★ Album Re-reviews

Whenever someone asks me if I like a current song, they are usually surprised when I say I haven’t heard it. They are also surprised when I tell them I don’t listen to the radio. I spend my working days listening to AM talk radio. Some might say I’m getting old but I attribute it to the sad state of radio today. That is not to say I’m not a fan of music. I’m a HUGE fan of music. Just not what they play on the radio.

I’ve noticed that even though I keep up with a few of the artists I’m a fan of, the overwhelming majority of the music I listen to now I discovered back when I was in college. I’m constantly going back and listening to a lot of the albums from that time in my life. I thought I’d re-review albums that I loved back then and have held up well over the years. I hope its a nice change from the tech stuff I regularly post here.

★ Essential iPhone Apps

With the release of the iPhone 4, a lot of people are making the leap and purchasing an iPhone. After they get it set up and are finished admiring it, now what? What makes the iPhone so great are the thousands of different apps available on the App Store. Here are a couple of apps that I think are must downloads when you first unwrap your shiny new toy.

Facebook

This one is obvious. Not only is it everyone’s favorite social network, it’s actually a very well designed app. It’s logically laid out and it makes it easy to post pictures, look at your news feed and stalk your friends.

Cost: Free

Twitter for iPhone

After Facebook, this is probably the next social network everyone wastes their time on. This app actually started out as Tweetie and I thought it was the best Twitter client on the iPhone by far. Apparently the guys over at Twitter thought so as well and bought atebits, the company that developed the app, to use as their official app on the iPhone. What makes this app so great is that it’s simple enough for the casual Twitterer to understand but has the features a power user needs. It can handle multiple accounts and it supports retweets, geolocation, Twitter lists and uploading pictures and videos to the service of your choice.

Cost: Free

BeejiveIM

It’s a shame Apple doesn’t ship an IM client with the iPhone. Luckily developers have stepped up to fill this void. The best IM client on the iPhone by FAR is BeejiveIM. I’ve tried plenty of solutions, even jailbreak apps from back in the day such as Palringo and ApolloIM, but none of them have the simplicity combined with the options of BeejiveIM. It supports practically all the IM services out there. Of course it keeps you online after you’ve quit the app and pushes new messages to you as you receive them. At $10, it’s not the cheapest app but this is truly a case of “you get what you pay for”. Easily the best app I’ve purchased so far. If you’d like a free client, Meebo is a respectable alternative.

Cost: $9.99

Remote

This Apple developed app is very underrated and I always use it to demo what you can do with an iPhone, iTunes and/or an Apple TV. Once you link up the app to your iTunes library, you have an iPod like interface to control your music library. It’s even more impressive when you have your computer connected to speakers or have an Apple TV with a home theater system. It’s dead simple but still impresses people whenever I show them for the first time.

Cost: Free

Pandora

Everyone has heard of Pandora but it reaches its full potential on the iPhone with the arrival of background audio and multitasking in iOS4. You can, of course, load your own music and listen to it through the iPod app but sometimes I don’t want to search through my library to find something to listen to. When I’m feeling lazy, I launch Pandora and just choose a station I’ve created. What’s great about Pandora is that it will play music from an artist you choose but also plays music from similar artists. I’ve discovered new artists and rediscovered old favorites via Pandora.

Cost: Free

★ The Difference

Michael Rosenberg on the difference between LeBron James and Michael Jordan:

But Jordan had a different kind of ego. LeBron needs the adoration. Jordan needed to dominate. When Jordan ended his baseball career and returned to the NBA, he did not go on Larry King or feed speculation for months. He put out a two-word press release: “I’m back.” He knew that was enough. He knew that what the world really wanted was Jordan on a basketball court, not Jordan in an hour-long TV special.

I understand the hype of LeBron James’ decision on where he will play next. He has the potential to be the next great player of his generation. I do NOT appreciate the “Look at me” attitude he’s doing this with; joining Twitter and asking ESPN to set up an hour long event to announce which team he signs with (regardless if this is benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of America). He hasn’t accomplished what is considered the pinnacle of an NBA career which is winning a championship. Until he does that, he should focus solely on winning rather than call unnecessary attention to himself.