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The NYT compared HomePod to Alexa and Assistant and found that it had the best sound by far but did everything else worse. And to use voice commands to play music you have to subscribe to Apple Music. I'll wait this one out...

https://nyti.ms/2scONUe

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I want it for music and for HomeKit stuff, I could give a fuck if it can’t get me an Uber. So we will see.

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:D

I would buy one if I hadn’t spent so much money on house shit and gym stuff last year. Still tempted.

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21 minutes ago, shellylh said:

:D

I would buy one if I hadn’t spent so much money on house shit and gym stuff last year. Still tempted.

That's not very Shelly-like!

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On 2/7/2018 at 11:35 AM, Knuckledragger said:

I'll ask there, assuming the search engine shows me the thread.

Wait, I said that wrong.  I meant Apple -- Apple products can go in either place, IMHO.

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IMG_0239.thumb.jpg.f2f85b3dce83679c8a1d728aeed9c792.jpg

Had a chance to play with HomePod yesterday. Some random impressions:

  • It is really small. I knew it was going to be small from reading reviews, but it is even smaller that I thought. It is about the size of a cantaloupe.
  • It feels like a bit of a beta product. We had a bunch of Airplay drop outs when we navigated away from the music play apps on our phones. Neither of us had Apple Music, but the iOS Tidal and Spotify apps worked fine over Airplay except for the occasional dropouts. I imagine a lot of this will get fixed with updates.
  • This isn't replacing anyone's two-channel system. As a smart speaker, it is impressive and possibly the best sounding smart speaker I've heard. That being said, we tested it in a larger room and I thought it struggled. It is solid for what it is, but there is only so much it can do in a decent sized room.
  • Apple really needed to have stereo functionality with two HomePods at launch. A bunch of reviewers mentioned that Apple demoed the stereo functionality for them and that it sounded great. I believe them and I think having a second HomePod in a stereo configuration might help a lot. One HomePod sounds big for a mono speaker, but it still sounds like a mono speaker.

Overall, I'd say I'm lukewarm about HomePod. It is impressive for what it is, but don't go expecting a $350 smart speaker to work miracles. There is only so much it can do sonically in a moderate/large room, even with whatever DSP tricks Apple has worked into it. I get the impression that a lot of the reviewers who gushed about the sound quality don't know what a proper stereo rig can sound like.

EDIT: Looks like Apple's staged tests for the media that the HomePod easily won against the other smart speakers might not stand up: http://pogueman.tumblr.com/post/170722337727/head-to-head-does-the-apple-homepod-really-sound

Edited by TMoney
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Just following up:  I found out you can't * upgrade memory on the late 2014 Mac Mini, which seem to dominate the marketplace.  The prior 3, yes, but not on the "late 2014" types which seem to be all over the market, so I will probably be getting a 16G just to attempt to preempt future obsolescence, planned or otherwise.   Or get an 8GB and plan on sticking with it.

* They're soldered into place, so you can if you're handy with soldering, but I'm not.

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Yup, now that you mention it, I remember reading that. There were also a few laptops having the same limitation. It looks like Apple is going to discontinue the Mac Mini sooner than later though.

Do you know some Mac software to download any type of video offered online like "VSO Downloader Ultimate" does in Windows? I've been trying some alternatives working like add-ons for Chrome (like Video Download Helper), but I didn't get the HLS files from the sites. It gets the URL, but the link won't work on JDownloader to get the required videos. It looks like the problem is converting the HLS into mpg, avi or other video format that can be written in the HDD.

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I've been using WondershareAllMyTube for a few years and it hasn't let me down yet (but I don't do a lot of video downloads). 

A couple of the early ones I used stopped working after a few months but this one seems pretty good.

I know that one of the early ones I used (that stopped working with YouTube) could download the original file (pre YouTube compression and conversion) but I don't think this one will do that.

Worth checking out I think.

https://www.wondershare.com/pro/mac-free-youtube-downloader.html

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Because whether you like it or not, you’re still paying for the display, keyboard, and touchpad.

Plus, space and cooling considerations.

But I saw a Mac Pro for ~$1,500 yesterday and while I dawdled (trying to come up with a reason not to buy it), it sold.  And a new Mac Mini was $1,100 with both fusion drive and 16GB, while the refurb was only $70 less and (head explodes)

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HomePod just plonked on the marble kitchen counter with a hard tile backsplash behind it sounds miles better than the in ceiling Sonos system. Sonos CONNECT amps are $500 per room. I think they have a problem.

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5 hours ago, ironbut said:

I've been using WondershareAllMyTube for a few years and it hasn't let me down yet (but I don't do a lot of video downloads). 

A couple of the early ones I used stopped working after a few months but this one seems pretty good.

I know that one of the early ones I used (that stopped working with YouTube) could download the original file (pre YouTube compression and conversion) but I don't think this one will do that.

Worth checking out I think.

https://www.wondershare.com/pro/mac-free-youtube-downloader.html

Thanks. It looks more Youtube oriented, but it could work at other sites, who knows :)

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If you need more features than the free downloader provides, check out the Wondershare Ultimate Converter ($60).

 

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10 hours ago, ironbut said:

If you need more features than the free downloader provides, check out the Wondershare Ultimate Converter ($60).

 

I've downloaded the trial of Wondershare AllmyTube which is less than 30 bucks, but the Chrome integration doesn't seem to work. I'll check later if it works on Safari in the website I want to grab videos from. If it doesn't, I can either try the Converter Ultimate, or installing Firefox and using the Video DownloadHelper. This one is some sort of add-on with a complement you need to install too, but it's a bit complicated to get the video files working, you need ffmpeg and running a few commands on Terminal which is not my cup of tea.

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I just use the app. I've used browser integration with some of the downloaders but they seem to work better as a standalone app.

Pretty simple. Just copy the URL to your clipboard and launch the app.

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47 minutes ago, ironbut said:

I just use the app. I've used browser integration with some of the downloaders but they seem to work better as a standalone app.

Pretty simple. Just copy the URL to your clipboard and launch the app.

I'll try it this way, the potential problem is that the online site offering the videos has different qualities at different bitrates depending on user's bandwidth, so there's no direct URL for a single video. Let's see how it handles that :)

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A few minutes later...

Pasting the URL from the concert page didn't work because it was asking for some password which wasn't the one that identifies me into the video site, nor anything OSX related. On two trials using slightly different URLs it just was getting the trailer of the concert, but not the concert itself. However if I used the Chrome add-on of Video Download-Helper to choose one of the videos from the list (it's a PITA because long concerts come in separate videos for each movement as far as I could see) to grab the URL, then pasting it into AllmyTube voilá it got a nice 14 minute video at pretty good resolution in mp4 so no further conversion needed. It's a bit of work but I think less than the VDH and then converting using ffmpeg. Probably worth paying the fee. Thanks for the heads up :)

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This is interesting: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-be-shaped-by-workflows/

I think the author is right that the delay to 2019 for the Mac Pro may be somewhat due to the tepid reception of the iMac Pro. I don't have any sales figures from which to judge, but I have to imagine that the iMac Pro has flopped awfully hard. I don't think it was really the answer most "pros" were looking for, in that it is not modular at all and it is severely thermally constrained under load.

It sounds like they've gone back to the drawing board, which would be a very good thing.

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Great article, Thanks!

I know a few media composers who've taken the iMacPro plunge but for the most part, they're very well heeled.

So far, they're pretty impressed with stuff like rendering speeds and large template launch, but when it comes to reading big ass sessions (with ridiculous amounts of plug-in loads like reverb) the old dust bins aren't that far behind.

So, the direction that the iMac Pro has taken isn't a huge "real world" improvement for music and I'm hoping that Apple and their new modular Mac Pro will take that into account.

It's great to hear that real life media composers are on staff now and that might explain the tremendous "real world" improvements that came crammed into the latest update of Logic Pro X.

It may have put Logic at the top of the heap for that kind of work.

BTW That was a "free" update!!!!

 

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What all the smart iMac Pro users will be sporting this year,..

 

imac shoulder bag.jpg

Edited by ironbut
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