Netflix has introduced a new pricing structure that doesn’t bode well for those that still watch DVDs. Instead of the very reasonable price of $9.99 for unlimited DVDs and streaming content, you’ll now have to pay a nearly doubled price of $15.98/month for the same package.
Just like Pogoplug and ZumoCast (the latter currently MIA from the app store), Tonido is a service that’ll let users stream media and access files on a computer from a mobile device. It sort of combines features from both — it’s completely free, works via a mobile app that connects to server software (free download from Tonido) running the user’s computer and allows access to music, videos, photos and even plain ‘ol documents. In fact, pretty much everything on a connected hard drive is accessable.
The big difference with Tonido though, is that virtually nothing is stored in a cloud — not even your account password (“think of the Tonido server like a giant router” says co-founder Venkat Ramasay). Don’t want to use your computer as the server? Tonido sells a remarkably-Pogoplug-looking NAS device for $99 that you can plug an external HDD or USB stick into. Ramasay says the software footprint is also very small, and that’s it’s also intended to run on home routers. The next version will also support Airplay.
The interface seems a little rough around the edges — I wasn’t able to stream music because I couldn’t figure out a way to simply select music to play, for instance — but it’s free, so worth taking a look at.
If you love your music, you’ve probably encountered this situation: you’re streaming songs from the web via one of your favorite sites, and the phone rings, so you need to hit pause. Or your Most Hated Song Ever comes on, and you just want to skip it as fast as possible.
But wait, you have 67 tabs open. And that’s just in the browser window that’s visible. There’s two more windows full of tabs minimised in your Dock. Where’s the music, the pause button, the skip controls? Gah.
Factotum is a tiny utility that solves the problem. It works in Safari and Chrome, and lets you attach your Mac’s built-in media control keys (aka F7, F8 and F9) to a long list of web streaming services (the full list is Rdio, Grooveshark, Hype Machine, Pandora, Last.fm, Napster, Playlist.com, Live365, BBC iPlayer, Songza, Jango, We Are Hunted, Deezer, thesixtyone, and Blip).
Want it? Go here. It’s four bucks in the Mac App Store.
I feel pretty bad about yesterday’s post about the iPad 3 being the one to make a song and dance about. I’m sure the iPad 3 will be great when it comes out, but for right now, the iPad 2 is a great upgrade. This is not a ho-hum update, as our anonymous Apple staffer suggested.
It’s a rockstar from Mars update. It runs on tigerblood.
The slimmed-down weight and bulk make a big difference. It’s much easier to hold and handle. It’s pretty astonishing that Apple managed to cram in so more, yet made the case so incredibly thin. That is rockstar engineering.
The cameras should have been in there all along, of course, but the addition now makes the iPad much closer to feature-complete.
But the real magic of the device is the integration of hardware and software. Look at the piano in Garageband. You tickle the virtual keys softly and it plays softly. But hammer on them and you sound like Little Richard. The iPad 2’s screen is touch-sensitive, thanks to the built-in accelerometer, which tells the iPad how hard you are touching the screen. Watch the video of it in action here. It really is pretty astonishing!
Without that integration of hardware and software, other tablets are just fancy digital picture frames, as Wired’s Brian Chen noted on Twitter.
The iPad 2 is pure Apple: it proves that Apple is its own most ruthless competitor. Overnight, 15 million first-generation iPads were rendered obsolete.
Apple’s competitors are dead in the water. Steve Jobs is a master of hyperbole, but this time he’s right. There’s no doubt about it: 2011 is the year of the iPad 2.