October 20th, 2009

Want to listen to pdx.fm on your iPhone? There isn’t an app for that—by design


Want to listen to pdx.fm on your iPhone? There isn’t an app for that—by design

When I wrote about pdx.fm launching an Internet radio station, I got a lot of people who were excited about the concept. And then, a quizzical look would cross their face and they’d scrunch up their brow and ask, “It sounds like a good idea and I love the content. But how the heck am I supposed to listen to that in the car?”

Okay. Actually nobody said that. I just made it up. People said the first two things, just not the whole “in the car” thing. It’s a literary device. I was trying to make a point.

What’s that? Oh right. The point. The point being that if there were people who had said something like that—and honestly there should have been—I would now be able to answer them with this.

“If you’ve got an iPhone,” I’d say. “You can use pdx.fm mobile.”

And since I’ve already this been using this contrived participant in the conversation, I’m going to continue to use the device. Look at me. Putting my BA in Literature to good use.

“Oh really?” this imaginary person would say. “I’ll go download that from the App Store.”

No, you won’t, silly imaginary person. You see, it’s not an app. pdx.fm is a Web page that uses Quicktime to deliver the content to iPhones.

Instead, we’re using the built-in stream features of Quicktime – available with the iPhone 3.0 update. Using Apple’s proven streaming technology you can listen to pdx.fm without having to hunt for an app, install it onto your phone, and have to keep it active through our shows.

Now why oh why in the name of all things iPhone-y would someone forego the wonderful hype of building an iPhone app?

Well, the answer is simple enough: you can’t run multiple apps at the same time—unless they’re native Apple iPhone apps.

Allow me to go off on a bit of a tangent, if you will.

You see, you can do other stuff on your iPhone while you’re on a call—by running the call feature in the background. And you can listen to your music while doing something else by running the iPod feature in the background.

Well guess what? Safari will do exactly the same thing. And what’s that mean? That means if you’re delivering your streaming content via Safari, you can run it in the background. And do other things on your phone while you’re listening. Or do nothing at all and let the phone go into standby mode.

What about the quality? The quality is awesome. They’ve even bumped up the stream to 64k. And it works just fine over Edge on old phones.

[W]e’ve boosted the stream to 64k vs. the 48k we started out with. A lot of you are still using first generation iPhones with EDGE connections and apparently most of you are able to listen to 64k without a hitch in most areas – this is great news for us because while 64k still isn’t optimal for music, it’s more than enough for most talk show programming.

Sometimes, the best solution isn’t getting all wrapped up in building apps, it’s using the features of the iPhone to your advantage. And pdx.fm has done just that.

And now that pdx.fm has leapt off the desktop and onto a truly mobile platform, the potential for the Portland Internet radio station grows exponentially.

I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to where pdx.fm could go from here, you, me, and that imaginary person whom I surreptitiously abandoned midway through the post ain’t seen nothing yet.

For more information, visit pdx.fm. To try the mobile site, visit pdx.fm mobile.

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2 Responses to “Want to listen to pdx.fm on your iPhone? There isn’t an app for that—by design”

  1. Matt M. says:

    I’m a big fan of most of the programming on pdx.fm. My small office usually has it on every morning of every day for a couple of hours and again for a couple of sports shows and a hiking show, no brainer there because we’re in the outdoor biz here. It works great until someone has to make a run for gear or something and we wind up pulling out the rock, scissors, paper to see who has to miss out.

    So I am selfish because I already love pdx.fm but this thing really works great. My wife works in the tech and software industry in open source and we were talking about this just last weekend, isn’t it cool that somebody had the common sense to realize that just because you can make an app doesn’t mean you should? Here’s a great example right here. Being forced to buy an app for everything isn’t what Apple probably intended and right now I need to use three different apps to get all of my favorite old school radio stations. That’s just stupid and tedious. Why can’t everyone else figure this out?? Maybe I’d like to be listening while playing a game?

    Good job pdx.fm. Now if we all get together and convince a few of the people there to stay on the air longer! Hint.

  2. RobertWagner says:

    Matt M.,

    Thanks. That’s all, just thanks. I’m glad to hear you like what we’re trying to do.

    RW


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