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Spotify limits access to free services

In Web Services on April 16, 2011 by Daniel Schildt Tagged: , , , , , ,

Here’s how the changes will affect Spotify Free/Open users:

  • New Spotify users will be able to use free service as it is today for the first 6 months.
  • As of May 1st, any user who signed up to the free service on or before November 1st 2010 will be able to play each track for free up to a total of 5 times. Users who signed up after the beginning of November will see these changes applied 6 months after the time they set up their Spotify account.
  • Additionally, Spotify will limit total listening time for free users to 10 hours per month after the first 6 months. That’s equivalent to around 200 tracks or 20 albums.

Yet another sign that ads don’t pay enough to keep services open. As for network infrastructure, Spotify is heavily based on P2P technology but that does not still change that the record companies who own Spotify wouldn’t want to get money out of it. Yeah, cost of 10 € per month isn’t that bad for the amount of music but it’s just a payment for an access to music, not for the music itself. Still, considering how much concert tickets cost these days, it really isn’t that much…

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Newspapers without papers: API interfaces to the news

In Newspapers, Web Services on June 22, 2010 by Daniel Schildt

At the last post I wondered if it would be good idea that newspapers would offer full text archives of their content via API’s or something similar. Apparently I didn’t remember the fact that The New York Times and The Guardian have released their news contents via different APIs that make it possible to do variety of different things with them. Some people have already done data visualizations based on The Guardian’s data and there’s huge potential in how information can be analyzed if person just has enough skills for it. These two news providers aren’t even the only as there are 26 other news API providers in list at website of ProgrammableWeb.

Recently Tomi Ahonen wrote about how people are moving from traditional newspapers to mobile news delivered via MMS messages. It’s more about content distribution than providing interface to search and analyze various kinds of content but the main idea is still visible: people have been moving away from paper. It’s not that there wouldn’t room for magazines printed to paper; there might still be time for newspapers on papers for some time. Paper is still cheaper than iPads for quite bit of time but if digital readers become as cheap as some moderately expensive books then it will become less and less ideal to run paper via traditional printing processes.

Paid news aren’t going away but there is surely need for more options on how people can get the news they want, easily as possible. While digital distribution isn’t exactly even close to “free” (there can be quite bit of costs for larger news providers), some might save large amounts of money per magazine as traditional printing costs go away. Wholeheartedly hoping that people trained as journalists still continue what they do, even when their distribution channels will change from paper to various different electronic devices.

Future of news is in mobile reading, not in traditional computer screens. It’s not to say that there wouldn’t be huge need for information via large screens (it’s often more effective way of reading things) but more about the availability of mobile devices out there. While there are problems in data transfer of 3/4G networks, it should be noted that much of content distribution can be done with just MMS messages. It might not be even close to same interactivity but at least there are larger amount of capable devices/users compared to those who use Internet via mobile browsers.

Things are moving fast and hopefully people find new ways of communicating more effectively, whether on large screen or on other electronic devices.

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Newsreader for newspapers (minus papers)

In Newspapers, Web Development on April 20, 2010 by Daniel Schildt Tagged:

Just wondering if people would be more willing to pay for news if news organizations would allow to use some sort of API or at least made usable newsreader. User Interface that would allow people to browse news via keyboard, set up filters to show right kind of content and avoid all unrelated advertising (content-based related ads could be OK in free version; paid subscription would remove ads).

Many would pay for the news if it just would be easier to get quality news content with full text articles and quality photos, right to the well designed UI that would make it easy for people to theme it to their preferences. Cost of printing would be avoided and overall cost of distributing content could be dramatically lower compared to traditional printing process.

Started to think after reading Kyle Neath’s article What’s your focus? that talks about importance of clearly defined websites that make it easy for people to focus on the most important thing they want to do. In case of newspapers, people buy them to read news.

What if people could actually get same content but with power to customize the look and feel of it? While allowing unrestricted access to all news content in full text form might not be the best way for all companies, at least they should try to invent something new instead of just complaining about how many people don’t want to read newspapers anymore.

I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be any room for printed media, just that it would be reasonable to offer good digital alternative that could be used, instead of just read.

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Adjusting OS X for development

In Software on April 4, 2010 by Daniel Schildt Tagged: , , , ,

How to make OS X feel more useful as development platform?
Here are some things what I did.

Package management

Mistakenly installed MacPorts first and realized that things could be easier with something else. Moment after realizing that, found instructions for installing Homebrew, lightweight package manager for command line. More about it on Engine Yard’s blog post Homebrew: OS X’s Missing Package Manager.

Git

Already had previously installed Git (instructions for installing). Basic tips for using Git and more details about setting things to work with GitHub. It’s needed for getting latest changes to the my dotfiles so I could pull changes to more than one computer from single location.

dotfiles

Having previously found nice command line config files made by Todd Werth, I adjusted them to fit my system better. Current state of my version of dotfiles can be seen at github.com/d2s/dotfiles. dotfiles includes whole bunch of things to make vim more usable besides of all other adjustments for general command line usage.

There is also link script but be totally careful with it because it can remove your command line settings if you don’t remember to back up them first. Have to think of better way to make initial adjustments to avoid problems with it…

Terminal colours

Werth has also created a black OS X Leopard Terminal theme that is actually readable. Installed SIMBL first.

After that, it was turn to install TerminalColors. But to actually make it work on Snow Leopard, I had to install modified version of TerminalColors that had been updated to support 64-bit version of Terminal.

After installing both of them, I went back to InfiniteRed’s theme page and downloaded theme file. After downloading, just clicked it to install. Had to click Default-button to make colour sheme to… well, default.

Original font settings didn’t look so nice so adjusted it to Monaco 12 pt.

Color theme for Espresso

Text editors are nice so I thought it would be good thing to make them feel nicer. There is version of IR_Black theme for Espresso. How to install it? Download latest version of theme from GitHub. Go to Settings, click Colors tab and from there click button Reveal in Finder. Put IR_Black.css to directory and set it as Active Theme (might have to restart before seeing it in the menu). Installed also Inconsolata-dz font to make things look better (used font size 12pt ).

Colour theme for Xcode

There is also version of the aforementioned color theme for Xcode so why not try installing it too. As with Espresso, I used Inconsolata-dz also with Xcode.

More

I’m still wondering if there would be any benefit from installing new version of Ruby and if installing it via Homebrew would work. There is also option of manually installing Ruby, RubyGems, etc. but I probably won’t go that way at least now. Haven’t tested much of RubyGems yet so not still sure if preinstalled Ruby of OS X is good enough.

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Moving between Mac and Linux

In Software on September 19, 2009 by Daniel Schildt Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Found interesting post about Moving From Mac to Ubuntu. Had to read all of the comments besides the writeup since there was quite bit of interesting conversation in between.

I have been using computers for most of my life and gone from MS-DOS to Windows 3.11 to Win95 to Win98 to Win2000 to Debian Linux while also using different Macs in the same time (not at home since I didn’t have enough money for Apple hardware).

Used Apple OS 8 and 9 before starting to find more of OS 10.3 or .4 installed at computers. Wouldn’t say I know too much about low-level details of different operating systems, but I have surely read quite bit of documentation and been using them for various tasks from plain old gaming to graphic design to server administration.

I like Apple’s user interfaces (mostly consistent usability requirements help to create better combination for users) but have experienced more problems than I would have wanted to. Yet, while I have seen wide array of “interesting” error code numbers in screens of Mac computers, I have mostly been liking the use of Macs. Sadly there aren’t that much of good/stable alternatives for Photoshop (+some other software) as it’s one of the main reasons I’m using OS X.

Having experienced good and bad sides of more than few operating systems I find myself going to the mix of both Mac OS X and Linux, running on different computers. Macs are good for graphic design and digital photography (RAW image processing, retouching, etc.) and UI is mostly reasonable for daily usage. Linux (recently mostly different flavors of Ubuntu) has it’s own kind of problems but package management feels more powerful than with OS X.

Anyway, both systems have their uses. I’m just not trying to do everything with one tool anymore. Use what works for you, even if it’s more than one tool. (Some developers of Microsoft Windows actually use Linux as their main development environment as it’s more suitable for large scale software development than the Windows environment itself.)

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Change in the wind

In Web Development, WordPress on October 7, 2008 by Daniel Schildt

I haven’t been exactly that active writing this blog but hoping to get more active at that. Anyways, though that it would be good to update visual theme of the blog to get more clear view of content. New visual theme of this blog is called White as Milk by Azeem Azeez (used to use DePo Masthead theme before that was done by Derek Powazek and Noel Jackson).

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Posterous makes it easier

In Web Services on October 6, 2008 by Daniel Schildt Tagged:

Yes, there really is way to do things better. I just hope that Posterous will make me to write and publish more content now that it’s quite easy as writing email.

Life is worth much more than just money.

Yes, and now I feel nice after getting things done faster.
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