Tag Archives: Google+

Google Music All-Access is Essential to My Entertainment Diet

Ever since its launch, I have been a Google Music fan. Though I rarely, if ever, buy music, I valued the service’s feature of uploading your own music to the cloud. Like many of us, I had a MP3 collection several years in the making. Utilizing Google Music and Google’s free 20,000 song uploads, I was able to take that entire collection online, easily accessed from any computer or phone.

I remember the days of limited storage space on my hardware. MP3 Players enjoyed a pretty quick rise toward having a usable amount of space, but it took a long while for hardware to meet the vastness of what I had assembled. I had to do a constant shuffle of working out songs I rarely listened to, working in songs I often listened to, and keep the whole supply updated with fresh material. Perhaps the ultimate in first world problems, but in the land of technological convenience, balancing plates on sticks like I had to do with my music was a recipe for lots of frustration.

Google Music changed all of that, for me. No longer was my music collection bound by the hardware in which I listened to it on. Some of you may have been able to hit 20,000 songs, but for me, that was an easy limit to stay below once I trimmed some excess fat. With all my music online, I stopped worrying about the tracks I had downloaded onto my phone (since my MP3 player had since been retired in the wake of owning a smartphone). As long as I had internet access, I was golden.

Google Music is still a perfect go-to option for that sort of use, but the service has since expanded to an all access subscription service. Given that I was pirating music as early as 12 (where I was one of the few kids at my school to have a CD Burner, so I became popular quick), it was a bit of a tough sell to get me to try a $7.99 a month music service ($9.99 for those who aren’t early adopters). It’s not that I mind paying for music – I have purchased tons of CDs in my lifetime. The problem rests with convenience.

For the longest time, downloading music was infinitely more convenient than purchasing it otherwise. Instead of going to the one music store in my area (unless I wanted to patron Walmart with their “will edit it for you and not tell you” policy), risking the very good chance they weren’t going to have anything for the band I wanted, and paying $12+ for a CD with only a couple good tracks, I could get exactly what I wanted at home. I was going to rip the CDs I bought anyway, so there would also be no need for that process either. Plus, no leftover piece of physical junk I am forced to keep.

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I recognize there is a lot of entitlement and selfishness in getting a product for free. However, the path of least resistance is always far more appealing than a path beset by pitfalls, traps, and frustration. As music became more and more available for download, I started doing that as much as I could, though I hated doing it. At the time, that meant buying the track from iTunes, which meant dealing with their DRM garbage. If Apple had ever taken the time to make an iTunes for Windows that didn’t move slower than a dead turtle, I might have been excited to continue using their services. They didn’t so I stopped.

I did spend some time paying for Pandora. That was more a luxury than a necessity since I had already spent years dealing with ads and limited skips, but I absolutely loved Pandora’s ability to help me discover new artists to love. I had used the original version of MP3.com for years just for the purpose of music discovery, but it was definitely a needle-in-the-haystack affair.

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When Google Music All Access debuted last year, I thought I’d give it a try. I was already using Google Music to house my MP3s, so I had the website and app installed on all of my hardware already. For the price, I thought surely a month could give me a chance to discover some new music. A month turned into nine and All Access quickly became an essential part of my entertainment diet with multiple daily uses.

It was always a matter of convenience. Google Music All Access was the first time I felt like that convenience had come around full circle. I no longer had to slog through nefarious search engines for music, risking viruses and the ire of Lord Comcast. I didn’t have to wait for a new CD to be available for public piracy and feel horrible doing it so soon after release. With few exceptions, Google Music All Access has been able to cover all of those needs, as well as give me a direct line to more complete discographies for artists I may have otherwise missed.

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So here’s the rub: you pay a monthly subscription ($7.99 if you were lucky like me, but $9.99 otherwise). You get unlimited access to listen to whatever songs you can find on the service, which is a ton. You can make playlists, favorite tracks and albums, or let Google Music do the work and make playlists for you. There are also radio stations that could be better (they are just playlists setup for specific genres/eras). Other services may be more feature rich, but I enjoy mixing my own music in with Google’s cloud offerings. That way, I can keep everything under a single roof.

I am in love, but perhaps you are in love with something else. Let me know in the comments below!

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Adventures in wi-fi with the Nexus 7

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I’ve been lingering about in the world without a tablet for a good long while now. “But Cary,” you say, “don’t you have a Kindle Fire?” Yes I do, but the Fire is not a tablet. It is lovely e-reader that should really just stick to being an e-reader. While it downloads books with ease and works great for perusing Amazon, it stinks at just about everything else.  It has a horrible web browser, an on-screen keyboard that only works in the presence of three goats sprinkled with unicorn sparkles, a clunky app store, and a processor that chugs along like that 3 mile-long train that stopped traffic the other day. With my Kindle frustrations at an all-time high, I figured that I finally needed to get with the times.

And by “get with the times” I mean “remain comfortably in the technological past with a machine that’s on the verge of being replaced by a newer model, because that’s life.”

Continue reading Adventures in wi-fi with the Nexus 7

Game Sammich Episode 24 – You don’t know Jack

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Watch us record episode 24 of Game Sammich LIVE at 6:30pm PST below. If you’d like to chat live with us while we record, head over here, or connect directly via irc to irc.mibbit.net, in the #GameSammich channel.

Sooo apparently the president of id Software – Todd Hollenshead has flown the coop after 17 years, Sony unbreaks the bricks, Ouya spreads like wildfire, and Google might get in on the console wars?  Leadwerks is doing a kickstarter to build Linux games on Linux…what a novel idea!

Bert & Errnie are back this week spreading on that buttery banter.  We’ll also be joined by a friend of the show Dan Gardner!

Meat & Perterders:

  • Deadpool
  • FFXIV Beta
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Dead Space 3
  • Moar Deadpool
  • Borderlands 2
  • Rift

As always, if you’d like to live chat, head over to our website and sign into the irc chat widget.

Video will update once we go live.

Don’t forget to check out our Green Man Gaming affiliate program!

Game Sammich Episode 21 – Do Drinking Games Count?

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Watch us record episode 21 of Game Sammich LIVE at 6:30pm PST below. If you’d like to chat live with us while we record, head over here, or connect directly via irc to irc.mibbit.net, in the #GameSammich channel.

Tonight we’ll hone in on some of the Most Anticipated Games of 2013, some more FFXIV news, Green Man Gaming, annnnd maybe a little bit of comic book content.

Game specifics:

  • The Walking Dead
  • Remember ME
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Defiance

Guest host Andy Wood from Gamers Circle Comics will be joining us.  Our “not so permanent” permanent co-host Bart is off galavanting tonight.

Video will update once we go live.  Don’t forget to go here and join the irc widget if you want to chat!