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Good Bye (not a good buy) Apple Music

October 9, 2015 4 Comments

Apple Music

Apple Music

I have just been informed that my free account has been closed by Apple Music. I am not very upset to learn this news. I have enjoyed using the streaming music service for the last three months, but determined that for me it is not worth $10 a month to keep it. I already have Amazon streaming music because I am a Prime customer. It serves my needs and then some. I don’t need every song on earth in my library. I just like to have variety and ease of use, which both these systems have.  I did learn more about how to use streaming music and it now enhances my use of the Amazon system.  Here are the discoveries I made during my free subscription:

  • I like playlists with themes- I find new artists and remember old favorites by listening to playlists created by others
  • I have a wider taste in music than I thought I did- I found some country,  and hip hop artists I enjoy.  Exploring jazz and world music can lead to many exciting new tunes I find pleasurable.  Dance beats come in every flavor and size.
  • Shuffle still does it for me- I use the service for walks and workouts.  If I don’t want a certain song I skip it and go to the next selection.  The random mix keeps me interested without needing much attention from me.
  • Apple radio stations are still available to me, and they tend to be very well curated.  There are short ads, but they have to be creative and funny to keep the listener from disconnecting.  I will use the radio feature in the future.

Do you use streaming music services, gentle reader?  Have you decided to pay for any of them?  If you are a Prime member at Amazon I hope you will download the Amazon music app and enjoy your perks.

Amazon Prime Music

Amazon Prime Music

Summer Spa Evaluation, Good, Bad, and Surprising

July 22, 2015 4 Comments

mangos for chutney #foodprep

mangos for chutney

This summer I designed a home spa program for myself with an emphasis on positive change. My staycation planning evolved from the original agenda in ways I had not expected. I thought I was in a very artful groove, and needed self expression as a top priority.  I listed poetry writing and art as a daily therapy for wholeness because I know these practices do make me healthier.  For reasons not yet fully examined my poet and artist have been dormant with no interaction.  I have taken a few photos, but what I saw as my big chance to work on my creativity with words and visuals has been channeled in other directions.

I have become a food prepper in my own way.  I don’t attempt to pack or create meals for a whole week in one day as the real serious preppers on Pinterest do.  I have learned from them to make my own diet healthier by planning and using contrast.  My style of food prep involves a constant experimentation and learning new recipes.  I have been trying many salad dressings and cold soups that are new to me.  I am making a conscious effort to include anti inflammatory foods such as ginger and turmeric in my diet.  I am on a huge tea safari of new flavors and types of tea, a journey that will take a lifetime.  This summer I have given up coffee and never miss it because I drink tea, often spiked with ginger tea to keep the anti inflammation theme.  I have tried more new dishes and teas in the last two months than I did in the previous year.  I am hopping enthusiastically out of my culinary rut.  I feel good, and find great satisfaction in mastering new cuisines.  This afternoon I am making mango chutney for the first time.  I might even make an attempt at curry.  Who knows where the food muse will lead?

The most successful element of summer spa is the trend toward minimalism.   If you knew me in the past you knew one of the biggest maximalists that ever lived on earth.  I did everything with way too much over production.  I accumulated mass quantities of stuff I never used, and crammed my space with items.  I made decisions earlier that have cleaned up much of my act, and I continue to go in this direction.  Each time I have the opportunity to donate to the Big Brothers Big Sisters, who provide pick up service, I gather a big bag and leave it outside.  Each time I find things that have not been used in years and have little chance of being used.  The upgrade is fabulous.  I now own…and can find easily in my clean clear space…only things I love.  I am in no hurry to fill the space with more items, since I still have more than I really need.

My exercise routine has been enhanced by the free Apple music subscription I am enjoying. I dance around my house for 5 miles in the morning listening to Apple music.  By tracking I see that I dance at almost the same pace as I walk outside. My air conditioned house is much more comfortable now than it is outside.  The Apple library is vast, so I switch albums and playlists all the time, never listening to the same thing twice.  I don’t believe I will cover everything I want to hear in three months, but for now I am having a very good time with it. The good news is that the minimalist in me does not need that giant library and will not mind at all returning to the very big library at Amazon music.  I highly recommend that everyone take them up on the free offer just to see how much is available.  Even minimalists like free stuff.

grilling vegetables #foodprep

grilling vegetables

Apple vs Amazon Music

July 5, 2015 5 Comments

Amazon app

Amazon app

Apple has rolled out the new streaming music subscription service. They are offering it for a three month’s free trail to everyone. I decided that there is no reason not to use if for three months. I also determined right away that I would not want to pay $10 a month for this, so I have already disabled the future paid subscription.  My friend Carolyn Nicander at the Wonders of Tech blog taught me all the important things I need to know, such as turning off the subscription before I am charged.  If you are considering it, do read her informative post to help you navigate wisely.  One important point she makes is that the phone uses data minutes to stream the music when not connected to WiFi.  This could make a big difference for some people.

My iPhone 4 will not be able to upgrade to the new operating system, meaning I can not have it on my phone.  I downloaded it to my iPod touch, which I use liberally.  Since this is my second day I have only tried a couple of playlists and beats radio.  The playlists for cooking and chilling sound interesting.  I wonder how well the music for various activities will suit my own taste.  I have saved barbecue music playlist to test this idea. The playlists are curated by DJ’s and music critics and writers.  This feature will be the most interesting to me, I believe.  However, I am a happy customer of Amazon Prime.  The music service already included in my Prime membership is loaded as an app on my phone. I use it daily since I started trying it, adding new material a couple of times week to my cloud collection. I can start to delete some if I decide I have heard them too often.  My Amazon strategy is to add and then select shuffle recently added songs.  This gives me all I need in a streaming service without paying extra.  Apple service works in a similar way, giving you access to the tracks you select for your own collection .  When I quit the Apple service all the material I have chosen will be lost, so I am not bothering to download anything.  I am using this free time to discover and or remember artists and genres I like to hear. If I like them enough I can always buy their material.  I still do that.

Are you using Apple Music yet?  What are your impressions of the service?  I think it is well worth the zero dollars I will pay for it.  I am thrifty, but not cheap.  I plan to live it up for the next three months and then happily go back to my Amazon app.

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