So much is being said these days about screen resolution, DPIs, PPIs, High Definition, Retina Displays, etc. Aside of the marketing jargon involved here there is a trending change that is affecting on how users (our users) are seeing the web.
During the years I have come across many people that can only work listening to music. I have seen people working with any kind of music and I have to say it works well for the ones that chose to do so.
I like to work with certain music when I do certain tasks. I can’t deal with very loud or strong music while working (I know someone that likes to work listening to Swedish death metal). For me listening to music while working helps me to isolate from the surroundings. When working on an office is a good way to keep you focused on your work, sometimes I even put a headset on without music to send the message “hey, I am not listening to you right now”, this saves some distractions (but wont intimidate everyone, though).
So the point of this post is that I have been following up on two music services Spotify and Rdio and toying with the idea of joining one of them. When I lived in Samoa, it was not a choice because of bandwidth prices. Now, back to the US it looks like I would take advantage of one of these services.
I have taken the trial of both services (seven days) and started to test the Mac clients. I have used Spotify when it first came out in Europe and it hasn’t change much. When compared next to each other, there are some similarities, like suggestions or new additions to the collection. One thing that changes quite a lot is the navigation, in Rdio, you can find the play, stop, fast forward, etc. on the top of the app (it actually looks a lot like iTunes). On Spotify you find it on the down part, not sure if is because of being used to the iTunes system or mere usability, but it seems more natural to me to have the navigation on the top, also on Rdio you get on the top feedback on the song that is playing.
First thing I realized about the music collection (I have no idea which one has more tracks) is that there were more artists on Spotify that I like than on Rdio, better put. Some of the european artists that I like to listen to where not available yet on Rdio, mostly their latest albums. This is a bit of a bummer because one of the reasons to use the service is to listen to the latests additions of the groups you like. I have to say that after a few days looking for music, I have compensate a bit my first impressions and I am sort of ok now with what I get on Rdio even though I have to say that for me the selection on Spotify is still best.
Other point for me was that most of the people I know use Spotify and share Spotify links with playlists not Rdio, this is also an important point, not that I would care to share the music I listen to (I am not much of a 2.0 person on this sense) but I really like to tell friends to listen to some album or some artist as well as receiving advice from friends. Using the same service makes it obviously easier.
Audio quality is great, I have not been able to find a difference between the two of them.
Another important thing is the way you make lists on both applications. I have to say that the Rdio systems is cleaner for the way I use it. I like the idea of adding full albums or specific songs, and add the albums to my collection and songs to my lists. Also the way of creating and sharing lists is very easy. The system on Spotify works fine but it is not so user friendly.
The iPhone application. Here I hit a wall with Spotify, not their fault but mine... Problem is that I have an Spanish Spotify account and what is my surprise when I realize that since I own a US Apple Store account, I can download the client for my iPhone. Rdio application works all right, it crashes on me every once in a while (I assume is my iPhone since I have an old, rusty 3G), but still, quite some field of improvement there.
As you can assume, at this point in time my decision was made, I will stay with Rdio for the time being, wait for Spotify to launch in the US and see how it works over here. The issue is that with Spotify you need to pay for the premium service to use it outside of the country where you registered, and then I can’t use the service on the iPhone (which is half of the service already).
Well I will keep everyone updated on my experiences with Rdio, but I am loving it so far I hope the music industry don’t kill services like Spotify and Rdio. Music helps me focus, it inspires me, helps me work, relax, and laugh. For me, music are memories, I remember people, situations when I listen to music, for me it is a key way of collecting memories.
I am an avid reader. Or better put, I used to be, with modern life style you end up having too much time on the computer and not reading, at the end you only scan websites or blogs every once in a while. I am afraid a quick check in the Wikipedia doesn’t count as “reading”.
I always thought that I read a lot of blogs, but when I looked at my blog reading habits, I realized that I kept saving blogs post I found interesting on Evernote and never reading it again. I was thinking on how useful RSS are. Are there people really using them? An by using them, I mean, really reading the relevant blog posts?
I started a personal crusade in order to find the most beautiful RSS out there (if I have a pretty client, maybe I would look at my RSSs more often). On my research I found Fever, an RSS reader created by Shaun Inman. I seems that he encountered a similar problem and decided to create the “perfect” RSS reader. I have used Shaun’s Mint before and I thought it was a great tool so I decided to go ahead and purchase the RSS reader.
It is true, you have to purchase Fever, it is 30 dollars and it is a bit too geek for most people, but what it does is pretty awesome. You have to install the client on your own server, this way it gets updated without you noticing (wich is very handy). Fever has two very interesting features. First thing is that you can label your RSS in two categories, Kindling, where you put your “Must Have” RSS and Sparks where you put the rest (and as many RSS Feeds as you can, the more the better).
On this Sparks you have the best feature of Fever, it checks the posts on all your repository (and in the internet) and gives a temperature (like body temperature) the news that are relevant get higher temperature and the big news are so high that have fever. This is good because if you scan your hot sparks you can see what is very important and not miss it.
Having said this I usually dont read the posts on the Chill Pill client (natively reads Fever), I read some short posts, check out some photo blogs I like or comics, but not read the posts. For the posts I find interesting I add them to Instapaper and then I sync it on the iPad, here is where I read it, waiting at the doctor, or in the night before going to bed. I am glad that finally I found a way to read interesting blog post and keep myself up to date with all the cool stuff out there.
As a side note I also use Zinio on the iPad, since I have lived in seven countries in the last ten years I am unable to carry the piles and piles of .net Magazine, Computer Arts, National Geographic, Photoshop User and many others. With Zinio I carry it all on the iPad, isn’t that cool?
I have to confess that I am reading books on the iPad now too, I use Good Reader and it works perfectly for me.
Bye bye, paper.