Early days of the PC with Radio Shack's TRS-80

Lewis Kornfeld, who died Friday at the age of 97 in Fort Worth, Texas, was the president of Radio Shack in 1977 when he saw a grand future for the personal computer

When Kornfeld and Radio Shack debuted the TRS-80 in 1977, the personal home computer market was wide open. With no major player dominating consumer's pocketbooks, and no perceived consumer need for this technology, the future was unknown. The TRS-80 microcomputer was priced at just $599.95 and stood in stark contrast to the build-it-yourself machines available to super technical hobbyists at the time. It was a rudimentary … Read more

Pandora: iTunes Radio will be great -- for Pandora

Pandora says it isn't sweating the coming of Apple's iTunes Radio later this year. In fact, it's looking forward to it.

"I think there are a lot of benefits" from the introduction of iTunes Radio, Chief Financial Officer Mike Herring said Wednesday at the Canaccord Genuity Growth Conference in Boston, Mass. iTunes Radio will bolster the exposure of digital radio and accelerate the move to it from traditional broadcast radio, he said.

Herring also compared the entrance of Apple's long-awaited radio product to the introduction of another behemoth's online music service: iHeartRadio from … Read more

Get a GoGroove FlexSmart X3 Bluetooth FM Transmitter for $44.99 shipped

Mrs. Cheapskate's minivan doesn't have Bluetooth. I don't even have a line-in jack. I know: the horror! Thankfully, there are gizmos that can bridge the gap between smartphone and car stereo, thus making it possible to enjoy playlists, Pandora, audiobooks, and other audio treats.

And one of the best such gizmos is now available at a Cheapskate-exclusive discount. Through Wednesday, you can get the Accessory Genie GoGroove FlexSmart X3 Bluetooth FM Transmitter for $44.99 shipped when you apply coupon code FLEX3 at checkout. Regular price: $59.99.

Like its predecessor, the FlexSmart X2, the X3 plugs … Read more

Apple slips upcoming Radio service into latest iTunes beta

Apple's testing a new version of iTunes with its upcoming iTunes Radio service built in, and is now giving it to developers to test.

The feature was bundled inside a beta version of iTunes 11.1, which went up on Apple's developer site Monday.

iTunes Radio was introduced alongside iOS 7 at Apple's annual developer conference last month. The service lets users stream music stations for free, and with no advertising if they're a subscriber of Apple's iTunes Match service.

Initial beta versions of iOS 7 and iOS for the Apple TV already included iTunes … Read more

iHeartRadio brings talk online

Got ambitions to be the next Ryan Seacrest?

iHeartRadio, the digital arm of radio giant Clear Channel, is adding a talk-radio wing. It not only has shows from big-name personalities on Clear Channel's network of stations but also will allow aspiring talk-radio stars to record their own episodes on Spreaker and submit them to the iHeartRadio library for listeners to pick out and sandwich in between the likes of Glenn Beck and Mario Lopez.

Online radio options, dominated by Pandora, have long been a music-centric domain, perhaps because the podcast format has produced a handy facsimile of talk for … Read more

Over half of Americans still head to TV for news, poll says

Television is still your favorite way to absorb the news, according to a recent poll from Gallup.

The survey revealed that 55 percent of Americans took to their televisions to get their news fix in June. A quarter of the respondents provided no specifics on where they obtained their news from television networks, but Fox was the top vote-getter among viewers, with 8 percent news market share. CNN was close behind with 7 percent share, followed by 4 percent for local news.

The results were based on a poll of 2,048 U.S. adults conducted June 20 to June … Read more

Review: Stitcher Radio offers little more than other Podcast apps

Stitcher Radio is a sleekly designed, fun-to-use app that, despite its high production value, only offers a handful of advancements over other apps in the category. This is not a bad thing, however. Podcast apps, in general, are notoriously buggy and unresponsive while Stitcher Radio is fast, responsive, and loaded with options for how to organize your subscriptions--all of which add up to a finely made app that any podcast and radio lover should download.

Despite its claim that Stitcher Radio will revolutionize radio, the app is more or less a glorified podcast tuner. However the culture and style of … Read more

Review: Apple iTunes for Mac revamps its interface and improves performance

Apple iTunes for Mac continues doing its thing, managing and playing your media, constructing playlists, selling music, and renting movies; but the interface is always evolving.

We updated Apple iTunes for Mac via Apple's Software Update, upgrading 10.7 to 11.0.4 without any issues. A dramatically redesigned interface was apparent right off the bat. The sidebar was gone--it can be restored--and all our albums were displayed in a grid of album covers. We scrolled through our 2,231 albums, smoothly and precisely, but iTunes 10 could not handle a library of this size very well, making browsing … Read more

RadioShack tries out new concept store

RadioShack, the electronics retailer particularly popular with hobbyists, is testing out a new design for its stores.

The new look is intended to help the company buck the trend that has decimated Circuit City (RIP, at least as a physical entity) and has pained Best Buy.

In the Shack's own words: "The store aims to attract tech-hungry shoppers who will find a new level of products, service and excitement in a store that makes the buying experience fun."

How, you ask? With displays that highlight "in-demand brands" like Apple, HTC and Samsung, with arrangements that … Read more

Apple envisions an iTunes Radio with more advanced features

A future version of Apple's iTunes Radio could let you reveal why you liked or disliked a certain song in your playlist.

Published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent application called "Playlist Configuration and Preview," describes some handy ways to customize and manage your playlist of streaming songs.

Most streaming music services let you vote thumb's up or thumb's down on a certain song to gauge your musical tastes. But they don't give you the ability to explain why you voted the way you did.

The service described … Read more