Mobile Internet Radio

Ever since I got a blackberry mobile phone I have been yearning for more sikhnet stuff on the go (particularly streaming internet radio). In the future we will be doing more and more things on our mobile devices (cell phones, portable audio/video players, etc.). This trend has been moving slowly because of issue of compatibility of applications across the thousands of different devices each with their own differences. This also has been slowed by mobile phone companies that are trying to gouge every bit of money they can from us customers and limit what can run/work on phones. In spite of this, things are changing and I think we’ll continue to see the trend of more mobile applications on devices. We’ll be doing all kinds of things on the go, wherever we are, without having to use a full desktop/laptop computer. As this transition occurs, I hope to make more Sikh related content services by SikhNet available on these devices. Till, then it’s only the small number of techy people who take the time to figure these things out try getting applications working on their devices.

This weekend I have been experimenting with various applications that run on the Blackberry Curve, (in relation to social networking) with varied success. A software upgrade for the blackberry software (4.5) just release some new and improved features (video recording, better streaming, watch youtube videos, etc) that I have been waiting for. I probably wont be watching youtube on my phone very much, but it is cool to know I can if I want.

 I tried out the facebook application which allows you to keep up with facebook on the go, but it wasn’t so exciting for me. I prefer to keep this one for my computer.

I am pretty busy all the time so don’t have much time to hear/read the news, so love the mobile version of NPR.org which allows me to get hear the latest hourly news headlines and listen to individual stories. What’s cool is that this works on most any phone since when you click to hear a story it actually dials a phone number and you hear the news. I mostly use the hourly phone news number which gives me the latest news in about 3-5 minutes. You can listen to it by dialing your phone to: +1-202-609-7549. My radio isn’t working in the car, so as I drive to my office I just press the speed dial on my phone and put speakerphone on.

I’ve been posting little"twitter" updates so tried out a program called "twitterberry" which is pretty useful, so I can post short little messages about what’s going on and "happenings" wherever I am.

If you post pictures, videos, text, and other stuff to lots of different social networking sites this is one program which you might find useful called "ShoZu". The issue I have is that I have a facebook account (friends), flickr account (photos), youtube (videos),Twitter (Short Text Updates), etc…etc. Shozu makes it simple to post any of your content from your phone to these services. You can even setup what they call a "CC" which you can post a photo/video/etc to all your services all in one go. Ok, so it sounds good, but I wasn’t able to get it to actually work on my phone. So, isn’t so exciting for me yet. Still working on figuring out why the uploads are not going through. Maybe some of you will have better luck.

One thing I did work out was listening to streaming internet radio. In the past I wasn’t able to do this successfully on my phone. Many phone still don’t allow streaming audio/video. I think this was partly due to limitations in the phone and my mobile phone provider, however I just upgraded the software on the phone and now things work!

I didn’t want to pay for radio software, so was looking for something that would allow me to listen to radio stations of my choice. There are services/apps like Flycast and Pandora others that work on some phones, but they don’t allow you to add your own radio streams, and you only have a choice of music that they have listed. Depending on your phone and mobile provider you’ll have to search out a solution for streaming audio.

I wanted to be able to listen to live audio from the Golden Temple (Harimandir Sahib), SikhNet Radio Channels and other Live broadcasts from Gurdwaras. I found a cool new service called Moodio that helps you listen to streaming media on your phone and you can add your own stations. The cool thing about it is that it will even re-encode the audio stream from the radio to whatever bitrate you want so that it plays on your phone. Live streaming requires consistent stream of data…and if your phone can’t keep up with the data…then it breaks up and isn’t nice to listen to. This service allows you to change this and lower the bitrate (size) of the audio stream for smoother playback! It acts as a go-between to change the stream size and format to work with your phone!

I just finished adding most of the SikhNet radio channels and live Gurdwara channels (in World and Religious). After you register at: http://www.moodio.fm  then login there…find the channels that you like and add to your favorites. Then when you go to: http://m.moodio.fm on your phone and you can access the channels.

My audio system still isn’t working on my car, so am still driving in silence. Now I’ll be able to add a little bit sound and hear live Gurbani wherever I am :) 

Ps. Delving into mobile applications for phones can be time consuming. Not only to figure out and install, but the more apps you setup on your phone, the more you’ll be constantly looking at your phone. So, some discipline is definitely required to prevent it from taking over your life! Hahaha. As they say with Alcohol, Use your mobile phone responsibly; it can be addictive!