Questions and Answers about Spotify

 

Do I need and Invite?

No if you want to fork over $4.99 you can join right now.  Spotify has been available in Europe, it just became available in the US. 

How much does it cost?

Premium is $9.99,  Unlimited is $4.99.  I got the Premium because it allows offline syncing to the iPhone and PC and has better bit rates. 

What sort of Music is available on Spotify?

Almost everything I could want.  They have Trombone Shorty but no Kermit Ruffins.  I just downloaded the new Foo Fighters,  Mumford and Sons and Muse.

Does Spotify Suck as much as ITunes?

No,  it uses less memory and plays songs faster.  It did crash a couple of times when I first starting using it, but I was importing a large amount of data into ITunes and on my Iphone.  I also made sure to exclude it from Virus Scanning.

Will Spotify Replace Pandora?

I don’t think so.  I will still use Pandora to find new music. 

Can Spotify play Music that has DRM?

No, You will need to un-drm it.  You can either burn to a CD and reimport or use ITunes Plus to un-drm it.  In the Itunes Store, it is under Quick Links.  It cost $0.30 a song to un-drm it and gives you a better bit quality.  This would only come up if you had bought music that is not is Spotify’s catalogue.

Will Spotify Wirelessly Sync music that you have that it does not have?

Yes, it will, unless the music has DRM.  If it does see the question above.  This has got to be one of the best features.  No more wired Sync and no need to open up Itunes to Sync

Will Spotify work in iPhone Apps like Nike Plus, Alarm Clock, ect?

No, Spotify does not use the internal Iphone Music, therefore you can not use spotify tracks with apps  Hopefully Spotify becomes really popular and this changes.

Will Spotify work with an FM modulator for your car, or a dock to a stereo system?

Yes

Are the Beatles on Spotify?

No, but the Beatles are the most money grubbing, corporate, greedy, establishment, fascist band in the entire world.  Imagine a world that when ever you mention the Beatles in conversation, you would have to pay them Royalties.  It is easy if you try.  

How does Spotify make any money?

No clue, it does seem to good to be true. 

Can I completely Replace Itunes?

Almost.  I wont use Itunes anymore to listen to music on my computer, instead I will use Spotify.  I will still need to sync some songs, like my DJay Playlists and Running Playlists to use with Apps on my Iphone. 

Can I stream it to my Apple TV or Roku?

Not yet, but I jail broke my apple tv and there seems to be some convoluted way of getting it to work.  I am hoping that Roku adds something official. 

Free Transcribed Voicemail for iPhone and Droid

http://yapinc.com/voicemail.html

One of the worst feelings in the world is to walk out of a 12-15 hour day of work and see that you have 20 voicemails on your phone.  Quite demoralizing, but years ago I found a product called phonetag which transcribed all of my voicemails for me and sent them to me as an email.  It worked extremely well and it allowed my assistant to check my messages and put out fires while I was working with clients.

I have discovered a similar service called Yap which basically does the same thing, but is free.  When I get a Voice Mail,  it is transcribed and sent to me as an email with an audio attachment of the vm in case the transcription had problems. 

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There is also an app on the iphone which shows all your messages as well.  I like this because I can see how many people have left voice messages without having to go through all my email.  After using this product I can say the transcription is about as good as phonetag’s and again the service is free.  Hard to beat that.  For now it works on the iPhone and the Droid. 

How to Flawlessly Backup Large Music and Video Files

I use a great program called Dropbox to backup all my documents and pictures which are about 50gb.  This is fine since the  maximum Dropbox  account is 100gb.  The real problem I have is backing up all of my media (Music and Video files) which total size is about 700gb.  As of now, I find it too timely and cost prohibitive to back these up to the cloud. 

All this media is kept on a  Western Digital 1 Terabyte Hard Drive.  It is small enough to easily carry with me.  In my house, I also have a Linksys Network Storage System.  It has two 1 terabyte hard drives that mirror (copy each other) each other.  Therefore if one of the drives fail, I will still have all the data on the other drive.  

My initial strategy was to keep all my media on my portable hard drive and copy everything to the Linksys Storage about once a month.  The first initial copy was easy, however it was extremely hard to copy the updated files on a schedule.  So, hard that I basically just backed everything up once a year.  

That all changed when I found SyncToy,  a free program from Microsoft that will sync two folders.  All you have to do is press a button. 

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The options are:

  • Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
  • Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
  • Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.

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Since I only download new files to the left (My Portable Drive) hard drive and not the right (Linksys Storage System),  I have it set to echo.  If I were adding Items to both drives, I would set it up to Synchronize.  There is no way to automatically set this up to sync, so I manually run it about once a week.  It took me about 3 days to do the initial sync and about 4-6 hours to run the echo. 

Virtual PC’S

I also use the program to backup my virtual pcs.  I keep demos of different software packages on virtual pcs.  They are usually between 6-10gb in size and it works perfectly as well for that.  This also makes it very easy to copy and send virtual pcs to other people in my office. 

Overload – A Process to Intake Information for the Web

I have streamlined the system that I use to gather and process information.  It meets the following criteria: 

  • Cross Platform – I want to be able to use a Windows, Mac, iPhone, Droid, iPad and have everything synced.  If I read an article on one device, it should be marked read on all of them.  If I add a source to one device,  it should be added to all.   
  • Cloud – It has to be backed up online.  It also needs to be viewable through a browser but have the option of downloading to go offline. 
  • Cheap or Free.
  • No new Programs to install on my PC.
  • Easy to add articles to Twitter and Facebook. (So people think I am smart)

 

RSS

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Most blogs and websites have an RSS Feed.  You take that feed and plug it into an RSS Reader and it tells you when the site has been updated.  So instead of going to 25 different sites a day and hoping there is new content, the RSS Reader will display all this information on one page. 

Google Reader

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I chose Google Reader as my RSS Platform because it’s the industry standard and most apps syncs to it.  It is also free and easy to use.

Outlook

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I found a great article on Life Hacker on how to hook your google reader account to Outlook.  Therefore, no new software on my PC. 

 http://lifehacker.com/#!5187172/use-google-reader-from-within-outlook

iPad / iPhone

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There is an app called Reeder available for the iPad and iPhone which syncs with google reader.  It also allows you to download content to view when you are not connected to the internet.  The iPad version is $4.99 and the iPhone is $2.99.  As soon as I add something into google reader, it automatically updates the app.  It also links to Facebook, Twitter and Instapaper. 

Flipboard

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After using RSS Readers for a couple of years I have determined that they are best for sites that update once or twice a week.  Sources that update hourly tend to drown everyone else out. 

For those sites,  I use an app on my Ipad called Flipboard.  Apple named Flipboard its app of the year,  and I have to agree.    I don’t have the words to describe it, but its rendering of articles is beautiful and simplistic.  Its also free, but it only works on the iPad and nothing else. 

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Flipboard also makes it very easy to post articles to twitter and facebook, plus lets you look at your google reader account.  It also links to Instapaper. 

Instapaper

The last piece of the puzzle is the ability to save articles to be viewed at a future time period.  There are many times that I am looking at something on my iPhone and want to be able to file it away for future reference.  To get this accomplished, I use a program called Instapaper which hooks into Flipboard and Reeder as well as the browsers on my pc and iPhone/iPad.  When I see something interesting,  I just tag it to Read Later.  The service is free. 

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Conclusion

Besides Dandy Don, the LSU sports website that had no RSS Feed, I process all other information through this method.  Before I put this system in place,  I was kind of lost in the stream of information.  In the end,  the web should make your life more efficient, not waste your time in a puddle of mass confusion. 

FitBit Update

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How does the sleep tracking work and what will I learn?

It's important that you get a good night's sleep. Recent studies have shown that sleep quality is linked to overall wellness. Have you ever wondered why you still feel tired even though you think you've gotten a full 8 hours of sleep? The Fitbit Tracker will allow to "see" what your body is actually doing at night.


When you get into bed, you slide the Fitbit Tracker onto a wristband that is provided with the Tracker. As you fall in and out of sleep, the Fitbit tracks the movements that your body makes and can tell you how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up throughout the night and the actual time you were asleep vs the time you were in bed.

Does the Fitbit accurately track calories from cycling/biking?

The Fitbit is optimized for walking, running and general household/lifestyle activities and gives you a good general 24 hour picture of your day. It's not going to be that accurate for things like biking, but the website will allow you to manually log activities, so that an estimated calorie burn for your biking can be included in your daily totals. If you are only doing the biking for an hour or so a day, the Fitbit will give you a good overview of your activities for the other 23 hours. The Fitbit is really for people to get a general sense of their day and get motivation from improvements in their general day to day trends.

http://www.fitbit.com/faq#sleep

Jodix Free Ipod Converter

I have a lot of files in the avi format that I want to watch on my iphone and ipod touch.  Most of these are DVDs that I ripped to my computer.  I need to convert them to an ipod format like mp4.  I had purchased a Xilisoft product to do this but it had expired and was not that great.  Before buying the newest version,  I downloaded Jodix Free Ipod Converter.  Its perfect.  It keeps the audio and video together and takes up few system resources.  It is also free.

iTunes is pissing me off

I love iTunes.  The minute I got an IPOD, I started using it.  It is extremely easy to use and I quickly gave up winamp.  Now, I am pissed.  I recently wiped my laptop.  I do this at least 4 times a year(probably more like 10).  I put a lot of experimental software on it and it gets bogged down.  This is pretty common(for me).  A couple years a go I got smart and partitioned my hard drive and put my documents folder with all my other user created  data on the partition.  So I reinstalled everything including iTunes and pointed everything to the My Documents folder.  When I reinstalled iTunes it wrote over my old iTunes library database with a brand new one.  I spend a lot of time setting up that library .  I backed up my data nightly, swhich saved me, but when you reinstall iTunes, it should search your hard drive for an iTunes library and ask you if you want to use that instead of overwriting it.  I have no ideal why this would be of interest to anyone but me.