Category Archives: Audio

Pandora for “dummies”…. when you are outside the USA… – Firefox, Chrome and Opera add-on –

The last time I wrote a post about connecting to Pandora  when you are outside the USA was just (sic) three years ago. Meanwhile a lot of things changed and Anonymox, the Firefox add-on and proxy service I suggested in 2012, it is not free now.

It happens but when my nephew asked me something similar and really intuitive to connect to Pandora I was in trouble… more in trouble than I could imagine…. In fact when I started to search something alternative, I found a lot of very good proxy add-ons for Firefox. It was a pleasure to discover some of them because they are technically well done and offer a lot of flexible features for privacy purpose. But this is not the topic of my post… for today.

After many unlucky trials, where I tested different add-ons that were not able to guarantee a minimal rate of usable connection,  I found ProxMate .

ProxMate is an open-source, SSL proxy manager for real dummies. As Firefox add-on you can install it on your browser in just few clicks and then you practically don’t need to configure anything. The only requested thing after installation is to decide the websites and services you want to connect through ProxMate. The internet connection has a good speed rate and the music flows as silk through your Pandora account.

You can install ProxMate searching it through the add-on panel you find in Firefox or you can decide to directly open the link from the  ProxMate website. After the installation ( no restart required) you have to find the “shark fin” icon into your Firefox bar. If you don’t find it immediately, you have to manage your icons and manually personalize the bar.

Then, click on ProxMate “my button” icon and select: “Install New Packages”. You are redirect to the ProxMate website where you can select Pandora or others interesting websites (e.g. Netflix, iHeart Radio, etc..) with specific IP restriction policies. 

Now, you select your desired website/service and follow the instructions (click selection) that will appear on the screen to complete the installation.

Last but not least, don’t forget to click again on the ProxMate icon and enable the proxy service.

As usual, I recommend to NOT forget to disable  ProxMate (as every other proxy server) when you don’t need to use it.

Oops, I forgot to say that ProxMate is free of charge……. Enjoy it!!

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References:

https://addons.mozilla.org/it/firefox/addon/proxmate/?src=search

https://proxmate.me/

Solve audio troubleshooting on Ubuntu and start planning to migrate to another Linux OS

It was just a simple system update which dropped off audio on my Ubuntu 12.04. It was really strange to admit that I had experienced a crash (better: an audio crash) on a Linux but the 12.04 Ubuntu actually caused similar problems to a numerous bunch of long-term aficionados around the world.

The real problem with the last Ubuntu versions is that this OS is not supporting properly “old” hardware as it did previously during so many years. Reading some other bug reports on the web I discovered that these audio troubleshooting crashes happen principally to “old” IBM ThinkPad and Dell. I hope Ubuntu developers will consider to solve immediately these kind of issues or many users certainly migrate to other Linux version.

In any case the best and complete guide to solve audio troubleshooting has been developed by Ubuntu itself. The guide is very detailed but, if you want to definitively solve this bug, you have to spend more or less 40 (forty…. sic!) minutes and follow all the 17 (seventeen… sic!) steps.

In my case the audio was back after the first step and I decided not to follow the other instructions but the audio troubleshooting comes back, more or less, every two months. Just to you if you want to spend 40 minutes only one time or a couple of minutes every two/three months.

When I consider all the problems I had with Ubuntu on “old” hardware starting from the 12.04 version, my advice is to start thinking about a migration to another Linux OS. I am testing some Ubuntu alternatives and in the next weeks I will post something about the tests I’m doing on old laptops. Stay connected!   AddThis

How to install XBMC on Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish), we posted a brief tutorial about installing XBMC on Ubuntu 8.10. As you certainly know, XBCM is a complete Media Center based on Ubuntu. This program is multiplatform (Linux, Windows, OS X and also XBOX – not officially supported-) and, in our opinion, is the most efficient and complete open source media center you can find today on the Internet. Moreover, XBMC has developed a special version that could be installed on a USB Key on a Live CD to freely test the application before installing on your PC. The post is brief but contains all the complete instructions to quickly install XBMC without problems. Please, be sure to digit sudo apt-get update in Terminal after you install the new repositories. Recommended!! AddThis mp3 link

Cleepr: the web portal to rapidly find music videos in You Tube!

Linux Page

Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have added a short post about Cleepr, an interesting web portal which allows you to easily find, in YouTube, all the music videos you are looking for. Cleepr is very simple to use and, graphically, very clean. During our tests we occasionally found some delay (one or two seconds) when we decide to download other files while we were watching the videos. Using Cleepr we were able to find immediately all the music videos we were looking for, without wasting time to select them between other amatorial videos contained in YouTube.  Funny and enjoyable! AddThis mp3 link

XBMC: the best multiplatform, open source media-player on the web.

Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we added a brief post about XBMC, the best open source (GPL), free entertainment hub you can find on internet. XBMC is really easy to install (for Linux users, especially in Ubuntu) and its features are very intuitive and simple to configure. Moreover the graphics themes are very attractive and it is able to manage many multimedia formats, “playlists, audio visualizations, slideshow and weather forecast functions”. It is also possible to add many interesting third-party plugins that you can find through a simple google query (XBMC plugin). Last, but not least, XBMC is a multiplatform software, in fact the download page contains four different versions for Windows, XBox, Linux and MAC OSX. When we compared XBMC to the Windows Media Center we did not notice any loss in this open-source media center and, honestly, we were positively impressed by all the XBMC featured we tested. Recommended! AddThis mp3 link

FLAC: our favourite multiplatform (Linux, Windows, MAC OS X) Free Lossless Audio Codec!

FLACIt is true! MP3 format is the most common format we normally use in our everyday applications but MP3 is a lossy compression algorithm and it is not comparable with the quality of uncompressed audio formats as Monkey’s Audio, ALAC, WMA. This week, in our Freeware page, we posted a brief review about some particular features of FLAC: a multiplatform (Linux, Windows, MAC OS X) Free Lossless Audio Codec. Nowadays, FLAC is well and constantly supported by many music player producer. We compared FLAC and MP3 formats using the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major – Allegro” by Bach and the results were very interesting. For common listeners (as us) the audio quality was, more or less, the same but when we asked to a couple of friends (authentic music “hooligans”) to describe the difference between the two music files (FLAC and MP3) they spent more than 15 minutes of their (and our) time talking about “tones”, “pizzicato” and something else that I really do not remember at the moment! After the listening, when we compared the file extensions, we discovered that the FLAC file was five times bigger than the MP3 (25.6MB vs 5.1MB)… To conclude, we really think that FLAC represents a fantastic (and the best) lossless format for home stereo systems. On the other side, if you are not a music purist, MP3 could be the best choice for listening music on portable audio devices. AddThis mp3 link