Angie's Leap

My dive into blogging: music, technology, saving money

Have a blessed week!

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Rev. Franklin can say it better than I this morning.

“Stomp” by God’s Property & Kirk Franklin

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3 apps for music lovers

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TuneIn. One of the favorite things I love doing when I travel is seeking out new radio stations.  Discovering a station that kicks out the jams and keeps me engaged with entertaining local radio personalities is always a special treat. This is becoming even more difficult as radio becomes more homogenized.  Not hatin’ Tom Joyner or Steve Harvey, but I can hear you guys at home. Oddly enough, I feel more at home in a distant place when I can absorb the local sounds.

All this is leading up to my current love affair with the TuneIn app, which thanks to my college pal Dex, has reunited me with WHUR in Washington, D.C., or more specifically, “The ORIGINAL Quiet Storm.”  Howard University students and alumni know what I’m talking about. That late-night smooth R&B format imitated everywhere was pioneered at the Mecca,  and nobody does it better than Howard University Radio.

The app boasts more than 50,000 stations and 21 genres, from adult contemporary to world music. I browsed for stations by location and immediately started plugging in my favorites, but you use other criteria, as seen below:

TuneIn does require an Internet connection, so you might want to watch your data usage if you’re not on an unlimited data plan. Other cool features:

  • Pro version upgrade (99 cents) lets you record, pause and rewind what you’re listening to.

  • An alarm timer lets you wake up to your favorite station.

  • A “schedule” tab gives you the station’s programming for the day.

  • A “playlist” tab identifies the song you’re listening to and upcoming ones.

  • Integrates with Roku streaming players.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the capabilities of SoundCloud. Music lovers who like creating, exploring and sharing new sounds can while away hours (or longer) on this app. I use it to keep up with the creative doings of my DJ sister and beat-making son.  I can recommend both as a source of some serious party or workout music.


I also add podcasts of stuff I want to listen to later if there’s a SoundCloud share button on a Web page.  Want to hear mashups or remixes of the latest hits? Like I said, you can while away hours.

WhoSampled. I like all of these apps, but I feel as though the developers made this one just for me. As the site’s tagline proclaims, it’s all about “exploring the DNA of music.” Does it ever.  The site claims a database of more than 153,000 songs and 56,000 artists. If I hear a hook or lyric and I know it’s from another song, it will bug me to no end until I track down the DNA of that song. Now, thanks to WhoSampled, when you know you’ve heard that beat, lyric or melody somewhere you’ll be able to put your finger right on it. And when you need to school a youngster about the roots of two-thirds of today’s rap … well, you get the idea.

A photo gallery is worth a thousand words, so let me illustrate, via Biggie’s “Hypnotize.” I’ve already allowed the WhoSampled app to scan the music library of my iPad2, and it’s come up with 307 tracks and 200 artists.

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Labor Day props to music faves

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She worked hard for the money. The hardest working man in show biz didn’t want nobody giving him nothing. They had a hard day’s night  and worked like dogs. He got the  job done. And though he’s a rock ‘n’ roll Boss, he’s a working man’s hero, too.

Thank you, Bruce, James, Big Daddy Kane, Paul, Ringo, John, George and Donna, for putting in the work.

Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Big Daddy Kane, The Beatles, Donna Summer

3 favorite R&B angels

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Can’t touch these R&B queens when it comes to striking an emotional chord. Two Motown divas and one homie from the Chi, representing the best of the Midwest. One “Angel” reminds me of my mom, who folks used to stop on the street when I was a girl, swearing up and down she was Aretha. Chaka’s “Angel” reminds me of my daughter, the drama queen. Anita’s “Angel” reminds me of being in love. Enjoy.

“Angel” by Aretha Franklin

Singer Chaka Khan

“Angel” by Chaka Khan

Singer Anita Baker

“Angel” by Anita Baker

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My ringtones are back . . . Yesss!

I’ve mentioned before that I love music, and one of the little ways I enjoy it is by making my own ringtones.  This is no big deal for iPhone users, who now can make ringtones in a snap, but back in the Dark Ages we BlackBerry users didn’t have a place to shop for ringtones, let alone an easy means to make our own.

So I was stuck with canned sounds, while it seemed everybody else had cool ringtones. Until I discovered Audacity, free open-source software for recording and editing sounds.

For non-techie types, making tones on Audacity is a bit much, especially since there are probably easier tools to work with now. But back when I started doing this, the ends more than justified the means. I used the songs I wanted from my music collection, got the snippets I wanted from them, and I didn’t have to pay a dime.

Even though I no longer have my BlackBerry (still like it better than the iPhone, but that’s another story), I still enjoy making my own tones and adding them to whatever no-contract phone I’m carrying at the moment.  Now that my son makes beats, I tote them around on my phone and turn them into tones, too.

I’ve established that a sister will go to some lengths to have her music how she wants it, when she wants it.  So let’s just say I was a little annoyed when out of the blue I started hearing “Verizon Airwaves” instead of Bobby Caldwell when my mom called, perplexed at hearing those same “Airwaves” instead of  Usher when my daughter rang,  and downright angry when my son’s hot beat was replaced with “Airwaves” for all incoming calls.  A disaster, I tell ya.

An investigation revealed that the tones were on my memory card, but the phone just wasn’t reading them. A little Googling  showed me that I could format my card (basically, restore it to factory specs), but that would  also mean erasing all my data. Since my contacts are automatically backed up through an app, and I have copies of my pictures and tones on my computer, I thought this might be the answer.

Then I read that Windows users could format their cards via computer, and I Googled to find out how Mac users could do the same.  That’s when I discovered another wonderful use for Mac’s Disk Utility application.  Here’s what I did: 1) Took the micro SD memory card out of the phone;  2)  Inserted the memory card into a micro SD adapter and inserted the adapter into my Targus card reader/writer; 3)  Inserted the card reader into my laptop’s USB slot; 4) Started up Disk Utility , selected the card reader disk and clicked “Repair Disk”

Et voila!  When I put the memory card back in the phone, the tones were recognized, “Airwaves” were banished, and all was right with my world.