Monthly Archives: January 2011

Android App Goodness: doubleTwist’s AirSync

doubeTwist Library
The main music library screen in doubleTwist

Over the last 7-8 months I have become a pretty hardcore Android fan. From the statistics I am most definitely not the only one. Not many platforms can claim 3,130% growth in a year!

I absolutely love the OS, the open nature of the platform, and the plethora of apps that have been coming out for it in recent months. As the platform has matured and gained market share (and along with it development resources and investment dollars) the quality and usefulness of applications has really improved as well.

AirSync Options Screen
AirSync Options Screen

One of my new favorite apps is doubleTwist. doubleTwist is a free media player for Android that I’d rank as one of the better ones. There is also a desktop version I use on my Mac that is basically an iTunes replacement that is currently free, though if you like it you can donate to the developers.

An optional but VERY cool addon app that they sell for Android called AirSync expands the functionality of doubleTwist to allow wireless syncing over wifi. It is currently on the Android market for $4.99 and is a real gem. I absolutely recommend it as it is really useful and at $4.99 it is hard to beat the value. Never hurts to support an excellent developer who does great work either 🙂

Installing the client on my Mac was painless and I have it set to use the same location as iTunes for the library. So if I buy a song on iTunes or on Amazon it is available to either application seamlessly.

Once I installed the doubleTwist player and AirSync on my HTC G2, the first thing it does is gives me a passcode. This passcode is entered into the doubleTwist application on my Mac to pair up them up so that they may sync over my WiFi network.

doubleTwist Passcode Pairing

So far, so good. All very easy. Next I created a simple test playlist, AirSync Test. For my test I selected only the AirSync Test playlist, and pressed sync and boom. Over a fast WiFi connection it synced my four test songs in a couple of seconds. The playlist and songs were now identical on both my Android phone and my Mac laptop.

You can also set this to be automatic as well so that anytime your computer is running doubleTwist and your phone connects to the same WiFi subnet they will check in with each other and will sync up automatically. Unless you have a lot of space on your device you will probably want to specify specific playlists for it to sync otherwise by default it will try to sync it ALL.

doubleTwist Playlist

One thing to note – while doubleTwist can play files encoded in both MP3 and Apple’s AAC, it won’t play the .m4p files from iTunes, only the .m4a files. The .m4p file extension is for songs still protected with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management and can only be played within iTunes or Apple approved devices such as the iPod or iPhone. Thankfully, all music purchased on iTunes since March 2009 no longer has this restriction giving us the ability to play our music on other devices such as our Android phones.

doubleTwist Sync

I have been getting a lot of use out of this lately syncing tunes onto my phone for the car. Many new cars these days like my 2011 Honda Civic EXL come with a USB connector for use with media players.

At this point I simply connect the G2 to the cable on my phone, click the “turn on USB storage” button when prompted, then click the Aux button on the car’s stereo. Now I can play songs through the car’s stereo directly from my Android phone, navigate tracks, set volume etc via the steering wheel controls.

Playlist on Android

The only thing I have not quite figured out when using my Android phone with the car stereo is making track names show up on the display like they do when I use the iPod with the car. I am not sure if it is an issue with how files are set up on the phone’s USB storage or if it is something proprietary it happens to do with the iPod.

This is one of those projects I plan to research when I get some free time.

Cheers,
–Jon

New Year, Same Goals

261.2 It’s that time of year again – the first of the year when we all start out focused on our New Year’s resolutions usually only get derailed before January is through.

I am just as guilty as the next person of these lapses and unfortunately once I fall off the wagon it is hard for me to get back on if at all. Big difference this year though is that my life (or the quality there of) really depends on my follow-through this time.

This year I am trying yet again focused on a goal of not just losing weight, but becoming a much healthier, fit person. The number above (261.2) is my current weight as of today, January 1st 2011. I was kind of shocked when I weighed myself because as recently as this fall when I was making an effort to be more active and watching what I eat I was down to 230 or so. So I really let it go bad the past few months.

During in my senior year of high school back in 1992 I was at 180 pounds and much more fit due to playing ice hockey in multiple leagues, roller hockey, etc. I did not have a good diet but did have an eighteen year-old’s metabolism.

Now I am 37 but feel like I am 57. I have not been nearly as active as I would like to be or should be. I do not like the way I look and I am tired of feeling tired all the time.

So for this year the goal is to get down to my senior year weight of 180 or so along with a target of 12% or less BMI (I won’t mention what it is now because it is REALLY bad) and ultimately develop a healthier lifestyle that I will stick with.

Wish me luck! I will be posting more details on methods and progress as the year goes on.

Cheers,
–Jon