The Mark Ledden Blog

…audio, video, web and general tech ramblings.

Tag Archives: Apps

Bottlenose: My favourite app for keeping on the pulse (@Bottlenoseapp)


There’s so much going on in the social space these days. As the networks grow, so does the noise. How do you make sure you don’t miss anything important? How can you focus-in on what matters to you?

I’ve started using a very nifty tool called Bottlenose. It takes the form of a web dashboard and can be used in a similar way to the familiar faces such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite: You can view message streams, post updates and so on.

The Bottlenose Home Screen

Where is really comes into it’s own is through it’s search and filtering, delivering you the most popular content and keeping you on the crest of breaking news and events. Their tagline is “Surf the Stream” ..nice ūüôā

There are a number of layers to the search functionallity. You perform a search – as you would anywhere else on the web – what you immediately get it a page which lays out top links, you get a nice hashtag cloud (which indicates increasing/decreasing popularity) and a block of relevant images amoung other things.

From this you can select further layouts such as the Paper page: which gives you a magazine-style page of shared links, and the Images page: which displays a beautiful gallery of shared images.

The Bottlenose Newspaper Layout

The Bottlenose Image Gallery

One of the most curios features is the sonar (presumably where the app gets it’s name from). This page gives you a network of linked keywords and phrases. It’s most useful for tracking why certain things are trending and finding their source. You can also use it to track how the trend develops. Incredibly powerful stuff here.

The Bottlenose Sonar Display

The main selling point of Bottlenose is the fact that you can drill into real-time data from the top social networks and respond as it happens. This tool is massively useful for keeping up with real world events on a whole and also for focussing on tight niches to find out what’s hot in your sector. Its been a key tool personally for marketing. There is a pro version available too, which I haven’t tried but hope to soon. If I do, I’ll keep you posted!

SoundCloud Mashups From SoundGarage At Music Hack Day


The new official SoundCloud app for Android might look amazing and have one significant feature over the rest (audio recording) but my favourite app of them all is SoundGarage.¬†If you’ve kept up to date with what’s been happening at Music Hack Day you might have already heard about this but if not then you might find them very cool.

Both hacks are clever¬†mash-ups of the SoundCloud API and other API’s, which allow for new ways to interact using the SoundGarage Android app.

SoundBump

The first is SoundBump. This uses the BUMP API which allows users to share information by simply bumping their phones together. In the pictures below you’ll see the option to BUMP with other users and the ability to share a number of things.

This could be a really useful application and helps bring things back into the real world, If only just for a moment.

SoundNest

SoundNest taps into¬†EchoNest’s API to give you artist recommendations. It uses the SoundCloud users you follow to come up with recommendations tailored for you then searches SoundCloud for these users and gives you the option to follow them.

This just makes the whole process of music discovery even easier and pushes it a little closer to being the go-to app when you want to listen to some new music.

 

 

SoundGarage (previously SoundCloud Mobile) [Android]



Time technology and time seem to move much quicker than I do. And just as I was wrapping up my review of the only available SoundCloud app for Android an update for it appeared in the Android Market which, at first seemed like a major overhaul but was actually only really a renaming. The app was originally called ‘SoundCloud Mobile’ but now appeared as ‘SoundGarage’. I suspected this was due to some influence from Soundcloud themselves, but on keeping up with threads in forums etc, I didn’t get the impression SoundCloud actually had their own app in the pipeline. Then once the flashy iPhone App got it’s release I really was hoping for an Android release and now that wish has just come true. It looks much like the iPhone app but sadly I haven’t managed to get the official app working so in the meantime here’s a review of SoundGarage.

Getting Started

To download the app just search for SoundCloud SoundGarage Mobile in the Android Market. On the first launch you will need to authorise the app by signing in to your SoundCloud account. You will be re-directed to your browser and back once this is complete. On the SoundGarage main menu you are presented with five choices:

  • You
  • Tracks
  • People
  • Groups
  • Genre

‘You’

This page gives you a further four choices:

  • Profile
  • Tracks
  • Favorites
  • Groups

When you select ‘profile’ you can view some basic elements of your profile. There are some icons towards the bottom which aren’t immediately clear at first glance, but on closer inspection do make sense. It shows the number of people following you, the number of people you are following and the number of tracks you have.

When you step backwards to the previous screen and select tracks, as you would expect you are confronted with your tracks. When you select a track to listen to the app turns into a nifty music player which also gives you the stats (plays, loves, downloads, comments) for that track. It also allows you to add or view comments while listening. You can also love or share the track you are listening to. While a track is playing you are also free to browse the rest of the app and let it play in the background.

‘Tracks’

This screen gives you a number of options to browse through tracks.

  1. Your Tracks
  2. Hot Tracks
  3. Latest Tracks
  4. By People You Follow
  5. Creative Commons
  6. Search

‘Your Tracks’ and ‘By People You Follow’ are pretty self-explanatory. ‘Hot Tracks’ and ‘Latest Tracks’ are great for music discovery and ‘Creative Commons’ is perfect if your looking for some audio or music free of copyright restrictions.

‘People’

This is pretty basic and doesn’t need explaining.

  1. You Follow
  2. Following you
  3. Search For People

‘Groups’

Now I don’t participate in much of the group stuff on SoundCloud which is shocking, considering it’s a social site, but it’s a really great way to keep up with what’s going on. It also helps kill some time when you’re on the go and is good for some more music discovery. You cant view discussion threads though, only comments of tracks that exist in that group. I’ve also tried to join groups within the app, but it doesn’t seem to be supported.

  1. Your Groups
  2. Active Groups
  3. Latest Groups
  4. Search For groups

‘Genre

  • Easy Listening
  • Electronic
  • Jazz
  • Latin
  • Metal
  • Pop
  • R&B/Urban
  • Rap
  • Reggae
  • Rock
  • Soundtracks

Each of these give you huge lists of sub-categories to chose from.

Summing Up

You can see how every functionality has been packed into this app in a sensible way and actually makes for a nice media player. Some nice additions would be the ability to download those tracks that are free to download and back-to-back playback.

Also, Im not sure of the bandwidth eaten up by this app but it’s definitely something to watch out for if you’re on a particularly limited data plan. I don’t think I’ll be worrying too much though.

It’s a bit of a shame that the official SoundCloud app has now overshadowed this one. I think it could be difficult for it to compete, especially with the recordiing functionallity. But it’s great to have the option. I think a great way to go would be to try and offer something different, like the range of web and other apps soundcloud already has. I’d love to see a mobile music player built on SoundCloud, with back-to-back playing, queing, playlists etc and the ability to download and purchase music all through SoundCloud. In terms of a music player think of the Chrome Extension; ExtensionFM, which is a nifty little browser-based music player which allows you to listen to your SoundCloud music (as well as music from other sources). Then if you add the social aspects of SoundCloud; the dashboard, the discussions etc, and have all of this combined and incorporated into one app then you’ve got yourself a truely mobile, social music experience.

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