Sunday, 9 November 2008

Radio Blah Blah

I always seem to get registered post delivered on a Saturday morning, when I'm not home to sign for it.

Although I had a little headache from last night, I thought it was a good enough excuse to get my lazy ass out of bed into the cold and rainy 12 degree air, and go into Shinjuku to pick up my "package".

My father sent back the Softbank phone I gave him because he couldn't find anyone that could unlock the phone to use on his network. Recently I found a place that may be able to do it here. When I go back home I can give it back to him.

I did the usual wanderings of the catchers, the "Camera"s, both Yodobashi and Bic, and Don Quijote. I had a look at Rock Inn too where I bought my guitar. There were some very nice looking guitars on display.

When I finally got back to Yotsuya I went to the Atre building to play around in it's free wireless hotspot area with my iPhone.

Lately I found some really cool radio apps that work nicely on it.

Ever heard a song in a shopping mall, and wanted to know what it's name was, or who sung it? Yes, me too!

Last time I was here they had some really melodic songs playing, so I wanted to test out two song recognition apps, Shazam and Midomi.

Although the volume was at the typically quiet background level of a shopping centre, both programs did a great job of identifying every song. I have to say Shazam looks nicer, but Midomi seems to have a few extra features such as singing or humming the tune. I've had varying success with that part, but I guess better to have than not to have it. You can try it out for yourself online here.

I tried to use the Pandora app from iTunes, but unfortunately due to "licensing restrictions" I'm unable to use outside of the US. It works on a simple premise of putting in a band you like, and it'll make a radio station stream of bands with the same "genetic" sound.

Seeing that that didn't work I tried out Last FM. It works on the same principle as Pandora and from the brief test I found it to give good results.

Being in Japan I feel a bit left out of the loop when it comes to the music scene back home. Apart from American hip-hop, the airwaves are mostly filled with J-pop.

So armed with trusty iPhone I've stumbled upon Fstream.

With this app I added all the web address URL's for streams of the radio stations back in Brisbane! The addresses can be found here.

Finally I thought I'd give Fring a try.

With this one it's possible to use MSN (and other clients), as well as make Skype calls. With calling I had a lot of dropouts, but I think that is more due to the weak wi-fi signal I was getting. Unlike on windows mobile, the conversation is like a normal phone call, not speaker phone, which is much more uncomfortable to use in public areas.

ALL the apps I've mentioned in this post are free and work over wi-fi and/or 3G. So what are you waiting for? Go get them!