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Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a version of its SkyDrive cloud service for Windows Phone and the iPhone.

The move, Microsoft said in a blog post, comes as people increasingly need access to files on-the-go.

"As devices proliferate, having a great experience on the Web is only one piece of a pretty complex puzzle," Microsoft's Mike Torres wrote. "People are choosing where to put their files based on how portable and accessible they are across the various devices they use; therefore, it's critical that we continue to extend the SkyDrive experience to the devices you use every day."

To that end, the most recent version of Windows Phone, known as Mango, included deep integration with SkyDrive via the Pictures and Office hubs, allowing for the sharing of photos via text, email, or IM, for example.

But users wanted more, Torres said. "Many still want the full SkyDrive experience from Windows Phone, including tasks like browsing their entire SkyDrive, sharing links to folders or files, deleting files, and creating folders." As a result, phones running Windows Phone 7.5 can now download the SkyDrive app from the Windows Phone Marketplace and do just that.

For those on iOS, the same app was also released in the App Store. See the video above for more.

Click to continue reading Microsoft releases SkyDrive app for iPhone, Windows Phone


seagate momentus xt

Seagate began shipping its next-generation hybrid drive on Tuesday, the Momentus XT, which Seagate claims is three times faster than a "traditional" hard disk.

The drive, which combines solid-state storage with a traditional rotating hard disk, holds 750GB of data and caches 8GB of data on the built-in SSD. It builds on the original Momentus XT, which was awarded with an Editors' Choice, adding the 6 Gbps SATA interface that was one of the original's weak points.

Seagate claimed that the new Momentus XT drive is nearly 70 percent faster than the prior Momentus drive version. It uses adaptive memory—moving frequently used data to the SSD cache—and a related technology that Seagate calls FAST Factor.

Consumers can buy the 2.5-inch drive for $102 at Amazon, Canada Computers, CDW, Memory Express, NCIX, Newegg, and TigerDirect, or buy an OEM notebook with a built-in drive. Seagate said it had six OEM partners, but didn't name them. It's also difficult to say whether the drive's availability and price will be affected by the Thai floods, which has caused evidence of price gouging, even as Seagate's outlook has slightly improved.

Click to continue reading Seagate: Momentus XT hybrid SSD-HDD drive is 70% faster

iCloud iDisk accessToday my brother asked me how he could access his MobileMe iDisk now that he had upgraded to iCloud. I told him that he should just look in this Finder, without realizing that iDisk is gone for many MobileMe users who've migrated over to iCloud. However, there's still a way to get to your iDisk (at least, until Apple pulls the plug on MobileMe for good next year!):

  • Open Finder and press ⌘K (Command + K)
  • Enter 'https://idisk.me.com/yourMobileMeName' as the Server Address (without the quotes)
  • Click the Connect button

Your iDisk should mount in the Finder, although it may ask you for your MobileMe password first, if it isn't saved to your Keychain.

Google on Wednesday officially unveiled its music product, dubbed Google Music, which will let users store songs in the cloud for free and buy tracks directly from the Android Market.

Google's Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Android, said Google Music is an expansion of Google Music Beta, introduced earlier this year, making it a "full end-to-end service."

"It's about the cloud, about the Web and about mobile," he said.

Google Music, accessible via music.google.com, is open to everyone in the U.S. now on the Web and will roll out to mobile users in the coming days. Users can store and stream up to 20,000 songs in the Google cloud for free, and add any selections they don't have by buying them from the Google Music store.

Google Music will allow users to share songs with friends, who will be able to play that song in its entirety once.

Google said it has sealed deals with more than 1,000 music labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI, as well as indie labels, like those from Merlin. In all, Google promised access to 13 million tracks, 8 million of which are available now.

Click to continue reading Google Music brings MP3 store, free cloud storage for your tracks

iTunes Match

The first member of Apple's iCloud family that requires separate payment is here: the $24.99-a-year iTunes Match. The service will store any and all music in your computer's iTunes library up to Apple's servers and make it accessible to any of your iOS devices or computers running iTunes.

Though the free iTunes in the Cloud has existed since the launch of iOS 5 on Oct. 12, that service only covers music you've bought through the iTunes Store.

Apple's iTunes Match examines your song collection and determines whether Apple's servers contain a copy of each tune, in which case no upload on your part is required, and you can download a high-quality 256 Kbps AAC iTunes Plus version of the songs onto any device or computer you've signed into using the same Apple ID.

But for those who still have lingering questions about iTunes Match, here are a few more details:

Click to continue reading 5 things you should know about iTunes Match

iTunes Match now available

Apple his finally released iTunes Match, alongside the iTunes 10.5.1 update, which allows subscribers to store their entire iTunes music library in iCloud, accessing it from any Apple device that they're signed into. The release comes about two weeks later than excpected, as Apple had announced that the feature would go public before the end of October. You're limited to 25,000 tracks, although iTunes purchases don't count towards that limit in any way, and all your music will be upgraded to DRM-free 256 kbps AAC files. Who's signing up?

iTunes Match

Apple has missed its own deadline to launch iTunes Match, a service that lets users store their entire music library in the cloud, or the iCloud, for access through any iOS device or computer.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the iPhone 4S (see our iPhone 4S review) in early October, and iOS 5 and iCloud went live several days later. The final piece of that puzzle, iTunes Match, was expected to launch at the end of October for $24.99 per year, but here we are on November 2 with no iTunes Match in sight.

With iTunes Match, users can store their entire music library in the cloud, or iCloud, for on-the-go access to your music from any iOS device or computer.

A portion of iTunes in the Cloud went live in June during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), while a developer version of iTunes Match was released in late August; Apple even reportedly wiped out developers' Match libraries, fueling speculation that a launch was imminent.

Click to continue reading Apple misses iTunes Match launch date - what happened?

Online backup provider Carbonite today announced the release of version 5.0 of its eponymous software, along with two new premium-level plans.

The new plans are HomePlus, which will run $99 per year, and HomePremier for $149. Both add local backup capability, for faster, full-system restoring from external drives connected to your PC. On top of that, the HomePremier edition adds a Courier service, which means Carbonite will ship a recovery disk in case of data loss. Carbonite continues to sell the Home version for $59 a year for one computer with unlimited storage.

Two brands get most of the mindshare when it comes to online backup: Mozy and Carbonite. For a long time, these were also the two major providers of "unlimited" storage backup, meaning no matter how much data your PC held, it would be stored and protected on the service's remote servers. Since Mozy discontinued its unlimited storage plan, Carbonite is the biggest name in this game, though there are other unlimited plays, such as the newer Backblaze.

Click to continue reading Carbonite 5.0 brings new backup plans, introduces local backups

iTunes 10.5Apple just released iTunes 10.5, one day ahead of the release of iOS 5 and iCloud. The updated version of iTunes will be required to update devices to iOS 5, and also brings with it iTunes in the Cloud, Wi-Fi syncing, and more. Full release notes below:

What’s new in iTunes 10.5

  • iTunes in the Cloud. iTunes now stores your music and TV purchases in iCloud and makes them available on your devices anywhere, any time, at no additional cost.
  • Automatic Downloads. Purchase music from any device or computer and automatically download a copy to your Mac and iOS devices.
  • Download Previous Purchases. Download your past music, TV, app, and book purchases again, at no additional cost. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer on the iTunes Store.
  • Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.
  • Wi-Fi Syncing. Automatically sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes any time they’re both on the same Wi-Fi network.

Lion App Store

If you were wondering if Apple was making the right decision in launching Mac OS X 10.7, better known as Lion, as a digital download on the Mac App Store, it looks like that question has been answered. At this morning's Apple event, Tim Cook announced that Lion has been downloaded 6 million times. According to Tim, it took Windows 7 twenty weeks to reach what it took Lion 2 weeks to achieve in terms of install base.

So, there's your answer. If you're one of the few who has yet to install Lion, get it now!