Bowers & Wilkins’ P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones have blown away several of our long-held beliefs: First, they’ve demonstrated that circumaural muffs aren’t the only means of isolating outside noise and preventing sound leakage in a traditional headphone design; second, they’ve proven that large drivers aren’t a requirement for fantastic bass response; and third, they've revealed that we’re not immune to the charms of fashion.
In a time when just about everyone has his or her own free Web show, it only makes sense that you come to the table fully prepared to rock it... with a little help, that is. Or if you aren't the kind of multimedia, Web 2.0 junkie that I'm talking about, then you'll at least want to check out this awesome Web app the next time you have to give a presentation or otherwise impress people with your "impromptu" speaking skills.
I throw that word in quotes, because the Web app Cueprompter.com is akin to one giant cheat sheet for anything you want to type in. Input your text, select a few variables, and Cueprompter will transform your screen into a giant teleprompter--just like what you'd see as a news broadcaster. You can play and pause the scrolling text, alter the speed, and send it in reverse (or forward) to catch up to bits and pieces you might have accidentally missed (blame the assistant).
We don’t consider ourselves dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles, but we do tend to look askance at audio hardware that adds to, subtracts from, or otherwise monkeys with what a recording artist intended for us to hear. We’ve made the occasional exception—praising Creative’s X-Fi Crystalizer technology, for instance—but we welcome “features” like active noise cancellation about as warmly as an oncoming bout of jock itch.
Why bookmark when you can Huff-duff? Excellent point. Now, what the heck is a Huff-duff? Actually, "huffduffer" is both a verb and a Web service, a word that's derived from a technology you can use to triangulate the location of radio transmissions from any given point. Huffduffer, the offshoot of "huff-duff," allows you to perform a similar-but-not-really kind of triangulation for online audio files.
Rather than helping you search for new music, podcasts, or sounds, Huffduffer is instead a platform that allows you to add these sounds into an ever-growing list that--surprise--is actually a podcast of its very own. That's a super-long way to describe what Huffduffer does, but I'm a bit apprehensive to suggest that the Web app allows you to build your own podcasts. It does, technically, but it's not as if you suddenly have a centralized service for recording, editing, tagging, and launching a radio show of your very own.
No, Huffduffer merely aggregates files you've already found on the Web into a podcast of your very own. But that's a useful feature for a number of reasons.
Apple news site AppleInsider.com uncovered an interesting filing from Steve Jobs and the gang that dates back to November of last year, but apparently has gone unnoticed until now.
According to the paperwork, Apple is working on a way for iPhone users to transmit data, like text messages, over voice channels, somewhat similar to Nextel's walktie-talkie mode. As it stands now, sending a text messages relies on a wireless carrier's backend server.
"With the rapid deployment, proliferation, and technical advancement of mobile personal communication devices, such as cell phones, a user of these devices is presented with any number of ways to communication with another user," Apple wrote in the filing. "For example, a user can send a text message using, for example, Short Message Service-Point to Point (SMS-PP) protocol as defined in GSM recommendation 03.40 where messages are sent via a store-and forward mechanism to a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), which will attempt to send the message to the recipient and possibly retry if the user is not reachable at a given moment. Therefore, SMS-PP requires the use of a backend server to provide the necessary support for transmission of data between sender and receiver."
What Apple's proposing is a system where data is transferred back and forth by way of a voice channel only, bypassing the backend server altogether. It gets a little geeky from there, all of which you can read right here.
Listening to the Maximum PC podcast #131 this past week (I'm behind) brought back some fond memories. Not only was there a little glint in my eye because I was actually mentioned on said podcast, but I was also tearing up a bit at the realization that the very art of podcasting could serve as an excellent Freeware Files roundup.
Thus, here we are! Podcasting is a huge topic in itself, so I'm trying to bridge a bunch of different worlds in this week's list of awesome applications. Just interested in listening to podcasts? Don't worry--I've got you covered. Looking to make a Maximum PC (or Freeware Files) fan podcast of your own? You'll find a fun trick or two within the bits and bytes of this week's post. Tired of all the same-ol', same-ol' podcasting programs that you read about on all the other tech sites (like iTunes, cough cough?) Well, I'll do my best to surprise you with a new app or two!
Even if, like me, you think that 99-percent of all podcasts are lame and not really worth your time, you can also use some of the enclosed apps and utilities to exert some editing influence over existing audio files. As well, you'll even find an awesome player for video and music files that even comes with a built-in Bittorrent download capability.
As always, slap on your favorite pair of headphones and click the jump--it's podcasting time!
Eyes straight ahead people. If this product becomes real and you find yourself using it, glancing to the side could make your music player do some crazy stuff. NTT DoCoMo did a little demo at Mobile World Congress showing off their new earphone concepts. They use the wearer’s eye movements to control music playback.
The system works even if the user has his or her eyes closed. It can manage this feat because the earphones are basically electrodes that can detect the change in electric potential when the eyes move. Sure, it’s a neat idea, but is it any good in practice? It would be impractical to have the earphones monitoring your eyes at all times, lest you skip tracks every time you glance at the clock. So activate the system with a button press? Why not just make the button do what you wanted?
No real details were provided about price or availability. If you start seeing more people than ususal rolling their eyes at you, the DoCoMo earphones might have been released. Keep an eye out for this one.
I’m in the process of piecing together an HTPC that will run Windows 7 Home Premium. I’d like to be able to connect the HTPC to my receiver via a single HDMI cable. Are there any videocards available that will send both video and TrueHD audio via an HDMI cable, or do I have to use the Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim that was reviewed in the November issue?
There's still innovation in PC audio, as evidenced by VIA Technologies, who on Thursday unveiled its Vinyl Envy VT1730 USB 2.0 audio controller chip. According to VIA, it's the industry's first USB 2.0 audio controller.
"Over 10 years of experience in the audio component industry and extensive knowledge of peripheral interfaces has enabled this technology breakthrough," said Richard Brown, VP of Marketing, VIA. "Audio enrichment, through our successful VIA Vinyl Audio line of controllers and codecs, has long been a core element of VIA's multimedia product focus, and the VIA Envy VT1730 further extends our reach beyond the PC into high-end audio systems."
The Envy VT1730 produces 8-channel, 24-bit/192kHz audio, and according to VIA, is designed for cinema-quality sound recording and playback in high fidelity USB and MIDI systems, such as high-end headphones, USB soundcards, audio hubs, and recording consoles.
No word yet on when the new chip will show up on retail parts.
Are you ready to rock? Because you'll be doing a lot of head-banging and dancing around once you've transformed every computer in your living area into a collective speaker system. Perhaps the better question remains unasked: Why would you do this? Because you can. Because you want to. Because it reverses the issue of having to connect to or stream from a central music repository (like an iTunes database) and instead allows you to push tunes out of a single music hub to anywhere you want to them to go.
Also, you want to do this because the app that makes this cacophonous symphony possible--SpeakerShare--is super-easy to use and well worth the small time investment you'll make. For the full details on this virtual conductor, check out the rest of the article after the jump.