Site Issues

Regrets, regrets, and regrets…

First off, I’d like to apologize for the site being down for a few days; My hosting company, Conquerhosting.com, resells hosting from Ankeservers.com. Apparently, Ankeservers shut Conquerhosting down, consequentially shutting down every one of their clients, including me. I’ve been meaning to switch hosting plans for a while, and this is the last straw; As soon as I can, I’m switching my hosting to surpasshosting.com and I’m migrating my domain to Godaddy.com.

Now that that’s been said…

I’m planning on starting up another giveaway to get my traffic back up, considering its dropped considerably during the 3 days the site was down. I have quite a few things to give away; a $15 dollar iTunes gift card, and a 3 day trial pass to “Day of Defeat: Source,” just to name a few things. So, stay posted, and keep in touch.

Cheers,

Salem

DopplerPad Review

Now thats more like it.

Today, I’m going to review an iPhone app that I’ve really been interested in. I’m really big into music (I play piano and cell0) and therefore have been looking for a good music-making app for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Sadly, everything I’ve came across up and until now has been a jumble of step sequencers and fake guitar apps.

Recently, a friend of mine tweeted about trying out DopplerPad. After watching its teaser video, I was hooked. It seems to be an actual instrument, but with some of the beat-mapping features that you’d find on a step sequencer. This means that its incredibly easy to not only create flowing, elaborated melodies, but also to design in-time drum beats to keep the rythm.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR1KJ5PunD4

So, how is it?

When I first opened the app, there was a discreet little bubble with a link to the app’s video tutorials and text documentation. The videos, for me, were the fastest way to start using the app, and its simple interface made learning its features very simple.

The app works like a cross between a DJ deck and a synthesizer. On the main screen is a sound bank, where you can save up to 14 different loops. When you want to play or edit one, you can drag it to one of two pads, both of which can play a loop at the same time. You can control the volume of each pad with a volume slider, or crossfader.

The app has 37 different sounds, from basses, to drum kits and percussion, to sound effects, and finally synth leads. You can record you’re own samples if you have an iPhone or second generation iPod Touch. One thing I thought was neat that I hadn’t seen before was pressure feedback; the harder you tap the screen, the louder the note. I have NO idea how that works… frankly, I didn’t even know you could do it. Very impressive, DopplerPad.

Well, is there anything wrong with it?

Nothing is perfect, but believe me, DopplerPad comes pretty close.

There are only a few issues I have with the program. For one, multitouch isnt used at all. Although itd be hard anyways, I cant play a chord; I’m limited to playing one note at a time. Granted, being able to record over yourself solves the problem, but theres no way to make chords on the fly. Oh well. One other thing that bugged me was the lack of an undo feature. If I mess up, I have to start over because the programs clear feature simply clears any notes played while you hold it down. Theres an easy way to get around it, though; just record one layer, and save the whole track before you record another one on top of it. This way, if you make a mistake, you can just revert to the saved track. Problem solved.  Because Im a cellist, and a picky one at that, I kind wish there would have been a string synth or two thrown in, but with 37 different sounds, I really cant complain.

So, whats the verdict?

The verdict is this; if you’re into making music, and want a compact, portable way to do it, DopplerPad is the best $10 you will ever spend. I had a lot of fun with it, and it really simplifies making music on-the-fly. If you’re still skeptical, check out their homepage and browse through all the features so you can really see what you’re missing out on.

Get it here (Appstore Link)

Spotify: Free Legal Music?

Yeah, its here.

Everyone these days is scared that the feds will show up at your door with an unpaid bill for 3 downloaded songs and a $200 million lawsuit, so whats a typical consumer to do? Music is around a dollar a song. A 16 gig iPod Touch holds 3500 songs. Thats all good and well, but $3500 is a lot of money. And don’t get me started on those 120 gig classics; that could hold enough data to make it weigh more. All analogies aside, its a very expensive world we live in; can’t we get some music for free, without worrying about all those nasty legal consequences?

Enter Spotify, the new line of applications desinged to provide free music for you on your computer and mobile devices. It works by generating enough ad revenue to pay for song licenses, and then passing on free music to its users. You can pay to have the ads removed, if they bother you enough.

Sadly, because of copyright issues, Spotify isn’t yet available in the United States, but I believe its been approved and is just being finalized. If you want to be notified as to when Spotify is available in your country, click here.

iPhone App

Recently, on Gizmodo, I saw an article about Spotify’s iPhone app, coming soon to the Appstore. According to the video’s Youtube page, the app will only be available to premium subscribers (i.e. those who pay to have their ads removed). Anyways, here’s the video; check it out.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNCb1IdmJ_0

I really can’t wait for the app to hit app stores; to quote Gizmodo, the app kills Last.fm, Pandora, and Slacker in one shot.

If you’re on Android OS, they also have an Android app; check it out here.

Is anyone else massively excited for this to hit the states?

Battlefund Giveaway Results!

Its been almost a month…

Well, with over 89 comments, and a WHOLE lot of submissions, I’ve had to chose 2 winners. I’d like to thank everyone for commenting, and I really appreciate it. Please, keep checking my site out. I’m going to do a giveaway on my 100th post (which is only a few posts away… I think I’m on my 95th or something) so keep posted!

Ok. Enough chit chat. The winners are…

Themecreator and Milkman!

I hope you guys spend your tickets wisely… send me a screenshot with your character and whatever it is you bought and I’ll post it on my site. Thanks a ton for playing, and I wish you guys the best of luck. You’ll be receiving emails with a code shortly (Themecreator, you might have yours already).

I also announced the winners of the contest on the podcast I’m helping to produce, JustJumpIn. You can check it out at http://justjump.in. Look for episode 3 (which I just recorded); its the episode that I mention the winners.

Once again, thanks everyone!

FL4SH – The Seeqpod Replacement?

Finaly, finally, a trustworthy seeqpod.com alternative.

If you’ve never used Seeqpod.com, you really missed out. It was an internet search engine that let you put playlists together, listen to music and videos, pulling all its content from 3rd party sites. Apparently, it was cited by some angsty US lawmaker for promoting illegal file distribution, although ther were no links whatsoever to download the content it was pulling. Alas, seeqpod.com is down, and has been as such for several months, leaving my ears hungry.

Until a few days ago. I got an email from a friend telling me to check out Fl4SH.com. I was a bit skeptical, as I get a lot of spam (as you might immagine), but the site is perfectly legitimate, and looked sleek enough to keep me interested.

Fl4sh works similar to Seeqpod; type in an artist, album, or song into the search box, and any song related to your search appears in a search list. Click the song, click play, and it streams directly to your computer (via flash).

One thing I noticed is that often enough, their album artwork never shows up until you play the song. Even then, it only appears in the media player box at the top of the page, not in the search list. Hmm.

Without an account, the site restricts your use to just playing songs, which isn’t such a bad thing, seeing signing up is totally free. An account allows you to create playlists, which come in handy if you use Fl4sh a lot.

Issues?

When I didn’t get a verification email immediately, I just tried to sign in. And it worked. Hmm. Not such a big deal, but I don’t want people making accounts under my name. It DOES nag you to register until you do, however. Sadly, I’ve yet to receive a verification email, dispite various resend requests.

When I contacted the site’s owner, he responded quickly, and was helpful, so I wouldn’t worry too much about technical issues. There are a few bugs to the site, mainly minor flash issues, that can usually be fixed by refreshing the page. One thing that botherd me was the fact that if you go into your user control panel or the ‘Manage Playlists’ page, there’s no obvious way to get back to the music searching page. To do so, either go back to fl4sh.com, or click the logo in the upper-left hand corner.

Conclusion…

In all, I can’t wait to see the site really take off. After seeqod closed, I’ve been looking for a good online music player, with a large enough library to accomodate my expansive musical tastes. Well, ok, maybe thats putting it a little self-righteously, but still, Fl4sh definitely meets my standards, albeit slightly buggily. Check it out… its worth your time.

Jailbreaking iPod Touch 3.0!

Well, everyone, seeing as the 3.0 firmware Golden Master has been released, there’s no reason not to do a tutorial on how to jailbreak the iPod Touch 3.0 firmware. Finally. Its really easy, but this tutorial is for first gen iPod Touches only. In addition, this method was made for the 3.0 beta, so use this tutorial at your own risk.

Software:

You’ll need 2… no wait, make that 5 pieces of software:

  • 1. The iPod 3.0 firmware (of course… The Gold Master beta is identical, supposedly, to the release).
  • 2. QuickPwn 3.0 Beta 2 – The latest version (Release Candidate, Gold Master, whatever you want to call it) works well, as does the full firmware.
  • 3. iTunes 8.1 (8.2, as of now, does NOT work, so do NOT upgrade to it.)
  • 4. QuickiPwn 3.0 Bundle – This is the bundle Quickpwn uses to crack 3.0.
  • 5. 3.0 Firmware Patch – This is required to jailbreak the 3.0 firmware.
  • 6. WinRAR – You’ll need this to extract the .zip folders and

On top of this, its nice to have a backup plan; in case you have issues, refer to my “Fixing Jailbroken iPod Problems” article.

Getting everything ready:

Ok. First of all, install the 3.0 firmware on your iPod. To do this, plug your iPod in, open iTunes, and click on your iPod in the left-hand menu. Then, hold down shift, hit restore, and find the firmware you have. iTunes will put your iPod in restore mode, extract the files from the firmware, wipe your iPod, copy them over, and restart your iPod.

Next, you’ll need to right click the QuickPwn file you downloaded and extract it somewhere (select “Extract to /Quickpwn” for the easiest method). Take the bundle and extract it to “QuickPwn/Data/PwnmetheusBundles/”. Now that you’ve done this, open the “Quickpwn.exe” file in your /Quickpwn direcory. Finally, we can begin to actually jailbreak your iPod.

Actually Jailbreaking:

This is a bit more complicated, so I’ll walk you through step by step.

  1. 1. Go through the QuickPwn steps as normal until you reach the step about DFU. You’ll need to select ‘iPod’ from the device list, and find your 3.0 firmware again. Don’t check “Activate” as it replaces the device’s lockdown binaries with ones that expire soon.quickpwnscreenshot1
  2. 2. Go through the DFU mode steps EXACTLY as it says. If you do it correctly, your iPod’s screen will turn purple. Unplug your iPod, but do not, under any circumstance, close quickpwn.
  3. 3. Hit [Windows key + R] and type in %TEMP%. This will open up your temporary files folder in Windows Explorer. Look for a folder called “restore” and copy it somewhere else, like your desktop, or the same folder that you put /QuickPwn in.
  4. 4. Close QuickPwn and plug your device back in.
  5. 5. Download the 3.0 Firmware Patch and extract its contents to your “restore” folder.
  6. 6. Navigate to your 3.0 firmware, right click it, and select “Open With> WinRAR.” If WinRAR doesn’t show up on your ‘open with’ menu, select ‘other’ and choose WinRAR and select it from the list of options. Find the file called “kernelcache.release.s5l8900x” and copy it over to your “restore” folder (the one you pulled out of your TEMP folder). You shouldn’t extract the whole firmware file (.ipsw)… just the kernelcache file. If you are asked if you want to replace the file, say yes.
  7. 7. Open your “Restore” folder and run “patch.bat.” This will take care of patching necessary files, etc. etc. If you’re in Vistas, run it as an administrator. When you’re done with that, run “cleanup.bat.” This removes any unneccesary files, making it easier to continue.
  8. 8. Right click somewhere in your “Restore” folder, select “New,” and click “WinRAR ZIP Archive.” Drag the “Firmware” folder, “018-4911-4.dmg” “kernelcache.release.s5l8900x”, and “Restore.plist.” That should be it… leave anything else there out. Rename it “30jailbroken.ipsw” (or something else ending in .ipsw… its up to you), and make sure it doesn’t add ‘.zip’ to the end of the name.
  9. 9. Now, open iTunes (your iPod should be plugged in), go to the iPod’s screen, hold down shift, click restore, and select your “30jailbroken.ipsw” file. Your iPod will start restoring.
  10. 10. When you see the QuickPwn logo appear on your iPod, open up taskmanager (ctrl + Shift + escape), find iTunes.exe in the processes list, click it, and click “End process.” Your iPod will finish restoring, and restart.
  11. 11. When your iPod has restarted, it will be jailbroken, and you can do all your fun jailbroken things with it. Sync it with iTunes to get all your music, videos, and pictures (and your apps, for that matter) back on your iPod.

Wrapping it up…

Well, I hope this tutorial has made some semblance of sense. If you see any errors, let me know so I can change them. Just post a comment or something. I can also do my best to help with any issues, although I once again take no responsibility for whatever you do to your iPod. This tutorial was written for use with the 3.0 Gold Master release of the beta, and has not been tested with the full release (as it is not officially public until this Friday).

More on this tutorial here;
http://www.ipodtouchfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=172969