Tag Archives: free
GarageBand could be the next built-in app to go free on new iOS devices. Apple recently updated the icons for its iLife and iWork apps, and according to MacRumors the update page also notes that Apple’s music making suite will become a complimentary download. However, to flesh out the application …
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Back in June, we reported that FreedomPop was planning to add free calls and texts on top of free data, something that would result in a complete phone plan sans price tag. That time has come, with FreedomPop now offering a complete monthly subscription at no charge, giving users a decent number of texts and […]
Back in June, Google’s advertising arm put up a blog post, letting us know it was about to release an HTML5 development tool, called Google Web Designer. Well, it’s just arrived today, per a post on Google’s own G+ account, and it’s available in beta as a free download. Throughout, the tool appears to cater to both seasoned coders, as well as amateurs looking to try their hand at web design (or looking to get it done on a budget). For instance, while you could tweak the code by hand, there’s also an option to let Google focus on the HTML5 and CSS3 grunt work while you focus on… the easier stuff (whatever that is).
Likewise, you can animate individual elements using layers or, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can just animate scene by scene and let Google fill in the blanks. Additionally, you’ll find a suite of 3D rendering tools inside, along with illustration features. As for monetizing your site, Google Web Designer naturally integrates with Google’s own AdMob and DoubleClick Studio — no surprise there. At any rate, if you feel like getting your hands dirty with code, you’ll want to hit up that second source link below.
Having a hard time making it in the internet radio space? Maybe you should take a feather from the cap of a firm that still rides the airwaves. That seems to be Rdio’s approach — according to the New York Times, the company is partnering with Cumulus Media (a company that owns for-real radio stations) to create a free version of its audio streaming service. Rdio will also trade a stake in its parent company, Pulser Media, for chunks of Cumulus programming and promotion on the traditional airwaves. Cumulus will sell ads for Rdio’s impending free service, as well as compile playlists from its catalog of syndicated programming. This could buffer Rdio’s music library with news and talk shows, which will hopefully give the service a competitive advantage over services like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Radio. Although the deal doesn’t involve a cash exchange, the Times reports the value of Cumulus’ services at over $ 100 million. As for that free Rdio overhaul? It’s predicted to be out sometime before the end of the year. The deal will be officially announced on Monday, until then, check out the NYT report at the source link below.
Last week, we flipped the switch on our #ExpandThrowback contest from the submission phase to the voting phase, meaning the winners of our contest are in your capable hands. What is this contest about again, you ask? Simply put, we wanted to see what old technology our readers could dig up in their garages, attics, closets, glove compartments, et cetera, thus paying homage to the old as we prepare to celebrate the new at this November’s Expand NY event. One lucky winner gets an all-expense paid trip to the event and four runner-ups get a $ 250 gift card to update their old technology.*
What are some of the old gizmos found in the top 20? Here’s the list, complete with WikiLinks (not WikiLeaks) to fill your thirst for knowledge on tech before we could :
- 16/35MM Recorder
- 8-Track Tape
- Apple Lisa
- Atari Video Gaming System
- AT&T EO
- Blickensderfer #5
- Coleco Telstar
- Commodore VIC-20
- Datapoint 2200
- Motorola Bag Phone
- MS-DOS DIskette
- Original IBM PC
- Original Microsoft Mouse
- Polaroid Model 150
- Portico Miracle PC
- Sega Game Gear
- Studer 3/4 Tape Machine
- Teddy Ruxpin
- Timex Sinclair 1000
- Toshiba T3100
We’ll let you hop on over to the contest and vote for your favorite, and make sure to do so by September 19th. Then, on the 20th, we’ll announce the winners. You also can see the whole smattering of #ExpandThrowback submissions that didn’t make it to the final round here.
*Prizes mentioned in this article are bound by the official rules of the contest.
OUYA’s “Free the Games” fund, which matches funds for any indie game on Kickstarter with at least $ 50,000 in funding (up to $ 1 million), is embroiled in backlash from the indie game developers it sought to court. After two Kickstarter projects tied to the initiative were found to be taking advantage of the promotion, OUYA head Julie Uhrman attempted to assuage concerns with a blog post last evening. In it, Uhrman says, “Recently, the intention behind our Free the Games Fund – to provide additional funding to crowd-funded games bound for OUYA, and enable developers to make more of them – seems to have been lost.”
The post, however, seems to have caused more harm than good. Indie developers took to the comments section to berate Uhrman’s response. “This reads like a press release from a console company locked into a foolish policy and using aspirational language to shift the blame, weirdly, onto its critics,” Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell wrote in the comments. “You can do better.” One dev says she’s removing her game from the OUYA marketplace altogether as a result of Uhrman’s deflection. “After reading Julie Uhrman’s blog post last night it became very apparent to me that the company does not support indie developers who need the support most, and that they are incapable of ever correcting their mistakes,” Rose and Time developer Sophie Houlden posted to her blog. “I’m simply no longer comfortable supporting the company.”
Aside from a single statement on Twitter, Uhrman (nor OUYA) hasn’t responded to critics just yet. “No we are not changing the Free The Games Fund. We are sticking with it,” she wrote last night with a link to the blog post in question. We’ll update this piece should OUYA decide to alter its course.
The times they are a-changin’ at Microsoft, and we are not just talking about the company’s executive leadership: Xbox Music, the company’s Spotify-like music subscription service, is launching on iOS and Android Monday, making it the first Microsoft-owned entertainment service to launch on the two leading mobile platforms. And speaking of firsts: Microsoft is also debuting free, ad-supported music streaming on the web.
Microsoft tried to make a big splash with Xbox Music last year, when it unveiled the service as an ambitious take on Spotify with a bold design, Xbox branding and Smartglass integration. However, the attempt to create a unique experience across multiple screens didn’t really click with consumers, and some of the Windows 8-influenced design choices actually made using the service pretty difficult.
That’s why the Xbox Music team went back to the drawing board to simplify its service. The result is something that looks a lot more like the competition, and that may actually be a good thing: Instead of just tiles, there is now a left sidebar navigation, and a section previously called Smart DJ is now simply called Radio. Turns out using terms that people are familiar with actually helps to drive up usage.
The other big change is the addition of free music on the web, which is like Spotify’s offering ad-supported. But this is a bit more than just a me-too-move: Xbox Music’s free web tracks are eventually going to pop up all over the place. Search for a band on Bing, and the results page will let you play full tracks. (Free streaming comes with limits after six months of use, but given that the industry is starting to gravitate towards free web streaming, I wouldn’t be surprised if those conditions change before half a year is over.)
Check out a website that lists a bunch of artists, like the line-up of a festival or an article on a music blog, and Windows 8.1’s upcoming Web Playlist feature will let you turn all that unstructured data into a playlist with two or three clicks. I got a preview of this feature during a meeting with the Xbox Music team last week, and it’s actually pretty cool.
Xbox Music General Manager Jerry Johnson said that the idea behind these kinds of features is to treat music like something that permeates other Microsoft products and in turn makes those other offerings better. It’s an interesting idea, and something that only a few companies can pull of. Think Microsoft, Google, Amazon and of course Apple.
Speaking of which: Amazon, Google and Apple all offer their customers some kind of cloud locker to store previously purchased music, including tracks they have ripped from CDs. Microsoft now wants to take yet another cue from those offerings and eventually add a locker like this to Xbox Music as well.
A cynic might argue that this will make the service look even more like the competition — but one of the lessons of the Xbox Music reboot may be that to have a fighting chance in digital music, you need to have the humility to be on the platforms that people use, and offer the features they want.
Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
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- Monetizing music in the post-scarcity age
- How consumer media will change in 2013
- Analyzing the wearable computing market
Xbox Music is going free over the web today, and its long-awaited iOS and Android versions are also set to launch at some point today. The move puts Xbox Music and Microsoft on a new course, positioning the service to rival major streaming music providers like Spotify and Rdio. “The Spotify model is the most disruptive thing that’s happened in the music industry in the last five years,” Xbox Music GM Jerry Johnson told Engadget in an interview this week.
With the move to free streaming on the web — something that’s been available to Windows 8 users for some time now — Johnson and Microsoft are hoping to get in on that disruption. The first six months of streaming are entirely free, and becomes more limited after that. Like Spotify, Johnson reasons that users will be drawn in for free on the web and upgrade to the Xbox Music Pass ($ 10/month or $ 100/year). Also like Spotify, the mobile apps are essentially useless without a paid subscription. It’s unclear if streaming will be free for the Xbox One version that launches this November, though we’d bet that the first 30 days are free (like with the Xbox 360 iteration). There are some new images of what it’ll look like on Xbox One in the gallery below — it’s essentially a shinier version of the one you’re used to on your current Xbox 360.
Sadly, the iOS and Android apps don’t launch with the ability to save and play tracks offline; offline playback functionality is coming “in the coming months,” we’re told. Oh, and when Windows 8.1 launches in October, the Web Playlist tool (which creates playlists based on whatever website you’re viewing) will arrive alongside the OS update for Windows 8 users. We’d leave you with a link to Tears for Fears’ timely song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” but Xbox Music doesn’t allow users to link out. Instead, there’s a YouTube embed below. Dance with us like it’s 1985!%Gallery-slideshow83433%