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Old 06-06-2006, 10:10 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Six awesome things you didn't know Pocket Tunes could do

Pocket Tunes Deluxe can do a lot more than you think it can. It is a really cool music player for PalmOS devices, and I want to open your eyes to some of the possibilities and give you the information that you need to get started. Plus, there is still active development still continuing, so the future is also looking very bright. Note: Some features require a broadband connection on a device such as the Treo.

I wasn't going to post right away about this information because I wanted to experience more of it for myself first, but I want to get this great information out rather than procrastinate. These descriptions assume you're using a Treo, but if you have wifi you should be able to do the same things. Similarly, you can probably do some of this with a Pocket PC, but you'll have to experiment to see what works.

COOL SCENARIOS FOR USING POCKET TUNES DELUXE

1) Listen to audiobooks borrowed online from your public library!

The instructions are available in the following two knowledge based articles.
How do I use Audiobooks from Net Library with Pocket Tunes?
How do I use Overdrive with Pocket Tunes?

In the US, there are many public libraries that now offer audiobooks from either the NetLibrary or Overdrive services. Most Pennsylvania libraries have the NetLibrary service, and residents of Pennsylvania can get a card from the main Carnegie Library. I believe non-residents can even join for a fee, but you'll have to check the library site for details.

Unlike most other music software (well, at least the versions I've tried), you can also easily bookmark your exact spot to come back to later, even if it's in the middle of a track. If you press the 'M' on the keypad, it will add a bookmark. So if you're listening to a book and you have to run, press the 'M' and Pocket Tunes adds a bookmark immediately, then press 'Z' to stop the track or the center button to pause and off you go.

2) Purchase and listen to audiobooks

If you want to keep your audiobooks, or you don't have access to a library with online audiobook loans, then you can always just purchase your audiobooks and listen to them on PT. Here are a couple of sites that sell them...

SoundsGood
AudioBookClub

Of course, if you are buying your content, then you will also want to check out the very popular Audible.com.

Note:Audible is an alternative solution, independent of Pocket Tunes.

3) Listen to streaming radio stations on the web

Believe it or not, there are oodles of free radio stations for you to listen to over the internet. Don't expect cd quality, but they are plenty good for general listening. You can probably find many of your local stations, and even better there are streams with just about any genre of music. Here are some of the sites that you can listen from:
Shoutcast
StreamCenter for PDAs
Live365

4) Listen to xm satellite radio via the web

You need a subscription to the xm radio satellite service, with an email and password account. But many people have xm radio, so it's probably there just waiting for you to listen to. The main xm radio web site probably has a login you can use from a Treo, but there is also this XM Mini mobile login.

Correction: As was pointed out in the article comments, this is played using Kinoma player not Pocket Tunes.

5) Listen to your home music collection from your Treo

You'll need a internet connection on both your home computer and your Treo, of course, but this is a cool way to stream from your home music collection.

The software you will want in addition to PT Deluxe is called GLOOnet. It not always be free, but seems to be in beta right now. Your playlists may not work remotely on the Treo 700p, but you can play folders and albums with no problems.

The download and really simple instructions are available here. You install the software on your PC (and Java if you don't already have it.) You'll have to give an email address to register for the service. Then you add folders of music to the server, start the server and connect the service. That's it for the PC side. On the Treo side, you login here, and then browse your music! So simple and easy. You can play individual songs or albums by choosing the right level to click on the little "play" arrow.

This setup is not supported by NormSoft, and there is an issue with playlists vi GLOOnet on the 700p, but don't let that stop you from taking advantage. Note that this is significantly more appropriate in most cases than Avvenu because it doesn't force you to download the music files. You just stream to the device, and can even set the bitrate for the quality you want.

6) Listen to podcasts, and automatically sync the content with iPodder or iTunes

Basically, once you have a specific folder that iPodder or iTunes sends to, set a Windows Media Player AutoPlaylist up to look at that folder and every time something is added or deleted, the playlist is updated by Windows Media Player. Then when you sync your 700p, Windows Media Player will update the Podcasts removing the deleted ones, adding the new ones and changing the Playlist accordingly. Because the Playlist is automatically sent to your device as well, you can play your podcasts by just playing the playlist!

If you want to stream the podcasts, you can use the very popular RSS feed reader, QuickNews, in conjunction with Pocket Tunes.

I'm very much looking forward to trying all this out myself. Certainly, it's not a comprehensive list of the things you can do with Pocket Tunes, but it's some of the neatest things that you might not know about. I'd also like to make a special point of profusely thanking Dave at NormSoft for all the time and information and clarifications that he provided me to make this article possible. Any errors or inaccuracies are entirely my own fault, and I'm sure will be covered in the thread discussion. Enjoy!
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Old 06-06-2006, 11:24 AM   #2
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Very interesting and well written webricle (web article -- can I patent that ) as always Bob!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell

4) Listen to xm satellite radio via the web

You need a subscription to the xm radio satellite service, with an email and password account. But many people have xm radio, so it's probably there just waiting for you to listen to. The main xm radio web site probably has a login you can use from a Treo, but there is also this XM Mini mobile login.
I do not think this is possible to do with Pocket Tunes although I keep hoping that an update will allow it. XM, whether you log in through the XM website or Mini XM, streams through a Windows Media Stream ( .asx file) that Pocket Tunes can not open. Reports on the Treo 700p state that you can stream XM through the improved Blazer with Kinoma support. I would love to see Pocket Tunes add this feature.
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Old 06-06-2006, 11:36 AM   #3
Jimmie Geddes
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I listen to full XM radio on my 700p, it's through Blazer and Kinoma though, not pocket tunes. I listen to live 365 and a few other internet radio stations with pocket tunes though.
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Old 06-06-2006, 11:52 AM   #4
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PT is a fine application(bought a license for the deluxe edition two years ago), but the poor audio output over the headphone jack of some Palm PDA's really ruins the experience. (Not a fault of PT, but rather of the hardware.) I checked out a TE2 and TX recently and they both have the same problem as my Zire 72. Audio output is way too loud over headphones and there's this annoying background hiss.
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Old 06-07-2006, 12:03 AM   #5
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Had to re read the article. But to be honest, the points you raise are what I would consider "awesomething things you can do with Pocket Tunes". Those points are what I consider minimal base line for any adequate player to be able to do for me to consider taking up the memory space to load it.

But I want to also point out that I personally *prefer* pocket tunes! I think it's more than enough of a good player that I too registered a deluxe copy. Worth every penny. It was worth enough that I had helped create a skin for it. It's fun, apparently not too hard to skin, stable, small package comparatively, and most of all - it's consistently reviewed and updated with bug fixes and feature adds.

Laurens, I've never had an issue with my T3 and PT. But ... that's different hardware. *shrug* Wonder if there might be something with the materials used within the headphone jack on the TE2 and TX.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens
PT is a fine application(bought a license for the deluxe edition two years ago), but the poor audio output over the headphone jack of some Palm PDA's really ruins the experience. (Not a fault of PT, but rather of the hardware.) I checked out a TE2 and TX recently and they both have the same problem as my Zire 72. Audio output is way too loud over headphones and there's this annoying background hiss.
I'm using the Motorola HT820 headset with the Softick Audio Gateway for my T|X. I'm loving this so much, I haven't even used my good Sony headphones in so long. It's a great alternative to the headphone jack on the T|X.
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Old 06-07-2006, 04:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekweb
Laurens, I've never had an issue with my T3 and PT. But ... that's different hardware. *shrug* Wonder if there might be something with the materials used within the headphone jack on the TE2 and TX.
Some background noise is unavoidable due to electronic interference. The problem is that Palm has set the headphone output way too loud on some of their PDA's. To listen at a comfortable level, you have to use a low volume and the background noise becomes very noticable then.

One workaround is to buy headphones with volume control. Crank up the volume on the PDA to drown out the background hiss and turn down the volume on the headphones. Unfortunately, most high-end earplugs don't have volume control.

I would've bought the TX if it didn't have such poor audio output. Since one of the main uses of my PDA is to listen to internet radio over WiFi, it's a real deal-breaker for me.
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:42 PM   #8
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While we're on the subject of AudioBooks, check out:

http://librivox.org

These are FREE, downloadable Public-Domain mp3 recordings of classic works that have outlived their copyright restrictions. Volunteers record chapters or portions of the works as available from Project Gutenberg. I've been impressed by the general quality of the reading; it's definitely exceeded my expectations.

I should also add that for those reading this thread, Pocket Tunes is not obligatory-- any MP3 player will work. Why, you could even use an iPod! P-tunes does however, offer this fantastic skin that is great for using with audiobooks...
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