Moving to the cloud – Audio

First in the series of posts where I discuss my move to the cloud, this post is all about audio services.

Music

iTunes Match – £21.99 per Year

iTunes match is a service from apple that, scans your music and makes all of the songs in your collection available in the cloud. It means that even songs ripped from CD are redownloadable and can be listen to any of the apple devices you have. For me, this was game changing, it no longer requires me rebuy all the music I have already bought on cd. It also has the added perk of up scaling my music to 320KB and adds cool stuff like album art. The only problem with this service is that it requires iTunes or an apple device to access it and it’s price.

Spotify – Free for Streaming

Spotify is a online music streaming services that has been around for a while. I know that is has been very popular for a long time, but personally for the longest time I wasn’t a fan of the service. I didn’t like that I had to install a piece of software to get it to work, I didn’t like had to pay to access music on my phone or tablet. There was also not a web interface for listening to music. However over the last year, the services has changed. The mobile apps are now free, allowing for advert based streaming on your devices. There is also a amazing web player now. It is a cool service, but I have only lately started using it. I think it is a good place to find new music and artists, now if I really like the band I end up buying the music on iTunes to keep the music offline and so I can listen on the go without internet.

Audiobooks

Audible – £15 per month for 2 books

Audible is an online audiobooks company owned and run by amazon. It is without doubt the best place online for audiobooks. I have been a member since 2009 and have over 100 books in my audio collection. It is a great service and has a tonne of choice. It is a shame however that it seems like they are the only people that are really in the audiobooks game. Other companies don’t really exists or their offer is very limited. The main problem with this service is that  it is DRMed. This means that the downloaded files can be played on any device, but first have to be verified. Audible has worked hard with it’s mobile apps, so it is a simple process to download the apps, login and download the book straight from the app. However you are limited by the number of devices you have. It also makes it hard to share your audiobooks between friends and family.

Libirvox – Free

Libribox is a service I have discussed before, which is a community lead free audiobook service. All books are read by volunteers for free and the source material is based around books are have gone out of copyright and become part the public domain. There is even a libribox iPhone app for it now.

Podcasts

Podcasts – Free

Podcasts from Apple is a free podcatcher that downloads podcasts redirectly to your apple device. It can be installed on any iOS device and the subscriptions and played can be synchronized between devices and to iTunes on your computer. It is not the best cloud solution as it locks me to apple again, but it is a small price to pay for the incredible ease of use.


Did I miss anything, let me know in the comments below.

Moving to the cloud

One of my new years resolutions in my 2013 post was a move to the cloud. When talking about it with friends, I worked out that, I had meet my original goal of moving to the cloud pretty well. I thought it might be interesting to share my experiences of moving to the cloud and the services I had used to get there.

The original ideas of moving to the cloud was to keep my computing world a simple one. However I quickly discovered that no one provider, could meet all of my needs. The only one that really came close was Google, but I found many of there services lacking and I wasn’t completely happy with giving google all of my data. It was also a move from me to be a little bit more environmentally friendly. It has never really sat well with me, leaving a computer turned on  at all times. Admittedly all of these services I discuss will most likely have a massive server farms somewhere, however at least the power used to run the farm is not only being used to host my holiday snaps but most likely something a little more worthy as well. The added perk of  moving to the cloud is availability of data. If everything is on the internet, I can then just pick up and go with all of my data. Want to show a friend some my holiday snap, just login to my dropbox account in a browser and hey presto.

So before picking services and doing the research, I had to think about what I really cared about when it came to what I wanted access to. So I thought of the areas of the my life where I stored data and where I wanted access to the data. I broke it down into the following areas.

  • Audio – Music, Audiobooks and Podcasts
  • Video – Television and Movies
  • Code – Code I use for my websites
  • Documents and Photos – Documents, work and home snaps
  • Email and News readers

Now I had the areas where I needed to stored data, I had to think about what my requirements for each service would be. So what were the basic requirements for every service I researched, which were.

  • The service must be cheap or free
  • The provider must have the backing of a massive company or have been around for at least 3 years. So that the service will not disappear over night
  • Easy to setup or access. Not hours of installing.
  • Where possible should have a mobile or web app to access data on the go.
  • Must not lock the user down to a platform or device.

So after spending soo much time doing all of the research for these services I decided to write a series of posts (originally only one posts but it got far to big) where I discuss the pitfalls and problems with moving to the cloud and the services I am currently using. So over the coming weeks, will be a 6 posts where I discuss the areas above and the services I am using.

I would love to hear your feedback as I am writing these posts and your experiences of moving to the cloud. Please feel free to posts your thoughts in the comments below.