Tag Archives: Radio

What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

8Tracks: Music Curated

8tracks - handcrafted internet radio

8tracks: handcrafted internet radio. Their apps are pretty cool, too.

I’ve become fascinated with the playlist curation site, 8tracks. It allows users to upload songs from their personal libraries as playlists with tags and cover art, then share, browse and comment on playlists of other members. All for free. Think of it as cloud-based mixtapes with social functionality included (comments, tags, profiles, etc.).

I’d been a casual listener of the site for a while (and similar sites like Pandora and Blip.fm), but only when hosting an ’80s-themed party recently did I fully get into the full 8tracks experience.

[8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/640055″][8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/109389″]

The two above were the perfect soundtracks. Turns out there are scores of ’80s playlists already hand-picked and battle-tested by folks who care enough to share them with the world. And now I’m making my own playlists – which embed beautifully here:

My 8tracks playlists: singles, covers, guitars…

[8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/1131093″][8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/1126173″][8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/1127082″][8tracks width=”245″ height=”245″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/1130745″]

It’s been fun for me to see who likes these and then to check out their playlists myself. As a person who enjoys discovering new music perfectly suited to my tastes, this is rather exciting, as I now have several promising playlists to explore. Heck, TIME magazine even named 8tracks the best site of 2011. If you’re into discovering and sharing music, you should definitely give 8tracks a try.

What do you think? Have you ever used 8tracks? Is there a similar music discovery site that you recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments.

PR Through A Font? Believe It.

PR From a Font - not even close to technically accurate - for conceptual purposes onlyHere’s some good public relations for Chattanooga, Tennessee design firm Insigne Design, and for the importance of typography in branding.

Chatype for Chattanooga

A recent story from Marketplace sets the scene with a picture of the city’s renaissance, then gets right to the fontspeak, showing how some cities and their local businesses/governments are adopting unified custom fonts, seeing typography as a “sexy idea” with real potential.

Chattanooga Font

Click to read transcript &/or listen (10-second ad, then 4-minute audio):

Sexy Nerdspeak

Chattanooga Font

Image credit: Good.is

I like this story for so many reasons. It’s about typography and design; it’s about a clever concept for effective public relations from a branding perspective; and in the space of four minutes, reporter Blake Farmer brings all these concepts together in practical application. As I said earlier on Twitter, “From “nerdspeak” to “sexy idea” in four minutes? You guessed it; we’re talking about a font.” Gotta’ love that.

Jeremy Dooley, Jonathan Mansfield and D.J. Trishler, all featured in the story, saw through this brand of design work via Chatype and successfully raised funding to get the idea out there. Check out the full presentation on Kickstarter and enjoy D+J‘s video overview here of what goes into crafting an effective font.

Now What?

I have to wonder though, what comes next? Do the designers offer free installation on computers of local businesses? As a design studio promoting this font, living in the city it was designed for, do they now throw all other fonts out the window and use this one exclusively? Do they use this as a tool for new business by offering, say… 250 free business cards or free signs that use the font for local establishments, with an offer for reprints at a discount for incorporating the font into the branding? Imagine the PR a local business could stir up by saying, “Ladies & Gents, check out our new bathroom signs – more than meets the eye!”  How about some QR code magic? Here’s a sample I whipped up just now:

What the heck is a QR Code?

Maybe a bar or restaurant runs a contest for customers to “spot the font” somewhere on site. There are so many opportunities, and I hope exploring them brings good press, profits, and most of all — fun, for everyone involved.

What do you think? Do you get a sense of tone, feel or personality from a typeface? Or is this just about making something pretty for pretty’s sake? Do you see the return on investment in this from a public relations angle? Or does this type of coverage even amount to anything in the long run? Let us hear from you in the comments!