3.05.2005 | More Apple coolness

A few weeks ago I got an Apple AirPort Express, a handy portable little device that lets me bring wireless Internet wherever there's a wired Ethernet port and a power outlet close by.

It also has ports on the bottom for a printer to be able to print wirelessly, and an audio out port for AirTunes, which lets me use iTunes to listen to my songs wirelessly through powered speakers connected to the AirPort Express. I'm definitely loving the Apple lifestyle. Setup was a snap (just insert the CD and go), and the price wasn't too bad, either -- the only other wireless router out there that lets you print wirelessly costs $30 more, and it isn't portable.

What surprises most people: AirPort Express uses the 802.11g wireless standard, which means it works with PCs just as well as Macs. Thank you Apple, for learning to play nicely with Windows. I'll buy a Mac one of these days...

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So I did a search on Apple iTunes to see what Chumbawamba had been up to since their one-hit wonder "Tupthumbing" back in 1997, and I was pleasantly surprised by their latest release, Un. It's a pleasantly capricious album with various musical influences, and in some cases a few distinctly political overtones.

Most notable among the songs is "On eBay," which is also available in a radio edit and remix on the iTunes Music Store. Another song, "Everything You Know Is Wrong," has censor-like beeps at the beginning, but I searched for the lyrics online and the material was political, not explicit. Interesting. I definitely suggest you check it out. Here's the playlist:

1. The Wizard of Menlo Park
2. Just Desserts
3. On eBay
4. Everything You Know Is Wrong
5. Be With You
6. When Fine Society Sits Down To Dine
7. A Man Walks Into A Bar
8. Buy Nothing Day
9. Following You
10. We Don't Want To Sing Along
11. I Did It For Alfie
12. Rebel Code

The title of the first song is a reference to Thomas Edison, inventor of the phonograph. This appeal to history reminded me that this one man was responsible for two media that now seem absolutely indispensible to our lives: recorded sound and the motion picture.

It's the first album I've ever discovered on my own without the radio to help me along, and it's also one of those rare albums where I liked enough of the songs to buy the whole thing. They all lend themselves to each other, and the snippets I heard on iTunes were tempting enough to make me buy each song. It may just be my new speakers enhancing the sound, but I'm really happy with it.

The title is also fitting, since the album is really quite unlike anything the group has done before, making it truly "Un-Chumbawamba."

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