My App Addiction: Poweramp Music Player

My App Addiction: Poweramp Music Player

Mar 15, 2018

I’m really into streaming content now, especially music; with the right utility (and there are several great choices), you can really cover any need for music you have.

Still, there is a place for standalone, dedicated music players, especially for folks like me. You see, there are some old trusty songs I have, and there are times I prefer dealing with offline and onboard tracks.

I don’t think I am too picky when it comes to choice of app, but there are few things I just to have. Some are a bit vain, yes, but my needs are my needs. When it’s all said and done, after a lot of trial time, I settled on Poweramp Music Player. I really can’t do without it at this point.

Why? We’ve been talking about this app since 2010!

First, as the developer is eager to point out, Poweramp wants to do one thing well: play your music. I like the fact there isn’t too much to wade through… just start the app via the widget and go. Another HUGE feature for me is the ability to search out album art from within the app, as it helps me add a visually authentic touch to my catalog.

Further to that, it also has a full-fledged tag editor, which is another biggie for OCD music heads. And when it comes to handling music files, Poweramp gets serious: mp3, mp4, ogg, wma, flac, wav and more. Yes, I still have ogg files. It does gapless play, has a pretty fast scanning process, and helps out with lyrics.

Additionally, you also get a powerful equalizer. This allows users to really tweak the output intimately, such that if you want to underscore a little bit of base in that Dre track, you are good.

Finally, I love that I can make the app mine by customizing it to suit. There are a few built-in skins (plus more available to download), and there are several little touches one can mess around with, from how songs are named to the info attached to each file.

Bonus: Poweramp is one of those premium apps that has a free version that allows you to try it out for half a month.

Well done.

Go ahead. Try it out. You’re welcome for the tip…

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 9)

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 9)

Mar 9, 2018

It’s about that time…

Here we go, providing you with a sample — small, but juicy — of some the content you mi?ht have missed from our sister sites in the Steel Media network. Why? Well, there is so much stuff, and so little time to get to it.

We’re talking reviews, news, commentary, podcasts, and video.

Why wouldn’t we? Here you go, fresh off last week’s presses on Pocket Gmer, i48apps and AppSpy.

Pocket Gamer

Wanna maximize those simoleons? Dave Aubrey out at PG has you covered with a formal walkthrough for the recently released Sims Mobile. Then, feel free to head on to check out Jon Mundy’s food for thought with regards to seven mobile games he figures will translate better on Switch.

Speaking of Sims and simoleons, there is another nifty podcast episode available. Episode 434 talks about Sims Mobile and Super Smash Bros Switch.

148apps

We start with some golden content for folks looking to get a leg up in several games. In fact, if you need tips and tricks for Monster Merge, Temple of Spikes: the Legend and/or Clash Royale 2v2 mode, 148apps has you covered.

Oh yeah… but of course: a comprehensive list of the best iOS games that came out this week, courtesy of Harry Slater.

AppSpy

You’ll wanna check out AppSpy’s current Gem of the Week (per Christian Valentin), which bread popping battle to bear in Toast Time.

And no one does video reviews better than AppSpy; it’s latest is for Temple of Spikes. Check it out here:

There you have it… can’t wait for next week!

Microsoft Word: My Chromecast’s lower case missing piece

Microsoft Word: My Chromecast’s lower case missing piece

Mar 5, 2018

The Chromebook, as a daily driver, has certainly gown on me.

No mystery there. There isn’t much to dislike. It has all the charm of a web machine, plus the power of Google’s ecosystem behind it. It has all but retired the laptop, as I can mostly manage with it comfortably wherever there’s safe internet access. Even if I have to do heavy lifting, I can always tunnel in via Chrome Remote Desktop; as an added bonus, since it is a touchscreen device, I can interact with Windows remotely by touching the screen.

I could go on and on, but you can tell, I like Chrome OS.

With Google Play access — and I picked up an Acer machine that got that feature relatively early — I also get a whole lot of apps that extend my Chromebook’s functionality. Hold up though… shortly after, we found out that MS Office, the app I coveted the most, wasn’t available for Chromebooks, ostensibly because of its screen size.

This was bad. You see, I do use Google Docs a lot, and dig its usability. Still, I came of computer age in the late Nineties and early Aughts, and I respect the right of monopolies to crash the party early. All hail first to market, and give me Microsoft Word!

Sigh.

At least I can still access my desktop remotely. Even when pouting.

Whining aside, this was a major piece for me. I don’t enjoy Office 360, and I already have a machine side loaded with Linux. I wanted to eat my Chrome OS cake and have it too. I get that Microsoft Office on what is, in essence, a Surface competitor might not make sense from an MS point of view, but what about ME?

But what do you know? Is Microsoft reaffirming its drive to be on every device versus creating all the hardware? Don’t know, and frankly, i don’t really care. What matters is that Android Office suite is again available to the Chromebook.

All is right in my mobile world.

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 2)

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 2)

Mar 2, 2018

We’ve said it before: we have a lot of content, and we are quite willing to please. Just in case you missed this goodness from around the Steel Media world, we’re providing just a glimpse of all the things you’ll want to enjoy.

Pocket Gamer

If you’re into Peak Rider — and, unless you’re stodgy and mean, you probably are — you must get a hold of Dave Aubrey’s expansive tips and tricks guide; you’ll be king of the (snowboard) slopes in no time. Then, be sure to check Harry Slater’s review of narrative adventure A Normal Lost Phone.

148apps

Campbell Bird sets off with an in-depth review of Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?; you’ll wanna hear the thoughts on being a starship commander. Also, find the time to check out the updated list of the best games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now.

AppSpy

All hail the Hidden Gem! This week, it’s Knotmania, and Christian Valentin lets us understand why we might wanna get in on this zen puzzler. And, you can NEVER go wrong with AppSpy’s video review — this one is for Lichtspeer:

There you have it… plenty of stuff to enjoy and ruminate upon.

Round and about the Steel Media world (February 23)

Round and about the Steel Media world (February 23)

Feb 23, 2018

Another week and… yep, you guessed it: another batch of great mobile news coverage from the Steel Media family of sites.

We say that with all humility.

As we tend to do, we’re bringing you some of the best stuff from our other sites, because we know how hard it is to keep abreast old all this content; so much information, never enough time and all that.

Here are some heavy hitters from our sister sites:

Pocket Gamer

YAY! Shout to the skies… the latest installment of the topnotch Pocket Gamer podcast is LIVE! Episode 432 has the Pocket Gamer staff waxing astutely on Alto’s Odyssey (more on this game elsewhere) and Layers of Fear: Legacy. Bonus material? Why, yes… there’s an interview with the creators of the latter, plus the usual valuable chatter on relevant updates, upcoming releases and more.

And what might be better than playing Angry Birds? Well, checkout Pocket Gamer’s quick-hitter on Rovio’s new tournament version, which allows you to fling birds for money.

148apps

148apps is up to its usual iOS-centric goodies self, with Campbell Bird’s in-depth review of Alto’s Odyssey being one you definitely do not wanna miss (hint: it made a great impression). Then, you get player’s guide for Battle of Polytopia in the mix as well — get at this to become adept at running your virtual world.

We know you like relationship adventure Florence; it made this list last week. Well, the folks at 148apps went ahead and collated a few more games like it.

AppSpy

Look, James Gilmour’s voice is worth paying to hear. On AppSpy’s YouTube page, you get to hear his take on DAFT JUMP for free. On the “regular” site, you can take in Christian Valentin’s latest hidden gem Dark Echo.

And there you have it, for this week. Check back next week for our next installment of our inter-site rundown.

Round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 16th)

Round and about the Steel Media world (Feb 16th)

Feb 16, 2018

Another week, and slate of great news stories, reviews and features from the Steel Media empire. Because, well, you can never have too much content, and we’re here to help you catch stuff you might have missed.

So, without too much ado, here is some cool stuff from around the Steel Media world:

Pocket Gamer

Pocket Gamer is chock-full of great stuff this week. Creature Quest feens will be happy with the staff generated tips and tricks guide, which should have you dominating in no time. Emily Sowden gets a hat tip for a quick list of the best iOS and Android updates for the week — including Death Road to Canada, The Battle of Polytopia and more. And, for those that have refined ear for interesting audio, the ubiquitous Pocket Gamer Podcast Episode 431 is up.

148apps

And yes, 148apps is still putting out the good stuff this week. There is Campbell Bird’s in-depth review of visual stunner Florence. Then, you can — you SHOULD — check out the updated list of the best games out for iPhone available now. And it’s never too late to get all booed up with the list of Valentine day apps. X’s and O’s…

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AppSpy

And still even more good stuff. Thanks to Christian Valentin, we know to look forward to upcoming iOS game sequel Alto’s Odyssey. Similarly, AppSpy has us impatiently waiting on cross-platform gravity defying caper Flo, due out on Android and iOS sometime in 2018.

And there you have it. Great stuff. On tap. Enjoy.

It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

It’s still about the ecosystems, and Amazon is holding serve

Feb 9, 2018

Remember back when Amazon released the Fire Phone? That Android-flavored smartphone most pundits called a flop? Yes, don’t pretend. You dissed it too.

What about the Amazon Appstore? It was appreciated, but with developers less likely to put their apps on it versus the Play Store, it was always gonna be a tough sell. Hey, at least the Fire Tablets have been doing well, right? Either way, for all its financial acumen, we couldn’t help but wonder if Amazon would really become that other ecosystem consumers deserved. I mean, Apple, Google, Samsung et al. weren’t taking naps at the time, either.

Somehow, we practically missed her until she was right on top of us: Alexa.

Hey, nothing has changed. It’s all about the ecosystems, and Amazon seems to be pace setter, especially from a mindshare perspective. In this race, mindshare is gold.

With the connected smarthome being the new frontier, being in front early is important. When it comes to consumer adoption, it’s not always about who has the best product on the market, but rather who has the most recognizable one. When your grandma makes fun of friends who use Alexa, Amazon smiles because it knows it has a future customer.

Don’t cry too hard for Apple. It has become great at sitting back and perfecting technology rather than necessarily introducing it.

One thing’s for sure: consumer wins.

Hopefully.

Who? What? Why? When? Where? Wednesday!

You have questions. We don’t always have the answers.

— So who is not interested in finding out more about the upcoming Samsung flagships? Courtesy of Android Central, we’re hearing Oreo, Snapdragon and 12 MP cameras. Yum.

— Well, it’s about time MyScript Nebo was made available for Samsung Note8. What is it? Handwriting recognition for devices that utilize active pens. I’m thirsty.

Who won the unofficial Super Bowl Ad championship? Alexa, who was mostly missing. On a serious note, what would we do without Alexa?

Where can I find a non-disposable bluetooth tracker that down’t need to be charged twice a day? You know… something thin, portable and unobtrusive?

Why do I feel quite comfortable with the, uh, ancient S7e I use as daily driver. Could it be it’s easier to keep devices for longer now because there is less innovation?

Round and about the Steel Media world

Round and about the Steel Media world

Feb 2, 2018

Yikes. it was 2017 not too long ago. Can it really already be February?

Yes… another week, another slew of great content all around the Steel media landscape. It is pretty good stuff, even if we do say so ourselves.

First up, let’s take a look at PG. Hey, whaddya know? The latest Pocket Gamer Podcast — Episode 429, no less — is live now. On tap this week: discussion about Mario Kart Tour and Hero Hunters. You can also find a comprehensive list of 67 games that are soft launched on Android and iOS, as well as some interest talk pertaining to LEGO games.

I’m interested in a Westworld game for mobile, and you will be too.

If you haven’t checked out 148Apps this week, shame on you! How else would you pick up on Harry Slater’s round up of the best iOS games currently on sale? There’s also some great gaming hints for the crazy popular Headshot ZD and reviews for Pako 2 and Disc Drivin’ 2.

Now, you’ll definitely wanna swing by AppSpy, if only to check out Christian Valentin’s pick for hidden gem of the week (hint: it’s all about geometry). You can also read up on recent mobile entries Gunslugs 3 and Tesla vs Lovecraft.

The real good news? This only scratches the surface. Head on out to Pocket Gamer, 148Apps and AppSpy to get all the content you could want, and then some.

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In case you missed it: elsewhere on Steel Media

The coolest thing about being part of a media network is that there is literally always something fresh… be it a different take, a new game or a platform-specific helper. Just in case you missed the goodness, here’s a quick rundown of some of the happenings on our sister sites.

Pocket Gamer

It’s always live at PG, and for folks that have a taste for sexy game talk, the latest Pocket Gamer Podcast — Episode 428 — is here. On the docket? Convo about The Room: Old Sins, Thumper and an interview Warhammer Quest II‘s developer.

There’s more… a walkthrough for popular cross-platform game Super Senso, and Jon Mundy’s take on the best iOS and Android games of January 2018.

148apps

Where to begin… if you want some tips and tricks to get ahead in Meteorfall, or become the baddest crime fighter in Jydge, or simply want to set sail with the best info possible in World of Warship Blitz… rest assured, the crew at 148apps has you well covered.

jydge-ios-1(1)

AppSpy

If you’re looking for news about the latest music game that’s dropped on mobile, AppSpy’s got you covered with it’s quick hitter on aforementioned new iOS app Thumper. You also want to drink in the feature read on the Hidden Gem of the Week, Ending, as well as furthering your ambition to become the best turn-based gunslinger by reading up on Christian Valentin’s hot take on Infinite West.

About that impromptu toughness test…

About that impromptu toughness test…

Jan 16, 2018

There is nothing — NOTHING — sexy about those insane drop tests. You know, the ones where the geek with the masochist streak lets admittedly increasingly fragile devices drop to the floor… supposedly to see how well they react to the clumsiness that occurs in the real world. I think it takes a twisted individual to be able to do this, but there is a place for ruggedness testing. These tech gizmos aren’t cheap, and even the most careful of us can have our plans for device longevity thwarted by the innocent gestures of a kid borrowing one’s phone to catch an episode of Super Y.

Stuff happens.

I come across all sorts of gadgets, and have the privilege of getting to try out dozens of products in any single category. Consequently, when I did pick a device, it is usually one that I can truly call the best for my needs at that time.

Like my earpiece of choice, the Jabra Eclipse. Sleek, light, effective, with a portable charging case to boot. I use it for calls, music and podcasts, and frankly, I baby the precious unit.

Till my laundry mishap last week.

Hey, I always check my pockets for gadgets. It’s a big reason I tend to do the laundry myself, actually; a soaked phone would cause me to swoon. Somehow, I messed up. I remember making a late addition to the load: a light jacket I’d worn out earlier in the day. It had the Eclipse and case in it. It went through the wash and dryer cycles, and I didn’t discover it till I got the clothes out to iron.

Ugh… my heart dropped when I saw the case at the bottom of the barrel. It took me a little while to locate the earpiece, which was magnetically stuck to the top of the dryer. Physically, it looked fine, but I just knew it would never work again.

But hey, I plugged in the charging case, and slapped in the earpiece. It started charging. What? After a half hour, it was working. Flawlessly.

So that’s my story of the Impromptu Toughness Test. Well done, Jabra.

[Our Jabra Eclipse Review]

My App Addiction: Google Home

My App Addiction: Google Home

Jan 9, 2018

The world is simultaneously getting more connected and more untethered, and I love it. Even better, I enjoy the way mobile devices are becoming the heartbeats of a new paradigm… the so-called “connected home” that allows us to literally bring the internet of things home.

Of course, Google is at the forefront of this movement, and one of its biggest pieces in this pursuit is its all-encompassing control hub, Google Home.

The app does a lot — but my usage really devices around casting content from my phone, of late especially YouTube TV.

Now, the beauty of the setup is that using Google Home to cast does not tie up one’s phone. Indeed, one can go on and do any number of activities on the hosting device… like, say, drafting an article highlighting why the app is so easy to get addicted to.

One of the things that makes the whole system worth it is the built-in nature of the system. Google Cast is built into the Chrome browser, so, in theory, you can mirror most things from the Chrome browser to an equipped television. This also means I can use Cast-ready applications, like the Youtube TV app, on iOS. That’s not a bad proposition at all, especially folks who use technology across mobile platforms. And the list of iOS apps that are ready to go is fairly expansive, including media favorites like HBO GO, Showtime, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Spotify and >a whole lot more. And remember, the Chrome thingie means your PC can be a portal too.

Now that I am beginning to dabble more into Google Home (the hardware, that is), the app becomes more of a mainstay for me. Google Home ties it altogether, making life easier and more cohesive, all while becoming more indispensable to me and mine.