48 hours with Apple Music

I’ve been a subscriber to rdio for a couple of years, streaming music isn’t anything new to me. So I was very interested to check out Apple’s implementation.

Here’s my take after using it for the last couple of days.

The Good

Playlists:
The curated playlists are feature I didn’t expect to use much, but I’ve spent more time listening to these than anything else. Apple is doing a great job of both selecting playlists I’d be interested in based on my music preferences and selecting tracks.

The only weird thing is that the playlist seem to skew heavily towards older music. I’m not sure why this might be, I don’t typically listen to a lot of old music.

Library:
The selection of available artist and albums is comparable to rdio. I have yet to look for something I couldn’t find.

Streaming Tech:
Apple is doing a much better job of varying the stream based on available bandwidth. We have a few mobile internet dead zones near our place that always trip up rdio, Apple Music has not had any problems in these zones.

Apple Music also seems to be doing a good job of buffering. There is no delay in switching to the next track.

The Bad

Desktop Client Does Not Work: 
I can’t get Apple Music to work in iTunes, period.

App UI:
Rdio has a really great mobile app. Apple, not so much. I find it really confusing and hard to use. More on this in a future post (maybe).

Beats 1:
Beats1 plays the ultra poppy music you’d expect a beats wearing teenager to eat up. It’s not for me.

Mailbox.app – First Impressions

I got access to mailbox.app last night around midnight, have been using it all day.

My very brief review:

  • The ability to mark emails to “read later” seems clever and works fairly well. It’s smart enough to know if it’s 1am and you tell it to read an email tomorrow, you actually mean at the beginning of the next day. All “later” email get’s placed in a gmail label [mailbox]/later.
  • The short/long swipe interface is cute and works fairly well. But get’s tedious with multiple emails. The app needs a better way to preform actions on multiple emails at once.
  • Overall the UI is great, in general.
  • I noticed that the pending email badge count is actually the number of email threads in your inbox, instead of the number of unread messages. This is acts as a great little nudge to inbox zero.

That’s all for now.

Hyper-local Weather Forecasts

The future is here. Today the Weather Network rolled out “PointCast” a service developed in house (over the past 15 years!) that provides 1-km forecast and weather data.

That’s a screenshot of my weather at home vs the “Winnipeg” weather station (likely) 10km away at The Forks. As you can see, it’s quite different.

From The Globe and Mail:

The technology works by taking information from weather stations across the country and using computers to predict what is likely to happen in between those stations over the next hour. Users can either enter their postal code or use the GPS function on their phones to find out the weather in an astonishing 800,000 zones across the country.

Pretty rad.

Gawker Hacks [update: no Digsby]

If you missed it, Gawker Media’s username/password database was hacked and paswords decrypted! This is very very bad. Lifehacker, has a comprehensive post about the compromise.

They only left out one little piece of info, your password may have been exposed even if you’ve never logged in to a Gawker site. Multi-IM client Digsby is owned by Gawker and Digsby username/passwords are also in that database! Seriously, this is bad. No more blogging after midnight…This was totally incorrect, my apologies. I didn’t read the email very well (or possibly at all). Thanks for the comments from the Digsby team. I incorrectly made the connection based on the password Gawker had on file; it was an old password I was sure I had only ever used for IM clients.

Again, if this is the first you’ve heard this, here are the important links:

I ♥ Instagram

Instagram is the latest little app to gain popularity with iPhone-nerds everywhere. The app takes all the good parts of online photo sharing and condenses them into a really slick package. They’ve included a good selection of dorky filters that will make almost any subject a lot more interesting than it actually is. Combine this with a really easy to use UI for liking/commenting you end up witha  really great experience. I feel like this is what the Flickr app should have been.

Speaking of Flickr, Instagram doesn’t hoard all your pictures like some apps might. It’s able to simultaneously cross-post to Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. The last two surprising, I haven’t come across an app that posts to those services before.

It’s great, but I can’t quite put my finger on what specifically excites me about this app so much. I guess it’s just made taking iPhone photos fun again.

In any case, it’s free and I think you should check it out.