Archive for the ‘Technology Speaks’ Category

Future of Online Music – Google Steps Into Battle

For all us who are interested in the future of music and internet radio online, there’s been a rather big development this week.  The search giant Google has just launched a new live streaming service called “All Access” – which will blend songs atht other users have uploaded.  The monthly fee will be $10 or equivilant in local currency.  It seems to be pitched directly at the users of services like Spotify and Rhapsody and perhaps the wonderful Pandora.

It looks like one of the big internet battles coming up is going to be in the supply and provision of digital music.  All the big guys are getting involved and expect to see improvements in how your music can be utilised with mobile devices.

Apple is of course a big player in this area with it’s iTunes application.  It is rumoured that they will be releasing a digital radio station this year at some point.  Also YouTube and Spotify the Swedish streaming service are also expected to be releasing updates to their existing services.

As in many sectors Google has been a little slow to enter the competition for these markets.  The computer giant though seems to have realised that it’s dominance with the “Windows Operating Systems’ is under huge threat as people change the way they use computers and other devices.

All Access will be avialble in the US this week (may 2013) and it should come with some sort of free trial (probably a 30 day one).  It is expected that Google will leverage it’s Android operating system to help push the service.  It is hoped that the service will not be restricted or blocked in different countries like Napster did when it was first released.  The annoying fact that the service was much different depending on which country you were in and worse the price varied dramatically.  So users in Europe would end up using a commercial service like this http://www.uktv-online.com/bbc-iplayer-on-the-ipad-abroad/ in order to connect to the Aussie version because it was cheaper than the European one!

Montana What No TV?

On January 3rd if you were located in South West Montana, you may have noticed that just about all the TV stations disappeared.  CBS, ABC,Fox and PBS to name but a few all them unavailable at least over direct TV signals.  It was quite a shock to me as I’m pretty much housebound at the moment and the internet, TV and books play rather a big part in my life at the moment.

The problem apparently was a fibre line which failed. These lines are used to transmit the TV signals from the various satellite networks.  The problem was described as vaguely as possible and that include the resolution date – ’we are aware of the problem and are looking at a resolution” say the companies.

In my boredom I switched to the internet and actually looked to see if I could get some of the TV channels online.  What I discovered was a relative bonanza of channels to watch, pretty much all the major stations like NBC and ABC broadcast over the web.  You can also visit a site called Hulu which rebroadcasts loads of popular shows from a variety of networks, they have a free version and a premium service.

It was then I started looking further abroad for different options. I had heard that the BBC in the UK was broadcasting a new natural history programme with David Attenborough, which was something I was desperate to see.  This is where my lucky run halted and the BBC website told me that as I wasn’t in the UK I couldn’t watch the show !!  Of course this is the internet and I know nothing is impossible so after a little searching I found this website which showed me how to watch UK Tv – the link is about ITV player but it works just the same.   All I needed was a little program that hid my location and I was able to watch other stations across the world.

I picked up some Canadian TV including the excellent History Channel with shows like Ice Pilots.  I then decided to check out some other European sites such as a channel called M6 Replay in France which is great if you’re learning French as you can watch the Simpsons dubbed.  Australia, Germany and Ireland also had lots of channels to watch online and you could switch country using the program I found called Identity Cloaker.

So I lost my TV channels but discovered a whole new world of them online. So thanks guys, and don’t rush with the repairs!

 

ipad

It has been predicted by many technology commentators that the days of traditional TV and radio are numbered.  In fact there are not many formats that will exist outside of the internet if the predictions are true.  Most radio stations already stream or broadcast their shows online, KYLT are of course no exception with a thriving internet radio presence.

In some ways this is driven by the technology that exists in listener’s homes.  After all on my desk I have a radio which is connected to the internet, it can play normal FM broadcasts or it can download and stream a radio station from anywhere in the world.  Using  the internet means that what I listen to on my radio is not dictated by it’s location.  I don’t have to listen to local broadcasts or even a programme in the country I am situated in.

The situation with television is extremely similar.  You don’t need a television to watch most TV programmes anymore.  Devices such as Xbox, Playstations or computers can all be used just like a TV set.  In my study I can watch British TV online by using a proxy server via my Ipad or computer – this is despite various internet blocks employed by some media companies to stop this practice (example- http://www.iplayerabroad.com/).

It is essential that media companies adapt and embrace these innovations if they are to survive this revolution.  If you look at something like Pandora, the incredible online Jukebox that was created from the music genome project.  If it’s only music you’re after then it’s hard to see anything compete with this site, it gives you access to literally millions of tracks for free with very minimal advertising.  The world is changing and how we listen to content is moving faster than anything.

Rural Internet – Levelling the Playing Field.

The internet is a great lifestyle enhancer for those of us living in Rural Montana. In decades gone by the joys of living off grid in a remote location came at a price – chiefly the isolation from the centers of commerce, communication and employment found in more urban areas.

With the advent and widespread adoption of broadband internet, this drawback is almost completely eliminated. Let us take shopping for example, where as previously we might have to drive an hour – or if you go back further, ride an hour! – to get to a store to make a purchase, we can now shop from the comfort of our own homesteads.

Modern communications technology has given us equal access to all sorts of consumer goods, as well as numerous merchants to choose from. No longer do we need to go to the one store selling refrigerators and blindly purchase whatever they have to offer as whatever price they demand. Now, we can thoroughly research this type of purchase, read up various refrigerator reviews, explore refrigerator prices, and select the best online retailer.

Even better, we can get these purchases shipped right to our door! While having a refrigerator delivered in the heights of a winter blizzard may still be difficult, for most of the rest of the year we can make it happen.

Of course, no one can buy goods without a medium of exchange.  Money being the natural choice! In the age of the internet there are ever more jobs moving online. These range from low paying data entry jobs, to jobs for IT professionals that pay very well.

Being able to work these jobs from anywhere in the country is great. We can enjoy the laid back ambience of our rural Montana homesteads whilst still pursuing a career – no need to relocate to the hustle and bustle of someplace like NYC just to get a job. Rural internet has really levelled the lifestyle playing field!