Technology

Tech Talk: Useful Hints for Operating New High Tech & Digital Devices

In this age of rapid advancement in technology, acquiring a new piece of equipment sometimes requires a course in engineering or technology to understand how to make it work properly. Crutchfield – the online technology store has published a series of articles that can help guide decisions to purchase and operate many of the equipment that are now available in the technology marketplace. Below are the links to two such articles that can help guide you before your patience “wear thin”.
In the first article published at crutchfield.com, Advisor Kramer Crane provides a “Beginners Guide to Getting Better Sound from Bi-amp Cable Speakers”. The article covers the bi-amping of home theater receivers (passive bi-amping), and is written for people who are attempting to connect speakers to a 7- channel home theater receiver with unassigned channels of power. The full article is available at https://www.crutchfield.com/S-LOlrQcFxgcg/learn/why-biamp-your-speakers.html.

A Bi-amp Cable Receiver

In the second article, Crutchfield’s Dominic DeVito provides a thorough description of Apple’s CarPlay and how it works. This new automotive technology is a convenient way to access your iPhone® through your car stereo.
Apple CarPlay Dashboard

You can use certain phone functions as you drive – in a manner that will let you stay focused on the road. It gives access to your stereo, iPhone’s calling option, music, mapping (including both Waze and Google Maps), and message applications with a simple one-cord connection to your iPhone using the phone’s Lightning-to-USB cable, or – in some cases – wirelessly. This article – with video is available at: https://www.crutchfield.com/S-fM0pSnRUCol/learn/what-is-apple-carplay.html?omnews=12999927
 

Saving Your Wet Smartphone

Many of us have had the dreaded feeling of having our Smartphone immersed in water or at least know some who have been faced with this predicament. For most individuals, it is usually the bathtub, kitchen sink, toilet or even the swimming pool which is usually the culprit. However, people living in the hurricane flood zones of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the islands of the Caribbean, have a really high probability of getting their Smartphone immersed in water each hurricane season. We have also heard many stories about how to save your phone or at least your data when the phone gets accidentally wet. Among the prominent ones – dropping the phone in a “magic” portion of rice will remove the water and save your phone. The conventional thinking here is that rice can suck the moisture from the phone and immediately return it to its “prior life”. Is this really true? And, if it not, what is the best way to preserve a Smartphone that has been immersed in water? One thing is certain today is the fact that with the price of some new Smartphone approaching $1,000, the initial “fix” cannot be a shot in the dark.

Smart Phone

When the cover is removed from any Smartphone, you are immediately looking at a battery and hundreds of micro-electronic connections. Conventional wisdom teaches us that water and electronics make a very bad companion. We should also note that construction of Smartphone varies according to the manufacturer. Therefore two phones that are fully immersed in the same amount of water for the same time do not necessarily absorb the same amount of water. Various phone technology experts have different ideas regarding what to do when a Smartphone gets wet. However, one advice is usually common among them – the quicker the phone is dried inside out after getting immersed in water, the better the chance of preserving the phone or at least the data. There are also some common “do not”. Among them:
-Do not attempt to charge the phone. Plugging a wet phone into an electrical circuit is outright dangerous and it will cause electricity to flow into a wet circuit board resulting in the board being “fried”.
– If the phone was off when it fell in water, do not turn it on. Turning on the device could cause electricity to flow which can destroy a water-logged circuit board.
In some cases, by simply removing the cover and the battery and let the phone sit on a desktop for a while you can dry the water from the electronics. A search of the web will show multiple stories of how to immerse the phone into a bag of uncooked rice and that should do the trick. The concept is based on a theory that the starch in rice will draw out the water. However, several studies – including one by TekDry (www.tekrdy.com), a Denver, Colorado-based company found that rice removed only an average of 13% of the water from a water-logged phone after 48 hours. In addition, rice can multiply the challenge posed by water by introducing dust into the wet phone electronics – a combination that is almost certain to kill the phone.
The folks at DryBox (dryboxrescue.com), a San Antonio-based firm that provides assistance in the recovery of mini electronics, suggest that vacuum drying is your best option. The vacuum is set at pressure and temperature slightly below boiling. This enables the water inside the electronics to boil off slowly without damaging the components. It should be noted that the sooner the phone is dried out after getting wet, the better the chance of complete recovery. Another important consideration is the type of water in which the Smartphone was immersed. Your kitchen sink, toilet bowl or bathtub is really bad. However, if the culprit is salt water- as in the ocean, this corrosive nature of salt water will almost instantly destroy the electronics. In such a case, the experts at DryBox recommend that you immediately place the phone in a Zip-lock bag with some bottled, purified water and just a pinch of baking soda. The baking soda will counteract the corrosiveness of the salt water until you can get it cleaned out professionally.
Two final points – one should always remember that construction of Smartphone varies with manufacturer. As a result, the resiliency of the phones may be different when immersed in water. As an example, Android phones with their removable battery have a much higher survival rate than more expensive iPhone. This is because Android phones allow for vacuum or another drying device easier and quicker access to the phone electronics. The second point – it is good practice to always back up important data and contact list in some form of free or low cost-cloud service for both iPhone and Android.

Is It Time to get rid of your Limited Cell Phone Data Plan?

These days it has become extremely difficult to find a Cell Phone company that is not offering an unlimited data plan. Each plan is loaded with all kinds of caveats. For example, Verizon guarantees full-speed 4G LTE for the first 22GB of data each billing period. T-Mobile offers free text and data to its customers who travel in certain international countries. With all this happening around us, why then would anyone still have a limited data plan?
If you are thinking about looking into an unlimited plan, here are two links that can get you started:
https://gizmodo.com/which-unlimited-data-plan-is-the-best-1792476535
https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/The-Best-Unlimited-Data-Plans-Around
If you happen to be one of what I call “Legacy” customers who still has limited data plan, the folks at CNET.com have come up with seven ideas that can help some (especially) IPhone users reduce their data usage.
First, recognize the data consuming apps on your phone and restrict use when not needed.
1. Restrict iTunes and App Store downloads
You can prevent iTunes and the App Store from downloading music, movies, apps, and so on when you are away from a Wi-Fi signal. To do so, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and toggle off Use Cellular Data. Tap this to prevent iTunes from using your cellular data for automatic downloads.
2. Disable background app refresh. IOS apps can update in the background, grabbing new content as they sit idle so they can show you the latest news when you return to them. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh in order to turn this setting off completely. You can also go the a la carte route from the list and choose which apps update in the background. Pick and choose the apps that may use data in the background of your phone, or turn them all off.
3. Find out which apps are using the most data
Go to Settings > Cellular and you can see how much data you’ve used in the current billing period and below that you’ll see a list of your apps. Under each app’s name is the amount of data it has used for the current billing period. You can toggle off any app that you think is eating more than its fair share.
4. Disable Wi-Fi Assist, This may be eating more cellular data than you would like
Wi-Fi Assist is a great feature where your iPhone hands off a weak Wi-Fi signal to your cellular network to prevent pages from loading slowly (or not at all) as it clings to the last remnants of a Wi-Fi signal. If you sit on the edge of a Wi-Fi network at work, say, then your cellular network may be assisting more than you’d like and running up data charges.
5. Download music, don’t stream
Streaming music or podcasts for long stretches when you are away from Wi-Fi can quickly add to your data usage. Most music and podcast apps (like Spotify, and Apple Music) let you restrict streaming to Wi-Fi only, which will then force you into the habit of downloading playlists or podcasts before playing them instead of streaming them over cellular data. Let’s look at Apple Music and Apple’s Podcasts apps as examples.
For Apple Music, go to Settings > Music. In the Streaming & Downloads section, you’ll see two settings if the first one is enabled. The first, Use Cellular Data, lets you disable streaming via a cellular connection entirely. If that’s too drastic a measure for you, then you can leave that setting enabled and turn off High Quality on Cellular to stream songs at a lower bitrate when you aren’t on Wi-Fi.
For the Podcasts app, go to Settings > Podcasts and turn off Cellular Data. You can also enable “Only -Download on Wi-Fi” to prevent podcast downloads from adding to your data usage.
6. Fetch mail less frequently
Check to see how frequently your email account is set to fetch new mail — the less frequently it fetches mail, the less data (and battery) you’ll use. Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch New Data. First, make sure Push is turned off if you want to save data and don’t need new emails pushed to you constantly. Next, see what the schedule is for Fetch at the bottom of the screen. If you choose manually, then the Mail app will check for new email only when you open the app. Changing your Fetch schedule will not only save data, it may also save your phone’s battery life.
7. Use Safari’s Reading List
You can queue up articles while you’re using Wi-Fi to read later when you’re on a cellular connection or out of range completely. When you add a page to Safari’s Reading List, Safari downloads it for offline viewing. To add an article to the Reading List, tap the Share button at the center of the bottom navigation bar and then tap Add to Reading List. If you use iCloud, then it will share your Reading List with your other iOS devices, but you can stop it from sharing via a cellular connection by going to Settings > Safari and scrolling down to the bottom and toggling off Use Cellular Data for the Reading List feature.
Let me add an eight way to save data – become really familiar with the services offered (free) by Facebook, Google and other up-starters in the tech industry. They own apps like Messenger, Imo, WhatsApp, etc. that can help save on your phone bill. Also, note that most at home internet/cable providers i.e. Verizon and Xfinity now offer hotspots with free unlimited connections to their customers at locations away from home.

How to Listen to Kingston 12 Digital Radio

Our 24/7 channel can be heard via the embedded player at kingston12.net, or on several models of WIFI enabled radios and mobile devices. European manufacturers such as Roberts, Grace, and Armour – manufacturers of the Q2 brand; along with domestic and Asian manufactures of all WIFI models such as C Crane, Livo, Vtech, Cobra, Sangean, Sanyo and Bose have included Kingston12 Digital Radio on their platform. Other manufacturers with Kingston12 built into their products include Bose, Grundig, Hansong, Funai, Denon, Harman, Naim, Onkyo, Phillips, Pioneer, Teac, and Russound.

Our music stream is optimized to enable easy access via tablets, cell phones internet enabled players (radios and auto dashboard) and computers. Bluetooth on devices/phones can connect seamlessly to any Bluetooth enabled auto dashboard or other devices in your vehicle.

Listen Live on Website

You may listen by typing kingston12.net in the internet browser of your Computer, Android or Apple device, and scroll to the music player on the top of the page.

Website Audio Player

Click the arrow on the player and wait a few seconds. The arrow should change and begin playing in 10 – 15 seconds.

Listen Via Audio Apps

Kingston 12 Digital Radio is available on two major radio platforms (Apps). These are TuneIn Radio and Simple Radio Apps for Android and Apple devices. Search the Apple Store (App) or Google Play (App) on your devices for these Apps and download them. Once the download is completed search the App for Kingston 12 Digital Radio and press the play button.

TuneIn App
Simple Radio App

When the station begins playing, touch the star to mark it as a favorite. This will ensure that you always return to Kingston 12 Digital Radio first, each time you use the Apps.

Listeners in Europe who still have access to the Grace Radio app can still find the station there also.

WIFI Radio

Wifi enabled radios (commonly referred to as Internet radio) are devices on which the consumer is provided the option of receiving a traditional FM transmitter signal is from the internet, as long as there is a local WiFi network connection available. The radio can pick up several hundred distant streams of local, national or international stations. It picks up local signals via the internet instead of the traditional transmitter to antenna link, thus enabling the listener to use the radio in home basements or other areas where line-of-sight reception of traditional signal was difficult to obtain.

WiFi Radio
WiFi Radio

Call letters are no longer relevant. Instead, WiFi enabled radios allow the user to search for stations (channels) via location, format or music genre. More than 400 different models are available on the market from major manufacturers such as Sangean, Grace and Logitech. Kingston 12 Digital Radio is easily search via genre (reggae) or location (USA).

Partners

Kingston12 collaborates with technology companies in the US and in Great Britain that specialize in delivering streaming audio (Internet Radio) experience from more than 100 partners to over 200 products. Kingston12 Digital Radio is available on all or most of these products. Such products include Networked Audio, Smart TV, Mobile and Tablet, Automotive, PC and Cloud Music services and game Consoles. They also include many of the new, high end stereo systems such as Bose, Denon, Onkyo, Roberts (Smart Radio), Phillips and Harman.

Yamaha WiFi Radio

Smart Speakers

Kinggston12 Digital Radio is also available on Alexa enabled Smart Speakers – Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.  As of December 2018, Smart speakers had 41% penetration among US household – up from 21.5% the same time in 2017. Amazon Echo continues to dominate the market with 31% penetration.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

 

If you own an Amazon Echo, make sure that TuneIn Live is enabled in the App. If it is not enabled, just open the Alexa companion app on your device (IPhone, Android Phone or IPad); Go to the top-right (top left on 2 generation), select: Skills (Skills & Games) then search for TuneIn Live. Click to enable and ask Alexa to “open TuneIn Live”. Ask Alexa to play Kingston12 Digital Radio on TuneIn

 

Kingston12 HIFI: Carrying the Sound System Legacy into the Future

Kingston 12 represents the postal or zip code in West-Central Kingston, Jamaica that, along with adjacent areas of Trench Town (Kingston 13) and the south-central part of the city, was the axis of the cultural renaissance that gave the world Reggae music. It is the home of the Ambassador Theater – the place that was the flagship for presenting new talent to Jamaica and the world. The Ambassador (Bass), alongside the Majestic, Palace, and Ward theatres, provided the stages for the Vere John’s Hour. This was the talent show that introduced the country and subsequently the world to artists like Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley, Don Drummond, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Peter Tosh, Millie Small, Hortense Ellis, Bob Andy, Jackie Edwards, and many more of the stars that became the icons of the Reggae music industry. Kingston 12 was the “Harlem” of the Caribbean – an area that attracted artists such as Jackie Opel and Lord Creator who came all the way from Barbados and Trinidad, respectively.
These artists in late 1950s to early 1960s became the foundation of Jamaica’s Sound System Culture. As early as 1950, Tom Wong, a Jamaican of Chinese ancestry established “Tom the Great Sabastian” in East-Central Kingston. His sound system launched the career of the great Count Matchuki who later joined Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone Downbeat. Tom’s main rival at the time was Cyril Braithwaite’s “Count C – the Wizard of the West.” Count C dominated the western end of the city. These two sound systems laid the groundwork for the sound system culture which quickly followed Jamaican migration to England and the United States, and later provided the base for the spread of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae worldwide.

Sound System Speakers

The sound system culture quickly spread amongst the poorer classes of Kingston and adjacent parish – St Andrew. Several new players entered the arena. The pioneers among them were Clement Dodd (Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat), Author “Duke” Reid (Duke Reid the Trojan), Vincent Edward’s (King Edward-the Giant) and Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell’s (Prince Buster –the Voice of the People). That was around the same time Jamaican journalist, Vere John, started a weekly one-hour talent show, which he named after himself. It was a live performance showcase of fresh, young Jamaican talent. The audio of the show was recorded for a later weekly broadcast on the country’s single radio station: RJR (for Radio Jamaica & Radio Fusion)
From the beginning, there was intense competition among the sound system operators. They competed for crowds, music, and eminence in the local community. Thus, the Vere John’s talent exposition provided an opportunity to identify new talent that could enhance that competition. Few recording studios existed at the time. However, the sound system operators came to the show with the specific intent of identifying new talent that they could use to record exclusive Jamaican versions of American R & B and Jump Blues songs, or sometimes original materials that they played exclusively on their sound systems. These sound systems provided a reasonable alternative for the poorer sector of the population who wanted entertainment but could not afford to hire the live bands that existed at the time, such as Byron Lee and the Dragoneers, Kes Chin and the Souvenirs, and the Percy Myers Combo for their parties.
Leroy Sibbles – One of Kingston 12’s International Reggae Artists

This competition among the sound systems not only laid the groundwork for today’s dancehall “selector culture,” but was also the foundation upon which the entire Jamaican music industry is built. The art of toasting on records flourished during this period. This consisted of rhyming vocal patterns over instrumentals that later evolved into social commentary; it also became an important part of the entertainment. Over the years this legacy has provided roots upon which multiple Jamaican musical genres emerged – from Jamaican Jump Blues, Ska, Rock Steady to today’s Reggae and Dancehall.
Today, many young selectors and sound system operators have embraced the opportunities presented by new technologies to create modern Dancehall – substituting computer-assisted beats and instrument simulation for real instruments and live musicians. This is usually supported by computer-generated playlists via programs like Serato and Virtual DJ – replacing turntables. However, one sound system that has figured out how to master the new technology and new trends without discarding the foundation is Los Angeles, CA-based Kingston12 Hi-Fi.
This sound system is under the direction of the super talented, master DJ, rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, and Reggae/Hip Hop artist Edmund Carl Aiken, Jr. – Shinehead (Jamaican In New York fame). His partner in life and music – Diana Camacho aka DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly – makes up the other half of the Kingston 12 Hi-Fi team who is charting the path by showing fans how to navigate both lanes without choosing one at the expense of the other.
The sound system is named after the historic LA Reggae club venue Kingston12 which was founded by Richard O’Brian, aka King Richard, a Jamaican expatriate in Los Angeles, California who operated it as part of a restaurant /nightclub establishment. He, along with his family, ran the venue they named after the community in Jamaica that they hailed from, which of course guaranteed the authenticity of the music given Kingston12’s aforementioned musical history.
The Kingston12 enterprise was also the first of its kind on the US West Coast. Richard and his family established a place where for more than twenty years Los Angeles residents and visitors were treated to live reggae performances, and/or club DJ’s playing Reggae, Dancehall, and Hip Hop music, while having an authentic Jamaican meal or mellow island drinks.

Shinehead, a British born Jamaican who was already well established in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Europe, and Japan, met King Richard shortly after he moved to Los Angeles. King Richard became ill shortly thereafter and passed away in the summer of 2014. Shortly after meeting King Richard, Shinehead quickly discovered that they both shared a musical camaraderie. He even played records on a small portable turntable for Richard as laid sick in his hospital room towards the end of his life. Although Shinehead and DJ Papalotl were away in NY performing at the time of his passing, Richard told his family that he needed someone who was committed to the music and culture to carry on the tradition he had established on the US west coast. As such, Richard’s last dying request was that his vast collection of Reggae/Dancehall vinyl records would be bequeathed to Shinehead.
King Richard

His wide knowledge of Roots, Reggae, modern and traditional Dancehall, plus his extensive experience in Hip Hop, R&B, and US rap music positioned him as the ideal candidate not only to carry on the vision of King Richard, but also to expand the foundation instituted by early forerunners Count C, Tom Wong, Clement Dodd and others – a Kingston12 legacy.
Shinehead a former major label (Elektra Records) artist inserted his brand into the Kingston12 Hi-FI concept, and in the four years since 2014, the sound system has become an integral part of world music festivals such as Rototom, Outlook, Reggae Geel, Reggae Sun Ska, and reggae music cruises – including Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock Cruise.
The addition of DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly to the Kingston12 team allows them to perform at the highest level. DJ Papalotl (a public school teacher) is a multi-media artist, a sound engineer, and a videographer with a passion and skill for mixing music. One might say she brings her “magic fingers” to Kingston12 Hi-Fi.
Her life as a DJ began at college parties and at her college radio station – KSPC 88.7 FM. Here, she developed her mixing skills in Reggae and Dancehall music. She progressed to become the “mix mistress” of the college parties and later graduated to local nightclubs –introducing them to her brand of Roots, Reggae and Dancehall, Hip Hop and R&B. Her extensive technical skills, combined with both her and Shinehead’s knowledge of Roots and modern music, has directed Kingston12‘s path to be able to perform on any stage.
Shinehead & DJ Papalotl aka Buttahfly

Long before Facebook Live was popular among users, Shinehead and DJ Papalotl made it part of their mission to use modern technology to elevate the sound system and Dancehall culture to a higher level. Their weekly presence on Los Angeles based – Diggindaily.com – a collective of local DJ using the digital space to take their music worldwide, together with live programs twice a week on Irish and Chin’s SoundChat Radio have served to expand their worldwide audience, and build an airwave audience with their English partners, Unique Radio UK in London and Stingdem Radio in Birmingham.
Their weekly live Friday night broadcast on Kingston 12 Digital Radio (Kingston12.net) gave sound system culture a presence on two of the major Digital Radio Apps for both Android and Apple products –TuneIn Radio and Simple Radio. In addition, Kingston12 Hi-Fi has also placed the sound system/dancehall culture as part of the audio programming lineup on most new V-Tuner stamped high end stereo system such as Denon, Bose and Yamaha; and on Wifi enabled radio products from manufacturers such as Grace, Sangean and Pico.
In addition to exposing the music and cultures that have provided the foundation for Reggae as an established musical genre, Kingston12 Hi-Fi has continued a sound system tradition that is not often mentioned when dancehall and sound systems are discussed. That is – identifying and launching new talents via the BUTTAHFLY FX show. Much like their forerunners Sir Coxsone, Prince Buster and more recently, Sugar Minott’s Youthman Promotion, Kingston12 Hi-Fi continues to introduce the world to new talent and give established talent a platform to show the world what they have.
In the past year, listeners were introduced to young Hip Hop talent like Banga Brownin, J Niles (the Yung Ruler – son of the late Gregory Isaacs) and were re-introduced to General Smiley of Michigan & Smiley fame. Their careful selection of the music they play, together with interviews with artists and industry practitioners like music teachers from the world famous Alpha Boys School in Jamaica have lent a public media sensibility to their presentation of dancehall and sound system culture.
In the radio business these days we often say that appointment radio is dead. However, in their presentation for a live audience and/or for digital radio, Shinehead and DJ Papalotl are making sure that this does not apply to the sound system. Audience come out to see them live or tune in to their Digital broadcast because they know they will be rewarded with great music, magic mixes and most importantly, they will learn something about the music, the culture and artists.
Kingston12 Hi-Fi continues to live up to its true name – a sound system with the usual customized built set of double scoops and tops that are almost 40,000 Watts of power. Shinehead and DJ Papalotl often take out their four sets of scoops and tops for a variety of events. These events that take place all over Los Angeles, mostly in the different cultural enclaves that appreciate international music and culture. These include the Silverlake and Leimert Park downtown Los Angeles, and at venues in adjacent Culver City. Each event is usually promoted in Social Media with a theme with the hashtag (#SoundFiSound) as part of the movement to incorporate a physical sound system with relevant cultural events and affairs that promotes public service issues such as breast cancer awareness, Jamaican cultural events; and presenting local and visiting DJ’s and artists.

New Smart Phones: Why is the Excitement Gone?

Only a few years ago many of us (yes, I did it once) lined up outside the front door of an Apple store waiting for an opportunity to purchase the latest Apple smart phone. Although Samsung phones were not released with the same fanfare, android enthusiasts could hardly wait to get their hands on the latest version of the Samsung Galaxy. Today the “noise” has quieted a bit, and there are hardly any lines at the Apple store. In fact, I barely remember the release date of the IPhone 7 and people are simply not talking about these devices anymore.
Why are people not talking anymore, probably because there is very little for one to get excited about today regarding the new smart Phones? Quartz – a digitally native news outlet, established 2012, for business people functioning in the new technology driven global economy provided the chart below comparing the latest version of smart phones with the best mobile technology.

Capture
Smart Phone Comparison Chart

The point here is that mobile technology has become so advanced, and there is so much packed into each model (low end to high end), that what you purchase hardly make a difference anymore. Thus the Apple IPhone 7 looks and feel like an Apple IPhone 6 or 6S. Steve Jobs – the innovator is long gone and now all the other manufacturers are catching up. Whereas Apple might have the best camera, the average consumer hardly notice this because most smart phones now have decent, functional camera technology that makes differentiation extremely difficult.
One of the more common complaints I have heard regarding smart phones is the storage capacity. According to Quartz, the manufactures have heard this complaint loud and clear, thus this is one area where we will see significant improvements over the next few generations of smart phones.  Apple has already taken the first step to increase the storage capacity of the IPhone 7 to as much as 128GB. We might also begin to see more options to off load data to some kind of Cloud services.
It is rumored that Apple plans to release three new smart phones later this year to mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of their first smart phone in 2007. According to the Wall Street Journal (d/d 2/28/17), these will include a 7S, a 7S plus and a high end device with flexible display that include a light-emitting diode (OLED) curve screen. This screen supposed to provide brighter, more vivid colors than liquid-crystal (LCD) displays. Although this screen is being produced by Samsung, Apple will have exclusivity on this model for some time. It will be somewhat different from the OLED model now used for Samsung phones.
It is being reported also, that on the new IPhones, Apple will replace the lightening charging ports with a new USB –C port – thus standardizing the IPhone with other smart phones. According to the WSJ article, the home button will be gone – replaced by touch-sensitive areas on the phone and a “function area”. Apple will also add wireless charging capability to this high end model. Most important, it is rumored that this model will retail for $1,000.00.
Well, what does a $1,000 phone looks like and what will it do? If it is just another high end phone – good luck to Apple. However, if it is what I think it is – a lifestyle device – for the generation who does not now own a TV set or a table top radio; does not read the newspaper; prefers to watch the Super Bowl at a sports bar rather than watching it at home, and do not care for most of the technology that the 40 and 50 plus generation among us are still excited about, then it is a really good idea. I can hardly wait to see this piece of technology. Financial analysts are projecting that the release of this device will be huge in countries like China – increasing Apple stocks from present average of $140/share to a record – in the $160s.
The bottom line is this; most smart phones are really similar in design, operating system, and capabilities these days. Some of the newer models have trimmed back the number of proprietary apps and features. Others like Samsung are trying to differentiate itself with virtual reality, 360-degree photography (who cares about this?) while Google is using its virtual “Assistant”—a supercharged version of the Android’s voice assistant.  Apple’s IPhone 7 tries to stand out by offering options most people will never use – like dual-camera. Samsung recently unveiled an updated version of the Galaxy S7 (called the S8 – with the new  infinity screen), to try to make up for the market share they lost last year as a result of their exploding devices.

Your Digital Legacy: Who own it after your death?

A Will helps us to layout a smooth path for management and/or distribution of our assets after our transition from this earth.  It provide you with sole discretion over who has control over the distribution of your assets and let you decide how material things such as money, automobile, houses, land etc., are distributed. It is the legal document that set forth your wishes regarding distribution of you tangible property. But what happens to your non-tangible property – your digital assets?
Most of us have accumulated huge digital footprints over the past 20 years. Since the invention of the I-Phone (and other smart devices) ten years ago, our digital assets have expanded exponentially. Such properties include e-mails, passwords, social media accounts and music, videos and books downloads. Some of this data exists on computers and other local devise, while much of it is held in some kind of Cloud Service. The purpose of this article is to alert our readers that it might be a good idea to establish a parallel Will and Testament for digital assets.  At minimum, place a clause in the material will that specifies who should have access and oversight of your digital legacy.
In specifying your wishes regarding access and distribution of your digital assets after your death, you should be sure to include a legal document instructing the transfer of the licenses for digital downloads such as I-Tunes or Amazon libraries.

COMING TO A DASHBOARD NEAR YOU: The Connected Car

When you walk into an auto dealer’s showroom in 2017 you will have get use to hearing several new terms and references as applied to your car audio. Among the new terms will be the new word audiotainment.  Audiotainment focuses on making media available, discoverable, and easy to use in vehicles in ways that are consistent with what consumers are doing in other areas of their lives. When you purchase a new car in the fall of 2017, the old model of radio with two knobs, six or twelve presets and a CD player is about to be a relic of the past – replaced by an explosion of audio sources, channels and options. Already some auto dealers are hiring tech-savvy high school seniors (@$11 or $12/hr) to work as apprentices to their sales persons – just to explain the dashboard to buyers. The new dashboard will perform most of the tasks that can be done on a smart phone.
The device will allow for personalize interactions with the driver. This may include geo-targeting, instantaneous driver response and user-control time-shifting of content. The technology will enable location-based advertising, on-demand traffic and weather, on-demand digital streaming, provide opportunities for song rating, tagging and on-spot voting in addition to  immediate response to coupon offering.
The new technology (via WIFI, 4G or LTE) will also enable broadcasters to leverage data from driver interaction with social and digital media while on the move. Thus completely transforming the way radio sales people sell drive-time audience to advertisers. In essence, what we have is a fully connected dashboard computer that transforms new cars into a mobile commercial and content platform. This essentially gives the potential advertisers (or underwriters – in the case of public media) access to driving and listening data, while simultaneously providing insurance companies with access to motor vehicle data such as instantaneous speed. This will certainly impact the traditional advertising model which is currently based mostly on ratings and reach data – providing options for direct-to-consumer offerings.
Introduction to this technology dates back as far as 2007 when Ford Motors introduced SYNC in some of their high-end vehicles. This technology allowed the driver to use voice control for telephone calls and music access. It also introduced us to the SYNC AppLink. Today this technology has been integrated with that of smart-phones which together forms the backbone for Connected Vehicle.
connected-car-dashboard
AppLink include applications (apps) that provide AAA member services, expenses report tracking and the ability to search for local entertainment. When SYNC is integrated with Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto, drivers have access to maps, messaging, phone, music, smart option to lock/unlocked doors and the ability to check fuel level form both dashboard and smart devices.
Ford’s latest version of SYNC is Sync 3 and they expect it to be integrated with either CarPlay or Android Auto in most of their 2017 auto models – starting with the Ford Escape. They project that 43 million vehicles will be equipped with this technology by 2020.
In addition to the technologies described above, recently an electronic firm – Nav Tool, based in New York announced that they have developed an interface that enable Smartphone mirroring for older automobiles with navigation screen. Go to navetool.com for details.
The major players in this new arena (developers of the operating system) are the same companies that created the platforms for our cell phones – Google (android auto systems) and Apple (CarPlay). Linux provides the operating system for the new Tesla Model S – an electric car and are in negations to do the same for some European models. This has caused some level of discomfort among some radio stations owners and radio networks operators, because in addition to owning the technology, Google and Apple are also expanding their offerings in the content business. However, others (myself included) believe irrespective of who owns the platforms, channels or operating system, consumers will have more choices and they have always chosen the content that they can use and that are most relevant to their day-to-lives.
In all of history there has always been trepidation regarding introduction of new technology. The Connected Vehicle is just the latest – so let’s bring on the technology, make it easy to use and may the best content win.

WIFI RADIO: Going from 24 stations to 24,000 stations (Worldwide)

Internet (WIFI) radio has actually been around since the mid-90s. The streams were usually available at the broadcaster’s website (similar to kingston12.net). Theses audio streams were broadcast from all around the world, and all within easy reach via your desktop or laptop computer. Thus listeners who use to have a choice between in-market and a few out-of-market stations now had access to thousands of stations live from worldwide broadcasters. The challenge in the early years of internet technology was that in order to listen, one had to sit in front of a computer.
Portable internet radios have completely changed that. Advance internet technology enables internet radios to pick up a signal from wireless connection – broadcasting from a wireless router. The router in a sense replaces the AM/FM transmitter.  One needs to have a broadband connection to ensure constant, quality audio.  More than five hundred models of internet radios are now available – including several tabletop versions. These connect to the router via WIFI or Ethernet cable.
WIFI radios give consumers the ability and option to listen to thousands of different audio sources. Every imaginable radio format is available. In addition they offer superior audio quality (bit rate as high as 128 kbps – twice that of standard CD quality at 64 kbps). These devices are said to represent the jumping off point for true freedom for music lovers – making it really simple for people to customize their listening experience and enjoy all of the great online content without having to sit in front of a computer. In addition, they provide listeners a great mix of traditional terrestrial stations (most broadcasters also stream their signal simultaneously) and thousands of new internet-only audio services. WIFI Radio (1)
WIFI radio combines mobility, communication, entertainment and ease of use to provide listeners with the very best experience – allowing listeners much broader choices. In addition to music, some believe WIFI radio offers a much wider variety of talk shows than what traditional radio, or even satellite radio offers. According to a recently released study by noted media researcher Paul Jacobs, WIFI radio plays a big part in the digital growth that is changing media habits all over the world.  Jacobs noted that core radio listeners are moving rapidly to digital media – either on gadgets such as WIFI enabled smartphones and tablets or other streaming devices. Traditional radio manufacturers have taken note of this and are now building radios that include FM tuner, WIFI connection and access point for MP3, AMA, WAV, plus multi programmable alarms and integrated amplifier. It appears AM radio is the big looser.
With close to five hundred different models of WIFI radio to choose from, today’s consumer is caught between “entertainment heaven and information overload”. Grace Digital and Sangean (formerly Great Britain’s Roberts Radio) appear to be the leading manufacture/distributors at this time. The prices range from slightly under $100 to $200s at the lower end.  Both models have Kingston 12 reggae channel as part of their line-up of stations. Grace Digital WIFI Tuner
Other manufacture/distributors include Pico, Acoustic Energy, Boston-based C Crane, Inc and Armour – a British company which manufactures a unique model called the Q2 WIFI radio.
The manufacturers of the Q2 which sells for slightly more than $100 approach WIFI Internet Radio slightly differently. It replaces the “bells & whistles” with simplicity. It is based upon a theory (and research findings) that in spite of the fact that the average consumer have access to many thousands of radio stations and channels to choose from on a typical WIFI radio, he/she will gravitate towards just a handful of favorite stations. Q2-Internet-Radio-3-650x650The Q2 WIFI Internet Radio is built with no buttons or controls and has just 4 options for preset stations. The radios are built in the shape of a cube and in order to change station, one simply has to turn the Q2 cube on to one of its sides – 4 sides 4 channels stored. To raise or lower the volume, just tip the Q2 Radio up or tilt it down. The four preset channels are loaded from a Q2 app that is down loaded from the manufacturer’s web site to the user’s computer. See www.q2radio.com for quick demonstration videos.
Home audio manufacturers continue to develop WIFI units with higher levels of technologies that meet the needs and demands of contemporary consumers. Among the latest is the Denon AVR-X 2100W and Onkyo’s TX-NR 727. Each has a WIFI radio receiver that can access upwards of 20,000 digital and/or terrestrial audio channels from around the world. In addition, the units enable the streaming of content throughout the home and stream music from Pandora, Spotify or SirusXM. Each has built-in real-time dynamic EQ technology that provides cinematic experience and can easily stream content at 192 kbps. These units are being sold a much higher price point of close to $400.
WIFI radios are available at the following websites and at several big box electronic stores:
gracedigital.com
amazon.com
shop.npr.org
ccrane.com