May 2009

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I spend more time than I’d like in hotel rooms, and while most have wifi access, often the wifi signal is weak; I’m thus forced to tether myself to some four-foot Ethernet cable. Also, between LaLa and Pandora, I have most of my music in the cloud, so the set up I want — one where I can stream said music to some speakers connected to AirportExpress — really does require an in-room network.

Apple represents this feature as one of the big selling points of the AirportExpress. However, unlike most Apple developed functionality, setting up an in-room network doesn’t “just work.” It’s hard to really blame Apple on this. I’m certain that if the other items along the critical path were Apple made it would just work. Alas.

Just because it’s not exactly plug and play, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Unfortunately, the process (based upon my research) isn’t well documented.

Here’s the document:

1. Start by doing a hard reset on your AirportExpress. Do this by pushing and holding the reset button in while plugging the AE into the wall. Keep holding it until the yellow light blinks fast (about 30 seconds).

2. Plug the Ethernet cable into your laptop. Pay for whatever jive ass fee you need to in order to get online.

3. Unplug the Ethernet from the laptop, and plug it into the AE.

4. Open Airport Utility. It will find your AE (it’ll be identified by a string of letters and numbers). Go through the process to name the AE and give it password protection.

5. Click the “manual” set up tab. Then – at the top – click the Internet tab.

6. Select the following: Connect using: “Ethernet”; Configure IPv4 to “Using DHCP”; Here’s the key: Set Connection Sharing to “Off (Bridge Mode).”

Number 6, above, and really the bolded section is the vital part.

I hope this helps some of you road warriors.

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I twizzizzled out the other day that I had bought Pandora one:

I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to what I like/don’t like/why I took the plunge and bought etc.

As I can’t – sadly – sum it up in 140 characters, here’s my rationale:

1. I was never that keen on Pandora – seemed like a novelty, and not deep enough for someone with as varied and erudite taste in music as mine (I keed, I keed). However, I found that by adding songs to the stations I created (rather than using artists alone to define the station’s parameters) it vastly broadened the spectrum.

2. The iPhone app, when combined with a direct connection into my car, makes for excellent “radio.” (As does the Wolfgang’s Vault iPhone app, by the way).

3. The integration into Boxee, made it accessible via my AppleTV.

4. The integration into my blu-ray DVD player made it accessible that way.

5. the release of the Squeezebox Boom
made it easy enough for my wife to use.

6. The Adobe Air powered “One” Service is REALLY nice. between the “growl“-like floating alerts, and the simple clean interface – it “just works.”

7. The price falls – in economic terms – into the category of “the importance of being unimportant.” While it’s nice not to have the ads, and the hour time out, I wouldn’t have paid for this if the price had been north of $50. At $36, that’s not even a crappy bottle of wine. For $50 I can get a decent bottle of wine.

So, as you can see from above, the main things that caused me to pull the trigger were the depth of music, and the integration into other things into my life.

This is an important point, and one I’ll blog about in more detail soon (I know, everyone’s on the edge of their Che’s Lounge).

Basically, what seems to be eluding people – be they those who produce musical content, film content, newspaper content, book content, or – really any other kind of content – is that the issue you have to contend with isn’t a content issue (of course, you’re content must be awesome or why bother – but everyone thinks their content is awesome), it’s a distribution issue.

The labels were the first to not learn this; had they more rapidly embraced new means of getting their content from creator/content holder to content user, life would have been much more bearable for them. Same deal, of course, for TV, movies, newspapers, etc.

Guess who’s next? Education. If colleges, etc. don’t start understanding that while they may very well be great content sources, if they need to grasp that those who will use their content don’t want to get it the same way Plutarch got his content, they’re cooked.

In any case, Pandora – via its myriad integration techniques – allows for the seamless distribution of its content into my life. That’s ultimately why I bought.

Some images of my Pandora One in action:

Now, what I want: The ability to link my Stitcher podcasts into Pandora. If I could do this, and have a news/Onion podcast come up every hour or so on Pandora…well, goodbye terr radio.

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