November 30th, 2008 by fastmikey
The internet has transformed the way we listen to music. Where once the only way to hear new music was listening to the radio 24/7, and filtering out the chaff, or spending your life travelling from bar to bar to concert, now it’s easy to sample a range of new music and only buy the music you want. The internet allows for a large number (of legitimate!) ways of sampling and getting the music you want.
There’s a plethora of music stations available online. www.shoutcast.com is a superb directory of music stations playing every different genre of music imaginable. Additionally, almost all New Zealand radio stations can be listened to online, and often have additional entertainment available – a great example of this is Radio New Zealand’s podcast classics (www.radionz.co.nz/cfm/programmes/podcastclassics)
When you’ve decided what music you like, you can legally acquire what you want from a range of sources. In New Zealand, an excellent range of music is available from www.digirama.co.nz or the iTunes music store. The only caveat is that most music purchased from these sources have DRM attached to them – so they are limited in how you can use them (for example uploading to your MP3 player). An alternative source for less restrictive music is music.podshow.com – this is a US based site which is a great way of sampling music from up-and-coming artists.
Finally, from a Christian focus, www.parachutemusic.com is an excellent publisher of New Zealand Christian music. With artists like Magnify and The Lads, they are a great source of high quality music – well worth checking out.
Do you have any other tips on online music? Share them with all below by posting a comment. If there’s anything you’d like to hear more about – feel free to join in and let us know!
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November 16th, 2008 by bigjim
Ever wanted to visit France for free? While we’re not at the stage where the internet and technology can deliver you that quite yet, there are some applications and technologies out there that can at least scratch your itchy feet a little.
Take Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/) and Microsoft Virtual Earth (http://www.microsoft.com/VIRTUALEARTH/). These are free downloads that allow you to access an amazing resource of geographical information. For starters, once you have downloaded one of these apps and started it up, you are presented with a view of the globe. From here, you can zoom in to almost anywhere and receive high-quality satellite imagery of the location you seek. You can have a look at the shadows cast by the Great Pyramids of Giza, or see what the Coliseum looks like from space.
But it doesn’t stop there. In true web 2.0 fashion, both applications allow users to comment on locations and add their own content. So, you can take a look at some of the photos that people have taken of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or look at recommended tours of cathedrals from around the world from organisations like Sacred Destinations (http://www.sacred-destinations.com/)
These virtual globes are now also supporting an increasing amount of three dimensional images. This means that when you zoom in on New York, you can switch from a satellite, ‘God’s eye’ viewpoint to a street-level view and walk through a virtual, rendered version of the Big Apple. You can even find businesses on these maps, as well as detailed street names and locations – including in New Zealand.
It’s astonishing that you can access the kind of imagery that used to be only available to scientists and spies – and it costs you nothing but a little bit of time and bandwidth. Explore the world…without even leaving your chair.
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November 3rd, 2008 by fastmikey
In 1983, Compaq released the first practical portable computer. The size, however, made the term ‘portable’ a loosely applied phrase – it weighed 12.5 kg and was the size of a sewing machine. It was a huge hit, however – selling 53,000 units in its first year. A new class of computer was born…
25 years on – most cellphones are more powerful then that first portable computer. And portable computers – that’s a whole new world. It is expected that in 2008, the sales of notebook computers will surpass desktop computers over the year for the first time ever. Notebooks are now as capable as a desktop, with a whole new level of flexibility – and with only a small price premium between a entry level desktop and laptop, for basic day to day use, there’s often little reason to forgo the convenience of a laptop.
A new class of laptops has emerged in 2008 as well – the netbook. These are special purpose laptops, shrunk even further, that are ideal for simple tasks like note taking and web browsing – and at the size of an actual A5 notebook – perfect for carrying around. While these are a little small to make it your only computer, they’re perfect if you’re considering a laptop to use alongside your desktop, or for something little to take to lectures at University, or to meetings. Check out http://tinyurl.com/6xmhv9 for an excellent comparison of the available options.
In 25 years, we’ve seen portable computing shrink from a device as big as a sewing machine down to something the size of a notepad. In the next 25 years, what will we see? Come, join the notebook revolution, and find out what the future brings us!
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