Popcorn Time – Basically Netflix For Free

Popcorn time has the same feel to it as Netflix and works relatively smoothly, streaming most of the movies you would like to see. But unlike Netflix it runs on the BitTorrent network so its pulling movies from unknown sources with no traceback to you. Popcorn Time has beta builds which run on Windows, Mac, & Linux, and the best part is that it very user friendly & has an intuitive user interface.

The service was killed off a little while back even though technically they didn’t store any movies, but as it was an open source program someone else picked up the mantle and brought Popcorn Time back to life.

“The YTS team will now be picking up the Popcorn Time project and continuing on like previously,” a developer told TorrentFreak. “We are in a better position copyright wise as for us, because it’s build on our API. It’s as if we have built another interface to our website.” Whether or not this new version of Popcorn Time will last longer than the original remains to be seen, but the team sounds confident it can keep things running. “It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down,” a YTS dev said.

The link below is a link to GitHub which is a download source for Popcorn Time

Link: GitHub

Why I Hate Google – Regional Restrictions

I have been a huge proponent of Google and their Android platform, I love it, its great, flexible and the selection of phones are insane, so many to choose from. I liked what they have done with their Play Store, now its really organized and only getting better. Even with the release of the Nexus 4 I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

My one major issue with them is the region segregation, its annoying as hell, Apple honestly makes no difference what so ever. If your account is registered in the US then you are treated as if you are within the US and get access to all the software, shows, and movies.

Google operates differently, even if you are a US account with a US Credit Card and Address you don’t get access to everything on the US store which drives me nuts. Except if you have a US sim in your phone, but if you have a tablet then it does it based on your location.

While I was in the states I bought Iron Man, Transformers, and Star Trek, just movies I love watching again and again just to see how the Nexus 7 works with and they are amazing movies. And I downloaded it onto my machine not just streaming, so I can take it back home with me to Kuwait and play it normally. Now in Kuwait with the movies on my device it won’t let me play them, are they serious, thats just ridiculous. People willing to pay for whats legal but if you stop them from getting it legally then they will get it illegally, what they are doing is ridiculous, they are seriously stopping a source of revenue, people want access.

Apple products are amazing I will say that about them, even though I hate the company, and even for my love for Google, they have screwed up and they need to learn from Apple that got something right. Fix this already.

Spotify On The Go

I have always had issues with iTunes even though I still think that it is vital to my music choices when I’m listening to music on the go, and for last few months iTunes has been acting up a lot. Since making more and more playlists on Spotify I have slowly shifted my listening over to Spotify, I still use iTunes but even in the car I just stream my Spotify over the car’s Bluetooth Connection. I can stream Spotify through any type of Data connection and I don’t have to use a VPN, you only have use VPN when you sign up. Surprisingly the quality of the stream is really good, and it rarely cuts which is fantastic. Of course you have to have Premium Spotify to stream to your phone, and it works for both Android & iOS.

Spotify On iPad

If you love music and your not on Spotify yet you are honestly missing out, this is what iTunes should be like. I’m making music on the fly, listening to it on my car, and I’m also paying for the premium services so I can even download straight to my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, iPad, and PC without any issues. I have it integrated into my Sonos system, literally the reasons to have it are endless.

And at last they have come up with the iPad App and its worth the wait, they really did a fantastic job of making it seamlessly work with the iPad. I love that they took the time to design it in a way that makes use of every square inch of screen real estate that you have. This app does a lot, but it doesn’t rub the extra features in your face. The design is fairly clean. Playlists can be grouped neatly into folders, In addition, a tap-and-hold feature bring up additional options such as the ability to add something to a playlist or star it, and a new search autofill feature lets you find artists by typing in the first few letters. You can hunt down songs, albums, and playlists from the same box. But one main note, to use this App you need a Premium account, to use Spotify for free you can use the Desktop App, but its really worth paying for the Premium Service.

Blocking ADs on Spotify

I usually like listening to music online and recently gotten into spotify, the one annoying thing that I found about Spotify is the advertisements in between songs. Right now I’m just enjoying and experimenting with Spotify to see how I would use it, and I’m liking the service but its a bit strange to me.

Windows:

  • Blockify – Just install it and it will automatically mute ads when they come on and unmute it when done. But Blockify goes one step further, you can play a substitute MP3 from your Music folder so it won’t be a blank space, and once the song is done playing it will go back to your Spotify playlist which is pretty cool. You can also add keyboard shortcuts to Spotify to skip tracks, play, pause, change volume and shuffe.

Mac:

  • Smutefy – It mutes the ad then unmutes it once its done, and sometimes an advertisement slips through and you can manually block it and add it to the block list. You have to have Soundflower installed to have it working.

The other main option that you do have is to pay $5 per month for the “Unlimited” Upgrade which is unlimited music and no advertisements or the “Premium” Upgrade which is the same as “Unlimited” except you can access Spotify from your Android or iPhone, but until you feel like upgrading these are your best options to listen to your music without interruption.

Streaming Music Services Compared

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I for one listen to a lot of music and I enjoy streaming music because I get to listen to new music, but now there are so many different types of companies to choose from. Mashable went ahead and put together this inforgraphic which compares all the companies and provides you with the best breakdown to fit your needs, and cloud streaming isn’t even part of this mix. I enjoy streaming some of these services, but still prefer to keep my music locally for now.

(Click the image for a larger image)

Review: Sirius Satellite Radio Online

SiriusSatRadio

Out of the Satellite Radio companies I used to prefer XM but now I’m a huge fan of Sirius but the best part is they merged and a large selection of channels is available to Sirius Satellite Radio Online Users. It’s great how they made the service modular, if you have a Sirius subscription then you get the online service for free, but if you don’t then you can receive it for about $2.99 per month which is very low for the amount of channels and quality.

What I Listen To:

  • Sirius XM Hits 1
  • 20 on 20
  • Sirius XM Chill
  • BPM (Dance)
  • Hip Hop Nation (Rap/HipHop)
  • The Heat (RnB/HipHop)
  • Sirius NFL
  • Howard Stern
  • Blue Collar Comedy

Real Usage:

  • You can listen to it through your iPod Touch/iPhone, there is a laptop application or launch from a browser for it, you can listen through music systems or table top systems such as Sonos or Grace Radio.
  • The quality is fantastic, and integartes with lots of systems, I listen to NFL channel during the games and mos to of the time BPM Dance channel in the back ground. Over the years it has only gotten better with more quality and more channels.

Link: Sirius Internet Radio
Rating:
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Sonos S5

I have been an advocate of Sonos products for some time now, showing it to friends and how it integrates into your system provides for the perfect music playing system as well as all the other streaming features it has. I haven’t done a review Sonos yet probably because I have been too lazy to get to it and I want to do it justice. But now I’m talking about the perfect all in one Sonos unit which they are now offering, the Sonos S5. One thing that should be known about Sonos is that they are sound guys before anything else, they care about the quality of sound that is why they have always had solid products with perfect sound more then anything else and they have never lowered that standard. Now they have came with the integrated all in one solution which is the Sonos S5, previously their other units had to have separate speakers which works for certain situations.

It can connect to all the streaming options such as Pandora, Rhapsody, Last.fm, Sirius, and more. Then you can easily integrate into your iTunes music library and you get to see all your playlists, as well as other music databases, you just have to point it and it will play it. If its the only Sonos unit then you have to wire it into your network but if you have other Sonos unit in the house then you can connect through the wireless network as only one needs to be connected physically. You can control the Sonos S5 through a desktop controller on your computer, through the Sonos iTunes App which can be installed in your iPod Touch or iPhone, and through the Sonos SC100 or SC 200 controller. An amazing product that every music lover should have, the best part is getting those music services to hear all those new and different tunes which you might enjoy. Technically this is one very powerful product, it is a five driver speaker system – two tweeters, two 3” mid-range drivers, and one 3.5” woofer. Each driver of the product is individually powered by a dedicated amplifier ready to play music at volumes ready to break windows. All of this priced at $400 which isn’t too bad considered the quality of the product, Sonos products are never cheap.

Link: Sonos

Windows Home Server – Stage 3

Due to complications with the setup we had to change the server case from the Alienware case to the Thermaltake Kandalf which is large full tower case that handle all the drives I was looking to install. The main issue of the Alienware case was that we weren’t able to install the Silverstone 1200 Watt PSU and the Athena Backplane, they were pushing against each other without allowing any of them to fit in.

The Athena Backplane was holing 5 Sata Drives 3.5″ in the place of 3 5.25″ Drives, so basically 3 CD-Roms for 5 Hard Drives. The PSU fit in the Alienware, and the Athena Backplane fit in the in Alienware case but just not together.

The Thermaltake was the only highquality full tower case available in Hawally at the time that we picked up for 75 KD, and even though it is overpriced the case was worth it and needed to continue our work. So we transplanted everything in the Alienware case to the Thermaltake case. I was dismantling while K was putting it together which was going smoothly.

It took us sometime to take off a few pieces from the Thermaltake since they weren’t needed. The hardware wiring was cleaned up, we removed the extra USB/Firewire/Sound connections of the case to fit the 1200 PSU, its a large one so it takes up space. It fits vertically rather then horizontally which makes things very accessible when connecting all the items for power. We fit the Athena Backplane, and everything was going very smoothly. We removed the LED fans and installed quiet fans on this case, these fans would provide ample cooling by pulling cool air from the front and the back to would pull out of the case. Even though there were four fans (1×120 mm & 3x92mm) running, the machine is extremely quiet, this isn’t even including the fan of the PSU.

Then the wiring came into play, we had a total of 7 SATA connections, and one IDE. Then there was the Addonics SATA controller for more SATA connections at a later point. This will help support a total of 15 hard drives if I wanted to fit them in the machine. Right now I have a total of 7 Hard drives in the machine which are enough to start off with.

After all the hardware configuration we started it up, it started which was good without shorting so everything seemed to be connected correctly. We started the Windows Home Server installation but we were too tired to continue except the next day. When we did continue it was only about mounting the new hard drives on Windows Home Server Share pool. It is going to take some time to tweak everything but overall everything is very straight forward in this machine, can’t wait to fully utilize it. There are still some steps to take.

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