Trying to get the most of out my Sonos setup with a decent streaming radio option. I’m been using Spotify for quite a while now, and only really listening to the music in my playlist there. I’m completely out of the loop on any new popular music. I’m looking for suggestions. You can share your opinion right away in the comments, or read on if you want to know my thinking so far.
Some basics of what I’m looking for:
Cheap or free with few ads – I already pay for Spotify, but their radio doesn’t work with Sonos
Works with Sonos
Slacker – Slacker starts out ahead because I used it for a whole summer a few years ago. It checks the pre-defined station mark. I’ve only used it a little this week but so far I sill like it. There aren’t many ads on the free version, and the paid version is only $4/month.
Pandora – I’ve never been a Pandora person. I know people love it, but I never got hooked. It looks like it has pre-defined stations, but they don’t show up in Sonos. Bonus Points: Each time I’ve gone to the site this week, it auto-plays my Mitch Hedberg station.
Songza – This was new to me, but seemed to have solid reviews. I tried it out and loved it instantly. They have tons of different stations with typical and completely random themes. You can navigate by genre, decade, mood, or activity. They will even suggest categories based on the time of day and ask what you are doing. They have an Angsty mood, which is exactly my favorite kind of music, so that got me hooked quickly. I haven’t heard a single ad and can’t find anything about a paid service. It looks like they had one but then were bought by Google, I can only assume they stopped offering the paid version. The biggest con so far is that on some of the stations I’ve tried this week, the songs repeat way too often. It might win just because it is free and there are so many stations to jump between.
Let me know of other options. iTunes Radio isn’t on Sonos. I’ve heard good things about Beats radio options, but they are more of a Spotify replacement and even though I want out of Spotify, Beats doesn’t offer the features I want. I used to have Sirius and loved it but I don’t drive as much any more and its very expensive. Their newer streaming stuff where you can customize your station looks perfect, but only the basic non-custom stations are supported by Sonos.
I thought this was something I did more often, but it turns out, I’ve only shared my iPhone Home Screen once, and it was 3.5 years ago. Look how shiny all the icons used to be. I missed sharing the extra row with the iPhone 5, so now with the iPhone 6, I have 2 more rows than that last post.
Most of these are pretty common. Some of the new additions to this screen thanks to the new row on the iPhone 6: Dropbox, Afterlight, Audible, and I’m not sure what the 4th choice was.
A rundown of the not completely common. (I think you are familiar with Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, etc.)
Screens – VNC to my Macs. Handy if I need to do something on a computer via the phone (it’s a bit easier on the iPad).
Afterlight – I just recently got this, seems like a great, easy to use photo editor that has a few more options than the Photos app. It comes in handy for photos that need a border to fit into Instagram.
Reeder – For RSS feeds. Looks like I was using Reader in the last post. Back then it had a different icon and it was still using Google Reader. The Reader app still exists, but now you have a choice of services. I pick Feedbin for my main service.
Tweetbot – I held onto Echofon as long as I could. It did such a solid job of syncing my last read tweet. However, they gave up on the Mac version, which made the phone version useless to me (they wound up releasing an update when the API changed, but it just wasn’t very good). I searched and searched for a new option but nothing worked all that well. Tweetbot was appealing, but the Mac version was $20. I finally decided all my searching was more painful than spending that much, so I went with Tweetbot across the board and it has been solid ever since. If only they would update the iPad app.
Hangouts – iMessage is so easy to use that it comes first. I used Hangouts for something nice I could use with my friends on Android, although many of those friends are moving to iPhone as it comes time for their 2nd smartphone.
Instacast – I always had a terrible time syncing podcasts between my computer and phone. Instacast was one of the first options that would let me do that outside of iTunes. It still seems flaky at times where I’ll listen on one device and it will still appear on another. Every time it seems to work well, an update is released with some new features that breaks the basic syncing. Overall it gets the job done. I’ve tried to see if the Apple Podcasts app has improved, but that app has just gotten confusing. I think this version of Instacast is free now with the next version coming out soon.
Folders – At some point there were too many things I wanted access to and I had no other choice than to add some folders. Apps includes common stuff that I need a lot (Contacts, Calendar, App Store, Settings, Clock, 1Password, Delivery Status, and some others). Sports should be obvious (league apps, SportsCenter, Yahoo! Fantasy). Videos are common as well (Netflix, Videos, HBO Go, YouTube).
TV Today was ABC’s day to share their fall schedule (LW). With TiVo, I have to take a minute to think about what I actually watch on a channel. For ABC I think it’s only Modern Family and The Goldbergs (please watch The Goldbergs). A slight adjustment puts those two shows back-to-back.
But is there anything new? Selfie jumped to my attention first thanks to Karen Gillan (Amy from Doctor Who) and that it is somewhat based on Pygmalion (the character’s name is Eliza Dooley). I wasn’t blown away by the trailer but those points earn it a chance. Other than Selfie, I’m not seeing much.
Podcasts I haven’t listened to much Nerdist recently, but it’s one of the many podcasts that I keep around just to see the guests before deleting. When I saw this episode with Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham (LW) pop up, that was a guarantee listen. I mentioned them and their show Playing House a few days ago. The town on the show gave me a Gilmore Girls vibe and has that potential so when Jessica compares it to that during the show, I was very happy to be proven correct.
I’ve only just started on Friday’s No Such Thing As A Fish, but their first fact is shareable. It was about a jockey that died during a race, but didn’t fall off the horse, and finished in first. To add to that, the horse’s name was Sweet Kiss, gaining it the nickname Sweet Kiss of Death. I didn’t find a ton of information, but OMG Facts had a quick post (LW).
TV Fox’s fall schedule (LW) was released today. Fox starts off with a lead over NBC because I actually watch some series on Fox: New Girl (which needs help), The Mindy Project (which is one of my favorites and really pulled it together this season), The Simpsons (still going), and Family Guy (which still brings it most weeks).
Any of the new shows interesting? Oh yes. I think I’m in on Gotham, the Batman before he became Batman. It look to focus on not-yet-Commissioner Gordon and all the villains along with a young Bruce Wayne. Check out the trailer. Then there is Gracepoint, which is an American version of Broadchurch (both starring David Tenant). The one reason I might not watch is if I catch up on Broadchurch this summer. I’m in on Mulaney, I don’t even know what it’s about, but he’s hilarious and has earned a shot.
Now some videos from last night …
The Simpsons couch gag was the Game of Life. (LW)
Last Week Tonight at least had the right number of people for an actual climate debate. (LW)
Robot Chicken explains that The Parent Trap was a really really horrible premise. (LW)
TV NBC’s Fall Schedule (LW) is out today. I’m not sure I care about this too much. The Voice and Sunday Night Football appear to make up half the schedule. There is really only one show I’m at all interested in watching, A to Z. It’s a romsitcom starring The Mother from HIMYM and Rashia Jones is one of the producers. Those facts got me to watch the trailer (LW), which hooked me.
The biggest hole in the NBC schedule is the cancellation of Community (LW), which isn’t too surprising except if they weren’t going to cancel it the past three years, there wasn’t much reason to cancel it this year after it got things back together and had a great season.
The only excitement for NBC comes from their not yet scheduled shows, which include Parks & Rec. Plus, there are two or three interesting new shows, based on who is involved: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (created by Tina Fey), Bad Judge (produced by Will Ferrell), and Mr. Robinson (starring Craig Robinson).
Podcasts The Gist is a new daily podcast on Slate. Hosted by Mike Pesca, who is also on Hang Up & Listen (the best sports podcast). This one isn’t sports-focused, but more news and general interest. For example, on Thursday topics included the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, improv rappers attempted to teach Mike how to rap, and a round up of news items related to urine. So yea, topics will vary, but they will all fall into informative or entertaining.
Penn State Hard to believe that it’s college graduation time, this was graduation weekend at Penn State. That means that finals were last week. Business Insider covered some students who decided finals were worth ’tailgating’ (LW). My only issue is that it appears they actually ‘GameDay’d’ finals with clever signs. So thumbs up to the students, but Business Insider, get your facts straight.
Upfronts are apparently coming up soon. Usually that means lots of cancellation news, but it seems that most of my favorites fate has already been decided. Only Community is still up in the air. This year all the news seems to be around pilots.
Difficult People on USA (LW) created by Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner. Most of the news stories focus on Amy Poehler producing, and she’s great, but you have me sold on Eichner/Klausner. The show is about best friends who hate everyone except each other, so it sounds perfect. It’s on USA, which I hadn’t watched in forever, I think they used to show American Gladiators in the mornings during the summer. Recently, they hooked me with Playing House, which is a slightly different show from Best Friends Forever, but mostly the same, as it should be because NBC should have never cancelled it.
Rashida Jones had a pilot picked up on TBS (LW). It’s produced by Steve Carell and his wife and sounds a bit like Brooklyn Nine-Nine just because it’s a cop comedy. Making fun of Law & Order, Rashida will work in the RHCU, Really Heinous Crimes Unit.
Last, for the Philly based fans. The Eagles aren’t brining back Dan Baker (LW). You might not know the name but if you have been to a Phillies or Eagles game, then you know his voice. Always seemed to me like a while Phillies season was enough, so hopefully he’ll enjoy a lot of free Sundays.
There’s been a lot of talk about tanking in the NBA all season thanks to the deep draft class expected this year. That talk has heated up after the trade deadline with a few teams appearing to have given up. The 76ers have lost 15 in a row and show little sign of hope to win again. As someone who follows the 76ers (I don’t pay too much attention to NBA games not involving them), I’m perfectly happy with this strategy. Finishing each season between 6th and 10th in the conference wasn’t going to get us anywhere besides the 2nd round of the playoffs on a rare occasion.
I’ve seem some suggestions on how to fix tanking, if it’s even possible. The wheel is the most common idea referenced. The idea is that the draft order is set and rotates in some way each season. If there are 30 teams in the league, you’ll have the #1 pick once every 30 years, guaranteed. You’d get that pick if you were the worst team in the league or if you just won the championship. I like the idea for its creativity and discussion it has created. I don’t like the idea so much as a complete solution. It’s hard enough to turn a franchise around through drafting and free agency, taking away a draft advantage makes things a whole lot harder.
How do you tell if a team is tanking? There’s no clear way. Is a team just bad or purposely bad? Did a GM make a trade just to make the team worse? You’d have to weigh the long term value of the trade. Is a team faking injuries? You can’t ask that.
Let’s assume that there is no difference between a tanking team and a really really bad team. A tanking team is trying to not win games. They want to lose to everyone. Meaning they will lose to the bad teams and get blown out by the good teams (and maybe some bad teams too). What if we just don’t count games where they get blown out? Make the lottery a ranking of the teams with the most non-blowout losses.
I took the current lottery teams (as of last night) losses, then looked at what the draft order would look like if blowouts were removed. Now, choosing what counts as a blowout is just a guess. I tried 20 points and 15 points. (more…)
Each part of that product model was a decision, except for the Silver/White model, I’ve been going with the white model on all my iOS devices since they’ve been available.
This is mostly about how I use it. I’ve never found my regular sized iPad to be too large for my uses. That is usually on the couch or on my desk playing a video while I’m working on my iMac.
I have a Nexus 7 around the house, it is slightly smaller than the iPad Mini. I found it to be too small for what I want out of a tablet.
I can see why someone might want a Mini. It can much more easily fit in one hand, it’s lighter, and can be tossed in a bag more easily. It also has the same screen as the regular iPad, which must look really great.
When I got the iPad 1, I got the 32gb. I was always close to filing my 16gb iPhone whatever-version-i-had-at-the-time and I knew I’d want a few movies on the iPad. 32gb was just fine but recently as I’ve been buying movies on iTunes, the file sizes are in the 3-4gb range. Just a few were filling up the 32gb. Really, the question was if going 128gb was worth the extra $100. It actually probably would be worth it, $100 for another 64gb. However, when I realized that I only have 128gb in my MacBook Air and the price would be just below what I paid for the Air, it seemed like a bit much.
The argument against larger sizes that I’ve heard most is that everything is in the cloud. That’s true, but I tried that method a few weeks ago when traveling. When I went to load a movie from iCloud, the download time was about 10 hours, and it never survived for longer than 30 minutes, restarting each time. The cloud only works if you have a network that will let you grab a few gbs.
For the iPad 3, for some reason I decided to go with an AT&T version. It was the sort of thing that I’d rather have and not use than really wish I had later on. I never used it.
So obviously this time around I went with T-Mobile. Crazy, right? I was all set for the WiFi version and saving a few bucks. I have tethering on AT&T, so I’d just use that. Then T-Mobile offered 200mb free every month for life. I’m not sure how far 200mb will go on an iPad, I almost never go over 250mb on my phone. I’ll just use it occasionally, and for times that I know I’ll be on for a little while, I can turn tethering on for my phone.
I can see how T-Mobile’s network is around town and maybe switch next year when my contract is up and the next iPhone comes out.
If I start using it and want more data, instead of tethering, I can buy pre-paid passes from T-Mobile, or add it to my AT&T share for a month for $10. iPads are unlocked and there is only one model, so you can toss in whatever type of SIM you like.
There was all sorts of discussion Friday morning about T-Mobile charging $10/month for the free data. Their web site is pretty poor on the clarity front. It seems to be even worse for account management. Their account page has been telling me it is down since I set up my account on Friday.
I had no trouble setting up and getting my free data. The most difficult part was having to choose a password with a symbol.
A Weekend In
That’s how I decided, in my few days with the device, I’m a huge fan. If I really thought about it, my iPad 3 was surviving just fine. iOS 7 didn’t make it unusable and I don’t even know which features didn’t make it to the iPad 3, so they can’t be that important. Still, there are a few reasons I’m really happy I made the upgrade.
Size and weight. As soon as I took it out of the box, I compared it to the previous design to see the obvious inch or so reduction in width. As for the weight, it reminds me of when I pick up an iPhone 4/4S compared to my iPhone 5. The old iPhones feel like bricks. What did they shove in there? The 5 is so light. When comparing the two the only conclusion can be that half the space inside the 5 is just left open and that it’s only that size because anything smaller would disappear.
Speed. I said the iPad 3 was running iOS 7 fine, that just means it’s tolerably slow. The iPad Air flies. I don’t game harder than Angry Birds on the device, so the speed should be able to keep up until the next re-design that hides behind a golf pencil.
Lightning! The only reason I considered the iPad 4 for a minute was the Lightning cable. The switch from the 30-pin was a long time coming but it was a pain to have to have both types of cables after I got my iPhone 5.
Battery. I haven’t noticed this yet, but the last design took a long time to charge, this should be a much more tolerable recharge time.
I ordered online at 3am for in-store pickup. I went over during lunch and was about 5th in the pre-order line. There were 2 or 3 people in the didn’t pre-order line. There were plenty available for everyone, but I wasn’t taking any chances, especially since I wasn’t sure how many T-Mobile versions they’d be stocking. Once I was up, I was taken to the first table, gave my order number, waited a minute for someone to bring the iPad up, signed, and left. Super simple.
The biggest problem is that the size bezel is so small that my iPad stand is a little too large.
The stand I use is the Twelve South BookArc, which I have two of because I like it so much.
I always think August is a 30 day month, so it’s always a bit of a surprise when August 31st rolls around. It leads to a lot of confusion when trying to figure out what day of the week things in early September fall. Even when August 31st gets here, the date just doesn’t seem right. There could be better uses than a 31st day in August. I have a though.
February 29th stays. It’s a pretty cool date, I think we should have it every year rather than every 4 years.
What month gets the leap day? February 30th would just make February like all the others. So let’s go crazy. Pick one of the months with 31 days and give it a 32nd. But which? January doesn’t need to be any longer. New Years Eve on December 32nd wouldn’t work. That leaves March, July, and October. You know what, I feel the same way about March 31st as I do August 31st. But peeling that one off too makes things complicated.
July 32nd or October 32nd? Easy. October 32nd would screw with Halloween. July 32nd means an extra day of summer every 4 years. (shh that I just eliminated one in August). Solved.
No more August 31st.
February 29th every year.
Leap day is now July 32nd.
I’ll give you until 2015 in case you’ve already got your calendars.
Wrapping up my recaps of my trip to Wisconsin with the main reason I went: Reds @ Brewers, Sunday, August 18th.
I think this may have been my first tailgate for a non-Penn State game, certainly my first baseball tailgate. Brewers tailgating seemed different than what I saw at a Phillies game a few years ago. This is something they’ve always done, not just when they got good, because, well, the Brewers haven’t had much of a run.
For the tailgate, we had some brats along with the previously mentioned Bavarian mustard. The nice family next to us even came over to chat. They were very Wisconsin (the accent) and I guess noticed that we weren’t very Wisconsin.
When it came time to go in, I had only half finished my Gatorade, we also had some brats left. My friend said to just take it in. What? My bottle was already open, and it’s not water. Sealed bottles are the only type of beverage I’ve heard are sometimes allowed in stadiums. I was assured it would be no problem. And it wasn’t. Nobody questioned me on my way in.
I had posted previously that during August home games, the Brewers were giving $10 vouchers to everyone and they could be used on food or merchandise. With the tickets being $15 on StubHub, that is altogether a pretty good deal.
The first reaction, even from the outside is how large it is with that retractable roof. Inside, you get the feeling that they didn’t go cheap on putting this thing together. I believe the only other retractable roof stadium I’ve been to is in Seattle, where they spent a fortune since they had to secure it against earthquakes.
Everything else is standard fare for the new stadiums. The seats are all great and there is plenty of space to walk around on the concourses.
Another thought, and this applies to many newer stadiums, is the open views in the outfield when there isn’t much to be seen. The other similar one is Kansas City. I guess having seats out there doesn’t make a lot of sense, smaller cities have trouble filling what they have. Still, I like the upper levels to connect via walkway.
Bernie’s Slide – I did get to see a Brewers home run and I did get to see Bernie go down the slide. Hats off to Bernie. He’s always standing out there, ready to go as soon as a ball clears the fence.
Sausage Race – It was a relay the day I was there. Kids as mini-sausages were ready for the hand-off. I think the excitement level would have been amped up if I had a favorite in the race.
Ice Cream Helmet
Here’s where it all fell apart. My friend already has a Brewers Ice Cream Helmet. So I didn’t consider it being a problem. In line, I didn’t see any helmets. Then I started seeing people getting ice cream in dishes. I saw someone at a closed register and went up to ask. He was very knowledgeable and said that they don’t have them any more. My only option was a huge helmet filled with nachos. Don’t have them any more? Were people not happy with them? Did they cost too much? This should be a ballpark staple. If you are cutting costs that much, just keep some around and charge an extra dollar.
I went around the whole stadium to see if maybe there was a stand left. I came across one stand that was ice cream only, but they didn’t have them. I was tricked by old Dippin’ Dots stands that are now used to sell popcorn or nuts. So much for the future, eh, Dippin’ Dots?
The current list of helmet fails: San Francisco, Oakland, LA (although that may have been a ticket issue), and now Milwaukee.
Can I call a meeting of stadium owners so they can start to make an effort on lines at these stadiums? The only excuse to not have enough concession lines that it never gets more than two or three people deep, is a lack of space. Miller Park is not suffering from this issue. More lines means more revenue. The markup on these concessions makes the expense of paying someone next to nothing. There has to be solution. I’d like to see more attempts at trying different approaches. One item per stand? Try it. Separate lines for cash or exact change? Pre-purchase vouchers for items, or have machines to buy the vouchers so credit cards don’t take too much time? Just try something.
Overall, I liked the stadium. I’m not sure there is a bad stadium left in the majors. The Twins and Mets have newer stadiums (I didn’t like the old ones) and I didn’t mind Tampa Bay. It is hard to differentiate yourself at this point. You can only do so much with the in-game experience if your team has been out of the playoff race most of the season.
Remember the Titans @ Camp Randall The first item on the agenda after I arrived in Madison was to catch a movie. A movie that would be shown on the video board inside Camp Randall. What a great idea. You’ve got this really nice video board. A huge stadium that is only used a few times a year. It doesn’t even have natural grass, so you can sit on the field with no one concerned about the grass. We had a spot in the middle of the end zone, right in front of the goal posts.
I hadn’t seen Remember the Titans in a long long time. It has never been one of my favorites but people always seemed to love it. After seeing it again a few things stood out: 1) I hadn’t realized that my friends repeated so many lines from the movie that I probably heard the entire script, just on shuffle, on a daily basis and 2) having now been to Alexandria, VA a few times, it makes the movie a bit more shocking, given how it’s affluent DC suburb these days. The rest of the movie was typical football movie, which is fine and something I’m all for in this setting. There would be few better choices.
There had been a vote for which movie to watch, the options were: Despicable Me, Oz The Great and Powerful, Friday Night Lights, Remember The Titans, and The Avengers. I was surprised they weren’t all sports movies and two of them were PG-13. Remember the Titans won and I don’t think it was a close fight.
If they pick Little Giants next year, I might have to fly back.
The Way Way Back
We caught this one at a normal theater. Mostly normal. First, the theater was in a mall. We used to have theaters in malls but they all moved out years ago. This was a new mall theater and really nice. The strangest thing was that when we bought our tickets at the box office, we had to select our seats. Assigned seats!
A lot of people haven’t heard of this movie, so here’s the trailer. Or just trust me, cause the trailer covers a lot.
I loved it, you have to see it. I’m calling it my favorite movie of the summer. Keep in mind it’s the only movie I’ve seen this summer. In case you didn’t watch the trailer. It focuses on a teenage boy spending the summer with his mom at her boyfriend’s beach house, along with the boyfriend and his daughter. Steve Carrell is the boyfriend and he is awful, in a good way. So crazy because he is always nice. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the teenager is awkard and doesn’t get along with Steve Carrell. So he wanders off and makes his own friends, which is where the fun begins. Also in the movie, Allison Janney, is the neighbor and should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Also, there needs to be some sort of comedy acting Oscar, so Sam Rockwell could win it.
The movie was written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who are both in the movie and you should already know them because the won the Oscar for The Descendents screenplay, and because Jim Rash is the dean on Community. The Descendents was adapted from a book, this one is all theirs. I will see there next three movies, even if the next two are terrible, I’d still give them a third shot.
Mighty Ducks 1 & 2
Random, yes. My friend took me to some of his friends’ apartment warming party with a theme of food from Minnesota & Wisconsin. I thought it would be an outdoor BBQ and escalate quickly. Instead it was indoors and we wound up watching the first two Mighty Ducks movies. They had the box set, but everyone was too tired for the third movie.
Have you seen Mighty Ducks recently? Grab some friends and do it. The first one holds up pretty well. I hadn’t remembered the super cheesy sound effects and that one of the Ducks lines was called the Oreo Line (yes, in a kids movie). I also got to revisit the nickname ‘cake eater’ which when I was little I always felt I didn’t understand so it must be super awful, but no. The first time he heard it, Banks should have just said, ‘you have a problem with cake?’ and it would have been done with. The second one is pretty much the exact same movie. The Ducks become the junior national team, and they only add five outsiders, all from the south!