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Bose SoundTouchBose updates its SoundTouch line software

By Jim Bray
April 14, 2016

Audio giant Bose has announced a tweak to its SoundTouch line of Wi-Fi-enabled music systems, adding some extra value to an already-great product line.

According to a release by the company, the new software update adds new functionality to the "old" equation via a clock that shows up on the little OLED screen on the units' front. So the SoundTouch 20, 30 and Portable can now give you the time when you have the inclination.

Here's how Bose describes it: "It taps into the Internet, so it's always accurate and never needs setting. It automatically changes in and out of Daylight Saving Time. And the readout wanders slowly across the display to avoid long-term "burn-in." We experimented with dozens of movement variations before landing on this one—just the kind of attention to detail we believe really makes a difference."

Burn-in shouldn't be a huge problem with an OLED, as compared with a CRT or plasma, but it can happen so it's clear that Bose is thinking about the products' longevity here, and how can one fault them for that? Burn-in is a real pain in the buttocks, because it means an earlier image stays on the screen afterward, despite whatever programming may be on the screen at the time.

I remember a bad case of burn-in (as opposed to burnout!) that happened to a TV in one of the video rental stores I co-owned back in the early 1980's. We had a CRT displaying the output of a video camera aimed at the store's front door - it was a way to demo of the TV and the camera, while also acting as a security measure. We thought we were killing two stones with one bird that way (marketing and security), but we were blissfully unaware of the burn-in problem at the time. The result was that the TV became useless because the image of the store's front door burned in and refused to go away again. We basically had to eat that TV.

That was when our accountant gave us a lesson about fiscal oafishness…

The clock joins some "issue fixing" tweaks in the software update. Bose says the fixes include changing the procedure for updating its CineMate and Lifestyle home theatre systems, addressing some Wi-Fi setup issues with Android 6.0 and some problems with streaming to two or more systems via Bluetooth. They've also addressed a problem with Deezer content not playing for some users.

You do the update via the SoundTouch app, which resides on your computer or smart device and also gives you access to the content you've deemed playable on the Bose. All you have to do is open the app and click on "update now" if it comes up in the window. That's how it worked with my app, but if it doesn't work that way for you on its own, Bose advises you to visit the "Settings" menu, where you'll find the "System Settings" and "Update Software" functions.  And if the "Update Software" option is greyed out, Bose says, it means your software is up to date already.

When I tried it, it prompted me to "download update," after which my browser loaded and took me to a page on Bose' website that also included instructions for performing the procedure, though they weren't really necessary: I simply downloaded the 44 and a half megabyte file to my "downloads" folder and installed it the same way I'd install any other Windows software. It was a piece of cake.

Once that was done, the application started searching for SoundTouch devices on my network, in vain as it turned out because I don't have any such devices (I kept the SoundTouch server app installed after I returned the review samples to Bose because it's good for streaming tunes to other networked devices as well, such as my Oppo Digital Blu-ray players). But the app didn't know that and got confused.

Other than that deliberate confusing of the issue on my part, the update went fine.

And if you don't want the clock to appear, you can shut it off: Bose says you can just go to "Settings," then "Clock" in the SoundTouch app and change the selection.

Maybe Bose should have heralded this new wrinkle by playing the old Chambers Brothers song "Time has come today."

Yoga Mat-ters

I should also mention Yoga Design Lab's new - well, as of January - yoga mats that are now available for sale in Canada. The company offered me a sample of these eye-catching things when they premiered and I took them up on it not because I have any desire to become a buff Adonis at my age but because my wife does Yoga and I love her - at least as long as she doesn't make me do Yoga.

According to Yoga Design Labs' press release, "the innovative yoga brand has been shaking up the industry south of the border with yoga mats described by Harper's Bazaar and Fitness Magazine as 'stunning works of art." And isn't that exactly what you want in a Yoga mat?>

How would I know? The closest I've been to a Yoga mat was when I unpacked it and handed it to my dear wife.

Anyway, the mats were designed in Bali, by a Canadian surfer/yogi named Chad, who the company claims sold all his stuff and moved there (to Bali) in 2014 to launch the mat. Hence the "Balihoo" about the mats, I guess. "I was seated in the back of a packed yoga class while on vacation in Ubud, Bali," Chad is quoted as having said. "Looking around, all I saw was a sea of unoriginal, massed produced, solid colored mats. My thinking was, there must be a way of creating a highly functional product that was also aesthetically beautiful. So the journey began."

To make a long story not quite as long, Chad (who was apparently living in Vancouver before his Big Move) divested himself of his stuff, packed a couple bags (of what, they don't say, but I assume they're referring to clothing and toiletries) and moved to Bali with the goal of "creating a stunning line of yoga products that inspire more people to get excited about yoga."

It would take more than a pretty mat to get me excited about yoga (it would probably take a gun aimed at me!), but to each his/her/its own.

My wife says the yoga mat is softer than most she's tried, but that also means it's a bit slipperier. She said that, according to the instructions, damp hands work better and that the mat is made for "hot yoga," where you're sweating, which means I don't want to get within a kilometre of it (but that's just me). She doesn't do hot yoga, either (she's plenty hot enough already!), but she does think the mat's very pretty and she does use it all the time.

She also says it's washable, though she admitted she hasn't tried that yet. If it shrinks into a yoga handkerchief I'll let you know.

The company says the mat's construction is unique and that many Yogis (I wonder if they Yoga bare)  have commented on "how the unique construction has improved their practice and the ultra-luxurious feel helps guide them gently into the blissed out state experienced in yoga."

The mats are made from a natural tree rubber base that's bonded to a luxurious sueded microfibre surface thus, they say, solving "one of the biggest problems in yoga: slipping with sweat." Thank goodness I don't have to worry about that; I only have to worry about slipping into my pants!

For more info, check out their website at checked it out and was appalled to find that the mats sell for $88 each! I have no idea how that compares with other Yoga mats but I'm obviously not the target market here anyway, and I never will be.

But it's there if you want it - and my wife does like the mat very much, so it must be fantastic.

Copyright 2016 Jim Bray

Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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