iOS 8 Music Recognition: Shazam or Apple's Own

There have been rumors that Apple will partner with Shazam to bring music recognition to iOS by using Siri. The user would ask Siri something along the lines of "What song is playing?" and Siri will pull in the results using Shazam's technology for recognizing music.

I have used Shazam since it came out and would love to be able to have the ability to find out what song is playing quicker. There are times that I am at the tail end of a song and by the time I get to Shazam the song is over.

The rumor that Apple and Shazam are partnering I think is plausible, but then I got an email from a service that I am a member of. There is an app by the name of Soundtracking. Their tagline is Share the Share the soundtrack to your life™. In a nutshell you have an app on your phone that will identify music either buy automatically identifying what song is currently playing from your music app, or if there is a song that is in your heard and you want to share your interest in you can search for the song, and finally if there is a song on the radio you can use their song recognition ability within the app to identify what song is playing.

Once you have used one of these three methods the app will bring up a picture of the album cover and if it is available a preview of the song. You can then write anything about the song, how it makes you feel or if you chose you can just post the song. While posting to Soundtracking you can also connect your account to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.

Your posts show up in a twitter like feed, and you can follow other peoples feeds much like twitter as well.

This past week I recieved an email from them stating that thier Terms of Service had been updated. I usually don't read TOS changes, even though I should, but for once decided to read it. A paragraph in particular caught my eye.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES AND BUSINESS TRANSFER SoundTracking uses a variety of third party contractors, vendors, social networking services, and music content delivery providers to perform services such as application and website management and hosting, user account creation, out-sourced music audio features, and email marketing. In such instances, your personal information may be shared with these third-party services, providers, vendors, and contractors for the purpose of performing services and enhancing the user experience on behalf of SoundTracking, and in accordance with our privacy policy and the privacy policy with those third parties. These third parties may have a privacy policy that applies to you if it is a social networking service such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare or music content delivery service, such as, but not limited to, iTunes, Spotify, or RDIO, with which you also have a user account and have authorized to be connected to your SoundTracking user account. In addition, if SoundTracking or any of its services get acquired by another company, your personal information may be shared and transferred to that company.

The last line is what jumped out at me, and I immediatley thought of the rumors of iOS 8 having music recognition. Not only would they be getting the song recognition, but they would also be getting a social network. Apple tried to start their own social service withing iTunes, called Ping which was a huge failure. However it would make complete sense for Apple to take over an existing social network with an established user base.

Another feature of Soundtracking is the ability to listen to a song preview which is powered by iTunes with the ability to purchase the song from iTunes.

In their FAQ it is stated:

> What are the sources of music audio found on the SoundTracking service?

The music on SoundTracking is powered by iTunes, the digital music service owned and operated by Apple, Inc. SoundTracking is an official iTunes Affiliate service and allows users to stream 30-second previews directly from iTunes servers and purchase digital downloads of those songs. In addition to iTunes, users can also connect their Spotify and RDIO paid subscriber accounts using the SoundTracking iOS app, which is enabled by a direct integration with Spotify and RDIO under their Terms of Service.

I'm not sure that Apple is going to have the music recognition feature built into iOS at all, but think that it is something that is useful and could be included. I am interested to see what they do impliment and if they are going to give social networking a stab again. After all, Phil Schiller and Eddie Cue are already members. They both were earlier adapters, although Schiller's last post was 37 months ago, and Cue has never posted.

1Password iCloud Syncing Problem Fix

2014-10-21 Update: This guide is for those who have NOT moved to iCloud Drive. I still have not fully investigated where the data has moved once iCloud Drive has been activated.

Recently I discovered that my wife's 1Password information was not syncing correctly with iCloud. I had just updated the password to our Airport and wanted to make sure that her info in 1Password had the new password. I shared the new login with her via iMessage and clicked the link on her Macbook which brought the data into 1Password. I opened up 1Password on her iPhone to copy the new password and set up her wifi for her, and the old router information was in still in her database on her phone. I closed the app, reopened it and checked again; still the same old info. I tried her iPad and got the same results.

What followed next was hours of frustration trying to get all her devices to sync seamlessly. I exported the data from 1Password on her Macbook to her desktop so I had a copy of the data and then removed every trace of 1Password from her computer, stopped syncing the data to iCloud from her devices and deleted the iOS apps from her iPhone and iPad. On her computer I went into the local iCloud folder (~/Library/Mobile Documents) and deleted the two folders that had looked like this

1Password data files located in the ~/Library/Mobile Documents/ Folder

I restarted her computer reinstalled 1Password and imported the data that I had on her desktop. Went into the Preferences, Sync, and chose iCloud Sync. Made sure that the folders in the screenshot above were in the Mobile Documents folder indicating to me that the documents were in the process of being pushed up to iCloud.

I reinstalled the 1Password iOS apps and had to go through the initial setup again. I selected that I am an existing user, chose that I would like to sync with iCloud, and the next screen said that it was looking for existing data, and returned a screen that stated that Data Was Not Found.

At this point I was at a loss for words. I turned to trying to find the answer on the web, and followed the advice, multiple times, that was given on AgileBits Forums:

  • Please ensure that you are logged in with the same iCloud account on all computers and devices.
  • Please ensure that Documents and Data is enabled on all computers and devices.
  • On your iOS devices, open 1Password 4 for iOS, tap Settings > Sync > Sync Service and tap 'Disable Sync’.
  • On the Mac, open 1Password 4 for Mac, and click the 1Password menu, then Preferences. Click Sync, and click Change syncing.
  • Check the box to remove the data from iCloud and confirm that you want to disable sync.
  • Restart the Mac and iOS devices.
  • On the Mac, go back to the Sync preferences, and enable iCloud.
  • Wait about 20 minutes to give iCloud time to run the initial sync to all devices.
  • Go back into the iOS app and re-enable iCloud sync. It should work this time.

The above solution did not work. I had wasted most of my Saturday trying to figure this out, and finally threw in the towel. The next day I tried the above solution again and it did not work. Fed up I contacted AgileBits support team and after multiple back and forth emails I believe that I had stumped them. I appreciated all of their support, but I finally figured out how to get it working again.

At some point in between emails I had decided to go into the iCloud System Preferences and turn off only Documents & Data and I happened to have the Mobile Documents folder open, and noticed that there was a change to the folder name. It went from being named Mobile Documents to Mobile Documents.92991882.

This is what your local iCloud folder looks like when you turn of Documents & Data in the iCloud Preferences

I turned Documents & Data back on and I noticed that the folder changed back to just Mobile Documents. I decided to take all of my previous attempts into account and pieced together the following solution:

Fixing 1Password iCloud Sync Issues:

Macbook Air:

Open 1Password Preference -> Sync -> Change Syncing and check the box that says Delete data from iCloud, and click Disable Sync button. Accept the warning that states that it will delete your data. Quit 1 Password.

Open System Preferences iCloud -> Uncheck Documents & Data -> Click Delete from Mac button

(You may have to restart in between these steps. I did, but am not sure if that is what helped it)

On your iOS devices, now is a good time to go to the iCloud settings -> Documents & Data -> Click the Toggle Switch at the top of the screen, and confirm by clicking Turn Off Documents. Restart Your Devices

In the Finder Menu Bar click Go. Select Go to Folder -> Enter ~/Library/ and click Go Look for the Mobile Documents folder that now has what looks like a file extension at the end of it. Should look like Mobile Documents.92994182 Drag this folder to the trash.

Open System Preferences iCloud -> Re check Documents & Data

This will cause iCloud to re-sync your iCloud folder locally to your Mac.

iOS Devices:

Your devices should have restarted by now.

Go into Settings, Documents & Data and Toggle the Switch back to On.

Open 1Password and follow the setup screen as an existing user, and 1Password will find existing data in iCloud.

I have verified that everything syncs between devices by creating a login on one device and watching it appear on the other two. Hope this helps anyone who is having an issue with their 1Password data not syncing.

Featured Album

Along with the Featured App I have decided to throw in a Featured Album section in the sidebar. I will rotate these out whenever the mood strikes me with whatever I am listening to at the moment. As I mention in the disclosure section of the site these links are affiliate links through the Appstore and iTunes.

Sometime in the future I plan to write some type of album reviews or at least post articles that are music related, and or based on an album. So at least with these albums in the sidebar I am putting out suggestions of certain music that I like.

A Bigger iPhone

I will never understand why people will want to have a phone that is the size of an iPad Mini. Understandably most people do not use their phones to make many phone calls these days, but when you do need to make a call it looks absolutely ridiculous to have something that big next to your face. With that being said I want a bigger iPhone…

Apple has spent the last half of a decade making it’s devices thinner and lighter. This is for the most part a good thing, and I have enjoyed the benefits of these advances.[1] The weight difference after only a week of using the iPhone 5 and picking up the iPhone 4 was incredible; I couldn’t believe the difference.

So why then would I want a bigger iPhone, and what do I mean by that? I have already stated that I am not one that is on the side of the phablet revolution, but I wouldn’t mind having possibly one more column of icons on the home screen, as far as screen size is concerned. [2] The only other area that can be changed to increase the size of the phone is the thickness. I would be willing to have a thicker iPhone if it would help improve three areas:

Camera

The iPhone camera is amazing, but I still rely on my DSLR to take the important pictures that matter most like the ones that I take of my children. I don’t want to have to do that anymore. I want the camera that is always with me to be really, really good and not just alright. A thicker bodied phone would allow Apple to improve upon the technology that they have been packing into the iPhone year after year. I think that they could close the gap or come very close to closing the gap between the high level consumer cameras and professional cameras.

Storage

16GB, 32GB, & 64GB are the storage capacities available for the iPhone right now. It is time to let the 16GB phone go. Even though I have all of my music in iTunes Match and store non of it on the device; I still have a huge issue with storage. On my phone I am down to 1GB of space on a 32GB phone that I am constantly micro managing the pictures and videos that I take, or any new applications that I want to try. I am assuming that a thicker phone would allow for bigger storage capacities.

Battery Life

I have had the iPhone 3G, 3GS, the 4 and the 5. Out of all of these phones the 5 has held a charge the longest for me. I have read multiple comments from disgruntled users stating the opposite, but I can’t complain. A thicker phone means that there is that much more room to pack a battery into. I would love to get to the point where I don’t have to charge my phone for 24 hours.

I am interested to see what Apple does with their next revision of the iPhone, mostly because I will be due for an upgrade when it comes out. Whatever they decide to do with their bigger phone the one criteria that I would like most of all is that it still fits in my pants pocket, and not look like I am carrying an 11" MacBook Air.


  1. I have even been envious of my wife’s MacBook Air since she got it, every time I lift my bag that has my 13" MacBook Pro I wish I had hers, which is half the weight.  ↩

  2. All of the mockups of the larger screened iPhones that I have seen do not show any more icons, which to me doesn’t make much sense. Going from the iPhone 4 to the 5 there was an additional row added, so if there is another screen size increase I don’t see why there wouldn’t be more icons added.  ↩

Samsung Gear Fit Thoughts

It seems that Samsung had an ace in the hole along with their revised version of the Galaxy Gear that I wrote about yesterday. I don't know much about the Samsung Gear Fit, but it does look like a nice device. According to the linked article the Fit is only a fitness device.

The Fit doesn't have the camera, microphone, or speaker of the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, but it still can receive all of your smartphone's notifications and alerts, making it one of the smartest fitness trackers we've seen yet. The focus is clearly on fitness, however, as the Fit includes a real-time fitness coach to encourage you to speed up or slow down via alerts, the ability to measure your heart rate in real time, and syncing with Samsung's S Health apps on Galaxy smartphones.

It is odd to me that they would release two watches. It reminds me of the same comparison that Gruber made when Microsoft released two different versions of the Surface. I assume that Apple will release a wearable device sometime this year, and I expect that they will make the decisions necessary to bring a worth while wearable device that has yet to be seen.

Samsung still doesn't get it

In the weeks after launching the original Samsung Gear there were multiple tech sites reporting that executives of the company were admitting that the watch had shortcomings.

Another executive likened the Samsung Gear to an unripened tomato.

What we’re dealing with is small green tomatoes,” he said of the Gear’s first-generation growing pains. “And what we want to do is take care of them and work with them so they become big, red ripe tomatoes. And what you want to be sure of is that you don’t pluck the green tomato too early and you want to make sure that you don’t criticize a small green tomato for not being a big, red ripe tomato.”

The original Gear was released on September 4, 2013. Whether or not you believe it; Samsung jumped as they believed that the rumored iWatch was going to be released a week later with the iPhone 5S. As history will tell us Apple did not unveil such a product.

I would have thought that Samsung wouldn't release another watch without at least seeing what Apple was going to do with their product rumored for that market. I was surprised to find out that I was wrong with that assumption. Most of my surprise at first was that their second attempt seems to be as dismal at their first attempt, but upon further reflection I am not so surprised. Until Apple does come out with their wearable computing device Samsung will continue to flop since they have nothing to run through their copiers.

The fact that their executives knew that the first Gear was a flop, and are back with a new watch that appears to not have many more features than the first watch 6 months later shows you how much value that they put into their customers; and if you didn't catch that I meant none at all.

Rumor: iPhone 6 Camera

Sources from Taiwan’s industrial chain claim the iPhone 6 will have at least a 10-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/1.8, reports Chinese website IT168 [Google Translate, via GforGames]. This would be an improvement over the current iPhone 5s, which has an 8-megapixel camera with a narrower f/2.2 aperture.

This sounds promising, even though it is speculative.

I would like to get to the point that the camera that I always have with me is as good if not better than the DSLR that I use to take really good pictures of my family with. The camera in the iPhone is always evolving and pushing boundaries, so I am excted for the next evolution.

Even though patenets do not always mean that a product will see the light of day.[1] This rumor combined with the recent discovery of an Apple patent for iPhone camera lens addons is definitely cause for excitment.


  1. The same goes for rumors, as is the link that the post title takes you to.  ↩

Shadows Fall guitarist guitar lessons

Jon Donais the lead guitarist for Shadows Fall and now Anthrax, has launched a website that is a typical bio site but will also includes learning content for guitar players.

In this site you'll find current news on Jon's projects and appearances as well as archived footage, pictures and some guitar tips for beginner and experienced guitarists. Click here to learn more about him and his musical journey so far.

Currently the site's lesson section has only one lesson about guitar warm ups, but there are a couple of lessons that are coming soon.

Will have to keep my eye on this. It's always interesting to get insight from skilled musicians.

Metal Blade Records $7.99 sale on iTunes

 Image: Screenshot from the iTunes Store

Image: Screenshot from the iTunes Store

There are some really good albums here. They will most likely be on sale through Tuesday January 28, 2014.

Amon Amarth
"Deciever of the Gods" iTunes

Whitechapel
"Whitechapel" iTunes

Between the Burried and Me
"The Parallax II: Future Sequence" iTunes

The Black Dahlia Murder
"Everblack" iTunes

Ghost
"Opus Eponymous" iTunes

Cannibal Corpse
"Torture" iTunes

Battlecross
"War of Will" iTunes

Cattle Decapitation
"Monolith of Inhumanity" iTunes

Tyr
"Valkyrja" iTunes

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
"Mind Control" iTunes

Gwar
"Battle Maximus" iTunes

Shai Hulud
"Reach Beyond the Sun" iTunes

Six Feet Under
"Unborn" iTunes

Abiotic
"Symbiosis" iTunes

Rivers of Nihil
"The Conscious Seed of Light" iTunes

In Solitude
"Sister"** iTunes

Hail of Bullets
"Ill the Rommel Chronicles" iTunes

Entrails
"Raging Death" iTunes

Artillery
"Legions" iTunes

Noctum
"Final Scrifice" iTunes

Black Label Society: New Album Coming in April

Black Label Society has a new album coming out on April 7, 2014 Called The Catacombs of the Black Vatican

The album is available for pre-order on iTunes. If you pre-order the album you will be able to download "My Dying Time" now.

"Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" track listing:

  1. Fields of Unforgiveness
  2. My Dying Time
  3. Believe
  4. Angel of Mercy
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Beyond the Down
  7. Scars
  8. Damn the Flood
  9. I've Gone Away
  10. Empty Promises
  11. Shades of Gray
  12. Dark Side of the Sun (Bonus track)
  13. The Nomad (Bonus track)

I can't wait for this record to come out!

Pirating movies a threat to homeland security

Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”.

This is a very disturbing ordeal that this man went through. I don't quite get why the Department of Homeland Security is tasked with movie bootlegging.

The way that he was treated during his 3.5 hour interrogation doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Metallica to enter the studio in a couple of weeks

"Hammett tells Billboard that the quartet will start working on the follow-up to 2008's "Death Magnetic" "in a couple of weeks."

Really anxious to see what these guys follow up Death Magnetic with.

"We're a band that never has a shortage of ideas," he notes. "You hear about these bands that are sitting in the studio and they don't have any songs, what are they gonna do? That's not Metallica. Metallica's problem is the total opposite. We have too many ideas. James (Hetfield) has, like, 800 ideas. I have 400. Those number alone are just crazy. That's formidable."

Quick access to turn off iPhone Flashlight

Nice tip.

After I upgraded to iOS 7 and used the flashlight from Control Center, and my screen went to sleep I realized that the only way to turn the flashlight off was to wake your phone up; reopen Control Center and hit the flashlight icon again. Even with this way you still have to wake the phone but you could easily train yourself to hit the area where the camera icon is without looking.

iPhone Photography Workflow Process

We’re not scientists, and we’re not gurus, we’re just trying to get some work done. The solutions presented here are highly personal, and highly personalized. Not the only way, but our way.

The quote above is from the opening paragraph of the article. I like it, but as the author points out:

I’m a firm believer in the idea that “the best camera is the one you have with you,” and it’s never been more true than on today’s smartphone-saturated streets.

The iPhone will continue to push the boundaries of what kind of pictures you will be able to take with your phone. Most people take pictures and don’t worry about editing them other than adding a crappy Instagram filter on and pushing it off into a social network black hole. If we all took the advice of this article and took a little bit of time to delete the actual bad pictures and edit the good ones then I am sure our camera rolls would be a lot happier.[1]


  1. Not to mention our our storage capacities would thank us for not keeping every picture of lunch we have taken.  ↩

Instapaper - Free

Instapaper the read it later app created by Marco Arment is free (Normally $3.99) on the AppStore this week until December 19th. You can find it on the frontpage under the Free App of the Week section.

With Instapaper you can save articles that you would like to read at some point, but do not have the time to read right now. It strips out the text of an article and provides you with a clean plain text article with no distractions.

The service is free to use with limits on how many articles you can save, and disabled search functionality. These limits are lifted with the a subscription service. Fortunatley through the end of the year new users get two free months of the subscription based services according to Instapaper's blog; check out their post by clicking through the title post.