TechMan: iTunes radio reception mixed

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I was pleased when Apple announced that iTunes Radio, a streaming music service, would be part of the iOS 7 mobile operating system released on Sept. 18. But so far, my experience with iTunes Radio has been mixed.

The most vexing thing is the dropout I experience on both the iPhone 4 and 4s. When using the 3G cell service, particularly in Downtown Pittsburgh, streaming songs will stop playing and then just start back up.

This does not happen if the phone is on a WiFi network and it does not happen when using 3G and playing through a connection to my car radio.

Tech Talk: Music undergoing 'black MIDI' revolution

The PG's Ced Kurtz and Laura Schneiderman discuss hot topics in the world of technology. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 10/14/2013)

Go figure.

My other complaint has to do with the algorithm to pick songs. Like Pandora, you can make a "station" for any artist and iTunes Radio will play songs by that artist and related artists.

Pandora does a good job of this. iTunes Radio less so. The Apple version seems to play fewer songs by the chosen artist and some of the related-artist choices are quirky. I guess T Rex is somehow related to David Bowie, and former Jefferson Airplane member Jorma Kaukonen playing a Gospel song is akin to the Grateful Dead, and Booker T and the MGs playing a long instrumental version of "Abbey Road" is obviously tied to the Beatles but wasn't something I wanted to hear.

But perhaps the algorithm will be fine-tuned as time goes on. Apple has a history of problems with the quality of cloud services compared to its hardware.

Remember the late and not-lamented MobileMe?

Gen Y streamers: Poynter journalism institute surveyed millennials (often defined as people born between 1982 and 2004) and found that 34 percent of those surveyed watch mostly online video and no network TV. The figure was 20 percent for Gen X and 10 percent for Boomers.

Rowan Atkinson is huge: According to, the most-streamed movie on China's most popular set-top box is "Mr. Bean's Holiday."

Music on steroids: reports on a new genre of music called Black MIDI in which musicians use MIDI software to create songs with millions of notes.

The name comes from the fact that when you look at the music in the form of standard notation, it looks solid black. One song has 8.49 million notes and another 21 million notes. Go to for links to hear some Black MIDI.

More NSA fallout: All of the major Internet organizations have pledged at a summit in Uruguay to free themselves of the influence of the U.S. government because of "recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance," reports

The directors of ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society and all five of the regional Internet address registries have vowed to break their associations with the U.S. government.

That's a distinct change from the current situation, where the U.S. Department of Commerce has oversight of ICANN.

Website of the week: You may remember TechTV and host Leo Laporte. After TechTV died, the host moved the concept online. TWiT network has a galaxy of technology video podcasts at

Error message of the week: Windows has detected you do not have a keyboard. Press F9 to continue.


Send comments, contributions, corrections and condemnations to First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM


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