Fun with Indian politics during #openhackindia

india politics, a set on Flickr.

Staying at the lalit ashok Bangalore which is near the BGP party headquarters. Last night there was a chief minister here supposedly resigning from politics. Total mob scene. I had to get through the line and almost got trampled by a cop but was saved by the huge hotel dude in the red turban.

Fun times!

Spotify Singapore

Information overload happens a ton these days so I tend to focus on just a few sites and/or podcasts. For information on the mobile markets – I am loving Horace over at Detailed analysis, candid commentary and the willingness to make some bets as to where things will go. Also been listening to his podcast over at 5×5 – the critical path. It is detailed stuff and worth the listen.

On to Spotify.

I had the first Apple iPod about  a week after it came out. Loved it. Ripped all my legally bought CD’s, had tons of them, and synced and enjoyed my catalog. Awesome stuff. For the time it seemed like the best option.

Then iTunes hit where I could buy CD’s online rather than physically buy them and RIP them. Sure MP3 music stealing, file downloading, was going on but I normally would buy. I just felt like I should do the right thing – pay for my music. I was not happy with the pricing models or the lack of evolution but I stuck with it. However I was making money and willing to buy my music – a lot of people only wanted to steal it – I mean download MP3s.

I went through a time of living in Thailand and not making a lot of cash. So what  happened? I largely stopped buying anything on iTunes and resorted to buying copy CD’s on the streets of Bangkok. Yes – the street. Full of stalls selling illegal shit. Even entire DVDs packed with pre-ripped MP3s so I could forgo the RIP step. It was what I could afford to be honest.

Then I got back to making a living and started pushing the buy button on iTunes quite a bit. However I must admit I was bummed that over the 4-5 years nothing had changed much. iTunes wasn’t streaming, the prices had not changed and the music was trapped on whatever hard drive I had downloaded it to. I had probably 3-4 machines plus extra hard drives full of music I had either bought, ripped or downloaded.

Listening to the new Sublime album right now. #FYI. I didn’t even know there was a new album until I saw it on Spotify what’s new.

I was mildly pleased with Apple’s latest release of iTunes that allowed me to see all the music I had purchased legally and download it. Which I did. I did not take the other option of letting it find music on my drives and get legal copies – why? Well I was figuring something better would come. I had heard about Pandora but was unable to get it to work in Singapore. Also from playing with it in the States – it still felt not like not quite what I wanted.

I still think Apple is doing the right thing and has helped me to explore, buy and listen to legally bought music. To be honest they kept me buying music – the music industry should be grateful.

Then I got an invite for Spotify. I played with it for an hour on my Mac and was hooked. New songs, old stuff and the playlists. Then I saw the pay 10 bucks and then I could sync it offline and to my iPhone. Done. I paid for the year right away. I mean in pure comparison terms it is like if I bought one real CD a month. Since I am prone to buy more than one this was like saving me money to be honest. I love saving money!

Now I search, make a playlist and sync it offline. It is essentially all you can eat music for 10 bucks a month. Sick.

I have a few nits.

I keep getting iPhone errors. Like when I search from the phone and find a CD and then want to make a playlist out of it. My app just crashes.

Or like when I download a newer version of Spotify – it wants to re-download all my lists. That’s insane. Someone fix that ASAP.

But mostly I can’t complain. I keep finding new music, making more playlists and gorging on the catalog. For 10 bucks a month.

I am legally stuffing myself on more music than I can possibly consume. Awesome.

Will Spotify kill iTunes? Some think so :

I am not sure it will kill it but it will make a dent – it has to. Problem is Apple is so strong right now maybe they won’t notice but I can assure you that I will be buying less on iTunes – maybe none at all. That has to hurt a little no?

My suggestion for Apple to remain on top?

Buy Spotify.

Apps or HTML 5 ?

I moderated a panel at adTech in Singapore a few months back – all about how the tablet is changing the game for news and media consumption. AWSJ was there and the FT – 2 papers I read at times. I rarely by the AWSJ cause I get it in the hotels or pick it up when I can – from time to time I buy it. For the FT, the pink sheet, I usually pay for the weekend edition. I try to read news less and less so I am not inundated with a constant barrage of mostly useless news and propaganda but I enjoy sitting at a coffee shop with the FT weekend – a relaxing time for me.

More and more I am using my iPad for stuff – banging this post out on it right now. At times I am experimenting with reading on it as well. Using kindle more than I thought I would and even buying some editions of Fortune Mag and such.

One of the talks at the panel centered around HTML 5 versus apps. FT has recently made a lot of noise around their HTML 5 experience around the iPad. For the most part I am impressed with the layout, navigation, speed and even some offline caching – but when it comes to ease of use around paying for a unit of data and the billing experience I would have to give it a big fat #fail.

First off I can’t just buy the FT weekend issue – this is stupid since I can walk to the paper version and buy only the weekend edition. Why am I forced to buy an annual subscription? My guess is because they don’t want to have to manage the billing for just a small amount of money but this is where not integrating with my apple iTunes account makes no sense at all. If they had made an app I would be able to just buy the weekend issue and be done with it. I would also have a nice seamless experience and not have to worry about if I cached enough data for offline reading.

What’s worse though is the form I have to enter for the subscription is so long that I mostly decided just not to bother with it. Of course the FT could complain about margins and such but seems to me they would have collected some money from me rather than no money from me.

So it is not just about apps versus HTML 5 but about ease of use, time and the billing relationship.

Apps win.

What the 4th really means…

I have been in the states for a few weeks with the awesome timing of being here when it is 4th of July. For some people it might be the parties, the fireworks, the sports or the food.

For me though it is pretty simple. Time off from work, the family and a chance to ride the machines with my brother and my dad. Amazing.

We took Mosquito Ridge road, dropped down into the reservoir and rode back out the canyon through the national forest land. Nary a car or bike around most of the time.

Give me another week like this and I might be in heaven.

Enjoy the the holiday folks.

For more info on Independence Day go here: