When I buy something, no matter what it is, I consider it mine. In the United States, there are some cell phone companies that don't allow you to customize your phone the way you want like most cell phone companies do. What this means is that they might disallow you to put on a custom ringtone or wallpaper without going through their service to do so, or you'll have to find a way to hack the phone to put the media on yourself. Thankfully, Spring and Palm don't make you go through that trouble to put wallpapers … Read more
For many people, having their typed words read aloud is a necessity. If you fall into this category, Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader offers a simple program to help users select text and have it read aloud.
This free program has a very plain interface that may not impress users with its looks, but will gain fans with its simplicity. A large, open white screen with pull-down menus along the top for File, Option, Format, Saving, and Printing options dominates the view. Along the right side are three sliders to control speed, pitch and volume, a time counter, and a link … Read more
Portable audio recorders are useful tools for capturing live music or lectures, and creating podcasts. Unfortunately, the best-sounding recorders tend to be bulky, and they can get pretty complicated.
The Yamaha Pocketrak CX ($299) is a powerful handheld audio recorder that keeps things simple. The little recorder fits in your shirt pocket, runs off a single AA battery, and keeps confusing buttons and settings to a minimum.
Of course, simplicity doesn't come without sacrifice. If you're the type who wants to record bird calls with a phantom-powered boom mic and sophisticated onboard compression, this isn't the right … Read more
While this desktop alarm successfully alerted us at the specified time, it lacked many features commonly found in similar programs.
Alarm has a bland user interface, with the current time displayed in the 24-hour clock format, which you can't change, and it looks like a digital clock. Below the time display are arrows for setting the exact alarm hours, minutes, and seconds. As far as customization options, you can change the LED color and size, as well as the message that is displayed when the alarm sounds, but that's it. The alarm sound was disappointing. Regardless of whether … Read more
Ashampoo MP3 AudioCenter is another contender in a long list of digital music managers. With its well-designed user interface and solid performance, this program stands out from the pack.
The program's straightforward user interface looks professionally designed. Colorful command buttons have brief, but clear, explanations of their functions to help you get acclimated. If you're more proficient with these kinds of programs, you can quickly switch from Normal to Expert mode, which will remove some of the onscreen descriptions. The program includes six functions: CD ripping, CD burning, file conversion, normalization, file editing, and file repair. Again, the … Read more
It's not the cheapest or the smallest way to go, but if you want the best-sounding pocket-size audio recorder on the market, you needn't look any further than the Edirol R-09HR. As an update to the original Edirol R-09 that debuted in 2006, the new HR edition addresses nearly every complaint we had of its predecessor, and even adds a few tricks we didn't know we wanted (like a remote control).
Unfortunately, the Pocketrak 2G's shrunken size is reflected in its modest list of features and limited recording capacity. Still, this tiny thing is a dream come true for concert bootleggers and undercover agents.
With the increased capacity of today's computer hard drives and MP3 players, ripping your CDs to a large, lossless audio format such as FLAC or Apple Lossless isn't such a crazy idea. In fact, some folks are convinced that lossless audio is the wave of the future.
While I personally have a handful of my favorite albums ripped to lossless files on my computer, I'm a little skeptical of the idea of a lossless revolution taking root. For better or worse, the MP3's popularity will likely remain unshaken for many years to come, for a variety of reasons. … Read more
Neil Young says the tech industry doesn't care as much about music quality as it should.
Perhaps that's because the average iPod-toting iTunes customer doesn't give a second thought to whether the digital file of the latest single they just bought is uncompressed or lossless.
Young told a bunch of tech luminaries gathered for an industry conference as much on Wednesday: "People's understanding has been skewed by MP3s and convenience. It's important to get music out there...but not at the expense of quality."
He's not the only one who feels that … Read more
That, at least, is what the dock for Creative's "Zen Wav" looks like to us. But the youngest in the family is often spoiled, so we're not really surprised. The Wav is the latest of an ever-growing list of siblings from Creative, this one featuring a 1.5-inch color LCD and 2GB of memory in an aluminum case for about $114 on the Singapore market.