Rdio vs. Spotify (vs. MOG, Rhapsody)

Vs    logo
I’ve spent the last month or so reviewing the premium subscription services from several music streaming services.  I tried MOG, Rhapsody, Rdio, and Spotify in that order.  I ruled out online radio only services (Pandora, Last.fm, and the upcoming iTunes Radio) as I wanted to listen to specific playlists and specific albums in their entirety.  I did skip Google All Access as one of my requirements something that runs native on iOS (not some cheesy HTML5 Web App).
Over the course of the trials, I discovered a TON of new music.  I found artists that I may have heard once or twice in the past that are now some of my favorite artists.  I tried to challenge the libraries with college tunes from 20 years ago.  I put them through the paces on iPhone, iPad, Android, Web interfaces, and downloadable PC and Mac apps. Continue reading “Rdio vs. Spotify (vs. MOG, Rhapsody)”

From host to hosting…moving from local server to hosted server

Thank you Time Warner for wasting a ton of my time and in doing so preparing me for yet another move.
So for several years and several providers (Verizon DSL, Comcast Cable, and until recently Time Warner Cable), I’ve been running a small laptop as a web host.  It runs WordPress, Mediawiki, some static pages, and some other applications that I use (like MyTinyTodo).  I’ve also used it to host FTP for large files that I couldn’t attach to an e-mail, and many many other uses. It has proved a geeks invaluable tool. I used dyndns.org to keep up with any IP changes (which has happened a total of three times in five or six years). Now my upstream traffic is tiny and is probably not even noticed. The site gets very few visitors and viewing my web stats only a few MB per day worth of traffic. It was nice to have the ability to reach my home from the public internet. Continue reading “From host to hosting…moving from local server to hosted server”

Will Comcast's (and other's) metered usage backfire?

Much ado today on the internets regarding Comcast’s trial of metered usage in Portland.
Here’s my $0.02 (and then some).
The idea behind this is to identify (and punish) the high bandwidth users. Comcast (and other broadband companies) have skated by for years on this “bucket-of-bits” concept where you buy a bucket of bits (we’ve all seen the UPTO 16MB commercials). This is a whole additional discussion which I don’t want to get into here, but in short I refer to that advertisement as fraudband.
So with this bucket-of-bits concept you pay a monthly fee for a connection and you use it as much as you want. The problem is that the *more* you use it, the *less* the provider makes for your usage. This is an upside down business model and I’ve tried to think of other companies that are incented to sell you a product that you shouldn’t use (help me out by commenting if you know of a successful business model that follows this upside down paradigm (and don’t say cell phone companies)).
Continue reading “Will Comcast's (and other's) metered usage backfire?”

How (not) to use the Internet for sales…

42015295__1247701246__1__1-0e7b254cbdb0f624c8bf1ece88d84585.__big__It must be my week to rant or at least complain about things I just don’t like on the Internet. Let me start by saying that this is the 2nd time I’ve had a similar experience, both times with car dealerships. I didn’t blog about the dealership in question last time, but it was First Team Volkswagen in Roanoke, VA. This time it was Leith Volkswagen in Raleigh, NC.
Let me start (again) with some background. People like to shop on the Internet. Many times, they are just looking for information to see what the current prices are, compare items, look at rebates or deals, do product research, etc. One particular reason they don’t visit a brick-and-mortar store is because they don’t want to deal with sales people and in some cases might not be ready to purchase something.
Continue reading “How (not) to use the Internet for sales…”

Browser Wars – I'm really digging Safari

safari512pxI have been an avid Firefox user since 1.0.  It started mostly as an excuse to use something other than IE 6.0 and was one of my first forays into the anti-Microsoft movement. Prior to that, I had used Linux for servers, and tinkering but I wasn’t doing it for posterity, just because it appealed to me and was cool. But, I started to get the negative vibe from M$FT about the time Netscape folded so Firefox was a shoe in for me. I use it and encourage everyone I know to use it rather than IE.
On my Macs I’ve been mostly happy with Firefox, but I have to admit that it is slow.  When Safari 4 came out I tried the beta and was pretty happy with it and only had a few unexplained crashes and only one of those caused me to lose some work (ironically, I was editing a WordPress entry when it crashed). I found myself using Firefox for the extensions (namely Delicious). Since the official release of Safari 4, it has become my primary browser on my Macs. The reason being speed; it is noticeably faster than Firefox. I even downloaded it on my PC so when I happen to have booted to Windoze, I run Safari.
Continue reading “Browser Wars – I'm really digging Safari”

Google Voice and the dumb pipe (AT&T/Apple/iPhone)

4232368305-voice_logo_smI got my Google Voice invite recently.  Even though I consider myself pretty tech savvy and up to date on cool betas and other Internet tools, I let this one bake for a bit before giving it a test. My first impression is that it’s a very useful tool and is yet another example of the Internet (and Google) making past and present tools and technologies commodities. In this regard, I have to express my frustration with AT&T and Apple and echo many folks before me.  I’ll get into that, but first here’s my early impression of the service and features.
For a brief introduction, Google Voice is a telephone number that is supposed to be your last and final telephone number. You set up Google Voice with your other phone numbers and then you can control how and when you accept calls from who. Sounds great, but let me provide an example which may make more sense. You set up your Google Voice number to send everyone in a “Work” or “Coworkers” group to your office phone number and your cell phone number during week days from 8am-7pm, but not your home number, but you have one particular work buddy that likes to call you on weekends so you make an exception for that individual, but only for your cell phone. You never give out your cell phone number (or any other number) and Google Voice “screens” your calls.
Continue reading “Google Voice and the dumb pipe (AT&T/Apple/iPhone)”

Blogs, Social Networking, Twitter, etc…

My boss and I were talking recently about blogs, the Internet, Social Networking (Social Media), Twitter, and the like.  He brought up some statistic about blogs that I found interesting.  That only 5% of blogs have been updated in the past 120 days (according to a New York Times blog entry from June).  He considers himself one of the early bloggers and has had a blog since the dinosaurs. He regularly updates it (at least once per week but sometimes as frequently as dozen times per month) and has many opinions about the value of bloggers and blogs in general.  I’m not going to go into that, but he can on his blog if he so chooses.
It got me to thinking about my own blog and the fact that it’s not something I update regularly. I sort of go through spurts where I’ll write blog entries a few times per week and other times where I either can’t think of a topic or I have bloggers block  I just don’t want to blog on topics that may be on my mind.
Continue reading “Blogs, Social Networking, Twitter, etc…”

Old school veterinary medicine and web2.0?

veterinary-symbolSomeone I am very close to was recently writing an article for a professional journal for veterinarian medicine. She asked me to proof read the article, but was unhappy with my recommendations and suggestions. The topic of the article was the Internet and veterinarian medicine. She presented a couple of angles on the potential uses and misuses of the Internet by veterinarians but failed to mention web2.0, social networking, social media, and viral marketing.
She asked that I help her with some changes, but when I started making suggestions she was reluctant to include my changes in her article because the audience had never heard of “web2.0” and were more concerned with the loss of prescriptions as a profit center to 1800petmeds.com.
Continue reading “Old school veterinary medicine and web2.0?”

Online book swapping, the Internet's Used Bookstore

8_bookstoreMy wife and I are planning on moving in the next few months. We’ve started to empty out the basement and have successfully gotten rid of stuff (and made money at it too) on eBay and Craig’s List. We also started going through the various book shelves in our house and deciding what to keep (i.e. pay someone to haul across the country) and what not to keep.
I’ve had a crate of used paperback and hardback books in the basement for months. When friends come over, we offer them any book in the crate that they want free of charge just to get it off our hands. We don’t have a local used bookstore so we were going to toss them if we couldn’t pass them on. We are trying to be environmentally friendly and were loathe to put the stuff in the trash so we have identified ways to recycle them (our local recycle pickup will accept paperback books and the local YMCA will take old text books and hardback books). However, even that just seemed wasteful.
Continue reading “Online book swapping, the Internet's Used Bookstore”