Background Music Queue with AVPlayer and iOS4

Update 2010-Nov-11: Apple has come out with AVQueuePlayer in iOS 4.1, and presumably most people are going to move to the latest version now that it performs well even on the 3G, but the AVPlayer can still be used to manually create a queuing of items, but if you want all the hard work to be done for you, with only a few limitations, then use AVQueuePlayer instead.

Update 2010-Oct-19: Apple has been updating their documentation slightly, and it has more information now with regard to setting up an asset. This is more specifically for video, but it might help fill in the blanks for just audio. AVPlayer Playback Guide

The iOS 4.0 framework introduced AVPlayer which allows playing a MP3s from the iTunes Music Library in the background without using the iPod music player. This has a couple benefits over the MPMusicPlayerController in that you can add new items, stop, or play music in the background. Also, a custom icon can represent your app in the multitasking menu where the ipod controls are located. If you stick with [MPMusicPlayerController iPodMusicPlayer] you can play music in the background through the ipod player, but once an app goes into the background, it no longer has control over the playback of the music.
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Startup Weekend Boulder 2010

Back in April I ventured to Boulder to participate in a event called Startup Weekend, founded in 2007 by Andrew Hyde. The idea is for people with different backgrounds to gather together to form a startup company with the hope of having a working prototype to present by Sunday evening. The focus of the event is to pitch ideas, then form one or more startup groups and create a product or service based on the selected ideas. However, it also gives people an opportunity to network with other locals who share a similar interest in entrepreneurship, as well as with a few venture capitalists or other mentors and sponsors who are willing to share their expertise and experience, as well as ideas and comments on the various projects.
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It’s not a Phone! It’s not a Computer! It’s an iPad!

This has been discussed to death, but I have decided to weigh in a few thoughts. If you love to customize your PC, run Linux, or would give up your netbook only from your cold dead hands, then this post is not for you. If, on the other hand, you think that the iPad is actually a bit more than just a large coaster, feel free to continue reading.

The main thing to keep in mind is that the iPad hasn’t been released, has only had a limited hands-on time for a handful of people, there will be a version 2, and most of my thoughts could be somewhat translated to another appliance-like tablet device.

That Really Is The Name. No Joke.

There have already been hundreds of jokes and parodies about the name, some recent, a few in the past. Will we continue to mock it 6 months from now? Probably not, as either it will have failed as a product, or the name will fade into the background as almost every name does (think Microsoft, Bing, even Google for that matter). Sure this name may sound the most ridiculous right now, and there is merit to women being upset that it wasn’t thought out even a little. But over time it will just be the name and in six months it won’t matter anymore.

Hyper-Hyped Up Beyond Imagination

Is it even possible that Apple’s reveal could have lived up to most of the hype showering the internet? I don’t think so. It may have been short of many reasonable expectations, but the hype was definitely an impossible goal to be reached (especially since Jobs did claim the device to be magical). I think I can safely say that the version they showed off at the event was not magical, and really was just a larger iPhone. That said, I think Apple delivered a product very similar to the first iPod, something that initially is a letdown, but with lots of potential.

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Five reasons I’m a Mac

After finally paying for my first Apple product – the iPhone – I decided to also purchase a MacMini so I could start developing apps, as well as record music and video using the quality iLife suite.

#5 Window Dressing

Ironically, one of the features I love about owning a Mac is that you can also run Windows at the same time using virtualization. I wish the opposite were true, but alas Apple holds the keys to Zion close to its chest. Just having the option to run Windows makes the purchase of an Apple machine much easier, as I know that the same machine can be used for anything I would need OSX, Unix, or Windows for.

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iPhone Gains Speed and .mac Mobilizes

Apple announced the next version of the iPhone with the tag line “Twice as fast. Half the price.” The new unannounced, but heavily rumored features are 3G (HSDPA), GPS, and MobileMe. The rest of the story is the new 2.0 version of the firmware that includes Enterprise features, support for 3rd party applications, and worldwide support (ie: 70+ languages). Thanks to MacRumorsLive I was able to read the keynote information through live streaming.

Price (Purchase Page)
The price with AT&T 2-year contract is now $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB, which should allow for a much wider adoption. I would consider getting one if it were $100 cheaper for the 16GB. I really think with a 2-year agreement, Apple should take their losses on the purchase of the phone, knowing they’ll make it up due to their cut on the monthly fees in the required contract.

Features (Apple’s Feature Page)
To quickly run over the features they include: 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, App Store, Exchange support, push contacts, push calendar, push email, instant contact search, VPN, WPA2, MobileMe, email attachments, additional languages, better email management, scientific calculator, and more. All software updates will be available to current iPhone users.

3rd Party Apps (App Store Info)
This will be the killer feature for sure. The new application support will be a great improvement. I’d love to test out development if only I could afford a new Mac right now, or if they supported development on Win/Linux. People have already been putting apps by hacking the phone. The interesting thing Apple decided to do was create a Push notification service that will allow the iPhone to connect only to apple to get notifications for ANY application, and will relay the information from the 3rd party to the iPhone user. This will allow IM to feel like it’s running in the background, even though technically it is not. I believe this will be a great feature, and will as they claim keep stability and battery life in check.

MobileMe (MobileMe Info)
The last, but not least announcement was the upgrade to the service previously coined “Dot Mac”. This service allows you to sync Email, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, and more across computers, the iPhone, and the Internet. They give you 20GB of space now to store everything. Finally this is a service that is almost complete enough to merit the price of $99/year. Apple touts it as Exchange for the Rest of us.

There is much more to be found on Apple’s website, as well as many other sites. Check out TechMeme for the flood of information.