Tag Archives: tech

Shazam Knows Rainbow Connection, But Not Movin’ Right Along

Today I updated my iPhone to the 2.0 firmware and started trying some of the new free apps available. One of the apps I’ve been playing with is Shazam, a music detection app. You hold it up to a song playing, it records a for a few seconds, then it tells you what it is. Nothing appeared naturally for me to test it so I went about to try some of my own songs.

I first went for my Shuffle playlist. Shazam easily identified Bixby Canyon Bridge by Death Cab For Cutie and Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect by The Decemberists.

But those were pretty easy, so I decided to try something harder. How about Christian music? Of course, I couldn’t try just any Christian music, I wanted to try some older, rarer songs.

It didn’t know Until Your Love Broke Through as performed by Randy Stonehill. Okay, so that was a relatively rare song. I didn’t try the Keith Green recording, but it did recognize Grace By Which I Stand and Make My Life a Prayer To You by Keith Green. I thought I’d get a bit more ambitious, but it didn’t recognize Michele Pillar’s Love Makes All The Difference. Not terribly surprising, as she’s even less mainstream than Randy Stonehill. Shazam didn’t seem to know Sandi Patti either. I tried two songs; Love Will Be Our Home and Purest Praise and it couldn’t identify either.

That’s alright, but what about musicals? Shazam didn’t recognize Marian The Librarian from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of The Music Man. Maybe it would’ve known the movie soundtrack, but I didn’t try it. In an interesting test, Another National Anthem from the Broadway Cast Recording of Assassins was not identified, but it recognized the song from the Original Cast Recording with the information, or at least the album art, from the Broadway Cast Recording. I was pleased when A Little Priest from the Original Broadway Cast of Sweeney Todd was correctly identified.

What else could I test Shazam with? I decided to try movies.

The first one ended up being pretty easy. Shazam identified Bless Yore Beautiful Hide and Goin Co’tin’ from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers right from the video. I was shocked when it didn’t find I Swear I Saw A Dragon or It’s Not Easy from Pete’s Dragon. It knew Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie, but not Movin’ Right Along, which I feel is a great oversight, or Can You Picture That. I started up You’ve Got Mail and Shazam told me that the opening credits song was called The Puppy Song. Shazam knows The Age Of Not Believing from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, it must like Angela Lansbury. It cannot however peform a miracle and find the version of I Can’t Give You Anything But Love used in Bringing Up Baby.

As a final test, I tried TV. Shazam successfully recognized a song being played in an episode of Gossip Girl under dialog. The song was called Do You Wanna by The Kooks and it was in the Gossip Girl season finale. I didn’t know what that song was before I tried Shazam on it, and though I hadn’t been pining to know in that case I can see this kind of application being helpful in the future.

iTunes tips

I’ve noticed alot of things ripped at 128kbps m4a, and even some people saying their itunes will only do aac. For those that weren’t aware, here is how you change the ripping options. In iTunes, go to Edit/Preferences, click the advanced tab. Click the “Importing” tab. Here are all the options. Encode Using: is the format. AAC is the default format, and the encoder that gives you the m4a files. You will also see MP3 and some others. The thing I really recommend changing is the “setting” which determines the quality and bitrate. You can do this with either AAC or MP3 as the encoder. Go to “custom” in the Setting dropdown box. Stereo Bitrate is what you want to change. I recommend at least 192 for most music, but you can go all the way up to 320 if you like(of course this would increase the file size). Leave “Sample Rate” and “Channel” to auto. click OK, and you’re done.

Blue PC building, now called “Streaky”

Finally, here is the build log from my most recent PC build. This new PC was put in the lovely blue case you see pictured, and I named her “Streaky” after Supergirl’s cat. You may recall that my pink Supergirl Linux box is called “Comet” after Supergirl’s horse.
Here are the new machine’s specs
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro
The pictures show an abit, but I had to replace it with a Gigabyte

IMG_1883

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80GB iPod is Here

Yesterday morning, I woke up early to watch the engadget and ilounge websites reload every few seconds and find out the new apple announcement. I wasn’t really expecting the “true video ipod” but I was hoping for an upgrade in the ipod capacity, and I got my wish! The current ipods got an 80gb version, longer battery life, and some other stuff including games you can buy. I’m also excited about the new nanos which are so cute. I still have my pink ipod mini, and I’ve always really loved the look and formfactor and had hoped that they would come out with higher capacity versions. I understand why the black only comes in the 8gb nano, but shouldn’t the top paying nano get the widest choice of colors? I’m looking forward to the 80gb anyway. But I think the new nanos would be great for my mom, whose 1st gen blue ipod mini is acting a bit fussy these days. Also, I can’t believe how tiny the new shuffle is! I can’t wait to see it in person, just to look at the size. We can’t forget the price drop either. Good job staying with the times. See the new iPods.
Of course, iTunes 7 was also announced with alot of  neat looking ne w features, and of course the movie store. One exciting thing about the iTunes store is that they upped the resolution of the purchased videos from 320×240 to 640×480 which is near DVD resolution. In fact, that’s the resolution I use when I encode my own videos. I haven’t upgraded my iTunes yet because of what happened last time. When iTunes 6 came out, I was so excited to see the new video store that I installed it right away, but it broke jhymn. So I’m not going to upgrade until I hear a bit more about it in use.
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Death to HP Printers

Going along with my previous rant about hating paper and loving web 2.0 companies, I wish death to all HP printers. I’ve been at the parents’ house for the past several hours, and in that time I wasn’t always completely focused on my task of printing invitations on my dad’s color laser printer, but I have been working on it all night. The root of the problem is this; if HP and just released the 64 drivers for this printer, I would have installed them on the desktop months ago, making it easy to print these from my laptop over the network.

I *heart* Web 2.0

I do, I totally Web 2.0 sites, the concept behind them, community, open source, web-based content, no paper! hooray! So I’m attempting to learn to use Ajax in the hopes of being able to use it for my own projects. Yesterday I got to print my own check from a logo I made. That was pretty fun. It had all the thrill of printing my own money, yet it was legal. Normally, though, I try to avoid printing. My uncle is getting married next month, and although I’m perfectly happy to design things like invitations, the actual printing of said invitations is dubious. I can handle printing ordinary card sized invitations, I’m just glad I don’t have to mail them. Mailing is the true evil. I already intend on building my own website software to run my future wedding site including invitations and RSVP system and everything in the hopes that I will not have to use paper invitations with actual mailing involved. I hate mailing things. Plus it’ll be alot easier when my guest list is stored in a MySQL database. I used to think I’d have to mail to the few hold-outs without email… but I can’t think of any now. Hooray!

Oh well, I love Web 2.0. It seems that every day there’s something else new and shiny to check out on the various tech and Web 2.0 blogs. Does anyone have a Vox invitation? I really fancy having one…

Some Website Recs

I’ve been joining more and more “web2.0″ sites lately, and there are a few newish ones or ones I’ve just recently started using alot that I’d like to mention.

First of all, there’s Birthday Forever. This is especially important since my birthday is coming up in about a month!

It gives you countdown graphics to your next birthday like these:
Birthday Forever
(click to go to my birthday site!)

That alone would’ve been enough for me to use the site, but it also lets you add a wishlist including import from Amazon, add contacts and send them newsletters, and add photos(presumably birthday photos). It even has fun facts about your birthday on the front page.

I’ve also been using Stylehive alot. It’s social bookmarking for shopping! It works similarly to delicious. You put a bookmarklet in your browser, and when you see a product you like at an online store; from purses to furniture to electronics, you just click the bookmarklet and tag it, plus you can pick the picture to represent it and add the price and even send your pick to a friend.

Another I’ve been using lately is Last.fm. I’ve known about it for a while, but what really made me start using it was the mashup site combining it with Pandora, PandoraFM. It tracks the music you listen to and you can find other music that you might like based on what you’ve played. You can also get an output of your recently played songs for your website or forum signature.

Big hard drives coming!

This is one of those posts where you remember the Geek part of my blog’s name. This is definitely something I can’t not blog about.
Engadget Story: Seagate Leaks 750gb barracuda

Yes, that’s right: a 750gb drive! :thDance: I have been waiting rather impatiently for larger capacity drives than 500gb to start coming out. Let’s face it – 500gb just isn’t sufficient for the modern user. This means that we’re not too far from having 1tb and higher drives.