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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Free music player: endless free songs (AT Player) on Android via Google Play

Free Music Player: Endless Free Songs
(otherwise known as AT Player) Free on Google Play Store


Free Music Player: Endless Free Songs, or AT Player for short, is one of the newest Android music players on the market. It’s also one of the smallest and very efficient with it.

Through this free app, users have access to YouTube content on their phone. Basically, the app is a third party YouTube API client, so it provides fully legal content by displaying video as well as sound and stopping playback if the screen is turned off. Users do not and cannot download content and offline playback using caching is also off limits under the terms of YouTube’s API licence.

Of course there are advertisements to contend with as well, but many apps and games already have them, not to mention commercial and independent local radio stations, which sometimes seem to have more adverts than music. An advertisement is shown once per session with this app.

Music on demand, wherever, whenever, whatever

From my point of view, this app will give me music to exercise to when I’m not at the gym. Plus it offers a chance to access all the music in my entire CD collection without having to rip the CDs and risk Messrs Apple deciding that because I didn’t buy it from them it is illegal content. So this app will fit very well alongside the large free music library I already have on my MP3 player. For those days where I don’t know what I want to listen to at work, I can opt for any of YouTube’s standard playlists, available by genre, artist, year or mood. If I wake up thinking that I haven’t heard a particular song for ages, a few quick taps will bring it to me through the app.

This free music player app will not affect data allowances when run on a phone connected to wifi, but may well affect both data and battery use if out of wifi range. It is primarily a music player, rather than a video player, and allows other apps to run at the same time by offering a popup window during use. This is a requirement of YouTube’s API licence.

AT Player can also be used as an alternative to the radio or other streaming apps while the phone is doubling as a sat nav on car journeys, although data use may not be covered by the provider as standard but may have to be paid for by the user in addition to their monthly bill. It can also play in the background while mobile games are running, during texting, reading the news, social media use and checking emails. On Android phones, the new split screen feature may be useful when running the free music player alongside a sat nav.

Additional features

AT Player also offers a list of extra features, which have just been released for free.

This includes
- Lyrics
- Scrobbling with help of third party app
- Optimisation for for slow devices and connections
- Music recognition
- Advanced bookmarks
- Sleep timer

Small size, big functionality

Even with all of these free add-ons, the app is still smaller than other video players and streaming services, at around 5MB. This makes it memory-friendly for both old and new models of phone. My five-year old phone was able to run it with no problem despite limited memory and and dying functionality, so users with newer models should have no issues with it.

Player popup and music can be paused in those situations where it may be intrusive - an incoming phone call or a tricky bit of GPS navigation, for instance. The music can be restarted by going back to the app or checking the notification area.

Local music playback

Ideally, playing music from the internet needs an internet connection, but when driving or on public transport, this isn’t always possible. YouTube doesn’t allow downloading, but AT Player has offline/local connection to provide music playback even when there is no connectivity. In rural areas and on motorways where the signal often drops, this could be invaluable. The local music playback function has a cool looking equaliser with presets and bass boost, among other effects.

Power saving mode

Most mobile users know that the Achilles heel of their device is always the battery. As apps become more powerful, batteries struggle to keep up. Unless a device is connected to the mains, a backup battery charger or a USB port, use of many apps will drain the battery in a ridiculously short time. AT Player free music player has a battery saving mode to minimise the chances of this happening, which also stops the user from hitting another button accidentally. This side effect is going to be so useful to me when I’m flailing around exercising; plus the gym's wifi is pretty poor so the battery saving option will come in really handy for me.

Search for your favorite tunes

As users might expect, the search function is pretty awesome too. Providing auto complete suggestions as users type, it will attempt to find pretty much any song in the YouTube playlists. Personalisation comes as standard, as might be expected with anything YouTube-related. The software has an uncanny way of finding just what users are pleased to hear; whether that is a particular artist or song, cover of a song, genre or live performance. From my experience, random songs I search for when contributing to a weekly blog will always lead to more songs from the same artist. I usually choose from those singers and musicians I know well and whose music I love so I end up hearing many favorites as a result. Similar artists are also often suggested, which is great for those of us who are musical sponges, always looking for new influences in the genres that we already enjoy.

Playlists

On the theme of those artists we already enjoy, playlists are also popular. Users can choose ‘old school exercise videos’ featuring music by Vanilla Ice, Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and similar artists. Or they can pick a playlist by one band or artist: one recent road trip featured a playlist from the Australian band Midnight Oil, while another one was the entire contents of Electronica and Electronica II from Jean-Michel Jarre. Playlists are versatile in AT Player, and the app keeps a history of tracks played, remembering the last playlist when the app is shut down.

Those users who love current chart music will be keen to hear the playlists of the latest songs, trending singers or bands and new influences. Users who already have YouTube playlists can import them too.

I’m very keen to download this free music player app onto my new phone, once it’s fully functional, to see how it works with a new smartphone with current data contract and processing capability. I’m guessing that for Android users who have AYCE and extended coverage, this app is likely to be heaven. iPhone users don’t rule the roost any more. They need to shuffle up, because Android is as good.

Free Music Player: Endless Free Songs, or AT Player for short, may be one of the newest Android music players on the market, but it has much to recommend it. Android users would be silly to dismiss it in favor of other, bigger, proprietary apps.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Wizdiary.com official launch; interactive recruitment and client growth



I’m very pleased to say that a former crowdfunding project which I’ve been writing about for no less than three years has finally made it to launch.

Wizdiary.com is a collaboration and social media platform which aims to put companies in touch with clients or staff within a five mile radius of their address. So if you’re recruiting, you can post free job ads online to attract suitable staff in your area, whilst job seekers, freelancers and companies looking for new clients can advertise their business for free to see if anyone in their locale needs their skills.

The advantage of this is that if employee and employer want to meet over a coffee, you can easily do so. Unlike many online job markets, where a freelancer works for an anonymous buyer in another country and/or time zone, here, you have the best billboard short of a formal CV and a job interview.

Post your ads for free online with Wizdiary.com and see who comes along. A full small business help desk service team will ensure that everything runs to plan, and recruiters may just reach that elusive staff member they’ve been wanting to find for months. Equally, freelancers and small businesses may find a new regular client.

Wizdiary.com offers clever billboards with your company name, a business IT support team no matter the size of your business and the chance to reach employers and clients you might not otherwise find.

So, how to post free ads online?

Wizdiary.com’s team has posted videos in most common languages on their YouTube channel. The company aims to reach anyone and their staff or clients within 5 miles of the given address. All posters on the Billboard or Post a Job sections will also receive free small business tech support services relating to their use of the site. No matter your location, Wizdiary.com hopes to help you hook up.

Wizdiary.com is a totally different way to recruit and find clients. Companies looking for specific staff can post an ad on the Post A Job section, while businesses looking to expand can post on the Billboard section, which is almost an online version of the old style newspaper classified pages.

No matter which marketplace you are using, the Wizdiary team offers IT business support services should you run into any problems. The site does not run local services, so there is nothing to download and foul up your laptop, desktop or server. If you yourself are in the same line they are happy to see your advertisement too.

Business IT services are not the only field where Wizdiary can help recruiting levels, though. No matter who you’re looking for, whether you’re a company boss looking to expand or an individual searching for a job; Wizdiary.com may well be able to help.

I’m happy to see Wizdiary.com finally make it to launch, as they’re a new player in a very important market. In these testing economic times, businesses need to find their clients where they can, and staff need all the help available to keep the pennies rolling in. Wizdiary takes a different view of the job seeker/client expansion market, and aims to offer comprehensive free services, backed with a full support team, to help both sides to benefit.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Ellen Smith, Master Voice Coach in Denver or by Skype

Picture from geralt on pixabay.
CC0, free to use.

Several high profile singers have had to take a career break, or even give up singing completely, because they have strained their vocal cords or injured their voice in some way. Adele, Julie Andrews, Mariah Carey, Elton John and Frank Ocean have all had high profile voice or vocal cord injuries. Many voice coaches point out that today’s pop singers don’t receive the same level of training as their operatic colleagues, and that years of constantly straining the voice will, naturally, cause damage.

The prevalence of singing-based talent shows lately has certainly raised the profile of singers and bands. Singer-songwriters, bands, and musicians such as Leona Lewis, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, Little Mix and One Direction all came from the talent show mill, and attending an audition is a goal for many people.

Fortunately, there are coaches such as Ellen Smith in Denver, Colorado, who will help would-be professional singers and musicians to make the most of their skills. She offers lessons in person for those in the Denver locale, or by Skype for everyone else.

Ellen teaches singers of all ages, levels and genres, recommending weekly lessons for the best results. Just like a physical trainer, she works with her clients to improve their technique and then leaves them with the tools for them to continue to work on their own. Previously a professional singer and musician for over two decades, she now enjoys passing on her knowledge to others. The internet helps with this, as Skype is the perfect way to conduct lessons remotely. Ellen also offers consulting services to those looking to try their hand at a music career themselves; the coaching and consulting can be combined for those clients who require it.

Ellen hasn’t just worked with aspiring singers, she has spent time with children and Alzheimers patients as well as touring extensively worldwide and performing at over 350 weddings. Along the way she has learned how to put live shows together as a producer and stage show manager, the ins and outs of session work including recording advertising jingles, plus all the planning which goes into touring and putting on a good show every night in a different venue.

For those who are curious about the songs and music Ellen has written and performed herself, there is an entire page on her website dedicated to showcasing her own work. There are examples of songs covered by others - big names including Celine Dion and Jewel - and songs she wrote and sang herself.

Rates for Ellen’s vocal coaching services are available on request, and for personal visitors to Ellen’s studio, the first lesson is free. Group or individual lessons are available in person, with the group sessions in a recording studio or location of the group’s choice. Her reviews are from the whole spectrum of her pupils and clients; from her own daughter to clients who have booked her to sing at their wedding, plus students of all ages, and sometimes their parents.

In addition to all this expertise, Ellen has a wonderfully entertaining blog page. The few posts there so far cover topics such as strengthening your voice, diction vs articulation, ideal stage conditions and dealing with the dreaded sore throat. This fun side is also emphasized by the reviews, several of which state that Ellen Smith doesn’t just know her stuff when it comes to voice lessons, she is a patient teacher with a sense of fun as well. Surely that’s what all great teachers have - the ability to teach, but to make their subject understandable and approachable too.

Image from Ellen Smith's site

Friday, June 1, 2018

Breathific non-profit is against airborne pollution and diseases

Breathific logo.
Image used with permission.

Breathific is a non-profit organization which aims, according to the strapline on its website ‘...to improve air quality by increasing awareness, supporting research, advocating policy, and providing solutions to airborne pollution and diseases.’

There is no doubt that respiratory diseases are increasing. I recently overheard a young boy asking his father why everyone else in his class had inhalers, and he didn’t. But pollution doesn’t just cause personal issues, it has effects which can be seen and felt by everyone, every animal and bird, every plant.

Global warming is happening even as you read this. Polar bears in the Arctic are dying before they can find sea ice to hunt from. Wildfires in California, drought in Australia, an increase in hurricanes and other tropical storms, floods and similar intense weather events are all due to the changes brought by climate change.

However, breathific believes that by making personal changes and accepting that individually we can make a difference, a wider change can be brought about. It’s widely known that air pollution in cars is 9-12 times higher than outside. The same applies within the home, where pollutants from regularly used household products raise the levels to five times higher than outside.

Breathific has a wealth of information on the topic of air pollution, facts, figures, air pollution maps, videos and a regularly circulated newsletter. Air pollution is responsible for an estimated 60 thousand premature deaths in the US and 40,000 in the UK. Much of the damage is caused by nitrogen dioxide in car exhausts, but even shampoo can be polluting. There are pollution-free alternatives, and individuals can make a choice to support these companies rather than the large multinationals.

The team at breathific is active on social media, so it is easy to reach out to them for further advice. They have information on everything to do with reducing air pollution, which is likely to lead to better health, longer life and a higher quality of life too. Better skin, reduction in respiratory issues, better health, more energy. That sounds pretty good to me. And in addition, fewer pollutants will help the environment as well. To keep up with the latest news, it is advisable to sign up for their newsletter. There is also the opportunity to find out more through a weekly conference call at 9pm EST, details available from the website on request.

Breathific are part of the growing awareness that individuals can make a change to help the environment. The team have realized that it is no good waiting for governments and big business to act; change has to come from the ground up. Start at an individual level and others will follow.

Resort Prime - book your dream vacation today

Screenshot of ResortPrime.com's homepage

Part of the fun of taking a holiday is the planning. There is little better than spending an evening looking at the deals, deciding on packages, which airline, whether car rental is needed, hotels, resorts. The choice can seem baffling at times even if it is fun. Resort Prime has a mind-boggling choice of hotels, flights, cruises and rental car companies to choose from. But this is a search engine-style site, so the user simply has to choose ‘hotel’, ‘flight’, ‘car rental’ or ‘cruise’ to be shown pages of suitable choices for the date, time and location specified.

The cut off date for hotel advance bookings is a year from date of search, and on checking bookings for 10 and 11 months hence, the choice is not as great as bookings for dates within the next six months. But for familiar places where travellers have already stayed, the hotel they stayed in is likely to be listed, even if the prices feel more expensive now thanks to the exchange rate changes since last year here in the UK.

For flights, the choice starts with the most popular destinations: New York, London, Paris. There are also special deals from these locations to other places which may be less visited, such as New York to Yangon or Ulaanbaatar. Some of the prices may be in dollars, but the deals can still be searched nevertheless. The ever popular airline Norwegian is listed for flights to the USA, as well as other carriers such as Wow, Aeroflot and Turkish.

Car rental is another very important part of many travellers’ holidays. Once again, Resort Prime makes it easy to compare and book deals. The eight biggest car hire companies are listed here, with easy selection for features such as automatic transmission, free fuel and four or more doors. Some travellers may find it easier to book a car when they are in resort, but that runs the risk of not getting the best deal (been there, done that!). It’s much easier to have the booking sorted before flying out, even if the car is only booked for part of the holiday in order to keep costs down. In some resorts, this is the best idea, as there is enough to do in the local area to mean that a car isn’t always necessary.

Cruises are very popular these days. For many tourists, a multi-stop cruise is the ideal chance to see sights they would never otherwise visit, while having food and bed ready on board. Admittedly, a cruise is not for everyone, but even for those who enjoy cruises, they’re not cheap. A cruise deal taking in some of the most-visited ports and cities in the world is a great idea for those who can afford it. Resort Prime has some of the best offers going for cruises to all the popular destinations.


It makes sense for anyone planning an expensive holiday to check out ResortPrime.com. With savings of up to 80%, the savvy traveller would be silly not to look at the site, at least. It’s all part of the fun of planning a holiday - and also a great way of making savings over a package deal booked all together on a single site.

Friday, May 25, 2018

ESforSales - yoga leggings, fitness trackers and gadgets

ESforSales.com screenshot of front page


It seems like everyone these days has a simple e-commerce site linked into their social media account. Whether the topic is cats (who pwn the internet), polar bears (to save the world) or geeky gaming (because Mario and Pokemon, you know?) there is a link to a shop where themed items can be purchased for low prices with payment by PayPal.

ESforSales is one of those sites. It specialises in fitness wear and geeky things. There is a mind-boggling range of yoga leggings, fitness trackers and other fitness paraphernalia, plus a selection of interesting looking gadgets. There is only a small range on this site (just over 50 items) but plenty choice in their specialist areas.

Yoga leggings

Yoga fans, gym bunnies, pole dancers and cyclists can choose from a selection of 20 pairs of yoga pants and leggings. Prices range from €10 to €40. Many items are unbranded so this site may not be for shoppers who prefer to show a brand on their gym wear. But for those who are simply looking for something comfortable to wear while getting and staying fit, this range is ideal.

Fitness trackers

As with yoga wear, there is a wide range of fitness trackers available on the site. The branded items are the ones getting the column inches, but the unbranded alternatives are often as good, or simpler for those who don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing tracker. Choices include a simple activity tracker for €17, a heart rate tracker for €27 and a sleep and activity tracker for €63. Some of the choices are bluetooth enabled, others include a watch option.

Gadgets and fitness accessories

From a shower head with water-powered LED lights to back pain salve and a bluetooth shower speaker, these gadgets cover all bases. There is a small range of martial arts accessories such as shin guards, mouthguards and wrist supports as well as a foam exercise mat and a water bottle.

This site is not as focused on one theme as some I have seen, but there are still distinct strands to the kit being sold here. Anyone looking to buy a present for a fitness fanatic should find something in their price range. There is nothing over €65 and many items cost less than €20. Unusual items such as the LED shower head and the Marshall headphones are popular, as is the fries maker which slices the potato and then goes in the microwave to cook the fries. Unlike some of the items sold on similar sites, they look like they will work as described and last well too.

ESforSales is one of those sites where family members looking to buy something for that relative who has everything are likely to come away smiling. That makes it a good bet for everyone, as there’s one of those in every family, after all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Airbnb in Siem Reap, Cambodia, rental accommodation for the discerning

Vacation Rental Siem Reap - some of the Airbnb rentals enjoy use of this pool
Image from www.vrsr.asia, used with permission



South East Asia is becoming a popular tourist destination. As the region opens up to travelers, so the locals are responding in kind, with many areas now offering package tours, day trips and even Airbnb rentals. Siem Reap in Cambodia is a key location, as it is close to the famed Temple of Angkor Wat. Vacation Rental Siem Reap (VRSR) offers Airbnb accommodation in Siem Reap, tours of the local area and the chance to experience Cambodia on the ground. For those whose only knowledge of the country comes from its depiction in Hollywood movies, this will show the country in a whole different light.

Cambodia welcomes tourists; the industry is the second greatest source of income after textiles. Over half the visitors come into the country through Siem Reap, so these newcomers will need rentals or accommodation in Siem Reap before venturing further into the country, if they choose. Other popular destinations are the beaches of Sihanoukville and the capital city Phnom Penh, for obvious reasons. Every capital city always attracts tourists, why should Cambodia’s be any different? And a beach vacation is always popular too.

VRSR offers unique services in the area, as many other property owners use online travel agents and local travel companies. VRSR is the only company to accept bookings directly from their clients. I’ve written about some of the package tours available to Siem Reap and other Cambodian tourist areas before, but the Airbnb accommodation in Siem Reap is something new and different. Until recently, many tourists were only offered all-inclusive deals staying in a hotel. Now, they have the option of self-catering too.

Travelers who take advantage of VRSR’s insider knowledge can benefit from seeing the sunsets at Phnom Bakheng from the best position or have the chance to visit the stilted village of Kampong Phluk. Cambodia’s natural beauty is as stunning as the man-made buildings, so it’s worth taking the time to see both when visiting the country. With Siem Reap rentals provided by VRSR, visitors are free to make up their own minds - they can take a tour or find their own adventure.


Location of some of the Airbnb rentals in Siem Reap
Image from www.vrsr.asia, used with permission


The Airbnb rentals in Siem Reap are stunning - a pool, checking in via the doorman and a chance to meet the owner. En-suite bathrooms to every room, wifi, cable TV, family-friendly environment and parking on the premises are standard. Guests are not permitted to bring pets or invite locals back to the houses, there is also a strict ‘no parties or events’ rule and the owners require that guests remove their shoes before entering the rentals.

To reach these Siem Reap rentals, guests will experience Cambodia’s own take on tourist transportation, namely the use of a tuk-tuk, motorcycle, bicycle or private car rental. Taxis, Uber and other hailing apps haven’t made it here yet, and there is no public transport either. Be thankful, this is part of the charm and joy of a vacation in Cambodia.

This Siem Reap accommodation is amazingly luxurious. These are upmarket surroundings befitting the amazing architecture close by at Angkor Wat. The largest temple complex in the world can be matched by the accommodation of at least some of the guests. No point in traveling all that way to see one of the Wonders of the World and then ‘slumming it’, after all. May as well vacation in style while the opportunity presents itself, surely?

Airbnb Siem Reap is the new way to stay while sightseeing in the local area. Because it is close to the airport it is also the perfect place to stop for a couple of days on the way out to or back from other adventures. That way, guests can start a vacation in luxury or enjoy some pampering before the flight home; their choice.

Siem Reap rentals from VRSR are a touch of modernity in a country with amazing history. After a day’s sightseeing, guests can relax in the pool before heading into the fully equipped kitchen to make supper. Then they can upload their photos to social media using the wifi and laptop friendly spaces. The perfect mix of ancient and modern. The tourism slogan for Cambodia is ‘Kingdom of Wonder, Feel the Warmth’. In these Siem Reap Airbnbs, guests will feel the luxury too.