Justin Chung’s desk.
There is something nicely warm about this.
The Creative Sound Blaster Roar is a new compact, portable speaker with Bluetooth and NFC. I’d like to thank the fine folks at Creative Labs for sponsoring this week’s RSS feed.
By incorporating a bi-amplified (two amps, not one), far-field, high frequency, and 5 speaker system (including a subwoofer), it delivers powerful yet well balanced sound in a package smaller than a hardcover novel. I’ve had one for a few days now and I have been blown away at the quality and features it delivers at a very affordable price.
As with any speaker, one must begin by discussing the main thing that matters — the sound. I’ve now tested it by playing a variety of music, podcasts, and streaming radio on the Roar and came away impressed every time. The sound was clear and room filling. I never felt I was listening to an inexpensive portable speaker — no buzzing bass or straining highs. It was especially impressive with classical music — able to deliver the complexity, nuance and range on par with a higher-end full stereo system. Furthermore, one can use the TeraBass feature to boost the perceived loss of bass when listening at low volumes. This worked really well and never felt too “bass heavy” when using it as prescribed. And, the signature “Roar” feature instantly boosts the loudness, depth and spaciousness of the audio in situations like parties or larger gatherings where that is desired. In fact, I used this during a party over the weekend and my guests were shocked when I showed them where the music was coming from (not to mention the fact I was streaming it wirelessly from my iPhone). The sound alone for the price make this a compelling purchase. But, there are a ton of other features that push this well into the “must buy” range.
In the wireless department, The Sound Blaster Roar has just about the most comprehensive and versatile Bluetooth connectivity options available for a portable wireless speaker. One can allow only two trusted paired devices to connect, any paired trusted devices, or a “free for all” mode where anyone can stream to it. If you have an NFC enabled device, you can pair the device just by touching the device to the speaker.
A built in microphone means that you can use the speaker for hand-free calling. It also has an SD Card slot so one can play MP3, WAV, or WMA files directly from there. The SD Card slot also allows for the included integrated audio and voice recorder — you can even record your hands-free calls.
The battery is powerful and long lasting. I steamed music to it for hours and barely made a dent. Not only that, but you can plug your phone or iPad cable into the Roar’s USB port and charge your device from the built in battery. Very convenient.
The Roar also can be used over USB audio. This makes an excellent external speaker for your laptop or desktop computer. And, if your sound needs are really big, you can get Creative’s MegaStereo cable and connect two Roar’s together to double your sound.
The bottom line is that The Roar is the best portable wireless speaker I have heard to date. None others that I have seen deliver this level of quality and sound at such an affordable price. Don’t just believe me, it’s a 5-star rated, #1 Bestseller on Amazon too. Plus, it just plain looks fantastic. I highly recommend you check it out.
Object 04 by John Carey. I love all of the work John does and his photos have served as a source of beauty for all of my iDevices for years now. You can download this for your desktop, iPhone, or iPad at the link.
Those who have followed me for a while know I love Quotebook, a little app from my friends at Lickability.. Well, they released version 3 today and it’s fantastic. It’s a huge update — a complete rewrite — and every detail has been well considered. It’s even better than before. As a fan and collector of quotes, it’s nice to have an app on my homescreen that is purpose built for that.
But, just because it is purpose built for collecting and organizing quotes does not mean you are limited to using it for just that. Quotes can come from a variety of sources and circumstances. And, once you accept that idea the possibilities and flexibility of the app really begin to open up. Here are just a few of the new ways I have found to use it:
Conference & Presentation Notes — Quotebook is a great way to capture key thoughts at conferences and presentations. Fill in the notes or idea you wish to capture, put the speaker’s name in the authors field, put the conference, talk, or session name in the source field. Even use the tags for further freeform categorization.
Book/Reading Notes — Writing in the margins is great if you have a physical book that belongs to you that you don’t want to get rid of. But everything outside of that is a great fit for Quotebook. Copy down the passage, page number, and any notes you wish to add into the Quote field, author, and title in the Sources field. It’s your own private Goodreads.
Funny or Cute Things My Kid Says — Like the way she says “It doesn’t care…” in place of “It doesn’t matter”. Or, “repartment” in place of “apartment”. And, don’t even get me started on “aminal” (animal) or our dog’s name, “Geromino” (Geronimo).
Favorite Tweets — While Twitter does provide a way to “favorite” a tweet, I find Quotebook a more appropriate place to save something someone says that has lasting impact and value. Put the tweet where the quote would normally go and the Twitter username as the handle. You can even paste a link to the tweet in the source field. And, author or source with a Twitter handle will even download avatar & bio from Twitter. Neat!
Another advantage of using it for these things is the ability to slice and dice that data in interesting ways. Let’s say I go see a favorite author give a talk and use Quotebook to take notes. And, I have used Quotebook to take notes on her books. And, I have captured quotes from that same author from other sources. Well, now I can sort by the author and have everything all together.
The sidebar idea I’m trying to put forth here is to to expand the notion of what a quote can be. It does not have to be some deep thought or maxim said by some famous dead guy. It could be anything said or written by anyone. And, once you expand the idea in this way, thus the ways in which Quotebook can help you in meaningful ways increases.
Hopefully, this will help you see why I love the app so much and it has been on my home screen since the day it was released. The new version is certainly worth your time checking out.