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On Death and iPods: A Requiem

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Have you ever loved a car? Maybe it was an old truck you drove for hundreds of thousands of miles, or maybe it was your very first car: where you had your very first beer and your very first kiss. You can love a car and keep on loving it as long as you don’t crash it. If you’re willing to maintain it, you can keep driving it basically forever. Maybe some day it’ll be old enough that you’ll get thumbs-ups from cool kids as you putter down the street in your charmingly vintage car. This is not the case with gadgets—even though, for many of us, our old gadgets were way more important than our old cars.

Gadgets come and go from our lives. Technology marches forward so rapidly that even if you could replace a broken part—which often you can’t—doing so just wouldn’t make any sense. Other times, the networks and services those gadgets depend on to keep running go away entirely. Gadgets die, even the ones we love.

When the 1990s were getting older, there was this crazy new music format called MP3. It wasn’t the greatest audio format, but it was good enough. It was compressed in such a way that it was easy to download, and yet sounded good to most normal people. Suddenly, you could download a whole album’s worth of music to your computer. And, for me at least, that music was free. (Because I stole it.)

“You can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.” Holy. Shit.

Since its advent, recorded music had been a scarce commodity. You had to work hard to get money to pay for compact discs or cassettes or long play vinyl records. Even blank tapes cost money. That preciousness led to a kind of curation you don’t really see anymore. You had to make choices, because you couldn’t have it all. Your music collection defined you. It was your music.

But then the internet gave us FTP and then Napster and so, so many places to steal music. It fit so perfectly with the libertine zeitgeist of the turn of the millennium. Information wanted to be free! And music, organized into digital files, was just information. Now we could have it in limitless supply.

For most of us, MP3 was still a thing you played on your computer. There were a few attempts to liberate it—little flash players that would barely hold an album, or hard-drive based jukeboxes that were too big and too delicate to be useful. They were all awful.

Then one day in October 2001, Apple invited a bunch of journalists down to see some new thing it had. I was working at Macworld magazine at the time. (Which, like the iPod, died this week. Pour one out.) We all knew it was going to be a music thing, and were even expecting an MP3 player. I remember wanting to go, and being envious of the people who were selected to cover it. It was intriguing and mysterious. What would Apple do? Would they release some little flash thing, or a giant jukebox?

Apple keynotes weren’t such a big deal back then. Sure, they were great. Steve Jobs was already doing the things he would become famous for doing, but back then he was mostly talking about Macs and OS X and software nobody except a handful of nerds cared about.

But that iPod event—the Apple “music” event—changed everything else that would come after, for Apple and the rest of us, too. Because like Steve Jobs said that day, with his dad jeans on, “you can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.”

Holy. Shit.

Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul.

The other reporters came back with those little white MP3 players, and big boxes of compact discs. See, Apple pre-loaded the music players—the iPods, but you knew I was talking about iPods—with music from Real Bands. But they couldn’t legally give out the iPods with MP3s unless they also purchased a copy of every CD. So everyone got two copies of each album: one on the iPod, the other on a piece of plastic. Nobody who went to the event kept the CDs, they just piled them up on a table at the office. I still have one, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, because, while Apple design may be the coolest thing around, the company has always, always had shitty taste in music. (See also: U2.)

Nobody had seen anything like it before. It had a 5GB hard drive packed into a device the size of a pack of cigarettes. I didn’t even know anyone was making hard drives that small. To get through all your songs, it had this wheel that let you click and click and clickckckckckckckckckckck your way through thousands and thousands of songs.

It cost $400. Out of my price range, by a long shot. (I was a junior editor at Macworld trying to pay rent in San Francisco.) But I saved and saved until I could afford one.

Suddenly, they were everywhere. White earbuds on the bus. White earbuds on the plane. White earbuds on every street I walked down, in every city in America. Sometimes you’d go to a party, and the host would leave the iPod hooked up to the speakers, so everyone could take turns DJing. Click the wheel and rock the party.

Music changed. There was a very real sense that Apple was abetting music piracy, which only made it cooler. Who could possibly be buying 10,000 songs? And so Apple made its own store, and slowly we started buying music again. Our music. Our songs. We entered the era of the single and the playlist. The track mattered and the album did not. Whole genres just vanished into the maw of the playlist.

We made playlists that spoke to the lives we lived at the moment. Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul. In their music you could see who they were. You could tell if they were sophisticated or rough. You could see in their playlists the moments they fell in love and the moments they fell back out again. You could see the filthiest, nastiest hip hop in the little white boxes of the primmest people, and know their inner lives a little better than you did before.

The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore.

For ten years my iPod—in various incarnations—was my constant companion. It went with me on road trips and backpacking through the wilderness. I ran with it. I swam with it. (In a waterproof case!) I listened to sad songs that reminded me of friends and family no longer with me. I made a playlist for my wife to listen to during the birth of our first child, and took the iPod with us to the hospital. I took one to a friend’s wedding in Denmark, where they saved money on a DJ by running a four hour playlist, right from my iPod. And because the party lasted all night, they played it again.

Everyone played everything again and again.

And now it’s dead. Gone from the Apple Store. Disappeared, while we were all looking at some glorified watch.

In all likelihood we’re not just seeing the death of the iPod Classic, but the death of the dedicated portable music player. Now it’s all phones and apps. Everything is a camera. The single-use device is gone—and with it, the very notion of cool that it once carried. The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore.

Soon there will be no such thing as your music library. There will be no such thing as your music. We had it all wrong! Information doesn’t want to be free, it wants to be a commodity. It wants to be packaged into apps that differ only in terms of interface and pricing models. It wants to be rented. It wants to reveal nothing too personal, because we broadcast it to Facebook and we should probably turn on a private session so our boss doesn’t see that we listen to Anaconda on repeat and think we’re high at work. (Point of information: Why is he on Facebook at work?)

There’s an iPod Classic in the console of my car. It’s the third full-sized iPod that I’ve owned, and if I could, I’d keep it forever. But there’s no way to maintain it, not practically. One day it’s going to die. Its little hard drive will seize up, and cease. Everything on it will effectively vanish. I guess, really, it’s gone already—and it has been for a few years now.

I miss the time when we were still defined by our music. When our music was still our music. I miss being younger, with a head full of subversive ideas; white cables snaking down my neck, stolen songs in my pocket. There will never be an app for that.

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Trebuchet
1240 days ago
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I still buy iPods, and iPads, ...but Android phones (until they get locked, anyway, then we'll see... ugh Samsung but I guess that's the next best man up). Dedicated music players are great because if you run with them and they fall, they're less likely to break and take everything else (from your phone) with it. In fact, they're less likely to break, period. Love em! I'm liking Spotify a lot too, though, but primarily to hear new music and buy it from iTunes. :/
baltimore-washington corridor
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7 public comments
mikejurney
1248 days ago
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On the other hand, this week I experienced a mountain of incredible music via the Google music recommendation engine. Things change.
New York, New York
mgeraci
1249 days ago
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//
New York, NY
digitalhumor
1249 days ago
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Sniff
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
Courtney
1249 days ago
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Nobody tell this person about leaded-fuel cars, their entire argument (and world) will fall apart.
Portland, OR
MaryEllenCG
1250 days ago
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I think my mom still has my old iPod.
Greater Bostonia
grammargirl
1251 days ago
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*sniff*
Brooklyn, NY
satadru
1251 days ago
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How long till the kids ask what's an iPod or mp3 player in the same way they ask what a VCR is these days?
New York, NY
mareino
1251 days ago
My Zune died this week. I felt a little like the last man in the village who could speak the old tribal language.
satadru
1251 days ago
In fairness, owning a Zune you were also the only person in the village who spoke Esperanto and insisted it be spoken of as an old tribal language...

Office "Touch" for Windows to Outclass Version for iPad

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Office gets touchy
If you were freaking out in the wake of last week's announcement about Microsoft Office for iPad, it's time to relax a bit. Yes, a similar release for the Modern environment in Windows 8.1 is coming together more slowly and will trail the iPad version by some number of months. But here's the good news: As I had hoped and expected, Office "Touch" for Windows will be more powerful and feature-rich than Office for iPad. And that's a good thing.

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Trebuchet
1417 days ago
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No: the bad was the apparent "windows loyal customer" TAX; but a lot of shops are mixed win/linux/mac, and the last thing we need is a richer "free" (or not) version for windows.
(And we NEED SOME LINUX SUPPORT! ...but I feel it coming!) If MS wants to succeed, it'll do what Google fails to do, and that is to provide good apps on all platforms. Then it can go back to charging or subscriptions if it wishes, but the quality of the apps should really be equal.
baltimore-washington corridor
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Tweetz Desktop Is A Powerful Clean-Cut Twitter Client For Windows

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When we talk about micro-blogging, Twitter comes to the mind. The popular social media network has gained a lot of praise since its inception for offering an ubiquitous place to celebrities, firms, athletes, and general users to easily connect with each other and keep up with the latest news.  What’s still lacking about Twitter is a standard desktop application for Windows. Luckily there are many third-party Twitter clients available and one fairly good client is Tweetz Desktop. The client gives access to your Twitter account, lets you view your timeline, mentions, messages, tweets, and compose new tweets.

Editor’s Note: Tweetz Desktop’s setup file includes some unwanted software and tries to install it during the installation wizard. So don’t forget to unmark or decline any such offers before you click the Finish button.

Tweetz Desktop_Setup

When you launch Tweetz for the first time, it requires Twitter authorization to your account. To authorize the app, click ‘Get PIN’ as demonstrated in the screenshot, and when redirected to Twitter’, Sign in to your account and click the Authorize button to get an activation PIN.

Tweetz Desktop_Pin

Now enter that PIN in the appropriate box in Tweetz and click Sign In to log in to Twitter.

Tweetz Desktop_Pin Enter

Tweetz Desktop sports a really simple and minimalistic interface so much so that it looks more like a desktop widget than a full-fledge application. The top bar comprises of a set of buttons that let you navigate to your Twitter timeline, view Mentions, read Messages, see Favorites, Search Twitter for users or by hashtags, access your Settings, and Compose a tweet.

When it comes to Tweets, it automatically updates new tweets without requiring any user intervention. Each tweet is accompanied by its user photo, twitter handle and the actual tweet itself.

Tweetz Desktop_Light

Tweetz also allows you to instantly compose new tweets, retweet or add the same to your favorites. Speaking more of the interface, you can also change the default skin of Tweetz from default ‘Light’ to ‘Dark’ from the Settings window, which also lets you change font size as well as sign out from Tweetz.

Tweetz Desktop_Dark

Overall, Tweetz Desktop is a really nice, feature-laden Twitter client for Windows. It works on all recent versions of Windows operating system. You can download it for free via the link below.

Download Tweetz Desktop

Read Tweetz Desktop Is A Powerful Clean-Cut Twitter Client For Windows by on AddictiveTips - Tech tips to make you smarter

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Trebuchet
1417 days ago
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Seriously: I WILL NEVER SUPPORT even the most amazing-sounding software that tries to "slip **unwanted software** by you during install. NEVER. Tweetz and all its' CNet buddies can go to OS X (no offense to my Mac buddies ;) )
baltimore-washington corridor
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How To Root The International Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900F)

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Samsung’s latest flagship in its Galaxy S line, the S5, is one of the hottest smartphones announced this year. If you’re all set to buy the phone as soon as it hits shelves in many markets within weeks, but aren’t sure about whether to make the jump or not due to concerns about having root access on the device, worry no more! XDA Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire has done it again, rooting the international variant of the Galaxy S5 before even its release, just has he has done multiple times in the past with the previous flagships phones. In what follows, we’ll guide you through the process of rooting the S5 (SM-G900F) using his tried and tested CF-Auto-Root method.

Root-Galaxy-S5_ft

Root-Samsung-Galaxy-S5

Anyone who has already used CF-Auto-Root should have no trouble rooting their phone with this method, as all the steps are exactly the same. For those unfamiliar, rooting with CF-Auto-Root involves flashing a file to your phone through Odin, which in turn boots the phone with a custom recovery to flash SuperSU and then automatically restore the stock recovery to your phone, ensuring it remains as close to stock in all other aspects as possible even after rooting.

Disclaimer: Follow this guide entirely at your own risk. AddictiveTips will not be responsible if your phone gets bricked during the process.

Warning: The files provided in this guide are intended ONLY for rooting the International variant of the Galaxy S5 i.e. SM-G900F. Do NOT attempt to root any other variant of the device (or any other device) with this file. (You can check your phone’s model number in Settings > About device > Model number.)

Important: Rooting with this method WILL increase your flash counter, and trigger Samsung’s KNOX warranty flag, so your warranty will be void.

Requirements

Procedure

  1. Extract the contents of the downloaded CF-Auto-Root archive to a folder on your computer.
  2. Launch ODIN from the extracted files.
  3. Click the PDA button in Odin and select the file named CF-Auto-Root-klte-kltexx-smg900f.tar. Make sure you leave everything else exactly as it is
  4. Put your phone in download mode by powering it off, and then pressing Volume Down, Home and Power buttons together. If asked to press a button to enter download mode upon booting, do that.
  5. Connect your phone to your computer via USB. One of the boxes in the top should light up.
  6. Click the Start button in Odin, and just sit back and relax while your phone gets rooted. Just make sure NOT to disconnect your phone from the PC during the process.

That should do it – upon reboot, your device will be rooted, while everything else (including your recovery) should be stock.

[via XDA-Developers]

Read How To Root The International Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900F) by on AddictiveTips - Tech tips to make you smarter

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Trebuchet
1422 days ago
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Looks basic enough. I'm all HTC (and Apple I guess. Barely.) but I'm just not liking the CAN'T OPEN CASE "feature" of my fav phone brand. Plus my latest HTC's battery DIED so I'm pissed. (But dang that M8 lookin SWEET... no no no, shut up! I want forked Android Samsung (If I say it enough I might believe it.
baltimore-washington corridor
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It's Official: OneNote is Now Free for Everyone

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Yes, even Mac users
The rumors are true: Microsoft confirmed today that it is making a version of OneNote available for free on every major desktop and mobile computing platform, including even the Mac. Additionally, the firm has announced some new OneNote tools, OneNote Clipper and Office Lens, as well as new partner services and a new extensibility model that will make it possible for any cloud service to integrate with this amazing note-taking and thought organization solution.

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Trebuchet
1433 days ago
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OneNote is FREE??? But we PAID for it. ???

EDIT: 15 days later, everything is damned free. Great. :/
baltimore-washington corridor
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