For years now I’ve claimed to be able to easily distinguish, highly-compressed low-bitrate musical tracks from CD/lossless. Apparently not everyone can, and most people don’t care—otherwise why would 256kbps AAC and 320Mbps MP3 be start […]
Here we are, days before Christmas, and you’re thinking about last-minute stocking stuffers. I’ve got an eclectic selection of things I would want to get or give for December 25th. Some of them will demand rushing online to take advantage of last-minute shipping offers. Others require no shipping at all, like music subscription services. Confession: Some items will require a larger stocking but no wrapping.
I present the list alphabetically, and in no order of preference.
Ho. Ho. Ho. Google gives early Christmas presents this holiday, by focusing on ways that families (or roomies) can better share that which is contextually precious: music, photos, online, payments, and videos. But Big G also trails Apple, which already offers its customers many of the same benefits.
Fresh today: Google Photos Shared Albums, which applies collaborative concepts that Apps users should find familiar. “People receiving the shared album can join to add their own photos and videos, and also get notifications when new pics are added”, according to the official announcement. “You can even save photos and videos from a shared album to your Google Photos library, so that you can hold onto them even if you weren’t the one holding the camera”.
I can’t speak, nor do I comprehend, more than ten words of French. But I love this band’s music, nevertheless. At 10:45 PST this morning, Indochine streams live from Paris, and I am so down for it. Maybe I’ll Chromecast to the tellie from one device, while working on another (got lots of writing to do).
The live stream is one of the many benefits subscribing to Tidal, which now sells lossless albums, too. Oh la la. The $19.99 monthly service gets better and better. I hear the difference listening to tracks encoded with the 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec versus AAC or MP3.
Six months ago, nearly a year after cutting the cord, the Wilcox household reattached—to AT&T U-verse. At the time, my daughter was moving back home, and Cox cable comes into the room where she would reside. Given the importance of the Internet to my daily work,and not wanting the modem and WiFi access point to be in a place with limited access, we signed up for AT&T Internet service and television with it. The connection is in the main room of our apartment, where Cox can’t come without drilling and cabling the landlord won’t allow.
Before the Fall college semester started, Molly moved out to a group place near the ocean. Around the same time, U-verse started to behave badly. We had bandwidth, but some websites consistently hung or slowly loaded. Top of list: Anything Google. I would later learn that, coincidentally or perhaps not, Google Fiber courted San Diego County.
Wow, weird is my reaction to YouTube Red, which is live starting today. The experience is so different from the regular service, I am stunned. Fast-loading is the first thing, so be careful what you click—or turn off autoplay. Videos on Facebook feel like a moped racing a Lamborghini compared to YT Red.
Using this 2012 MissFender video as example: Pressing the stopwatch on my Nexus 6P at the same time I click to enter the URL, 9 seconds passes before I can start watching the vid. The time includes the auto-loading ad, how long it plays before YouTube permits me to skip, and lag caused by my own responsiveness dismissing the advert.
I can’t count how many times my relationship with Flickr nearly ended over the past decade. I subscribed in October 2005, making 10 years ago this month. For reasons I cannot guess, my oldest uploaded photo is the Pelican, on Ground Hog’s Day 2006. I shot the bird with Nikon D70 and Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens while vacationing in San Diego (where I now live) in August 2004.
I don’t have an exact date during the month, just a receipt for a Pro membership on May 6, 2006. I maintained Pro until Flickr (more or less) ended the option in May 2013. But Yahoo brought back Pro accounts in July 2015, offering perks to previous subscribers. Last month, I renewed mine for two years, for $44.95.
One word: Fantastic! That should be enough said, but one of my colleagues asked me how much OnHub costs. He bristled at $199.99, calling it too much. So, okay, let’s do a real review that explains the magic that Google and partner TP-LINK accomplish with this remarkable router. But I warn you now: Buying one, even for two C notes, isn’t easy. This thing is out of stock most everywhere, as it has been for weeks.
Simply stated: OnHub is the best router ever to anchor my home network. Beauty, simplicity, availability, and extensibility are OnHub’s defining characteristics. Sold in blue or black enclosures, the thing is gorgeous, and it feels as solid as it looks. Setup and maintenance are frightening for their ease. The usable wireless range far exceeds the Apple AirPort Extreme router that OnHub replaces in my home. The network device packs protocols and other features you won’t need now but will want later on.
On Sept. 16, 2015, Apple released iOS 9, which enables users of iPad and iPhone to disable ads. The company claims the capability improves the overall user experience. As someone covering the tech industry for more than two decades, I perceive it as something else, too: Competitive assault against Google and means of pushing publishers to iOS 9’s new News app. There is nothing friendly about Apple’s maneuver. It is aggressive and tactical. But does it really matter?
Stated simply: More than 90 percent of Google revenue comes from contextual and search-related advertising. Apple derives about the same figure from selling devices and supporting services. At the same time, mobile is the future of Internet advertising and the battleground where the two meet. The entities’ respective mobile platforms, Android and iOS, long ago put the tech titans on a collision course. Conceptually, what Apple can’t gain from iPad and iPhone sales, it can take by shaking pillars supporting its rival’s business.
Please take my money, Google. Tap the vein right here if blood is the currency you need. I am ready, willing, and over-excited. If you disappoint, I understand, though. My city is a brick wall when it comes to new commerce. It’s regulation central. So good luck to you, GF.
This afternoon I received email from the Google Fiber team that stopped my heart: “We wanted you to be among the first to hear the news. Today we announced we’re exploring bringing Fiber to San Diego”. Hell, yeah, baby. Sign me up. Which up-for-reelection-politician needs me and other native and transplanted San Diegans to be thorns in the butt? Give us more speed than we possibly need for prices we probably can’t afford.
I canceled my Tidal subscription yet again, but a day later look at returning. But when prompted on iPhone 6 Plus, I see a price increase ($25.99). What the frak? But in my laptop browser, […]
On June 29, 2015, I received email from Travelocity thanking me for creating an account. I did no such thing—or, wait, did I have an account already? Sure enough, I set up one in 2006, according to my archived emails. Why this notification now? I wrongly assumed the thank-you message was a mistake, or even a marketing ploy, to get me to sign into the account. But who remembers a password from 9 years ago? So I clicked the forgot password link and had a new one sent.
I wouldn’t understand until later that someone in Florida created a new account using my email address. But Travelocity never sent confirmation to verify that the email address was valid or belonged to the person who signed up for the service. As such, by resetting the password, I had access to someone else’s account, which, fortunately, contained no personal information (like credit card numbers). But I didn’t understand this circumstance until later, when, in a routine check of my online accounts. I discovered an itinerary for a hotel stay that had just passed.