( #Amazon, #GoogleMusic, #Cloud )
Over the last few months, mobile music lovers have been treated to a few new innovations in accessing their personal music collections. I am going to spend a few minutes reviewing those new services.
Amazon Cloud Service
The first music cloud service that I could access (officially) on my phone was Amazon’s Music Cloud service. Amazon starts off by giving you 5 GB of free online space, but with the purchase of a cheap album, your cloud drive will be increased to 20 GB. Another good feature is any music you purchase from the service does not count against your space restriction (translation: if you buy music from Amazon they host it for free).
When I first got the service, it was snappy and worked well in my dead zone house with just the phone signal. Over the last few weeks I have experienced the service getting stuck even in good reception areas. That said, the streaming service, doesn’t seem to drain the battery too bad which is a plus. Overall Amazon’s service works well. Although I have one more minor gripe: the “download files to your computer” feature asks me to download the download app every time I want files, even though I have it installed already. Annoying. Glitches aside, I have been buying most of my music through them (screw apple!).
Google Music Service
A few weeks ago Google announced it would be offering a cloud music storage system. The difference between Amazon and Google is that you can’t buy music from Google, but you can upload up to 20,000 songs. It took about a week, but I uploaded 50 GB of music to the system which was just under 8000 songs.
The service is slick and works well on my phone. Since I have both Amazon and Google stream apps on my phone, I have found Google’s service more responsive and less buggy – which makes sense since it is their operating system. The web interface is very similar to Amazon’s but has album pictures which is nice.
The upload app that runs on your computer is a little buggy and gets stuck after a while, but I guess processing 8000 files can be excessive.
Learn more about Google’s music service here. One bad thing about the service is you have to request and invite and is not open to all Google users to start with, but it is honestly worth the wait.
Reports are coming in this morning that Appple is about to announce a cloud service as well. I could care less. I hate their draconian DRM policy and never purchase music from iTunes.
Personal Cloud: Western Digital My Book Live
The last option I am going to discuss is a personal NAS drive that you can open up on your firewall for a personal cloud. I purchased a 2 TB Western Digital My Drive for $140 bucks. I plugged it into my router and it immediately worked.
The nice thing about this little device is that is has a built in DLNA server which can feed your music and files to all of your computers, gaming systems, and phones. It would VERY well with my android phone (something I could not figure out using Windows Media Player media sharing services).
Adventurous people can cut open firewall rules so they can access their music from their phones anywhere they are. Personally, I don’t have much desire to do that since I have the other services, but the My Book drive is a really cool device to have in the house, especially if you have streaming media devices – it just works well.
Right now the Google service is impressing me the most since it can host all of my music and isn’t giving me much trouble. That said, I really like this NAS system I have set up and the combination of the two allowing me to finally sell my insane CD collection to the used stores to free up space.
( #Kindle, #Amazon )
I bought a Kindle over the weekend. I have been thinking about buying one for about two months. I went back and forth between Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), and Apple (iPad) before I just said screw it and went with the Kindle.
The reason is the e-ink. I thought it would be easier on the eyes and it is. On Friday night I bought the device at Target. I opted for the $189.00 version because it has free 3G connections for downloads and for things like Wikipedia. I thought that would come in handy. Once I turned it on, I was immediately impressed with the screen, size, and weight of the device. It is super light and small, but doesn’t feel cheap. It was very simple to connect to Amazon and once I did, I purchased and downloaded my first book which took a few seconds to download.
The book is 600 pages in paperback form and I read it in less than 24 hours. My eyes feel great. I love not having to turn pages, the Kindle remembers the last spot you read, so no more bookmarks, and it even highlights quotes people thinks are memorable (but it can be turned off). I spent the morning searching Amazon’s free selection of classic books. I downloaded a few I own in hardcover that I haven’t read in a long time. I can see impulse book shopping becoming very dangerous for me this year.
The Kindle has a built in web browser, but I didn’t mess around with it too much yet. I went to this website and it rendered well for black and white, but I wish Amazon would have a Google Reader applet for RSS feeds, but they are trying to get people to spend 2 bucks a month on their own bullshit RSS feed subscription plan, so I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.
My initial thoughts are that I am really impressed with the device, it is easy on the eyes, and I am very worried about my wallet since they make it so easy to download books.