Monthly Archives: February 2016

app

It’s Time to Ditch iTunes. Here’s Why the Music App Should Go

appiTunes has long been the music library app of choice for thousands of music lovers. Both PC and Mac users flocked to the digital platform, which allowed users to both organize their collections of songs (and movies, podcasts, and so on) and since 2003 has offered users a handy way to purchase and download albums and singles.

But iTunes is floundering. What was once considered a pioneer of the digital frontier is now regarded by many once loyal users as a bloated, outdated platform. And fans are fed up with waiting for Apple to attempt to fix iTunes. Let’s face it. iTunes could be better. A lot better and that’s an understatement.

The Evidence
iTunes has never been the prettiest app on the block, let’s face it. But iTunes feels so wildly inconsistent when it comes to how it decides to show you your library. For example, you can choose to organize your music library by individual song, album, artist, genres, or composers. And each time you click between any of these options, the entire layout of your music library will change. If you’ve chosen to organize your songs as individual songs, you’ll be given a list of all tracks in your library. Sorting tracks by albums gives you a platform where you have to click through the covers of each of your album. Why not give users the option of how they’d like their library to be displayed regardless of how they’re organizing their tracks? Why over-complicate things?

This brings us to another one of iTune’s issues. Cover art. Users dread each major update of the iTunes software. Why? Chances are likely that for whatever reason, iTunes will replace or remove cover art for random tracks, even if the cover art came with an official purchase of the track.

And if users signed up for Apple Music and downloaded tracks from other devices from iCloud, they may have found that Apple gave them the wrong version of the track altogether, leading users to spend hours hunting through their library searching for which songs got screwed up.

Simply put, iTunes doesn’t really know what its users actually want. No one was asking for Connect. Who actually used ‘Genius’? We can’t even remember the last time we tried out Ping. All we wanted was a simple music platform. Not sixteen features we never even used once.

If you’re still not convinced that iTunes is flawed, just try transferring songs from your iPhone onto iTunes. It can’t be done without a third party program. Which means that if you, for whatever reason, lose access to your computer and your only copies of your favorite songs are on your iPhone, you can’t actually save these songs without downloading them from Apple Music, which often results in you ending up with the wrong track.

So what can users do? It’s time to move to another program. There is one caveat though- if you have an iPod or iPhone, you’re basically stuck with iTunes if you want something that will give you necessary software updates. But if you’re up for moving beyond iTunes, there’s a lot of decent alternatives out there. For example, Songbird is an excellent service for discovering new music. Swinsian is basically everything we used to love about iTunes distilled into an easy to use platform. If you’re a PC user, consider the JRiver Media Center.

iTunes was once the leader of the pack. We can only hope that one day, Apple will remember why iTunes was so great and finally listen to what users really want.

apps

Have Insomnia? These Apps Can Help You Catch Some Sleep

appsIn a world filled with flashing screens, it’s no wonder that no one’s getting any sleep. Every one of us has had to deal with spending hours at night tossing and turning. Some of us take medication. Others just lay in bed for hours on end, hoping they’ll finally feel tired enough to pass out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. While you may blame your phone for contributing to your insomnia thanks to its bright lights, you can turn your smartphone into an ally in the war against insomnia by enlisting these insomnia busting apps.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
This tried and true app is simple. Sleep Cycle will analyze your sleeping patterns, determining your REM cycle. The app will then determine when the best time to wake you up is by analyzing when you’re in the lightest portion of REM sleep. This way, you’ll wake up a little less groggy and more well rested, the better for getting up and getting a handle on your day.

Available for: Android, iOS

Long Deep Breathing
As the name implies, this app aims to help you relax and ultimately fall asleep easier by walking you through a series of deep breathing exercises. Once you’ve completed the exercises, the idea is that you’ll be a lot calmer and clear headed, which should make it easier for you to fall asleep stress free.

Available for: iOS

Sleep Genius
With a name like that, Sleep Genius is reaching for some pretty lofty expectations. The app is basically supposed to help you train yourself to sleep a little easier all without the help of white noise machines. Sleep Genius was developed with the help of researching how astronauts fall sleep, which should definitely help you out when it comes to figuring out how you can catch some ‘zzzs’ without stressing.

Available for: Android, iOS

Relax Melodies
But sometimes you need a little help falling asleep and that’s where Relax Melodies comes in. This app provides users with gentle, relaxing sounds designed to help you calm down at the end of the day. Paired up with cheerful illustrations and photos, it’s a good remedy for those nights when you just need something to soothe you. The app also comes complete with binaural beats which are designed to make it easier for you to calm down your brain. But the best part has to be the fact that this app is completely free.

Available for: Android, iOS

Sleepy Time
This novel app, also a popular website, allows you to figure out what the best time for you to fall asleep at is within a matter of seconds. All you need to do is input when you want to wake up and the app will calculate your optimal bedtime based on 90 minute REM cycles. It’s all pretty straightforward and the app itself is easy to use, making it easy to figure out what bedtimes will give you the best, most relaxed pattern of sleep.

Available for: Android, iOS

Yoga for Insomnia
Some people find that the best way to get themselves ready for bed is with the help of some gentle, relaxing yoga. This paid app (it’s $2.99) helps users fall asleep a little easier by teaching them simple yoga techniques meant to reduce stress. Since regular exercise has been shown to help people fall asleep a little easier, it’s definitely an app worth trying out if you’re someone who constantly deals with insomnia. Combined with special breathing techniques which you can learn through the app, it’s definitely something worth checking out at least once.

Available for: iOS