10 October, 2007

iTunes and Starbucks together

Apple and Starbucks just started (October 5, 2007) a new service in participating Starbucks stores. Using your laptop, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can get free access to the iTunes site and review and buy up to the last 10 tunes played in the Starbucks store. When using your iPhone or iPod touch, you will also be able to get the song on your Mac or PC for no additional charge.

I learned about this today when I went into Starbucks. As part of the promotion, you can get a free, new song every day in Starbucks through November 7th. The first artist was Bob Dylan and has include greats such as Gloria Estefan and Mavis Staples; upcoming releases include Herbie Hancock, Dave Matthews, and John Mayer.

Personally, I think this is a great combination of two great products, coffee and music, brrought to us by folks who know how to do it so well, Starbucks and Apple. That'll be a triple-grande-latte for me.

Stream your own Internet TV

Ever consider having your own Internet TV? Perhaps you are an Indie band trying to get some exposure or you are a tech geek helping others. Using Ustream.tv you can do exactly that. As I write this, I am listening and watching a live stream from Indie Game Conference hosted by GarageGames (the band's name isn't listed) -- the band is about as good as I might hear on a night out at the clubs.

All it takes is a computer with a webcam and mic, and 320 Kbs minimum upstream bandwidth, and you're good to go. After registering and providing some basic info on your feed, you get a custom URL that you can share with all your Internet friends. In addition, you can embed the stream into another web page and you can have real-time chat with your viewers.

Of course it's not a perfect solution. Ustream.tv could really put some work into finding recorded and live streams, as there is a lot of junk. For example, when I click on a tag in their tag cloud, I get all shows from one poster before seeing the next. Why not group those, so I can quickly scan shows from many folks? Also, even though you can give your show a description, the description is not displayed when you browse or search -- you have to click-through to see the details. Overall though, those are minor usability issues that I would expect to be fixed as Ustream.tv gains popularity.

Give Ustream.tv a look for yourself. Start with one of your favorite tech geeks such as Leo Laporte or Chris Pirillo, or browse through the music section. If that is not your interest, you can even check out Senator Edwards and Senator Dodd. Once you've seen others, perhaps it's time to broadcast yourself...