Tiny Computing With The Intel NUC

Intel NUC - the next step in tiny desktop computing

It shouldn’t be a surprise that computers don’t have to be large any more – we’re accustomed to laptops that are razor thin and weigh three pounds, after all. But it’s still surprising to see the Intel NUC, a powerful, full-featured computer stuffed into a four-inch square box that weighs eighteen ounces. […] continued

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Getting Serious About Audio With JRiver Media Center 17

JRiver Media Center 17 theater view

JRiver Media Center 17 is a Windows program for music and video. You can try it for free for 30 days. It costs $49.98.

Most of you don’t need it. There are some advantages to using iTunes, especially if you have an iPhone or iPad. It’s simple and you’re used to it. […] continued

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Walled Gardens Postscript: Just Tell Me What To Do!

Walled Gardens - what to do

Walled Gardens, Part 1: Apple
Walled Gardens, Part 2: Google
Walled Gardens, Part 3: Microsoft

This is a transition year. There are no right or wrong answers. Buy whatever feels right and be prepared for some bumps and the possibility that you’ll replace a device or two in 2013 to consolidate everything in one garden. […] continued

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Free Music On Demand From Spotify


You can be excused if you haven’t heard of Spotify yet. For months it’s been a hot topic for music junkies who have been impatient for it to debut in the United States. People addicted to tech blogs have been scrounging for invitations since the U.S. service was opened up last week. […] continued

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iCloud And The Competing Paths To The Future


Apple’s announcement of a collection of services sharing the name “iCloud” has generated endless articles about what it all means. I’ll talk about some of the details in the next few days but let’s step back and look at the bigger picture, because it encapsulates so many things that are happening right before your eyes. […] continued

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Dell Inspiron Zino HD Home Media Center PC


The little box in the picture to the left measures eight inches across and just over three inches tall. It’s quiet and inexpensive. In this difficult world of technology, the best I can tell you is that it might be just what you’re looking for.

The Dell Inspiron Zino HD is a compact little computer that is best used for a single purpose: to bring your photos, music, and videos to the big screen TV in your living room. […] continued

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Long time readers know that periodically I mention J River Media Center, the program I’ve used for many years to organize my embarrassingly large music library. If you’re not familiar with the program, then please go read my write-up a few months ago, where I tried to make it clear who it might appeal to – and more importantly, who should not consider it. […] continued

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grooveshark Grooveshark is an online site for streaming music – a free service for finding artists and albums and listening to them on your computer. The albums have been uploaded by regular folks and by this time the library available for streaming is remarkably large, including big hits and obscure rarities, official releases and unauthorized concert recordings. […] continued

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What software do you use to listen to music on a computer?

Most people use iTunes. A few lonely folks have gotten the new Zune HD and use its software. Still others use Windows Media Player. All of them are just fine. They’re very attractive and they handle basic functions to help you buy and listen to music. […] continued

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goodenough Wired Magazine has delivered more insightful articles in the last couple of years than any other magazine, offline or online. Take a few minutes to read a fascinating piece in this month’s issue, “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine.”

Traditionally when we pictured high quality products, we’ve always understood that they were the products with the highest fidelity or the most power or the most features. […] continued

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A heartwarming story for the end of 2008! On December 31 every owner of a 30Gb Microsoft Zune woke up to a crashed device that couldn’t be started. (The Zune is Microsoft’s competitor for the iPod. Only 14 people own them, so this isn’t all that significant except that it makes Microsoft look so deliciously boneheaded.) […] continued

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Apple’s software for Windows has been causing problems on more and more of my clients’ computers. I’ve been wrestling with bluescreens caused by iTunes, file extensions hijacked by Quicktime, and now I’m suspicious that an uninvited service has been causing problems in Outlook.

An iTunes installation includes far more than a music library that syncs to your iPod. […] continued

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a fascinating article summarizing the history and effect of the RIAA’s five-year battle against online music sharing. The conclusion is compelling: every single move made by the recording industry has backfired. The RIAA has filed more than thirty thousand lawsuits and threatened even more people, turning public opinion overwhelmingly against the RIAA and the labels, and has accomplished nothing. […] continued

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T-Mobile introduced the first cell phone based on Google’s Android operating system to much fanfare a few days ago. Although Android has some interesting features and much promise, I don’t expect to see anyone holding the T-Mobile G1 in Sonoma County for a while, since T-Mobile is a fringe player with limited coverage up here (and certainly no connection anywhere nearby to its high speed 3G data network). […] continued

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A few final thoughts about file formats for audio and video and how that affects a Vista Media Center Extender. This is the place where strong people are humbled and the whole project can be brought down with screams of frustration. I can only touch on a few of the myriad details. […] continued

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