The State of Wireless Headphones

Geoffrey Fowler, writing for The Wall Street Journal, looks at the current state of truly wireless headphones:

Earin and Bragi have accomplished leaps of technology to make earbuds truly wireless. The problem is our heads. It’s not just that they’re hard; they’re full of water, which stops wireless signals dead.

Earin’s solution uses familiar tech. Made by a Swedish startup, it connects its left bud to your phone via Bluetooth. That bud then uses special antennas to bounce a second Bluetooth connection off walls and other surfaces to the right earbud to complete the stereo pair.

By all accounts they’re still not quite there yet. This is one of my dreams of earbud listening, but not until it feels like a clear win am I ready to pony up the cash.

Things to Do in Portland, OR

Portland

I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon for most of my life. There was a brief foray during the college years to do the pop-punk thing and get out of the town I grew up in, but I always end up finding my way back. There’s just something about the city, the people, the way of life, that fits so well with my personality. It’s home. With the popularity of Portlandia I’ve gotten more questions about the city than any other time in my life. Everyone wants to know how accurate the show is (some of it is pretty damn dead on), and quite a few others ask about things to do if they ever visit. I’ve got a few recommendations for if you ever visit the city, but take it as a very incomplete list, there’s always new things showing up and there are plenty of things I don’t cover here. This is also mostly confined to the Portland area and doesn’t expand out to the fantastic hiking, wildlife, and nature that so much of Oregon is known for — I always highly recommend finding a good hiking trail when you visit, it’s beautiful.

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Adding Chapters to Podcasts

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories, looks at the new Mac utility Chapters, which allows you to easily add chapter marks into podcasts:

Historically, adding chapter markers to a podcast has been more trouble than it is worth for many podcasters. The ‘hassle factor’ is a legitimate concern. Producing a podcast can be a lot of work even without chapter markers, but that is beginning to change with the introduction of tools like Chapters, a new Mac utility from Thomas Pritchard that makes adding chapter markers a breeze.

I used this app to add chapters to the latest episode of Encore and was impressed at how easy and dead simple it was to use.

Get That Superhero Money (Episode 114)

encore

This week’s episode of Encore looks at quite a bit of the news that broke over the past week. We talk about Kanye West releasing information about what is now Waves, Brand New and Modest Mouse going on a huge tour, Yellowcard’s Lights and Sounds turns 10, and Brian Wilson is doing a 50-year tour for Pet Sounds. We also do some follow-up on last week’s great “wrong tracklistings” discussion and all sorts of other fun stuff like guessing if Brand New will release an album and what it would sell, plus Thomas’s thoughts on Panic’s album now he’s heard it, and a few brief thoughts on the new 1975 album at the end.

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Building a Better Egg McMuffin

Food

J. Kenji López-Alt, writing for Serious Eats, on how to make a great homemade Egg McMuffin:

These days, the Egg McMuffin is more than a sandwich; it’s a cultural icon.

But, for all its recognition and all that it gets right, it’s an inherently flawed product. One that, with a little time and effort, can be improved upon at home. Here’s how I make mine. Hopefully, we’ll learn some lessons that can be applied to all breakfast sandwiches, not just Egg McMuffin clones.

A Batman Army (Episode 113)

Encore - 113

This week’s episode of Encore has us looking at a variety of interesting, and diverse, topics. We talk a little about the next Star Wars being pushed back, a little about Thomas’s collection of Funko collectables, and a little about Thomas wanting to buy an iPad Pro. We also discover that Thomas has had the wrong sequencing in his iTunes for Everything in Transit for almost a decade now. He discovers this live on the podcast. We tackle a variety of user questions related to Panic! at the Disco’s new album, the TV show “Making a Murderer,” and if we prefer soft or energetic album closers. We also talk some more about Brian Fallon and his upcoming album since Thomas caught him live recently. We finish with some Blink-182 talk and discuss the three big tours that got announced this week.

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Miscellaneous Recommendations

Most of my recommendations can be found in nice little categories: Albums, movies, tv shows, books, software, podcasts, blogs, and audio-equipment. Or, when I post one-off recommendations they’re all under the “recommendation” tag. However, this is kind of a “catch-all” post for a bunch of different things that I think are great but don’t really have a place to put them. It doesn’t make sense for them to all be separate posts, so instead it’s a giant long list of links! I’ve added some commentary in a few places as well. I have personally used and recommend all of the products on this list and I’ll try and keep it updated semi-regularly for when you’re looking to buy new toys or find a cool gift for that special someone.

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Favorite Headphones & Turntable

When it comes to audio equipment my recommendation has always been to do your research, know what you’re looking for, know your budget, and then try and go test things out before making a purchase. People like different sounds in their music and I don’t think there’s a tried and true “best” out there for anyone. Some people prefer a more natural and accurate sound in their headphones, others actively are searching for a heavier bass sound. Only you will know which you prefer and how a specific set of headphones will sit on your ears and feel after a few hours of listening.

This list is what I consider my favorite sets of headphones (and a record player recommendation). This is based off of my personal judgment of sound accuracy, comfort, and relative price. If you’re looking for an in-depth review of a bunch of headphones in all price ranges, I recommend reading Steve Guttenberg and Marco Arment’s reviews. There are also recommendations at The Wirecutter and various internet forums.

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Favorite Software

Technology

One of the more frequent questions I’m asked is what software do I use for insert a task here. This post hopes to keep a running list of my favorite apps, programs, and tools that I use on a regular basis. I’ve tried to break up the list into helpful sections and linked out to the app store when appropriate. Everything listed here I personally use and recommend. I’ll try and update this post on a semi-regular basis.

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Favorite TV Shows

There’s something about a cold beer and watching a good TV show that is the perfect end to a day. This is a running list of some of my favorite TV shows. It’s by no means a complete list, but I’ll try and keep it updated semi-regularly with stuff that I recommend checking out. You can follow me on Trak.tv for a more up-to-date list of what I’ve been watching.

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Favorite Movies

This will attempt to be a running list of movies that I consider my “favorites.” It’s by no means complete, but it’s a good starting point for a bunch of movies that I really like and enjoy. If you’re looking for something to watch and haven’t checked these out yet, well, I think it’s a damn good group of movies. I’ll do my best to keep this list updated on a semi-regular basis to track the movies I consider my favorites.

You can also follow me on Letterboxd for a running list and ratings of the movies I watch.

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Just Dive In (Episode 112)

Encore - 112

On this week’s episode of Encore we look at the best stretches of three or more songs in albums, our preference of albums over playlists, bands going on hiatus, and if the internet has gotten more hostile lately. We then move into discussing the passing of David Bowie and how to get started on his massive catalog. The podcast ends with us talking about the new Kanye West song and Nielsen’s 2015 report (and of course a little Star Wars thrown in).

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