The Next Wave of Apple’s Marzipan Apps for MacOS →

April 6, 2019 · 10:45

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don’t wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps. Grain of salt, etc.

I hope they still keep iTunes around. (I assume) I’m one of the few people who actually like it.


March 15, 2018 · 10:43

My iCloud Music Library is f*cked. Apple has been on it since yesterday and so far I’ve been on the phone for about four hours. Should get another call soon. The problem is that changes don’t sync between my devices and my HomePod is unable to play the music I purchased in the iTunes Store.


Winamp’s Woes: How the Greatest MP3 Player Undid Itself →

July 7, 2017 · 18:26

Cyrus Farivar, writing for Ars Technica:

Today, Winamp continues to be updated; AOL released its first Android version in 2010 and a Mac version in 2011. Amazingly, given all the time elapsed, AOL still makes a decent amount of money on the site and on the program—while the company has declined to release official figures, former employees who worked on Winamp estimate its current revenue at around $6 million annually. And Winamp still has an estimated user base of millions worldwide, a small fraction of which live in the United States.

When I first got my hands on Winamp, I learned that ID3 tags existed. That was when I started properly naming all my MP3 files, in both the file names and tags. I got my first iPod in 2006 and switched to iTunes, which I still use today. What’s more, I still have those 128 Kbps MP3 files — some I replaced with better rips, others I just left as they were. My iTunes library was automatically perfectly organized, thanks to Winamp. This was a time when the iTunes Music Store wasn’t yet available in Poland, so I solely relied on ripping my CDs. I did get an US account later and a few gift cards, which made things easier, but this was after Apple dropped DRM, if I recall correctly. I still have fond memories of Winamp, despite the fact that I’m probably one of the few people who like using iTunes, and was quite surprised recently, when I learned that one of my friends still uses it. I didn’t know there was a Mac version either…


Apple to Revamp Music at WWDC 2016 →

May 28, 2016 · 19:16

Alex Webb:

Apple is altering the user interface of Apple Music to make it more intuitive to use, according to people familiar with the product who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service, the people said. The reboot is expected to be unveiled at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The changes will be accompanied by a marketing blitz to lure more customers to the $10-per-month streaming service. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

I’m probably one of the few people who doesn’t have issue using Apple Music… or iTunes for that matter. Many complain that the latter tries to do too many things. Quite frankly, it’s only a music player and secure backup tool at the moment — I do everything else via iCloud. I would however like the For You, New, Radio and Connect sections to become one.


‘Apple Sent Two Men to My House; No, They Weren’t Assassins’ →

May 21, 2016 · 09:20

James Pinkstone:

Tom, along with his boss Ezra, had just spent most of Saturday at my dining room table with me, trying to recreate a disaster like we were Netflix green-lighting Fuller House. So far, no luck.

In the days leading up to our face-to-face encounter, they’d earned more of my trust when they acknowledged that A), they’d read the phone transcripts, and although they maintained that she was mistaken, they did not dispute my account of what Amber had told me, and B), they, too, were convinced this was not user error. Before allowing them into my home, though, I’d laid out some conditions. Their research would be strictly limited to Apple Music, iTunes, and my iTunes library, and I would always be in the room to watch them work. Any information gleaned would be used solely for iTunes and Apple Music troubleshooting. If I had a document on my desktop called “Zapruder Film Unedited,” for example, they would still leave it alone. They agreed, both on the phone and in person, so we began.

I never linked to James’ original post about how ‘Apple stole his music‘, because quite frankly, I believed it to be user error. In the meantime my friend also told me about his problems — he also lost some of his files — and Apple showed up on Pinkstone’s doorstep to try to diagnose the issue.

What other company would do that? No, seriously. Is there any other tech company that would go to such lengths to figure out what’s wrong with their product?


China Shuts Down iBooks and iTunes Movies →

April 22, 2016 · 12:43

Paul Mozur & Jane Perlez:

Last week, Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies were shut down in China, just six months after they were started there. Initially, Apple apparently had the government’s approval to introduce the services. But then a regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, asserted its authority and demanded the closings, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement.

I’m sensing, based on various tidbits of news, that Apple’s problems in China will get worse before they get better. Quite frankly, I’m surprised they allowed any ‘western’ content in the first place.


Screening Room — New Movies Straight to Your Living Room →

March 12, 2016 · 15:39

Chris Welch:

Screening Room plans to charge $150 for access to a tightly-secured set-top box that would let people skip theater lines and watch brand new films in their own living room. On top of the equipment cost, viewers would have to pay $50 per screening, and they’d get only 48 hours to watch the movie after laying down that money. Theaters and movie exhibitors are expected to receive a decent chunk of profits to offset complaints that Screening Room could potentially throw a wrench into their profits.

I’m fine with the price, but I’m pretty sure the technology will be atrocious. I wish they could just get their act together, and put the movies in iTunes.

Make it easy, and people will pay; make it hard and people will go out of their way to make it easier, pirating along the way, not caring about the fact that they are doing so.


NepTunes — a Simple Last.fm Scrobbler for OS X

March 9, 2016 · 19:00

I used to have an app named CoverSutra running on my desktop. Not only did it display iTunes artwork in a visually pleasing way, but it also updated my Last.fm account with what I was listening to in iTunes. Unfortunately, Sophie Teutschler stopped development, and found a job at Apple. CoverSutra no longer works properly under OS X El Capitan, and while it ‘kinda works’ with iTunes, it doesn’t support Apple Music at all.

NepTunes app

Polish developer Adam Różyński has the answer to my problems. His NepTunes is a simple app1 which lives in the OS X menu bar. All it does is report back to our Last.fm account2, correctly scrobbling the music we are listening to. Although it is not as nice graphically3 as CoverSutra, it gets the job done. The preferences panel also allows the app to integrate with iTunes. This allows to ‘star’ songs with ‘hearts’ on both Apple Music and Last.fm with one keyboard shortcut (which can be customised).

Simple, but it gets the job done. That’s usually enough for me.

NepTunes – OS X – Social Networking – €3.99

  1. Technically I believe this is called a ‘menulet’.
  2. Obviously one is needed for this to function.
  3. I do however fancy the trident icon in the menu bar.

iTunes Radio for Apple Music Subscribers Only →

January 16, 2016 · 12:25

Brendan Klinkenberg:

iTunes Radio, Apple’s Pandora-style internet radio service, is going behind the $10 per month Apple Music paywall on January 29th.

“We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Additionally, with an Apple Music membership, listeners can access dozens of radio stations curated by our team of music experts, covering a range of genres, commercial-free with unlimited skips. The free three-month trial of Apple Music includes radio.”


‘Consumers… Well… We’re Fucking Stupid’ →

December 21, 2015 · 23:21

Don Melton:

Anyway, Netflix is talking about the bitrates for their 1080p videos soon being as low 2000 Kbps for the simple stuff. That’s down from the 4300-5800 Kbps range they’re using now. And I’m sure they can do that on the low end without any perceivable loss of quality while streaming.

But can Apple and Amazon sell 1080p videos — averaging about 5000 Kbps now — at bitrates as low as 2000 Kbps — less than half that average size — without a perceived loss of value?

I don’t know. It’s hard to predict because consumers… well… we’re fucking stupid.

A very insightful and technical post about video and audio encoders, bitrates, and the future for Netflix, Apple and others.

An example would be TIDAL and their HQ uncompressed format, or whatever they’re calling it. I’m sure it’s great if you have the right equipment, young enough ears, and the ability to tell the difference. I still can, but just barely, and quite frankly the added overhead in terms of size (amongst other hurdles) is just too much of a hassle for me. The current iTunes/Spotify/pick-your-vice formats are more than enough, and if they flipped the switch overnight without telling anyone, I doubt many would notice. I know I wouldn’t.


Best of 2015 for Mac

December 10, 2015 · 14:37

Apart from the best apps and games for every platform, Apple also published a list of the runner-up apps and games of the year. The list contains a few excellent pieces of software, some of which I use, including Fantastical, Reeder 3, Ulysses, and many others.

Continue reading →