So, I’ve been thinking about T-Mobile’s new $50 Prepaid plan that includes unlimited talk minutes, unlimited text, and 100MB of 3G data. 100MB certainly ain’t much in today’s terms…but the kicker is that data doesn’t shut off after 100MB, it’s throttled to 2G. That’s slow, but a) it’s what the iPhone started out with, and b) it works for lots of things. Maps. Facebook updates. Foursquare checkins. Mail.
It’s an easy and inexpensive way for someone previously without a data plan to start to understand how this
always connected stuff works. For me, it’s been a profoundly different way of interacting with the world. Not always good, not always bad…but really different. And with this, it’s effectively free. Nice.
So, I find about about Songbird’s improved two-way sync the day after I get my Google Music invite! Funny that. The Songbird improvements read as pretty impressive. I’m looking for exactly what they describe; the ability to piece together my scattered music library (work, desktop, laptop, phones) into one place, and (perhaps even more importantly) eliminate the “now you have two of every song!” oopsie that seems to show up when I try syncing tools. (News flash; I don’t want two of every song).
Google Music looks good too, though…especially the feature that allows you to create playlists via the web app and push them to the device. I may keep it just for that (unless Songbird also manages to do that!)
Anyway…interesting that I went from zero to two promising options in less than 24 hours. Let’s see how that goes! (I tried [Miro 4] last week; no joy there. The sync looks pretty brain-dead. Likewise the Amazon Music App for Android.)
So, it’s been a bit since I updated my review of various streaming services; here’s where we are. I actually like Grooveshark, and I have a premium account still. But the Grooveshark service is definitely in a weird place, licensing-wise; I’m not sure right now how stable its future is. That makes me a little reluctant to standardize on it as my streaming solution. And in the meantime, Amazon and Google have both cranked up their streaming/storage/syncing options for one’s personal music library (free for now, too).
This means that I can listen any music that I personally own from anywhere; my own machines, my phone and other devices, or even a random web browser. Excellent. And that actually changes the equation a bit for me; I’m not averse to a service that can’t provide any song on demand, if I already have my own library available. Providing the price is right, of course.
So back to Last.fm. They raised the issue in February when they announced that they were going to start charging ($3/m) for mobile radio. Existing users were given a 90-day trial period, and I’ve tried to determine if it’s worth using and paying for. As of now, I think I’m going to say “yes”. Given the new availability of Google Music (technically, I’m still waiting for my invite, but I’m sure it’s coming), the combination of Google Music and Last.fm gives me a lot of functionality for three bucks a month.
I think, at least. *grin* My new plan is to wait for my Google Music account, get things synced with that, and then try out this new combo solution. And then, another review! Stay tuned…
I recently listened to an interesting episode of the CBC Spark podcast with a talk on online community and the impact of real-life death. It got me to thinking about the online communities and relationships that I find important.
The reasoning is that when one dies, your IRL friends and family may not be aware of your online relationships. In extreme circumstances this would result in your online connections never realizing what had happened to you. The suggestion in the podcast was to make sure that your family members understand what groups should be notified if something happens to you. This sounds obvious; but it’s often the case that the person’s online identity is something that’s only vaguely understood by the family (if at all). Notifying a WoW guild is probably not something they’ll think about without some instructions. All in all, a thought-provoking interview.
While I’m not as concerned with postmortem notification itself, I did like the idea of examining and classifying my online relationships. I do think it’s worthwhile to make more explicit my links to certain groups, organizations, and people. I’ll get to groups later, though; I want to start with individuals. I’ve made some real connections online over the years. These are mentors, muses, and friends, and all of them really matter to me. I like knowing what’s happening with them, and I want them to know what’s going on with me.
I’ve only met a couple of them in person (and even then, only in passing)…yet all of them are important to me. The Internet sure is weird!
You know…the smartphone gets a bit of a bad rap. It’s not all bad. It’s certainly true that it has changed how people interact today; oftentimes, if I look about when I’m on the train or in a restaurant, it seems like just a sea of people looking at tiny screens. Sometimes that’s bad. Other times…not so much. It’s a literal portal…a porthole, a window to everywhere else you currently aren’t. There are situations where one can abuse it; when one should be in the moment. But sometimes it’s a refuge, and sometimes it’s a safety valve. When you’re not in a place you really want to be, for example; having an outlet that allows you to connect with others can be really helpful.
So, I came home last night to a shipping box on the porch. I was confused; I didn’t remember anything that should be arriving. Even after I opened the box, I had no idea…there was another box inside, with a hamster with a rocket-propelled wheel on the front. Still no clue!
Once I pulled that box out, however…I noticed that there was a lithium-ion battery warning on the back. Simultaneously, I noticed some stickers and help info in the bottom of the outer box, and I finally realized: I was holding a Cr48 Chrome OS laptop!
Like most of the other geeks around, I had filled out an application to join the pilot program for the Cr48 in December. But I never thought I’d actually get one! I’m working on it right now…it’s pretty sweet, and I’m looking forward to exploring it’s nooks and crannies. The Web Store is pretty nifty, and I’m very excited to try out some Chrome extension development!
Since we’re well into the
Web 2.0 world, it seems everyone is past ready to boot up Web 3.0. There are a lot of different slants to this, but often, the gist is that next evolution of the Web will involve augmenting our current AJAX-y web goodness with a powerful network of sensors integrated into the Web.
Web of Sensors,
Semantic Sensor Web…whatever you call it, it sounds pretty cool.
But for this new model to work, you’ve got to have sensors. And ideally, lots of ‘em. If I’m really going to keep track of myself and my life, I need location data and activity data; I need quantitative and qualitative info…I need it all. And while sensors keep getting cheaper, I still don’t have them everywhere I need them.
But…I carry an uber-sensor almost everywhere I go. My cellphone. Modern smartphones (I have an Android Nexus S) have cameras, GPS sensors, accelerometers, and 3G data connections. I’m currently using an app to track my running time, distance, and location, I use my camera to photograph and record my meals, and I sync audio notes to cloud storage for backup and later review.
I’ve recently started taking my paper travel journal, and rather than trying to sync it up manually, I rip pages out (easier to write on anyway!), scribble down my thoughts, and photograph them with the phone. Sync it up to Picasa, and I can transcribe them at my leisure! It’s pretty awesome.
So while I too look forward to ubiquitous tiny sensorwebs, I’m making do now. It works great, and I’ve got more data than ever. Time to compile and analyze…
This is a big deal. This certainly isn’t the first protest/unrest/demonstration to be covered by the Internet and cable news, but this is a large, important Arab country, with ample press in the country from various important news agencies (CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, etc.) to provide coverage.
Some useful links as I find them:
I’m going to submit some stories this year, or shut the hell up about writing.
(Thanks for the push, Joe: Resolutions for Writers 2011)
I scored an invite to the
official Diaspora pod from a school buddy of mine…thanks Ziggy!
I’ve created my account, and added it to my Elsewhere list and contact info. Here’s the direct link. Feel free to say hi!