to listen to your favorite tunes, you were asked to accept the new terms and conditions and I’m sure many of you just hit “I Accept” without reading it.  That click of acceptance will change how much you’ll be able to listen to tracks and ultimately how you’ll be able to use Spotify.

Basically, there are four different ways that you can access Spotify.  The version that most people had was the free version with ads where you could listen to whatever you wanted without the commercials.  That version now has listening limits placed on it after you are a member for six months.  After that, Spotify will impose “a cap of 10 listening hours per month and a cap of 5 plays per unique track.”  Lame.  I always wonder how Spotify made enough money to make all of those artists and distribution companies happy when it came to royalties but now it’s apparent that they are trying to push people towards purchasing the premium version of Spotify.  But, honestly, can you blame them?  It must require an incredible amount of resources to run a service like this and I seriously doubt there is any way that they can sustain themselves unless they begin to bring in more revenue.

So what does this mean for the user who loves Spotify?  Right now, if you haven’t had your account for six months, (which it hasn’t been available in the US for over six months yet) you won’t see any changes.  However, once you hit that six month marker, your functionality of Spotify will capped at 10 listening hours per month.  If you really don’t want that cap, you can try one of the other four “flavors” of Spotify.  They also feature an advertisement free version where you pay either a monthly or yearly fee, an advertisement free version where you pay a monthly fee which also features an offline mode where you can listen to certain downloaded songs while offline (which I’m sure are encrypted and not available for you to just keep), and finally a paid version where you have completely unlimited access which also supports your mobile device.

Which one are you interested in?  Do you think you will pay for Spotify in the future or will you simply use it less?  Feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions and what you, the Spotify user, will do about the new terms and conditions.

Sunset over Arlington

About a week ago, my family hung out with me for the day in DC and my dad and I took pictures of the sunset over VA that night.  I’m probably going to post a few more pictures from that day later but here’s one for now.

Rachel Platten with Bethany and the Guitar shoot at Ebenezers Coffeehouse

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to run sound for a concert at Ebenezers Coffeehouse in Washington DC featuring Bethany and the Guitar and Rachel Platten.  They were really awesome to work with and also alot of fun to shoot.  I’m certainly still a beginner but I’m really enjoying the learning process.  I am certainly looking into getting a few different lenses to make certain things easier but I’m still pleased with the results I’m getting with my current equipment.  Here’s a few shots that I liked and were requested by the artists.  Enjoy!!

Photos and bowling

Today is my day off and I’m hanging out with my family in PA.  We decided to go bowling which is a favorite past time of mine.  I took my new Canon T3i with me and grabbed a few shots.  I’ll post more later but in the meantime, here’s one that I tweaked a little this afternoon.  Click the image to see the full picture.  Enjoy!

Bowling September 7, 2011, MacDade Bowl

My first retouched photo project

I’ve been talking to alot of you about how I’ve been wanting to get into photography and graphic design stuff as a hobby.  This week, my Canon T2i came and I went out on a photo shoot.  It was a beautiful night with an awesome sunset.  Living in DC, I naturally thought I should go to the Capitol building to shoot some practice shots.  I was pretty pleased with the results for my first time out.  I think I’ll probably return it to upgrade to the T3i but otherwise, I like the camera.

I retouched and edited one picture.  It’s got that HDR vibe to it.  Let me know what you think.  I’d love to get some feedback on what I can do better.  Thanks for checking it out!

 

US Capitol Sunset - Jason Castellente Canon T2i

HP Touchpad: Web OS is dead…or maybe not!

If you haven’t seen this going on today and yesterday, maybe you haven’t been on the internet, or maybe you don’t have any techie friends, but HP just made a crazy move and totally dropped the bottom out of their prices on the HP Touchpad.

WebOS has never been a popular operating system and has been shadowed by the iPad and the Android tablets.  These statistics of sales would obviously scare advertisers away from the platform.  So, what never got going after it’s release, spiraled down until an announcement that made it to tech websites saying that the “WebOS” is dead.  That was followed by huge price reductions yesterday and today.  The 16 GB model was liquidated for $99  (discounted from $399) and 32 GB model for $149 (discounted from $499).

I picked up a 16 GB from Amazon.com today.

However, it’s quite interesting to read HP’s actual statement that was made on their website.

In an announcement on August 18th, they did say that they were going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the Touchpad and webOS phones.  HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

That certainly sounds like there will still be some development for the webOS…

It’s quite interesting to think about now much “negative” press that HP has received surrounding this announcement.  Yes, it was negative press; however, it was press and publicity.  If you keep reading their press release, it says this in “Forward Looking Statements”:

“This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If the risks or uncertainties ever materialize or the assumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to any projections of revenue, margins, expenses, earnings, tax provisions, cash flows, benefit obligations, share repurchases, currency exchange rates, the impact of acquisitions or other financial items; any statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations…”

This is VERY interesting.  They have totally covered themselves if they decide to go back on this announcement.  Could this have been a marketing stunt?

So, you’ve got HP making this announcement, then asking retailers to drop their prices (I’m sure they were reimbursed for their loss in profit) on all the existing hundreds of thousands that have been produced and distributed already.  Was the liquidation actually a plan to simply get their product into the hands of users more quickly while also making sure that they don’t get burned for the cost of their hardware?  So, what happens if users really like it now?  Could it simply be that WebOS is great but since no one is on the platform, no one really knows or talks about it?

Could this have been one of the most brilliant marketing stunts to hit tech enthusiasts?

UPDATED: 8/22/2011

HP’s website  states that “Due to the significant price reduction, we experienced overwhelming demand for the product and are TEMPORARILY out of inventory.”  Temporarily?  I thought they were discontinued??

 

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!!

 

Check out my blog entries on the T-Mobile mytouch 4G, mytouch 4G Powerskin and the new T-Mobile Bracketed Data plans.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotify: A great tool for audio technicians and musicians

It’s becoming pretty popular, pretty quickly and if you haven’t tried it out yet, you should probably check it out.

For those of you who don’t know what Spotify is, it is a invitation based music service that allows you to access millions of songs that you can play whenever you feel like.  It’s like having an all-access, listen-only  pass to Amazon.com or iTunes for free!  Spotify launched in the US in July of 2011 but this Swedish based music service has been up and running overseas since 2008.  It took longer to release in the US because it took years to negotiate contracts with record labels and distributors.  It works on a invitation only basis so that they can monitor and control how many people sign up and how fast.

This is huge for musicians as well as audio engineers.  While I was in college, I was required to do a certain amount of critical listening to various types of music each week for applied lessons as well as other courses.  I started with borrowing stuff from friends, the library or using Pandora or Last.fm.  There’s only so much you can get without doing something illegal or breaking your bank.  Since I didn’t want to do either, I had to keep re-listening to things I had already heard.  Spotify is huge because you can pick whatever you want, whenever you want and listen to it for free.  It’s almost like what Lala used to be like before Apple killed it except you can listen to songs more the once with limitless options.

It is a great tool for musicians to diversity what they listen to as well as audio engineers to listen for inspiration and different mix ideas.  I believe this is critical in the development of musical chops regardless of musical direction or background.

Sign up to get a free invite today at www.spotify.com or subscribe to Spotify Premium starting at $4.99 per month.

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