From the moment last summer that I first discovered the music-streaming app Songza, I fell in love with everything about it. It offered expert music playlists that were commercial free, and curated to fit exactly the mood I was in.
The latest version — Songza 3.0 is even better, which is hard to believe and yet it is true.
If you’re not familiar with Songza, it is a free music streaming app that offers incredible playlists for every occasion and mood. It is currently available for iPhone, Blackberry 10, Android, Kindle and on the web at Songza.com
Songza 3.0, released this month, shows a new concierge screen with changes to its look and to its intelligence. In just a few clicks, you can find the perfect playlist to go with your mood. If you’re in a real hurry, just shake the app from the concierge screen and you’ll get a question asking what mood you need music for.
At home, I like to listen to the web version of Songza — then I can easily play it through our home theatre system, or through the speakers in my office.
Even the kids like picking the “mood” for the playlists and love some of the creative energy behind the names that the concierge offers.
As I’m writing this post, it’s the end of another busy day and the kids are fast asleep. The house is quiet and still, a perfect time for writing. Looking for some suitable music to write by, I quickly found this playlist on Songza:
Songza’s promise to its users is that they will help to effortlessly find music that makes your life better... and it does. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.
Last week I was introduced to a very cool new photo app called “Days.” Days is a visual diary app — something that you can use to share moments in your day.
According to their description on iTunes, “Days is the most natural, authentic, and casual way to capture and share your life. Keep your days private or share them with friends and family.”
I’m always up for finding more ways of sharing photos, so I gave Days a try. And quickly fell in love with it.
This is a little bit of what I was up to last Friday.
What separates Days from other photo-diary type apps is that the photos are unfiltered — you have to take the photo from within the app itself and there is no editing involved. No cheating or trying to make the day look any more beautiful than it already is. Each photo gets timestamped and entered into your “day.” At the end of the day, you have the option to delete any photos from your “day," but you can’t edit any of them, or change the timestamp. I love the organic feel of that, it’s life unfiltered.
Sharing your “days” can be done via text message, email, or by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. This is great for people who want to share their day with friends or family, without emailing them 10 photos at a time, or posting them to a social media site. And having the option to keep your photos private means you are only sharing them with the people you want to share them with. I like that.
I also really like the feature of being able to create animated GIFs with my photos — it was a lot of fun to experiment with. (Don’t tell my kids, I’ll never get my phone back!).
Additional features of the Days app:
I have a feeling that my family will be using Days quite a bit this summer, it’s a great way to quickly capture those fleeting moments of your child’s summertime without spending extra time fussing about what the photo looks like.
Life unfiltered can be a good thing indeed.
One day when I was little, my Dad came bustling through the front door carrying a huge box. He was literally bursting with excitement about what he had brought home.
It was Pong.
It was the late seventies and the home version of the popular arcade game Pong had just been released. To have a Pong game system in your house, hooked up to your TV meant that you were the one, the Yoda of technology and the coolest block on the house.
We played that game for hours and hours. To be able to play an arcade game in your house was mind boggling. It’s one of my best childhood memories.
A few years after Pong arrived in our house, another new arrival showed up — a Commodore 64 computer. My dad was one of the first people we knew of to get one of these.
Just look at that intelligent keyboard. It even had extra buttons — “F-Keys.” My dad quickly became fascinated by this new technology called “Home Computing.” This was before the days of the floppy disk, and the programming he taught himself to do was done on a tape drive, which he had to travel to Seattle to buy.
Yes, my Dad drove 235 kms to buy the latest technology. And for that, he will always be a hero to me.
In real life, he was an actual hero, fighting in both World War II and the Korean War. It was while he was in the Navy that he became fascinated with technology, and it stuck with him his entire life.
After the Commodore 64 purchase, it was his mission to research and obtain the latest in technological gadgets he could get. He kept adding to the collection — a Walkman, BETA machine, VCR, computer gadgets... you name it, he got it.
By the time I was in my late teens, I had developed a huge love of photography, and studied it in high school. I was using an old borrowed camera for my photos and it was a great one to learn on.
But according to Dad, it didn’t have enough “options.” So one day when my parents returned home from a trip to the States, he handed me a small camera bag. In it was an Olympus IS-1 — one of THE hottest cameras to come out that year. It was so techy that it looked like a small video camera. It was an SLR, but it had an LCD panel and a special flash that eliminated red-eye. Nowadays, those are basic options for a camera but in 1990, that was big news.
I still have my Olympus camera. I don’t use it that often, but it’s always close by.
Two years after I got my fancy new camera, my dad passed away from lung cancer. Sadly, medical technology couldn’t reverse what years of smoking had done. Every year on Father’s Day I send a tweet out in his memory and can’t help but wonder what he would think about all of the technology that surrounds us today, and how it is part of our everyday lives.
Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you and I miss you every day.