Tag Archives: Music

Why I didn’t opt for the iPhone

When I tell people, I have got a new phone, I get asked is it the iPhone as people seem to think its the new all spangled mobile phone, and that I would certainly have one. Well I usually disappoint them, and say No.

But Why!

That’s a good question, for me personally, to upgrade to an iPhone would have been £20($40) cheaper so why did I go for a T-Mobile Touch (HTC Nike), with Windows Mobile 6?

Well, I suppose the first reason is that I have had HTC, Windows Mobile based handsets for about the past 9 years now, my second phone was a HTC Windows Smartphone that ran Windows CE from Orange (I’m thinking it was the C500, but that was another handset I had) – that phone still works, its actually still used by a friend of mine to this date (Out of interest, the first phone I got free from work, when I worked at Barclays – I thought it was fabulous, it was the Motorola Startac, which was very Star Treky as you could flip it open like the Star Trek Communicators, and I also tried a Nokia Matrix Phone but that didn’t survive a drop in the bath, and cost me all my contacts).

So I have a long history with the manufacturer, and OS builder, which some might say that is a good enough reason to stick with them, the handsets are usually built well (I tend to return one faulty handset per contract, which tends to be more of a fault caused due to shipping or my initial play with it, as appose to a hardware of software failure), and as I mentioned earlier, all the handsets still work well to this date, infact I still have 3 of them, well 2, a friend has one of them, and I also sold one.

But truth be told, I was ever so slightly torn between the two phones, and I had to seriously think which phone I wanted and I ended up going through the pro’s and cons of an iPhone.

To start with, I went to the iPhone Features Page to see what it had.

Home Screen

The Home Screen… Ok, its nothing special really, it shows a collection of icons, all of which take you to an app on the phone. I get a nice clear clock (your telling me you don’t use your phone a watch?) .

image image

Above shows the iPhone homepage on the left, and the HTC Standard Homepage on the right… Difference is, that the HTC Homepage is fully customisable, with a downloadable homepage creator. I could have a bright bring homescreen, or an homepage based on the iPhone if I wanted. So more customisation, something familiar, I decided this point didn’t go to the iPhone.

Is a phone, actually a feature of a mobile phone? If I was buying a laptop, that had a phone in it, then I would consider it a feature… But not on a phone. I’m bemused that Apple consider a Phone on a phone as a feature.

Oh and incase your wondering, I have similar contact managers, I can shout names at my phone and it start calling people, I can have Incoming Photo Caller ID, I can Video Call……

Good one, the iPhone does have better internal mail management. But I use gMail and Google provide apps for the Windows Smartphone, as do Windows, Yahoo and so on… So you can have a decent mail too, besides which, I prefer the online view for Gmail which is undoubtedly the best mail tool around at the moment, as such to me this feature doesn’t matter.

Another good one, the standard internet explorer on a Windows Smartphone isn’t the best, it serves its purpose though, I can read most webpage’s, including Youtube through it and it works fine. In addition, over the years I have used about 5 alternative browsers from Mozilla, Windows, SkyDrive and so on, and the web can be so much better, and from reviews I have read Skydrive is the best mobile browser at the moment. Its free, and I have it on my Windows Smartphone, so I suppose Windows Smartphone wins this one, although its not using Windows own Browser – but this goes to show how flexible the Windows Smartphone is.

I have a 1gig Memory card in my Windows Smartphone, it acts like a harddrive, and can be used in a pendrive converter and become my true portable office taking my office from the home PC, Mobile, and finally to work.

But! What is interesting, is that I can get a 8gig Memory card, and I am sure the capacity of these cards will grow.

Now back to the feature, Music… OK, I cant fit 8gig of music onto my Windows Smartphone, but I could very easily. I have Windows Media Player, amongst others which let me play any file type, from MP3, to MPEG video, add to that Real Player which lets me stream radio stations, and the Last.fm program for the Smartphone, and I can have anything I want… Much more that the iPhone.

Again, I each to their own, but Windows presents emails in 2 ways, one message one view, or one recipient one view, a little like a chat window. The iPhone offer the chat view, so I would say even scores here.

Got it, in fact I have the same one as used on iPhone.

  • iTunes

We’ve spoken about iPod, I could if I wanted sync my music folder with my phone and do it that way, or I could just visit a site like amazon MP3, or Tesco Music and download music cheaper?

Don’t get me wrong, I may be mistaken on this one but I am not very excited about the App Store. I have for years been able to visit sites and install software to my phone to enhance it.. It seems to me all that’s different is their is probably more cost, its written in a different code, and is called an App, and not a program file?

  • Calendar

Yawn.. Got 2.

Got it, had it way before the iPhone

Got it…

Got, Got and Got.

Got. (Actually, I tell a lie here, I have not got a calculator at the moment, but that is purely because I switched the ROM on my phone, and chose one that didn’t come with a calculator)

Add to that, I have a video camera, and can live stream to the web, turning my phone into a decent webcam as well.

Oh, and add to the above, I have Mobile Office, which lets me open any word document, PowerPoint Presentation, One Note, Email, PDF and so on, which I believe iPhone doesn’t support

Oh, I also have mobile TV…

So just from the feature above, I was not entirely won over, then I remembered, it comes with 3G the uber fast mobile network. Oh, hang on a minute, my handset comes with HSDPA which is faster, and is actually a mobile broadband network, which in turn means that I can plug my phone into the laptop, and have the phone power the internet, so I can browse, while taking calls – Its looking like a very mobile office if that’s the kind of thing you want!

The fact is, I have a pretty tame mobile phone now. When I was younger and more adventurous, I use to pimp my phone to the max, it I wanted a game to play on the train home, I would get what ever game I wanted, software was always easy and usually free to come by, and utilities, you name it, I can get it which in effect meant that my phone could take over as my PC, when my PC was in pieces which happened a lot when I was younger. Finally, to add the cherry to the cake, I can remotely take control of my PC, from my phone (Its very handy as a remote control for you PC) so I could be laying on the beach, while controlling what my PC was downloading.

So back to the purpose of the post, when it came down to it for me, the iPhone was offering nothing new, in fact I would have lost features, and much like the Blackberry, the iPhone didn’t cut it for me.

And before anyone asks if I even tried an iPhone… The answer is yes, and I got to play with one before it came out in the UK, as a friend works for o2, and was testing it, so I got a good play with it.

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Digital Music Collections – the best way to manage them!

I get asked occasionally how I manage to keep up to a music collection of 21,000 tracks, which is actually about 10,000 lower than what it use to be…. You might say, I like my music, and I don’t like crap in there so I keep on top of its organisation.

Most people, and I would be one of them when it comes to purely playing and browsing your library would say iTunes is one of the best. However, when it comes to organising a collection, and keeping track names correct there has to be a better method than right click, properties, manually type name & repeat.

Well, the simple answer is there is a better method! A small program called MediaMonkey is what I would consider the best program currently out there for maintaining a library.

OK. Imagine you ripped your albums to your PC when you didn’t have an Internet connection. Not a pleasant thought to have to go through and name all them Track 1’s and 2’setc, and add the album and artist info. I know I use to manage about one album before I gave up an went to bed! But with MediaMonkey not only can you tag your music from the file name, but you can also search Amazon for the album, and get it to automatically rename an album! OK you cant find the album on Amazon? Not a problem, there is a variety of other places you can search till you find the album.

The way I find this works best is to look at the album, and ensure you have some basic info for the search to work with – album name, or artist name is usually a good starting point and that’s it. MediaMonkey will now look for the album, and show you a before and after of the track listings. No more Track 1, Track 2…. 🙂

Once you have done this task, which when I set out and did it too a matter of months as I only had the time to do a couple of albums a day I then imported my music collection back into iTunes. At this point you have a decent collection, all correctly named if you have put the time in.

Or how about when your have an album where all the track listings are in UPPER CASE! – no problem, select the tracks, and run the Case Checker!

What about organising your files from one folder, so it is sorted by Artist, then Album etc? Well again, this isn’t hard. Select the songs you want to organise, select Auto-Organise and hey presto! after setting up how you want them to be saved, the program takes all the hard work out for you.

Another feature I found useful was the iPod support, which also lets you take your music back off the iPod – Something not even Apples iTunes lets you do* (*Apart from, it will let you transfer purchased music between computers via your iPod)

It allows you to manage a music library consisting of small to very large collections (50,000+ ) of audio files and playlists*, whether they’re located on your hard drive, CDs, or a network. Organize, browse, or search music by Genre, Artist, Year, Rating, etc., and never waste your time trying to find mp3s you know you have.

MediaMonkey is the music organizer for the serious collector!

Record CDs to your hard drive with fast on the fly encoding, using a number of high-quality digital audio formats (using the OGG encoder, the LAME MP3 encoder*, the WMA encoder, or the FLAC encoder). MediaMonkey’s CD Ripper rips the CDs, automatically fills in track properties via freedb, and adds the files to your music library.

Convert audio files from almost any audio format to OGG, MP3, WMA, or WAV files, and preserve tag information when converting from OGG, MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, FLAC or MPC! The MP3 converter, OGG converter, WMA converter, WAV converter and FLAC converters can also be used to convert from other audio formats using input plug-ins.

The features are endless (well, maybe not endless but you know what I mean)… for more features visit Media Monkey Features Page.

Media Monkey is free to download and use, there is a pro version which costs about $20, or if your British like me – get it while the dollar is so high against the pound and pay about a tenner!

For more information, or to download it visit www.mediamonkey.com