February 2009 Archives

Lent 2009 - Facebook

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In the last few years I've given up a variety of things for Lent - chocolate, caffeine (which was really hard), and so on. I've been 100% successful in resisting temptation too, which is a small thing to be proud of. None of it has been for religious reasons, mostly just to see if I could last it out. This year I decided to try something different. I've lost a fair amount of weight in recent months, so giving up a food type wasn't really worth the bother, so I decided to go with a friend's suggestion of giving up facebook for forty days and forty nights.

Hopefully, it'll prove to be an interesting experiment. My current thinking is that in the end I'll have a few messages from people in the first few days, which will peter out as I won't be actively replying, posting or commenting on anything. I'll also get a few pokes from people I regularly swap pokes with (though I'm not expecting any new ones), and a few spam application and group invites spread throughout the period (which I almost universally block anyway). Hopefully I won't get any interesting event invites and miss out on a good party! I might possibly get one or two friend invites too. I guess I'll find out on 12th April. I'll post here with the results of the experiment.

Interestingly (to me), although I won't be logging into my account, I'll still have an influence on it. This blog post and any others I make in the fasting period will be imported into my profile, along with any Xbox Live achievements I gain in the meantime. It just goes to show how connected our online lives are these days.


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I've been flirting with music streaming systems for a while now, most notably Pandora, but none have really been what I'm looking for. Pandora runs in your web browser and attempts to create a radio station of music that is similar to a song or artist that you like. It's an interesting project, but lacks the control I would prefer - I sometimes want to listen to particular tracks, not a random selection of similar tunes. The nail in the coffin with Pandora for me though, is that it isn't available outside the US any more. I can use a US based proxy server to get around the restriction, but that's another barrier to entry.

I was recently introduced to Spotify, a free, legal music streaming system. You simply register at the website, download and install the application, then you can search for and listen to pretty much anything you like. It's incredibly responsive, finding tracks very quickly and seems to have nearly everything I've tried searching for (apart from the bands that don't appear anywhere else - The Beatles, etc). The user interface is minimal and simple to use too. I've been using it for a few days now and haven't noticed any dropped connections whilst streaming music.

On the downside, sound quality is average, though it's good enough for the light headphones I use in work. Also you have to listen to a short audio advert every few tracks (one every half an hour or so I reckon), with an option to pay a subscription (GBP 9.99 per month) if you don't want this. The ads are distracting if you're trying to listen to an album in full, but it's a price I'm willing to pay given the value of the service.

Overall, this is a great service. I hope their business model is profitable enough to survive.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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