What Is Streaming Music, Home Networking Basics Tips From CNET, The Digital Future Of The Washington Post & If You’re In The Market For A New Coffee Table…

What Is Streaming Music: I had lunch with a friend over the weekend and she asked me an interesting question. She said “What is streaming music anyway?” And the answer to that question is that the term “streaming music” means to access music via the Internet – in other words, the music isn’t stored on your computer but is stored on the computer server of the company offering the music for you to access and listen to.

There are three main types of streaming music services you can access online: personalized radio services, music on demand services and online accessed radio stations.  Personalized radio includes Pandora and the upcoming Apple (or possible iTunes) music service, on demand services which allow you to specify which songs and albums you wish to listen to including the Spotify and Rdio services and online accessed radio services like TuneIn Radio allow you to access radio stations offering the same content they transmit to radios over the air via the Internet.

If all of that sounds confusing it probably is at least a little bit!

So let me try and offer some examples. If you use Pandora Internet Radio which is a personalized radio service and which you can access via the Pandora site or Pandora app, you create playlists based upon songs or artists. So at home I have a Billie Holiday station that plays music by Billie Holliday and other similar artists that Pandora chooses. Likewise I have a Peter, Paul & Mary station that offers folk-rock and pop hits from the 1960s for my listening pleasure and again Pandora offers the song selections based upon whatever artist or song I’ve told Pandora I want it to create a personalized station around.

On the other hand if I were to listen to Internet accessed music from Spotify or Rdio, via the web or an app, I would be using an on demand streaming service and I could create playlists that include specific songs and/or artists – so if I wanted to hear the Billie Holiday album “Lady Sings The Blues” in its entirety  — I could do so which is not something I can do with Pandora – Pandora can only play 4 songs an hour by a specific artists for any of its listeners.

And on the third hand, say I just want to tune into a radio station like WSQX that doesn’t come in without static at my house via a traditional radio; I can use the TuneIn Radio app or site which allows me to access that Binghamton based radio station by accessing the content that WSQX now offers online (you can go directly to the WSQX site and stream the music too via this link: http://www.wskg.org/streaming/wsqx_player.html?new).

And I mention the TuneIn App, even though you can stream WSQX content directly from their site via the web, because although many radio stations now offer their radio shows and content to be accessed (streamed) via the web– TuneIn is a cool app that allows you to access thousands of radio stations from all over the world from one place – so you can listen to radio stations from countries across the globe, save your favorite stations to your favorites list and easily switch between your favorite stations at the touch of a button which is cool!

So basically Pandora creates genre playlists based upon what artists you tell them you like, Rdio and Spotify create on demand music playlists that allow you to select the specific songs you wish to listen to and traditional radio stations like WSQX now broadcast their programs live over the web – so you can access music via any of these services and have a static free listening experience!

Here’s a link to a Guardian article on the subject titled “Rdio’s streaming Stations aim to understand music fans, not just music” that offers even more information on the subject:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/aug/08/rdio-stations-streaming-music-radio

Home Networking Basics Tips From CNET: CNET is offering an entire series of how-to articles on that focus on how to set up a home (Internet) network. Here’s the link to part 8 of the series which offers an in-depth explanation of how to set up a router and modem; the article even offers tips as to when it makes sense to buy your own equipment instead of renting Wi-Fi equipment:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3132_7-57597651-98/home-networking-explained-part-8-cable-modem-shopping-tips/

The Digital Future Of The Washington Post: NPR offers a video interview with current Washington Post CEO Don Graham that is interesting because it speculates on the future of newspapers particularly the Washington Post which was just purchased by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – and the basic gist of the situation is that the future of “print” is digital and not paper:

Here’s the link: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/july-dec13/washpost_08-06.html

If You’re In The Market For A New Coffee Table…And if you are in the market for a new coffee table and you like technology and have $7,000 to spare – you might consider buying the new wooden Hammacher Schlemmer 32″ Windows 8 touch screen coffee table! You get the full Windows 8 touch screen experience beneath every cup of coffee you set on it!

Here’s the link to the Coolest Gadget’s article on this brand new coffee table:

  http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20130808/giant-coffee-table-touchscreen-computer/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Dredge, Stuart. (2013, August 8). The Guardian. Rdio’s streaming Stations aim to understand music fans, not just music: New personal radio feature shows streaming service is a credible alternative to Spotify, Deezer and other rivals. Online. Accessed August 12, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/aug/08/rdio-stations-streaming-music-radio

 

Edwin. (2013, August 5). Giant Coffee Table Touchscreen Computer. CoolestGadgets.com. Online. Accessed August 12, 2013, http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20130808/giant-coffee-table-touchscreen-computer/

Madrigal, Alexis. The Music Is Waiting to Be Tapped’: Listening in the Era of the Stream. (2013, August 9). The Atlantic. Online. Accessed August 12, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/13/08/the-music-is-waiting-to-be-tapped-listening-in-the-era-of-the-stream/278466/

Ngo, Dong. (2013, August 9). Home networking explained, Part 8: Cable modem shopping tips. CNET. Online. Accessed August 20, 2013. http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3132_7-57597651-98/home-networking-explained-part-8-cable-modem-shopping-tips/

‘Our Future Is Digital’: Don Graham Reflects on Washington Post’s Turning Point.’ (2013, August 6). PBS Newshour. Online. Accessed August 12, 2013. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/july-dec13/washpost_08-06.html

 

 

Windows 8 Update Coming

It seems to be rather quiet today tech news wise although I did find a number of articles online that offer info on the upcoming Windows 8 update – Windows 8.1.

Windows 8 has baffled a great many people because when a Windows 8 PC is turned on you see a Start screen of tiles known as Windows Metro and the look is completely different than previous versions of Windows. In fact the Start screen is very reminiscent of a tablet screen so if you’ve used an Apple or Android tablet you’ll known just what to do with a Windows 8 computer as long as the purchasers has actually purchased a touch screen Windows 8 laptop or desktop. And I emphasis the touch screen aspect of Windows 8 because although you can use Windows 8 on a standard non-touch screen computer – it really is best used with a touch screen computer.

And I personally have had a Windows 8 laptop since last October and I haven’t had any difficulties using it. As long as one has a touch screen Windows 8 computer than you only have to remember that Windows 8 has two sides a Start screen tablet side with apps and a more traditional looking desktop side that functions like a traditional Windows desktop except for the fact that it currently does not feature the traditional Windows Start Menu – although there are ways you can fix that right now by installing extra software and later as mentioned later this year Microsoft will roll out the Windows 8.1 update that will restore the Start Menu.

If you’d like to check out a Windows 8 touch screen laptop and see how different it is from previous versions of Windows – stop by the library we have several Windows 8 touch screen laptops that you can sit down and try out.

And here’s a link to one of the many stories about the Windows 8.1 update that have been in the news today; this one is from ABC and is titled “Microsoft Windows 8.1 Features Detailed Start Button Revival and Apps Improvements Coming:”

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/microsoft-windows-81-features-detailed-start-button-revival/story?id=19285011#.UafZc9K1FW4

References

Stern, Joanna. (2013, May 30). Microsoft Windows 8. Featured Detailed: Start Button Revival and App Improvements Coming. 

Restoring The Windows 8 Start Menu & Cool Vocabulary Building Apps

Restoring The Windows 8 Start Menu: The Wall Street Journal All Things D personal technology guru Walt Mossberg offers a video review of two app this week that will install the al Windows Start Menu on your Windows 8 PC! The apps are called Start8 (which costs $5) and Pokki (which is free). The Start8 app restores the Windows 7 Start Menu and its traditional functionality. Pokki also gives restores the Start Menu but additionally offers you an apps panel, accessed when you open the Start Menu, and access to the Pokki App Store. So basically Start8 will give you the traditional Start Menu experience and Pokki will give you an updated Start Menu experience.

Here’s the link to the video review titled Two Products for People Who Miss the Old Windows:

http://allthingsd.com/20130507/two-products-for-people-who-miss-the-old-windows/

Cool Vocabulary Building Apps: USA Today offers an article that highlights three vocabulary building apps. The first is titled Kids’ Vocab for kids ages 7-12, it costs $4.99 and it incorporates vocabulary building into several word games that allow kids to study the vocabulary words and earn points as their vocabulary skills improve and they gain game levels.

The second app is called The Opposites it costs $1.99, it is also intended for kids ages 7-12 and it offers a role playing game of sorts where two teens are seen talking and the words they say appear in bubbles above their heads – players must then match the words, which when correctly matched will turn green and disappear, to gain continue game play.

And the third app is called SAT Slam and costs $3.99 – this is the highest end app in that it is intended for high school age students who are studying to take their SATs and it features actors reading funny poems and explaining word meanings – the topics are well, topical and silly.

To quote from the article “For example, to learn the word “abase” an actor reads “To embarrass or humble to make one a disgrace.” And  “Barry Bonds was blushing when he couldn’t steal a base. This poetic definition is then followed up with the mnemonic: “A baseball player was abased when he couldn’t steal a base.” Teens next hear a funny throw-away comment about how hard can it be to steal a base? — all you need to do is toss the thing in the back of your truck.”

Here’s a link to the article which is titled Three cool apps make learning words fun:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/gudmundsen/2013/05/05/kids-apps-learning-words/2121611/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Gudmundsen, Jinny. (2013, May 5). Three cool apps make learning words fun. USA Today. Online.

Mossberg, Walt. (2013, May 7). Two Products for People Who Miss the Old Windows. All Things D. Online. Accessed May 8, 2013. 

Customize Your Microsoft Office Ribbon & Playing DVDS On A Windows 8 PC

I came across two very useful tech how to articles on the New York Times site today. 

The first article, which is a short one, is found on the Times’ tech blog and titled  “Tip of the Week: Customize the Microsoft Office Ribbon;” instructs you as to how you can customize the Microsoft Office Ribbon – basically you right click on the ribbon, on whichever tab you are on, and click on the option that says “Customize the ribbon.”

Here’s the link to the article:

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/tip-of-the-week-customize-the-microsoft-office-ribbon/?ref=technology

And the second article which I stumbled across while reading the first one is actually from March but it is very relevant for anyone who has recently purchased a Windows 8 PC with a disc drive or anyone who is thinking of doing so! And the reason it is relevant is because with Windows 8 Microsoft has figured that most people are now streaming videos from the Internet to watch them on their PC instead of putting DVDs into their disc drive to watch on their PC. And with that idea in mind Microsoft has not included their traditional DVD playing software in the Windows 8 package of software. And all of that is the long way around the barn of saying unless the manufacturer of your disc drive has included software for playing DVDs on your Windows 8 PC – you don’t the software on your Windows 8 PC that will allow you to play DVDs! Instead you’ll have to download software from the web and you can even get the traditional Microsoft DVD viewing software Windows Media Player but that will now cost you $10.

Here’s the link the Gadgetwise Q&A section on the subject:

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/qa-playing-dvd-movies-in-windows-8/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Biersdorfer, J. D. (2013, April 24). Tip of the Week: Customize the Microsoft Office Ribbon. New York Times. Online.

Biersdorfer, J. D. (2013, March 18). Q&A: Playing DVD Movies in Windows 8. New York Times. Online. 

What Kind Of Tech Programs Would You Like To See @ The Library?

As you may know, and if you don’t just FYI! The library offers a number of free tech programs and even free One-On-One sessions by appointment.

One-On-One Tech Sessions: Now of course the One-On-One sessions are made by appointment with a member of our tech staff, namely Jenn Gaylor or I, and these sessions offer people* an opportunity to come in with the new iPad, tablet, e-reader or PC they’ve just acquired and sit down with a person who is knowledgeable in the language of personal technology and just go over any questions they might have or listen to an overview of how their new device works. You can make a One-On-One tech appointment during any weekday/weekday evening hours the library is open so the appointment fits in with your schedule.

Tech Programs: Right now we are hosting a variety of tech programs on Wednesday afternoons and select evenings. Our current tech program offerings include programs on how to use the iPad, how to use Windows 8, how to do photo editing, how to use Excel, E-Fitness Resources (including a brief Wii workout) and how to use a Mac.

So my goal in creating this posting is to ask all library patrons reading this posting two simple questions regarding tech programs at the library:

  1. What tech topics would you like to see us create programs for in the future?

And

  1. What time would you find convenient to attend tech program at the library? In the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening?

And please feel free to make any additional comments regarding tech programs and services the library offers and/or ones you’d like to see the library offer.

Have a great day!
Linda R.

*One-On-One sessions may be made by individuals or small groups so if you’d like to come in yourself and learn how to use your new iPad or PC etc. you can do so and if instead you’d like to come in with your spouse, or a sibling or friend or two to learn how to use your new iPad, PC, e-reader or other gadget  — you can do that too! Just stop in the library or give us a call! You can make a tech appointment by calling 607-684-0361 or 607-936-3713 ext. 212.

Windows 8 – Not As Scary As You Might Think! Part II: The Start Screen

Windows 8 Start ScreenYou’ll remember that yesterday I waxed on about how the Windows 8 desktop experience really isn’t too different from the Windows experience you’ll get if you use a Windows 7 or Windows XP PC? And that is true! Working via the desktop side Windows 8 PC really is very similar to the old Windows experience you’d get while opening, closing and saving files on Windows XP, Vista or 7 computer.

However, and insert drum roll here for dramatic effect….

The other side of Windows 8, the Start Screen side is very, very different from the experience you’d get from using any computer running any of the previous versions of Windows. And you can see the difference just by looking at the photo included with this posting!

The photo of course shows the Start Screen of a Windows 8 computer and although it looks very different it really is a cool side of Windows to use and if you’ve used a smartphone or tablet in the past then you’ll find yourself very quickly at home when using the Start Screen side of a Windows 8 PC.  And the reason you’ll be very comfortable with that side of Windows 8 is because it really is set up like a tablet or smartphone with apps! And if you purchase, or use, a Windows 8 computer that has a touch screen*1 you can touch the apps to open them or move them from one part of the Start Screen to another just the way you would on a tablet or smartphone. And likewise if you want to get new apps on your Start Screen than just as is the case with a smartphone or tablet you go to your app store – and in the case of Windows 8 the Windows 8 app store is simply called Store ( you can see the app for it in the photo it features a big shopping bag on the bright green app) and if you touch that app to open it (or click it if you are using a Windows 8 computer without a touch screen) then you’ll enter the Windows app store and you’ll find apps like Netflix, Skype, Amazon Kindle, Angry Birds and the Oprah Winfrey Network that you can easily install and use on your Windows 8 computer.

So there are three basic things to remember about using Windows 8:

  1. There is a Desktop side of Windows 8 that is very similar to the Desktop side of previous versions of Windows (Except for the fact that there is no Start Menu and you open the Windows Explorer folder to access your files);
  1. There is Start Screen side of Windows 8 and it is very similar in the way you use it to the experience you get if you use a smartphone or tablet that has apps
  1. Windows 8 computers (not tablets*2) come in two hardware versions: A. a touch screen version which is desirable as Windows 8 really is made to be used with a touch screen computer; and a standard non-touch screen version which allows you to do the same things as you can do with a Windows 8 touch screen computer but in a different way (and it does usually take you more clicks to get from point A to point B if you’re using a non-touch screen Windows 8 computer that you’d have to use if you were using a Windows 8 touch screen computer but you’ll get where you want to go in the end!)

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

*1) You can buy a Windows 8 computer without a touch screen and those non-touch screen models are generally cheaper than their touch-screen brethren; however, Windows 8 really is ideally experiences at its best if you have a touch-screen computer running Windows 8. So that is Linda’s two cents worth on that subject! If you’re thinking of buying a Windows 8 computer I do indeed suggest that you buy one that has a touch screen!

*2) And I should point out I am only talking about the Windows 8  laptop and desktop models – Windows also has two tablets out the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. The Surface RT is the cheaper model (the entry level version costs $499) and runs a light version of Windows 8. The RT also does allow you to install new Windows software but you cannot install any old Windows software on the tablet. In contrast, the Surface Pro costs more money at $899 (for the entry level model); however, it runs a full version of Windows 8 and will allow you to install old Windows software if you wish. So just FYI on the Windows tablet front!

 

Windows 8 – Not As Scary As You Might Think!

Windows 8 Desktop View

I’ve had a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop (an HP Envy) since last fall. And as you can imagine after using it for several months I do have an opinion about the new Windows 8 Operating System!

And… insert drum roll here for dramatic effect…I like it!

Windows 8 really isn’t scary at all! In fact there are a number of cool new things you can do with a Windows 8 PC (like use a touch screen). However, there is also a comfortable and familiar side to Windows 8 for anyone who has used a Windows 7 or XP computer. And that side is the desktop side of Windows 8.

You see there are two sides to Windows 8 a Start Screen side and a desktop side. And the desktop side is very familiar looking indeed–in fact it looks like a Windows 7 desktop with one major exception – there isn’t a Start Menu instead to access files.

Instead of using the old Start Menu you tap (if you have a touch screen PC) or click on the Windows Explorer folder that appears at the bottom left hand corner of the screen in the exact spot you’d find the Windows Flag icon that you click to bring up the Start Menu in Windows XP or Windows 7. And in fact, if you’re using a Windows 7 or Windows XP computer right now you can see exactly what that path looks like – that is clicking on the Windows Explorer folder to access your documents, photos, videos or music; because those versions of Windows feature that same Windows Explorer folder! The folder is situated right next to the Windows Flag icon (the one you click on the bring up the Start Menu) and located in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.

And as you can see from the photo included with this blog post – which does indeed show off a Windows 8 desktop – you can still place other icons on your desktop if you want to do so – you can create all the desktop short cuts you’d like and you can access the drives on your computer by also opening the Windows Explorer folder as the drives are on the left side of the Window that displays right under the Computer icon just as the will be if you open the Windows Explorer folder on a PC running Windows 7 or Windows XP.

So the desk topside of Windows 8 really isn’t scary at all! Instead it is very similar to the desktop you see and utilize if you’re using a Windows XP or Windows 7 PC.

Now the Start Screen side of Windows 8 that is indeed different! Think of that side of Windows 8 as being similar to a tablet – like an iPad, Galaxy Tab or Kindle Fire with apps! And I’ll talk more about that side of Windows 8 tomorrow.

Have a great evening everyone!

Linda R.

A Start Menu For Windows 8 & Temple Run Sequel

A Start Menu For Windows 8: If you’ve purchased a new computer in the last three months you’ll know what I mean when I say Windows 8 offers a very different operating system than any previous Windows operating systems. And if you’ve purchased a Windows 8 PC and miss the old standby – the Start Menu – than you’ll be happy to know there is a workaround to install a Start Menu on a Windows 8 PC! According to the tech site arstechnica the best app you can currently obtain to create a Windows 7 like Start Menu is the Windows StartlsBack app which is available through the Windows App Store. And the article, titled Help! I’ve got Windows 8 and I miss my Start menu!, may be accessed via the following link:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/01/help-ive-got-windows-8-and-i-miss-my-start-menu/

Temple Run Sequel: A TempleRun sequel, titled Temple Run 2, has just been released. And for those who aren’t familiar with it TempleRun is a very popular game for Apple and Android phones and tablets. The game features an Indiana Jones like figure that the game players make run, rump and slide along a stone path trying to outrun the monkeys that are chasing him and running over gold coins along the way. Temple Run 2 offers a bit more in-depth adventure having the main character swing on rope-like vines and strea a mine cart in addition to running to keep away from the monkeys.

Here’s a link to a USA Today article, titled Temple  run sequel hits the app store, that offers more information on the subject:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2013/01/17/temple-run-sequel/1839883/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Bright, Peter. (2013, January 14). Help I’ve got Windows 8 and I miss my Start menu! Arstechnica. Online.

Snider, Mike. (2013, January 17). TempleRun Sequel. USA Today. Online. 

Windows 8 Apps & Apple Expected To Launch Online Radio Service In 2013

Windows 8 Apps: Now that Windows 8 is available I thought it might be a good idea to mention some solid Windows 8 apps – available from the Windows App Store – that you might find useful if you upgrade to Windows 8 or buy a new Windows PC, laptop, tablet or hybrid tablet in the near future.

The apps include: Netflix, IM+, TuneIn Radio, StumbleUpon, MovieGuide, Maps, Free Books, Google Chrome, Kindle, MetroTwit (Twitter), Skype, Google (for direct access to the Google search box), HuluPlus, FlipToast, AllRecipes, Evernote, WeatherBug and more.

Here are links to three articles on that very subject of apps for Windows 8 – just in case you buy a new laptop over the weekend!

1. Top 12 Windows Store apps from CNET:

http://goo.gl/RMyUZ

2. 10 Windows 8 apps you should download first by PC World

http://goo.gl/bvHQK

3.  The 10 Best Free Windows 8 Apps For Work And Play by Business Insider

http://goo.gl/le2nM

Apple Radio Service: According to the Apple Insider in 2013 Apple is slated to introduce a new internet radio service to compete with the likes of Pandora and Spotify. And if you’re not familiar with internet radio – it is a popular way to listen to music because you can customize the music to fit your personal taste. So, for example, if I create a Frank Sinatra channel on Pandora* — then that channel will play the music of Frank Sinatra and other persons of that vintage and in that style – so you might here a Frank Sinatra song followed by a Harry Connick Jr. song followed by a Louis Armstrong song etc. Likewise if I create a Beatles channel I’ll hear music by the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and various other classic rock artists.

Some of my personal favorite Pandora channels are: George Winston Radio, Billie Holiday Radio, Beatles Radio and Christmas Radio.

The Apple Insider article, tilted Apple reportedly planning to launch online radio service by early next year, may be accessed via the following link:

http://goo.gl/PdIL7

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

*Pandora is available and you can access the service via apps or through your web browser at http://www.pandora.com/

Windows 8

Windows 8 makes its debut on Friday. And this translates into any new PC you buy coming with the new Windows 8 operating system.

And if you haven’t seen a preview of Windows 8 – it is very, very, very different from any previous Windows operating systems. It is a larger step by far away from Windows 7 then it was from Windows XP to Windows 7.

And Windows 8 will be coming out not just on new desktops and laptops but also on a variety of tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, and phones.

Also of note, touch screen desktops and laptops running Windows 8 will be available as well. This is because Windows 8 is optimized to work with touch screen technology.

Here are three new news articles that offer more in-depth information on Windows 8:

  1. Windows 8 is Hard So Say 14 Typical Users from CNET: http://goo.gl/PKkYy
  1. Microsoft Introduces Windows 8, Marking A ‘New Era’ from NPR: http://goo.gl/NDJ5M
  1. And also from CNET Windows 8: The complete new PC launch list  http://goo.gl/gOs1s

And just remember if every have any technology usage questions you can pitch them to the library’s tech staff!

Have a great day!

Linda R.