iTunes Preview

Last week, Apple removed the iOS App Store from iTunes. iTunes is now focused exclusively on music, movies, television, podcasts, and audiobooks. For me, it's a loss. Craig Grannell thinks Apple could have learned something from Google's approach.

Google has always been more comfortable with the internet than Apple, and in this area Apple now falls short. If I’m reading about great iOS apps or games on my PC or Mac, I can no longer quickly grab them in iTunes, and later download them to my iOS devices. There’s not even a wish-list option. I now have to send myself a link, or switch to an iOS device. (Also, some apps are device-specific, and I still can’t buy an iPad app from an iPhone, which is absurd.)

Apple should steal an idea from Google. It should be possible to buy apps directly from iTunes Preview, and choose where to send them. Better: iTunes Preview should grow to become the entire iOS App Store online, giving greater visibility to apps, and freeing browsing and buying them from the confines of iOS.

Music and Emotions

Does music affect your mood?
#music #mood

I find it fascinating how much music has an effect on my emotional state. Or perhaps music just brings out the emotions sitting below the surface. For example, when I listen to upbeat fast paced music like trance I find it easy to walk or hike long distances. I once walked around the Princeton University campus for over 1 hour taking photos in the cold while listening to my favourite driving music. The music helped me deal with the cold and in a way acted as a muse1 for my photographic creativity.

Right now and I am listening to the Sound System station on Apple's iTunes Radio. My emotions have ranged from I'm happy to be alive to "Why am I such a loser".

Classic Rock such as U22 makes me nostalgic and pensive. I normally think back to the simpler days when it was just me and Bhavna. Back then we were busy trying to make it rich and missed on many opportunities to be a young couple.

Some music, like Listen to All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande) by Major Lazer is bittersweet. I love the beat but the lyrics -- she sings about mountaintops -- with Ariana Grande make me feel melancholy. For this song, I imagined myself alone sitting on a rock at the top of the mountain shown in the post image. It's one of those pieces of music that make me feel like a loser. Why isn't my life the sort of life where I can go hiking to places like this? Looking out the window at the cold still air and dull grey sky on this January morning I was struck by how far I was from the blue-green warm water and sunny skies of Caribbean islands where I spend my youth. I think I spend too much time in nostalgic thought.

I was listening to Light It Up (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG) by Major Lazer when I wrote that sentence.

Sometimes I wish my life had background music. What sort of music would be playing? I expect I would have had a mix of music. Some upbeat and frenetic, some low, slow, and melancholy, and some for the times when I just feel .. meh. For those moments when I feel on powerful and on top of the world, I don't listen to one specific genre of music. I enjoy music from all over the spectrum, from Jazz and Classical to Reggae, Calypso and Latin, to Zydeco, Country and Punk. I also enjoy various forms of electronic dance music -- trance, dub-step, chill out, drum and bass, house, and trip-hop. I find that this kind of music has the most effect on my emotional mood. The song, This by Sander van Doorn & Oliver Heldens is energetic, maybe a bit frenetic. Great for running up a hill. While the song, Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo is more downbeat and emotionally blue. The song, Silverlined by XYconstant on the other hand is the complete opposite. It has a feeling over "this is the best moment of my life". Truthfully, tears come to my eye when I hear this song. It's not melancholy. It's a happy joy.

The song, Cheerleader by Omi makes me think of my wife and all the reasons I love her. She's my cheerleader.

All these songs are in an iTunes playlist I named Chill. Go have a listen. Tell me what do you think? What emotions did you experience listening to this music?

* * *

1. Muse, that's an interesting word that isn't directly related to music. [?](#fnref-20282-1)
2. I am so old, that U2 is now considered classic rock. [?](#fnref-20282-2)

Why I Won't Cut the Cord

We cut the cord years ago—where we live, over the air signals are good enough for the broadcast networks, and combining Netflix & Hulu Plus gave us more than enough viewing options. Even subscribing to both of those, we cut our TV bill by a little more than 80 percent. Throw in Amazon Prime, and we’re still saving money month to month.David J. Loehr

A few years ago I considered canceling the cable port of our Comcast XFINITY subscription but for a variety of reason chose not to.

We have an XFINITY bundle that includes HD cable and high-speed access to the Internet. The XFINITY TV package does not include premium content like HBO or Showtime but we do get HGTV, FoodNetwork and the SciFi channel. Mostly we watch those three channels and a number of shows on the broadcast networks. With one or two exceptions we never watch live TV, preferring to time shift via an older generation TiVo HD.

I don't remember when we cancelled our Netflix DVD subscription but it was a while ago. We bought an Apple TV and started working our way through the catalog of movies and syndicated TV shows. We don't get the latest movies but we weren't finding time to watch the DVD anyway. However, I did notice that movies we wanted to watch on DVD were released on iTunes only a short time later. To me it made sense to cancel the Netflix DVD subscription and use the money save to rent (or sometimes purchase) movies on iTunes when we had the time to watch the. However, once we switched to Netflix streaming and iTunes rentals I noticed that we were routinely over the 250GB limit of the XFINITY bandwidth cap. It seems that Comcast is not enforcing this.

Once I realized that our TV habits had changed I approached my wife about canceling the XFINITY TV service and going full streaming with Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes as our sole source of video content; all streamed via the Apple TV. I worked out a spreadsheet showing how much we would save. Our monthly spend for internet and TV is $167.18. That's $2006/year. That's quite expensive but justifiable. Here's why.

I live in an area of New Jersey that is mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia but just beyond the transmission range for the stations in those cities. That means that even though the TV networks in New York and Philadelphia are transmitting at full strength, residents of my area will not receive a usable HDTV signal. Of course Hulu is one solution to this. Another solution is an iTunes subscription to the show we want to watch. It can be expensive depending on the number of shows we want to watch.

Even if we eliminated certain shows, if we just reduced our TV watching, cutting the cable cord means I will have no access to live sports.

Formula 1 racing is my spectator sport of choice. I get an adrenaline rush watching finely tuned and superbly engineered automobiles driven around a race circuit at ridiculously high-speed. The NBC Sports Network, a cable only channel, now holds the US broadcast rights to Formula 1. If we cut the cable I would have to give this up. I am stuck subscribing to cable is I want to watch anything live on the major broadcast networks. There is no alternative. The cord remains.