Bose Soundlink: ideal travel companion

SoundLink

Thanks to the nice people at Bose Belgium, I have been using the Bose Soundlink for a couple of weeks, and when I left for a trip to Buenos Aires last month, I thought: why not take it along? After all, it’s only 1.3kg and it could give me some better sound in the hotel. I did not regret it.

First of all it’s fully wireless: the Soundlink works on long-lasting batteries and gets its music over Bluetooth easily up to 10 meters away. It’s really light, so you really carry it with you without thinking too much. Any time I get back to my room, I just press the icon on the speaker and it reconnects to my iPhone. I take it to the kitchen, the terrace on the rooftop, and it just keeps playing, even when I leave the iPhone in my room.

Most importantly: the sound is impressive. Everyone who heard my Soundlink was really impressed and started asking me for technical -and financial- details. Now, at 300€, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s worth all that.

For all the ‘gadgets’ I use, I ask myself: does it make my life more enjoyable (for a reasonable price)? For the Bose Soundlink, that’s a definite ‘Yes’.

Music for sad days

Not that I’m particularly sad today, but I was recently thinking about the music I play over and over again on less happy days. For some reason, it’s still the same songs I play as 10-15 years ago. So now that we have Youtube:

I play out my role
Why I’ve even been out walking
They tell me that it helps
But I know when I’m beaten
All those lonely films
And all those lonely parties
But now the feeling is off-screen
An the tears for real not acted, anymore

“Long Hot Summer” (1983) – Style Council (with Paul Weller on Bass)


Continue reading Music for sad days

Click to hear the MP3 (playlist)

More than a year ago, I wrote an piece on Playing mp3 with an embedded Flash player. Things change quickly in this area, so it’s time for an update.

These are all tools to play either individual MP3 files or playlists (e.g. podcast RSS feeds) in a web page. Most of them are based on Macromedia/Adobe Flash. Where possible, I’ll use my Smoothpod Mashups as an example feed.

Hosted Service (insert HTML code)

Pupuplayer Free
License: no details – I presume it’s free to use
Format: expects a podcast feed as input
pupuplayer
Pickle Player
License: no details – I presume it’s free to use
Format: expects a podcast feed as input – or can work with individual MP3 files
pickle player
FeedPlayer
License: no details – I presume it’s free to use
Format: expects a podcast feed as input
feedplayer
Webjay (now Yahoo!)
free
can work with feeds or MP3 files, can also generate a playlist from an HTML page
webjay
Webjay Wizard
This tool of mine can also be used to create the HTML code for Windows Mediaplayer, RealPlayer or Quicktime embedded players

Continue reading Click to hear the MP3 (playlist)

Playing MP3 with an embedded Flash player

(There is an updated post at Click to hear the MP3 playlist (Apr 2006))

When you want to have an embedded player in a web page, there are several options: working with an embedded RealPlayer or WindowsMedia player – which do not all work on a Mac/Linux platform or with Firefox. Another option is using a Flash player. Flash/ShockWave is supported on all platforms and in all browsers. I went on a search for free embedded Flash players:

SoundBlox
License: This is an Apache-style open source project by Laszlo Systems, based on the Laszlo open-source RAD framework. It is free for non-commercial use.
Method: you reference a Javascript file in your HTML headers, and then call a Javascript function with the URL of the playlist. (This is a problem for some sites. Blogger e.g. does not allow <script> tags in its posts, only in the template.)
Format: it uses a proprietary XML format. <geek>Files in XSPF format can be converted to the SoundBlox format through XSLT</geek>
MusicPlayer
License: This is an open-source (SourceForge) project by Fabricio Zuardi. It is free for non-commercial use.
Method: you reference a Flash file and give it the URL of the playlist. The Flash file is embedded with the usual <object> and <embed> tags.
Format: it uses the standard XSPF (XML Sound Playlist Format). Webjay can convert any HTML file/feed to XSPF!
Check my Webjay wizard to generate the right HTML code for your page!
Halfbaked
License: not explicitly stated. I presume it’s free to use.
Method: you reference a Flash file and give it the URL of the MP3 file. The Flash file is embedded with the usual <object> and <embed> tags.
Format: No playlist here, just one MP3 file.
GurusNetwork
License: not explicitly stated. I presume it’s free to use.
Method: you reference a Flash file, which contains the playlist of the MP3 files to play. You can’t specify a self-made playlist
Format: No idea.
Sonify
License: not explicitly stated. I presume it’s free to use.
Method: you reference a Flash file, which contains the playlist of the MP3 files to play. You can’t specify a self-made playlist
Format: No idea.
RadioBlogClub
License: free to use.
Method: you host the player with all graphics and a config.xml file, that points to a playlist.
Format: A PHP script creates an XML playlist for all MP3 present in a local(!) folder.

For more information on playlist formats (XSPF, SMIL, ASX, …), check out Lucas Gonze’s excellent survey.

There are also some commercial options: hooverwebdesign.com ($50), wimpyplayer.com ($25), soundnails.com ($15)

Cool speakers: Bose Personalized Amplification System

Bose Personalized Amplificiation System
While researching speakers, I came across a new concept of amplification for musicians: the Bose Personalized Amplification System.

As I understand it, you place a Cylindrical Radiator speaker, combined with one or two optional Bass modules, close to the musician, and it takes care of ALL amplification, that is,

  • on-stage monitor for the musician
  • on-stage monitor for his/her fellow musicians
  • and PA for the entire venue.That last one is amazing, no need for separate amps + speakers for the audience. I would think that in order to cater for the audience, the sound would have to be so loud it would bother the musician, but apparently this is not the case. It’s not the first time Bose Research has done amazing stuff.

    Starting at $1500 however, it’s not (yet) for me.