Liisten

by Tyler Hayes

Freelance writer and regular contributor to Fast Company

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Possibly The Best Wireless Headphones You Can Buy Today

If you’re like me then it’s essential to have a solid pair of headphones. Some that are of a certain level of fidelity and aren’t unnecessarily bulky or expensive. For a lot of people, myself included, spending ~$100 on headphones is a lot of money so I’d also like whichever headphones I choose to be a wise investment, even years later.

I happened upon Outdoor Technology and its wireless audio products through other reporting, but found something I wasn’t expecting, the exact type of headphones I’d been looking for – high quality, portable, and wireless.

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The Tuis are some of the Outdoor Technology’s newest headphones and are top of the line for the company. Coming in at $150 the Tuis aren’t expensive compared to ones from Beats or another dedicated headphone manufacturer, but they aren’t exactly cheap either. What they are, however, are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve...

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Your USB Cable Is Now A Carabiner Clip

Nomad, the company fitting usb cables into the shape of keys and credit cards is now adding the capability to a carabiner.

From Nomad’s site:

NomadClip is a smartphone cable that is the size and shape of a carabiner. It works like your normal cable for charging and syncing your phone - plug one end into a USB port and the other end into your mobile device.

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You can pre-order the clip now. Use the code LIVESIMPLE for 25% off your order this week.

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Intelligent Speaker, Cone, Available Soon

Instead of having to decide what music to listen to when you get home from a long day at work, Aether’s new Cone speaker wants to do that for you.

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I wrote about the speaker when it was first announced and how it would be able to know what you wanted to listen to as you moved it around the house. As well as what music or podcasts to play at different times of the day.

Today, Aether announced that the wireless intelligent speaker would be available to purchase on June 23rd – for Rdio premium subscribers. Rdio is the first service to fully support the speaker with on-demand playback so it makes sense you’d need to be a subscriber to order.

The Cone will also be partnering with Nuance – presumably for the speech recognition – and Stitcher radio – presumably for podcast support.

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HTC One (M8) Goes Gold With Harman Kardon Edition

If having the best sounding phone on the market wasn’t enough already, Harman Kardon took the HTC One (M8) and made it sound even better. Sold as a Sprint exclusive, the stunning black and gold appearance won’t likely sway customers away from their current carrier, but for existing Sprint customers it’s an obvious choice.

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HTC’s newest flagship device, the One (M8), is among the best phones currently available today. It’s sleek, well spec’d, and has dual front facing speakers that make it sound just as good as any small device available. The H/K edition tweaks some of the music features further, putting it well above other phones currently available today.

Part of the H/K One (M8) might be the headphones it comes with, the AE-S. With any headphones, however, they’re still most likely hit or miss for most people with fairly generic rubber in-ear tips. The standard HTC One (M8) comes...

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Why ‘Fire Ahead’ Is The Album Lakes Needed To Make

The new album from Lakes, ‘Fire Ahead’, unfolds like a bitter-sweet ode to California.

In the midst of joy, love, brokenness, and pain, there’s also this unintentional backdrop of the golden state found throughout the record.

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“This album plays out like a story,” says lead singer Seth Roberts. “It’s very personal, but hopefully that comes across clearly to the listener.”

The story Roberts is referring to is a some what dark one, saying that he lost track of how important and beautiful time can be even when things aren’t going well, that it’s these moments that get built upon and will eventually add up later.

“I went through a pretty rough marriage and ultimately a messy divorce,” Roberts says. “It really spun me into a dark time trying to make sense of a lot of things in my life. Spending years investing your dreams, goals, time, energy, into something is kind of like building a...

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On Apple Buying Beats

Yesterday morning my piece on how Apple should open iTunes as a way to change the future of streaming was published. In the afternoon it was reported that Apple is close to buying Beats–both the headphones and streaming music service.

Here are a few things worth considering.

Apple doesn’t need Beats to get streaming music rights.

The streaming rights negotiated to specific services don’t transfer in acquisition deals, so the deals Beats has in place wouldn’t benefit Apple.

There are plenty of streaming music services (too many?) so another one getting the streaming rights wouldn’t likely be an issue.

Also, as announced on the recent Apple earnings call, iTunes has 800 million accounts. The labels know that if they don’t negotiate a deal Apple could open direct access to the music store and encourage artists to bypass the record labels altogether.

Isn’t this the end game the labels...

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This Is Apple’s Future Product Line For 2014

Based on speculation, rumors, and general conversation, this is what I think will, or should, happen to Apple’s product line this year.

iPod

The iPod Touch and iPod Nano will go away.

Every year, not to mention every quarter iPod sales decrease. Presumably iPod Touch sales are the vast majority of those numbers and it’s still decreasing.

And as much as the iPod Touch and iPod Nano fit nicely into certain people’s lives, they are just becoming redundant products for most people.

For those using the iPod Touch for gaming and want a non-phone iPhone, they will be pushed towards the iPad Mini. For those in the camp of the iPod Nano, there will be a new device.

iWatch

I think Apple will get rid of the iPod Nano in favor of its new wearable–though I don’t think it will be a watch.

I think the device that people are currently referring to as the iWatch will simply be a next generation iPod...

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The Colourist Hit A Nerve On Self Titled Album

Indie/Pop is a genre never in short supply but rarely does a band or album have the right mixture of substance and shine.

The Colourist’s new self titled album navigates the fine line of fluff right from the start on “Little Games” and only gets better from there.

It was actually “Wishing Wells” that first captured my attention with its hypnotic use of “I’m sick of hearing what if, what if.” Each song has it’s own unique hook buried at different levels beneath foot tapping beats.

The pinnacle of The Colourist’s self titled album isn’t an entire song, or something obvious, it’s Maya Tuttle’s background vocals chiming in on “Yes, Yes.”

The back and forth between Adam Castilla and Tuttle’s lead singing gives the album a feeling mostly absent since Mates Of States released ’Re-arrange Us.’ Anytime a band can leverage the strengths of both male and female singers, knowing that neither...

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5 Apps To Make Music, Even If You Don’t Play An Instrument

Even for those who wouldn’t call themselves musicians, the possibility of being able to create music isn’t out of reach. Here are some of the easiest ways to join in with other musicians or make music on your own.

Figure $0.99 (iOS)

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The app from software maker Propellerhead has long been one of the simplest ways to create your own tunes. There’re sections for drums, bass, and lead (synth) which can all be recorded and layered with each other. The bass and lead sections allow you to change the rhythm and steps in the scale, while the drums allows you to adjust each of the drum pieces individually.

Once you’ve settled on the tempo and key in the settings all you have to do is hold your finger down to start playing. The bass and lead sections are pad which change pitch and shape as you slide your finger and if something doesn’t sound right, it can all be adjusted on the fly with a...

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Looking At Hue Connected Lights

There’s not really a problem with light bulbs as they currently stand and yet after a short time with 3 connected Hue lights from Philips, it’s hard to imagine not having them.

The ability to change colors is one thing, but the true brilliance is simply being able to turn lights on or off from anywhere.

Having lights that connect to the internet, via a hub, is a glimpse into the connected home.

Installing the lights is like any other light bulb, except the hub which gets hardwired into the router. The hub is the connecting piece and what ties all the bulbs or other Hue pieces together. It’s how you’re able to group different lights, or control them all.

In hindsight it’s very simple, but every time you connect a new mobile app to control the bulbs in a new way, you are typically required to press the hub button as a way to allow permission. It’s similar to the experience of using...

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