Category Archives: Technology

The future of music distribution IS cloud-based streaming

Those who’ve read my post called “The New Now of Music” know how I feel about the future of music. Although I’d like to believe in Sandy Pearlman’s “paradise of infinite storage” and his 5 cents ownership solution, I believe that the people will instead opt for cloud-based streaming even if that means embracing a non-ownership based model.
I have always contended that I would LOVE to pay for a music service that offered me ALL the music of the world, at HIGH quality, available ANYTIME & ANYWHERE (including the NYC subway, which has no wifi or 3G coverage).
I’ve tested some services like and Pandora and I like their music discovery features however the quality of the streams and/or the lack of caching support in their iPhone apps were deal breakers for me. I’ve had a chance to test the desktop version of Spotify (whose iPhone app does support caching) but as we all know they are not yet available in the US. As of last week I started testing out MOG. Although their 7 million strong catalog is not as ‘total’ as they like to claim and I’ve already managed to query artists or albums that aren’t available through MOG, I am fairly (not totally) happy with their streaming quality AND they are allegedly releasing their cache-supporting iPhone app later this month. At $5 or even $10 per month I could go for that until the competition (and the technology) in this field becomes such that more offerings will become available (everyone is waiting to see what the recent Lala-acquisition by Apple and their plans to offer a cloud-based iTunes version will turn into). I still think that Google might at one point sweep in strong of their technology and marketing presence, but what I am really waiting for right now is how MOG will compare to Rdio, the new (and still secret) service being launched by the founders of SkyPe. When those two do something it’s always big and so I think for now the battle will be between MOG, Rdio and Spotify (if they ever enter the US market). We shall see.
In the meantime my MOG player is streaming all sort of music at 320kbps and the discovery slider already helped me discover some new artists I didn’t know. There is of course room for improvement but right now I really just wanna see the iPhone app and keep testing this until there’s more to test.

iPhone: to buy or not to buy

Apple iPhoneThat seems to today’s biggest Shakespearean dilemma for internet/phone-dependent networkers, gear-sluts and geeks alike (whether I fit in one, two or all three of those groups of people is subject matter for a whole other post)…

I absolutely ADORE the looks and feel of the iPhone. The user interface is just so easy, so great, so fast, so friendly, so slick: in one word so Apple!

The iPhone’s appeal to me consists primarily in knowing that the synchronization with OS X (which is vital to me!) is flawless when it comes to Address Book and iCal. I actually haven’t found out whether iPhone supports the Address Book’s groups and iCal’s categories but, considering it is Apple, I am sure that you can safely assume all the data will be in sync.

Having both Wi-Fi and EDGE internet on the phone is priceless. The good thing is that if you don’t need push email and you are happy with checking your emails every once in a while when you want to, if you live in a city like NY with hotspots or open router’s signals at every corner, you could easily just have a WiFi-enabled phone and not have to worry about paying for a $20/mo unlimited data plan on top of your voice plan.

The iPhone does have all of that but has some major issues, first and foremost, locking you into having to use a provider like AT&T (notoriously bad with voice and slow with data not to mention horrible with customer service) with plans that aren’t flexible and with the HUGE disadvantage of not being able to even stick in another SIM when you really need to (I go to Europe a lot so I have SIM cards for other countries that I would not be able to use ever again if I had an iPhone).

There are several things that the Apple iPhone lacks and that are making me strongly consider buying a different product (or waiting for the next generation iPhone).

Ever since the advent of smartphones (when PDA’s and phones became one) everyone had different expectations and needs from the device of choice. I have been a proud owner of some of the most ground-breaking devices this rapidly evolving market has seen (most notably Sony Ericsson P800 and P900) but recently I found myself using a BlackBerry, which has some nice things to it but which I hate for the most part (the Mac synchronization is crappy and the life-less one-column no-scripting-supported internet is awful – they call that SSR for Small Screen Rendering, I call it SSR for So Shitty Rendering!). Everyone’s bar has been raised and my most important requirements of today are:

1. ability to synchronize at least with Mac OS X’s Address Book and the iCal calendar

2. ability to check IMAP e-mail via Wi-Fi and EDGE/UMTS

3. unlocked (or unlockable) so I can use my European SIM when traveling

4. GSM (wait… are people seriously even still considering different networks?)

5. Wi-Fi (surfing the internet faster AND not have to have a data plan unless I really want to)

6. Bluetooth

7. good battery life (everyone except SonyEricsson seems to have forgotten that all together!)

8. real internet with JavaScripting, Flash and such (as opposed to SSR!)

Believe it or not, even stopping at only two of these eight requirements, there are just a handful of devices that pass the test! I looked into all of them: P990, Nokia N95, HTC Touch, HTC 8525, HTC Dash, HTC Wing, Smasung Blackjack, LG Prada and many more… For the longest time I was looking into getting a P990, since I know that phone is rock solid and I owned its two predecessors, but unfortunately I just recently found out that the latest Symbian OS that it runs, just do not talk to Apple at all! HTC stands out among its competition for having some of the most feature-packed, slick looking and versatile devices… Talented guitarist Robbie Angelucci (who pretty much has my same requirements list) uses a Dash phone and he almost talked me into buying one… I have only one major issue with all of these HTC devices: they run on Windoze!!! I have used Microsucks Windows in the past but I have been on a Mac for years and would NEVER EVER go back (and I dare anyone who has used a Mac for more than 6 months to say they would!). Although issues with sync-ing Mac OS X and Windows Mobile 5 & 6 seem to be addressed and taken care of by, the question still remains: do I really wanna have a reliable Mac and rely on a Windows operating system for my day to day mobile connectivity and productivity? Hell no! So I am still waiting and trying to decide…

At the end of the day, it would seem that when iPhone v2 (or even just a European iPhone v1) I just might have to get one… in the meantime, if I change phone, I’ll let you know!