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31Mar/110

Cloud Player & Record Label Backlash / Top 100 free mp3 downloads

CLOUD PLAYER STIRS UP A STORM
  What does this have to do with the Kindle?  Anything we upload to our Amazon 'Cloud' drive is also downloadable to our various devices, and that includes our computer, and we can copy or move some mp3's to our Kindle's "music" folder, which is on the same level as the "documents" folder.

  However, the Kindle 2, 3, and DX all play the mp3's in the order they're installed and in the background while you're reading (the Kindle 1 plays them entirely in random order).  BUT if you want to be able to select an mp3 to play, you can put some in the 'Audible' folder and then they'll show up eein the menu, but you won't be able to read a Kindle book at the same time with that method.

  Remember also that mp3 files tend to be several times larger than book files, so it's best not to put too many on the Kindle.  (The Kindle doesn't stream music from the Net, of course.)  Most Kindlers tend to be Amazon customers who have a strong interest in sight & sound, in general, so I include that from time to time.

  ALSO, note that the Cloud Drive can be used for videos, photos, and documents as well, and that includes backup of books you did not buy from Amazon and your personal documents that you'd liked backed up externally.

  At the bottom of this blog article, you'll see some of Amazon's highlighted mp3 download pages.

Cloud Drive and Player Brouhaha
CBS News carries a CNet article by Greg Sandoval about Amazon's Cloud Player triggering a backlash, as Amazon did not obtain prior permission from the major studios and top record companies.  Many of them tell CNet they feel it violates their rights.

  Bear in mind this is storing recordings that an Amazon customer has bought and owns.  Presumably.  The service does not stream it to the multitudes as mp3.com does -- it streams the music to the cusotmer who owns it.  In the agreement that we have to sign, we agree not to allow others to access this password-protected material to stream it for themselves.  It's not meant to be streaming to anyone but the person who owns the music files.

  For that reason, the record companies will have a hard time, I think, to stop this.  Furthermore, Amazon has said they got this up in place and are willing to negotiate the licenses for a customer to listen to his/her own music from the Net, once it is up and running:

' Sources said then that Amazon had met with some of their studio and label counterparts to lay out their plans. In those talks, Amazon executives said that they wanted to get up and running quickly and also wanted their blessing.  Amazon execs said in the meetings that they were prepared to unveil the service without licenses and would negotiate them at a later date. '

  However, CNet says that in an interview with the New York Times on Monday, they took "a more defiant tone" in that Amazon feels that with regard to music,  ' "We don't need a license to store music," Craig Pape, director of music at Amazon, said. "The functionality is the same as an external hard drive." '

  The 4 top labels, Sandoval writes, have made it clear that their current licenses don't allow for cloud distribution or storage.  OR STORAGE??  Are they kidding?  I can see how they would not like music streamed to the world, but NOT STORED???  How do they plan to stop us from storing our mp3s wherever we like?  Places like Mozy, Dropbox or Drop.net back up for us what we OWN the rights to STORE.  Now, streaming might be another matter, but I can see a problem if Amazon were streaming that music for *others* to hear rather than just the owner, and their Agreement makes clear that the streaming is only for the owner-customer.

What does this remind me of?
  This reminds me of the Big6 publishers who did not foresee the e-book or digital media changes coming and did not do licensing for that, specifically, when they first bought book rights.  A lawsuit to grab digital rights, after the fact, failed, because of what was considered the ‘new use’ – "electronic digital signals sent over the internet" being a separate medium from the original use."  In that case, it was whether the author, instead of the publisher, owned the digital rights, but the publisher was claiming rights to a publishing format that did not exist yet and that wasn't dealt with in a contract.

  Storing music that we purchase, on an external drive, has to be "licensed" ?  No good luck to them on that one.  Streaming music upon demand of the owner of an mp3 to that owner's ears only -- it'll be interesting how far they get on that one.  But we can bet that they'll try to include a clause against this on future recordings.

  Sandoval writes that "it's unlikely the labels would at this point file a lawsuit, but the potential for a legal fight is real" and adds that "EMI, the smallest of the four largest record labels, filed a lawsuit in 2007 against MP3tunes.com and founder Michael Robertson, one of the pioneers in cloud music" (who founded mp3.com).

  See the CNET article for more on what MP3Tunes and Sideload actually do.  It's just nothing like what Amazon is doing.  It involves tracking down and providing links to "pilfered" music files and then storing them on MP3Tunes.

  Apparently, Amazon risked being bogged down in negotiations for months and was determined to be "first out the door with a cloud service" and "time was running out."  CNet reported last week that some Google employees are doing internal testing of Google music, and Bloomberg reported that Apple is in talks with major labels on access to cloud-based tracks.

  Amazon's acting first may have offered too many advantages for the company to sit still, Sandoval writes.  The reality has been that customers who use cloud services are not enthusiastic about moving to another service after taking the time to upload their media.  First come, first serve(r).

  Sandoval reminds us that

' ...earlier this month, Amazon dropped a bombshell by announcing that members of the company's Prime service would receive free-of-charge access to a pool of 5,000 streaming movies and TV shows. Analysts noted that Amazon had the money and audience to challenge Netflix's domination.  The move put Amazon on the streaming-video map.

Not only did that send Netflix stock into a swoon, but it sent a message that Amazon is no longer satisfied with taking a backseat in digital distribution. '

SOME AMAZON MP3 DOWNLOAD PAGES
Top100 free mp3 album downloads and Top 100 paid, on the same page.

Bestseller Mp3 Albums and Song Downloads

100 mp3 albums for , selected by Amazon editors


As non-U.S. customers know too well, new features come very late for them, partly because the U.S. customers are like a large test-sample for the later global offerings and because even more rights (countries differ widely in these) have to be considered.

  Right now, all Amazon customers get the basic 5 Gig Cloud Drive, but for some countries, the 20 Gig upgrade feature is "currently unavailable," and only U.S. customers are able to use Cloud Player for streaming of their stored music at this point.

  In my case, I ran across the .49 album of 99 darker classical-music movements by really good musicians, an mp3 collection which would otherwise be 99 cents per cut, or :-)  But almost no one would ever buy just a movement from here and a movement from there, although sometimes the compilations are made for a particular mood (or, in this case some would say, don't go there).

  However, it includes Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings in one of the best versions I've heard -- it was used for the movie, Elephant Man and is heard when the audience sees only a dark, starry night.  Very sad music, but it's mesmerizing.  On the piano are less known, but really excellent pianists like Arnoldo Cohen and Dubravka Tomsic.
  HOWEVER, really horrific is that the album's mp3-playlist shows NO composer names.  Unreal.  But, for .49  I decided this was a good album to get to qualify for the Cloud Drive upgrade to 20 Gigs of storage.
  The vast majority will find, at the links given above, other inexpensive and quality mp3 album downloads.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite


Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

29Mar/110

Amazon’s new Cloud Player for Web and Android / NYT-web free w/Kindle Edition – UPDATE3

While looking up info on the new arrangement by the New York Times to offer full, unlimited access to their now suddenly-costly website news "bundled" with a subscription to the Kindle Edition of the New York Times (but not with other dedicated e-readers for now), I came upon this new offering by Amazon and it's an interesting one. (See important UPDATES.)

 (I'll do a separate entry for the NY Times website situation and the new announcement for Kindle-edition subscribers but, essentially, the .95/mo. Kindle NYT subscription will give full access to the website too.)

Mashable headlines its story:
"Amazon Cloud Player Lets You Play Your Music From Anywhere."

Amazon is now in the music streaming business with the launch today of Cloud Player, a music player setup that lets you upload your favorite music to your Amazon Cloud Drive and play the mp3's via the web or via an Android device and listen to your music wherever you are whenever you want.

  Amazon starts you out with 5 GB of free storage, but you can be upgraded to a 20-GB cloud space when you buy one mp3 album through Amazon by December 31, 2011.  If you use more than your allotment, it costs an additional per GB.

' CAVEAT: Amazon states that "If you qualify for this offer and either have not signed up for Amazon Cloud Drive or have the 5GB Amazon Cloud Drive plan, you will be automatically eligible for the 20 GB plan for one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase.  Unless you set your account to auto-renew to a paid plan, the 20 GB plan will revert to a free plan one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase.

    If your Amazon Cloud Drive account is already at 20 GB or higher when you qualify for this offer, the offer will be saved to your account as a credit toward any future Amazon Cloud Drive plan fees you may incur at the time your plan renews or at the time you upgrade your plan. If you elect to downgrade your plan to a free plan at the time of renewal, your upgrade offer will be applied towards the 20 GB plan at that time. '

  In other words, Amazon is encouraging customers to get used to 20 gigs of cloud space for our music, but after the first year of 20 free gigs, it would cost per year for that much cloud storage.  So, if you don't want that, you can just take the 20 GB plan for a year (after buying one mp3 album) and then scale back to using 5 gigs which will still be free.

  It's worth noting here that NEW mp3's you purchase from Amazon get free storage in the cloud and are ever added against your storage space count.

  1,000 favorites available for free personal streaming sounds good to me, actually.  And it does cost money to store and stream, so /year (or .67/month) for the streaming of music we choose seems reasonable.

  Since my very old iPod holds 60 gigs of music, even 20 doesn't seem huge to me and 5 gigs seems small, but Amazon points out that with only the 5-gig allotment you can store about 1,000 songs on it (4,000 with the 20-gig plan).  So, 20 gigs of my favorite music available anywhere is attractive.  I did sign up today because I don't tend to carry my iPod out -- and playing mp3's on my Kindle uses up battery time I'd rather save for books, periodicals, and my now constant use of the Kindle Notepad :-)

Other aspects
  With both the web and Android versions of the cloud player you can create playlists and organize your music.

  The agreement I encountered told me I had to agree NOT to share the cloud music with others (not to make a streaming service for others) and not to store music for others.  Listening to your music requires a password.

  Mashable reports that Google and Apple "have been rumored to be hard at work on their own cloud-based players, but it looks like Amazon beat them to the punch."

Technical Details - from the Amazon CloudPlayer pages:
  · Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Cloud Drive is available for US customers only *.  (See more info at the linked '*')

UPDATE4: Amazon has changed the wording now on this page:
CHANGE: CLOUD DRIVE at 5GB is available to all Amazon customers.
  The UPGRADE for storage is not available in some countries (see bottom).
  CLOUD PLAYER is available only for U.S. customers.  This streams music, and rights worldwide are probably a problem as well as streaming using a lot of bandwidth and costly to run.
  · App upgrade is only available for Android OS 1.6+
  · PDF and video content is currently not available for purchase on the Amazon MP3 Android app

Well, now that Amazon is streaming everything (latest movies too) and making available many apps for Android, I can't imagine they won't be producing an Amazon Android tablet at some point.

UPDATE1 - I omitted very important point:

' Songs purchased from Amazon MP3 are stored in your Cloud Drive for free.

When you purchase songs or albums from the Amazon MP3 Store, you can now save your purchases to your Cloud Drive.  All your purchases are backed up and available for you to download at any time.  Even better, you can listen to your music from any web-connected computer with Amazon Cloud Player.

And the best part?  When you save your Amazon MP3 Store purchases directly to your Cloud Drive, they don't take up any of your storage space and are always stored for free. '

Thanks to posts in the Comments area for that.  This applies only to NEW Amazon mp3 purchases.

Also, Amazon doesn't limit your storage space to mp3's.  Store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon's secure servers.

UPDATE2
  1. Be sure to check out the HELP page for "Getting Started" which shows you what to expect on your personal cloud drive, in layout.

  2. Also check out the HELP page for actually "Using Amazon Cloud Drive."

  3. On the main intro page, there are two videos available:
  One on the top-right introduces the Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, and a second video further down, in the center column is titled "Learn How to Use Cloud Player."

UPDATE3 Original posting was at 8:20 AM
(This one conflicted with earlier "Technical Details" from another Amazon page cited above but is fixed now.  See Update4. Sorry for confusing reading in this chronological (b)log.


  Another help page has a Cloud Player FAQ.  Part of that is this interesting table of countries where the update to 20 gigs is not available.

' Where is Amazon Cloud Drive available?

The 5 GB free storage plan is available to all Amazon.com customers, however further upgrades to the storage plan are currently unavailable in the following countries:

Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France
Germany Greece Hungary
Ireland Italy Latvia
Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
Netherlands Poland Portugal
Romania Slovakia Slovenia
Spain Sweden United Kingdom

'

Update 4 See the linked section above.
Essentially, though, Cloud PLAYER is U.S. only (streaming music).
Basic Cloud DRIVE at 5GB is for all customers.
Cloud DRIVE Upgrade to 20GB is available in only some countries, noted in the table in Update 3.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite


Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

24Mar/116

The Barnes and Noble ‘Nook’ – An e-book reader, audio player and internet browsing device


Ipad ebook:The Barnes and Noble 'Nook' - An e-book reader, audio player and internet browsing device
Back in February we reviewed the Amazon Kindle e-book reader and demonstrated how it can be used to enjoy Absolute Radio podcasts. Weve now just received the Barnes & Noble Nook, which along with the Sony reader is a sure competitor to the Kindle. The Nook has similar functionality to the Kindle with the same e-ink screen technology. It allows users to download magazines, newspaper subscriptions and books, plus like the Kindle has MP3 audio playback features for music and podcasts. The Nook has a small colour touch screen located below its e-ink reading screen which is used to navigate through the book store and control audio playback. The colour screen also allows the user to view and scroll through book and magazine covers which some book enthusiast may find rather nice. A recent upgrade to the Nook has seen the addition of an Internet Browser, which is sure to shake up the e-ink reader market, so expect the Amazon Kindle and Sony reader to follow suit with new features of their own. Take a look at the video weve made and see the Barnes and Noble Nook in action.


22Feb/110

Adobe to issue Flash Player 10.2 for Honeycomb

Feb

22

By Michael

motorola xoom

It’s only been less then 24 hours that everyone was up at arms about the Motorola Xoom Price (9) and the fact it would not ship with Flash capabilities. At least one of these two factors should be squashed as Adobe has mentioned they will be providing Flash Player 10.2 for Google Honeycomb operating systems.

Adobe said in a recent blog post that the company is working with Motorola and other partners to give an optimized version within two weeks. If you are an early adapter of the Motorola Xoom Tablet you will get the over the air update to download it, when Flash is released.

Adobe also gave a bit of news on the availability of Flash this year; “we are aware of over 50 tablets that will ship in 2011 supporting a full web experience (including Flash support) and Xoom users will be among the first to enjoy this benefit.”

Related posts:

  1. Motorola XOOM for Feb 24 release. Flash to come in spring
  2. Adobe Showing Flash Compatible Android Tablet at Web 2.0 Expo
  3. New Motorola Xoom Commerical unleashed
  4. Motorola Xoom tablet PC on sale early February
  5. CONDÉ NAST to AWAIT APPLE ADOBE SETTLEMENT
  6. Flash now on the Apple iPad – somewhat
Categories : Tablet PC News, Technology
12Jan/110

Put Books on MP3 Player or CD for Free — TEXT TO SPEECH


Free ebooks:Put Books on MP3 Player or CD for Free -- TEXT TO SPEECH
SpeedReaderPro turns text into mp3 or wav files so you can listen to books, presentations or any text on you mp3 player, computer or phone. The SpeedReaderPro is software that reads any text allowed or crates an audio file that can be saved to a CD or downloaded to an audio device such as an mp3 player. With a variable reading rate you can speed things up and listen to an hour of reading in just over 10 minutes. Make your travel time productive: Create audio CDs of reports, sales presentations or training materials and and listen to them in your car or flying. Improve learning and reading skills : If your child learns by listening, then let him or her listen and learn. Don't make them struggle to read when they are trying to learn history, math or science. When they write a report or paper they can listen to it and they will hear grammatical errors and correct them.

1Dec/100

SKYTEX Primer 7″ Color E-reader and Media Player


SKYTEX Primer 7" Color E-reader and Media Player
Primer was designed to make life a little simpler. First, by consolidating all of your mobile entertainment onto one affordable and sleek device, and next, by ensuring compatibility with the media and hardware you already have or want. Primer's plug-
Price:$ 127.99BUY IT NOW

  • 7" color LCD display (800x480 resolution)
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  • Built-in recording software, speakers, and mic
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Click read more to see Reviews.