Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What you need to know about streaming your music - Pandora, Spotify and Songza

This blog has always written tech articles and blog posts about the hardware devices and software that effects our everyday lives, I wanted to shake up a little bit and write an article about music.

Many many many years ago, we used to have these businesses called record stores like Sam Goody and Virgin Mega Store that had nothing but media to sell to the consumers and when Napster and the iPhone was invented, it put the record stores out of business because why would I buy the entire CD when I only want one song? Since then mp3's have dominated the music market, but with the invention of Limewire and other file sharing systems, even digital sales are struggling to sell units today.

Now the new wave of technology brought us Pandora Radio, Pandora Radio was the first music project to integrate into our everyday lives. Pandora is a streaming music service that finds similar artist and songs to whomever you pick. You have the option of "liking" (thumbs up) or "disliking" (thumbs down) and this tell Pandora what you really want to hear. Pandora is now in smart TVs and  everyone's cell phone as the original streaming music.

Spotify is a music streaming service that allows you to make playlists that are custom to your liking. Unlike Pandora, Spotify lets you stream the entire album of any artist on their network which is very large and comprehensive. Spotify allows you to follow people and artists on for profile and also share playlists with fellow Facebook users. Spotify is great and many people's go-to streaming service because of the ability to control more of the content you like and also gives you the option to download songs with a premium subscription. If you choose the Premium subscription then you also enjoy ad-free listening and also the ability to hear any song and playlist as you like without having to have your playlist song selection shuffled.

And now Songza... The reason Songza is relevant as of late is because Songza was recently acquired by Google and will soon be incorporated into the Google Music. While Apple acquire Beats and Beats Music, I haven't got around to using that service but will post a review about it soon. Sognza is a service that will let you stream music by mood, time of day or activity you are doing, such as studying, working or working out. The playlists are created by people/DJ in the music industry and the playlists are updated weekly. This is a good feature because if you want to listen to Current Music, but specifically Club Music, there is a playlist for that, and a Happy Hour Latin Playlist... this is better for people who want to discover more music that is specifically for occasions for parties and also relaxing which Spotify requires you make or follow and Pandora will just play similar artist but mostly the artist you pick.

In closing, I use all three streaming services on my phone. the one I recommend is Songza, not because I am a Googler, but as a DJ who needs to hear and stay on top of music while discovering new music, current and old, I need a service that could help me as the radio stations have the same songs on rotation all the time. On my desktop, Spotify is my preference because the user experience is great as it really doesn't work well on mobile, except if you are just streaming your playlists. And if you have a Smart TV, Then Pandora is your go-to Streamer..... by defaut

Thanks for reading and also enjoy the Podcast!!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Tech for Everyone!!! Except for the people who pay for it! - LAUSD to furnish laptops and tablets to student

This is a blog post is usually insightful about technology, uses and up and coming topics. But I guess todays posts can be considered a rant...

LA Times, Los Angeles Time which is a newspaper because some of us forget about what that is, reports that the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) is now rolling out to students technology such as tablets and laptops through "bond" money for students learning in one of the largest school districts in the United States. This will give students in 27 high schools laptops and tablets. Previously the LAUSD furnished the students with iPads and the security and firewalls that were put in place were bypassed and deleted. Students freely browsed the internet and apps instead of what they should be doing.

Microsoft markets their Surface tablet to be used in schools and for students to use them in lieu of paper similar to how they should use a notebook. However in the real world, students are not using them as tools and also most like going to surf Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all day. I can't wait to see these teachers as they try and teach their curriculum to students and they instead of taking notes, they are taking "selfies" of them looking like they are studying however the #hashtag list is a mile long.

Glass Explorers understand that with Beta testing Glass, the society is not ready for a computer on our face, and the public is still somewhat uncomfortable, however, now their are more interest than insecurity so I think that is going in the right direction. However, giving kids tech such as tablets and computers baffle me because not only are these things affordable now, such as HP Slate and Chromebooks, but they should invest in it themselves.

And here is why...

When people give you technology, or basically anything in life, if you didn't work for it, it simply not valued. Giving kids the technology, redundant technology because most kids already have a smart phone and access to whatever they are trying to accomplish is the worst type of technology because now they have two things to carry, two things to write and double functions for everything.  The article quotes that you cant give every kid the same technology, that every kid isn't the same and probably needs different tech to fit into what his life. Not every kid is going to use the technology for this, not to mention that using technology is good in some aspects however crippling in others. Kids are going to learn more about technology and what it can do for them, which is a good thing. What they are not going to learn is the basic and fundamentals and building blocks such as focus and writing. With integrating the new technology, the effort and the learning process is going to be affected, spell check is going to run the lives of these kids and the attention span and long term memory is going to suffer and probably feeding the popcorn culture of we need everything now.

As someone who tries to Innovate the office and other things as much as I can I have learned this. Not everyone is going to get it and secondly technology is a double edge sword, it can either make you more productive or it can cripple you. What makes me laugh is the people implementing these policies are probably no smarter than the kids are that are going to use them. Before you roll out this type of technology would you think coding programming would be implemented first? Did they even consider the speed that technology updates and how fast things become obsolete, so in 3 years the tech you invest $40 Million into is not only wasted, but undesirable and unusable. Am I exaggerating? Research the release date of the original iPad, give people a ICS (Ice Cream Sandwhich) or a Google Tablet or an original Chromebook. Well let's just hope they did their homework and not just Googled the answers, well at least they will get a new toy (I mean tool).....

And don't even get me started on cheating..... No way on earth are they ready for that!!!!

What a waste of money.....

Thanks for listening.... I mean reading!!