Friday, March 15, 2013

Songza is my new favorite music streaming app

I have found a new favorite music streaming App for my iPod. It is called Songza. The great thing about listening to music on Songza is that rather than being restricted to listening to the music you happen to own in iTunes, or listening to music based on genre, artist, or album, you are given the opportunity to listen to music chosen by "Music Experts" based on the time of day and the mood you are in. I have found that when listening to Pandora or, for example, I begin to hear the same songs over and over. With Songza, I am listening to new artists and new songs that I have never heard before.

Songza is available for the iOS Apple devices such as iPhone, iPod, and iPad. It is also available on Android and on the Kindle Fire. It will also work from within any browser at I was surprised when I searched for Songza on Google, I was able to go to and it recognized that I was Brian Mason. It obviously used my Facebook sign-in because my Facebook profile picture appeared next to my name.


The title screen on an iPod Touch

When you open Songza in your browser there are three tabs: Music Concierge, Popular, and Browse All. There is also a search box.

The Music Concierge

The Concierge is the most exciting part about Songza. Based on the day of the week and the time of day you are presented with a major environment to start with. For example, on Saturday night the choices were: Bedtime, Entertaining Cool Friends, a House Party, Getting Lucky, Sweaty Dance Party, and Coming Down.

Based on what is going on in your life at the time, you select one. Then you are presented with sub-environments to choose from. For example, under Bedtime the selections were: Acoustic Bedtime, Soothing Voices, Hypnotic Electric, New and Old Bedtime Favorites, Sleepy Indie, and Dreaming Indie.

If you chose Soothing Voices from that list, there were two selections to choose from: Ladies Singing You to Sleep, and Men Singer-Songwriters.


The Music Concierge screen on an iPod Touch

When I pulled out the application on Sunday late night I had six choices: Bedtime, Studying (no lyrics), Unwinding, Popular Genres, Reading, and Brand-new Music.

When I chose Bedtime from that list, the sub-choices were: Acoustic Bedtime, Soothing Voices, Hypnotic Electric, New and Old Bedtime Favorites, Nature Sounds, and Quiet Jazz. So you can see that the choices under Bedtime were similar, but they were not all the same as they were for Bedtime on Saturday night.

If I would have chosen Unwinding instead of Bedtime, the choices were: Mellow Indie, Sophisticated Art Pop, Great Singer-Songwriters, Relaxing and Eclectic Mixes, Atmospheric Indie, and An Evening At the Beach.

Other Ways to Find Music

If you select the Popular tab from the home page, you will see playlists that are trending with users of Songza listed from the most popular on down. There is also a list of playlists that are the most popular for all time listed starting with the most popular.


The Popular tab selected on an iPad

Under the Browse All tab you have six other tabs, Genres, Activities, Moods, Decades, Culture and Record-store Clerk.

If you decide you want to listen to music based on the genre, there are plenty to choose from all the way from "Blues & Blues Rock" to "Showtunes".


The Genres tab selected on the Songza web site in a web browser

Or you can select the music you want to listen to based on activity, from "Ballroom Dancing" to "Yoga". If you want to listen to music based on your mood, you can choose moods from "Aggressive" to "Warm". Music by decade goes back to the 1930's, but the 60's, 70's, 80's, and later are broken up into two to four sub-groups. Cultural classifications include, for example, "Today's hits", "iTunes charts","Award Shows", "Best of lists", various holidays, television, and video games.

The Record-store Clerk is something like the Concierge, but provides you with a long list of activities in alphabetical order unlike the Music Concierge, which restricts the list of activities based on the time or day of the week.

The search box will help you find playlists based on your search term. For example, I entered "Enya" and was presented with playlists "that prominently feature Enya" such as "New Age Yoga", "Gilmore Girls", and "Music from Martin Scorsese Movies".

You can contribute your own playlists to Songza. This will allow people to listen to music that you created in your playlist. However there's a note that says, "Due to licensing restrictions, playlist contributors cannot listen to their own playlist, but everyone else can."

I do not know how often the songs within playlists change, but Songza will provide you with lots of opportunities to explore music and find music you will enjoy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brutal Deluxe Releases DeluxeWare CD As Free Download

An announcement was recently made that is of importance to anyone who is still interested in the Apple IIGS computer. Brutal Deluxe Software, producers in the past of many wonderful software titles for the Apple IIGS, has recently made freely available their DeluxeWare CD-ROM that they originally released in 1996.

This CD-ROM contains 650 MB of public domain software for the Apple IIGS. It can be downloaded from and is available as a .DMG image which can be directly used on an Apple IIGS Computer or an Apple IIGS emulator, and may be translated to .ISO for other platforms.

When you download the software from the Brutal Deluxe website, it is received as a .ZIP file. When you un-zip the compressed file, the resultant file is a .dmg, or disk image, file. I run Sweet16 as my Apple IIGS emulator of choice on my MacBook Pro. This .dmg file can be directly mounted by running Sweet16, and then from within the program, mounting the disk image.

DeluxeWare mounted

A screen shot of the DeluxeWare disk open on the Apple IIGS Desktop running in emulation using Sweet16

I was surprised when I opened the disk to discover that everything is in French, but it is easily translated. When you open up the disk you are presented with 10 folders. The first one is an empty folder called ".Trashes", but after that there are folders called "Apple", "Demos", "Documentations", "Graphique", "HyperMedia", "Icons", "Jeux" (games), "Musique", the "System" folder, and "Utilitaires". Here is a brief look at what is inside.

A Look Around

Inside the "Apple" folder appear folders for various Apple IIGS ProDOS systems. System 4.0, 5.02, 5.04, and 6.01 are all included. In addition there's a folder for HyperCard IIGS. So if you want to see what it was like to run previous systems on the Apple IIGS you can play around with the systems in these folders.

In the "Demos" folder there are two folders, "Fun", and "Logiciels" (Software). Inside the "Logiciels" folder are such gems as ANSITERM 2.0, a communications program, DBMaster Demo, a premiere database program, Deluxe Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, and ProTerm 3.1, a premiere communications program.

The "Documentations" folder has four folders inside: "Informations", "Magazines", "Programmation" (programming), and "Sources". Inside the "Magazines" folder are eight folders: "Apple.II", "GS.on.the.Rock", "PongLife", "PowerGS.3", "PowerGS.4", "PowerGS.5", "Stack.Central.0", "ToolBox.Mag". "Stack.Central" is the HyperStudio magazine. Inside the "Programmation" folder there's even a tutorial for programming in the C-language.

The graphics folder has four folders: "Animations", "Images", "Logiciels" (Software), and "Slideshow". Inside the software folder are all kinds of picture converters including SHRConverter, a super high-resolution converter, PS.Convert, the PrintShop graphics converter, and others as well. There are also Mandelbrot programs.

The "Hypermedia" folder has two folders: one for programs and one for stacks.

The games folder has 174 items. So there are a lot of games that you can play.

The music folder has two folders, one for programs and one for music. The programs folder has many different music programs including NoiseTracker, SoniqTracker, ModZap, etc.

If you dig down through the "System" folder to the "Fonts" folder, you will find you have access to 170 TrueType fonts.

In the "Utilitaires" folder there are nine folders including "Archivers", "Communication", "Editeur.Texte" (text editors), "Programmation" (programming), "Resource", and "Utils". In the text editors folder there are such famous text editors for the IIGS as CoolWriter, Emacs, GS.Write.2.0, Teach, and WordWorks. Inside the "Utils" folder is "DBMaster.V5" containing DBMaster. If you are not familiar with it, this is a very powerful database program. Also you will find Diversi.Cache.3, DOS.3.3, GS.Font.Editor, IconEd.2.0, and Sneeze.2.2

The programs will only run under ProDOS. To use them, you need to copy them to another disk image that has been formatted under ProDOS so that you can run it from that disk. They will not run from the DeluxeWare disc, which is an HFS format disk.

I have barely scratched the surface listing the treasures found on this disk image. The bottom line is you can enjoy hours and hours of time with your Apple IIGS when you get this monstrous collection of software from Brutal Deluxe. And it is all free!