TagStreaming

The Cloud

Spotify. Pandora. Rdio. Beats.
Netflix. Amazon instant video. Hulu. HBO GO. WatchESPN.
Dropbox’s camera upload. Flickr auto-upload.
Podcast downloads.

As the world races towards The Cloud™ with open arms, music and movies are more often hosted there. Instead of having a song live on the device I want to hear it come out of, it’s on a server somewhere.

Streamed to me live and on-demand. Except when it’s not.

Servers go down. I ride an underground metro the entire way to work and back. Commutes and lack of connectivity gave rise to Instapaper and local media. Even in those dark days before the internet and mobile phones with the ability to reach across the world for a song or book. These are places where I can’t stream media to my device.

But they’re not the biggest deterrent to The Cloud™. Not for me. There is a bigger problem with moving everything to a distance server.

I have a 3 GB data plan.

That is the single biggest deterrent to using streaming services. If I streamed, I would hit my limit in the first few days of each month. Then I’d have to pay $10 per extra 1 GB of data after that.

Something I know well, because I had a 2 GB plan until I realized it was only $5 more per month to up it to 3GB and with all the travel I’ve done lately, I was consistently going over my 2 GB allotment.

I look at Dropbox wanting to save all of my photos and that’s a wonderful idea. Only I can’t use it until I get home to the plentiful bits provided by my WiFi.

The same goes for Flickr’s auto-upload. I’d love to be able to send every photo to the service and use the generous 1 TB of space I have there. But I can’t because it would kill my data allowance.

I’d love to watch the World Cup, stream Netflix or even enjoy one of the many music services. But I don’t even bother signing up to any of them. I have Netflix and ESPN apps on my devices at home. But never on my phone.

Beats looks interesting. I’ve never used it. Rdio looks neat. I don’t have an account. I have Spotify and Pandora accounts but I rarely use them. And when I do, it’s a Spotify link on Tumblr I want to listen to as I browse my dashboard from my laptop.

As the future moves into The Cloud™ and away from putting files on devices, I’m watching from afar and enjoying my local media. As I will continue to do until data becomes less expensive than printer ink! (I’m kidding. Nothing is more expensive than printer ink.) The capabilities of what we can do using the internet are astounding and moving forward very quickly. Unfortunately, the access to those services are being charged at a premium for mobile devices.

Home broadband is neither inexpensive not ubiquitous either. But it’s still far ahead of what I can do from my phone. Unless I want to keep paying. And paying. And paying.

Netflix Streaming’s Hidden Treasure

Ever since the launch of Netflix’s streaming movies I’ve heard complaints about the lack of new or good movies available for streaming. Sure, due to the movie studios reluctance to join the 21st Century the latest blockbusters are not available.

However, there is a huge untapped resource in Netflix. Documentaries!

Netflix’s hunger for content and the huge amount of documentaries being made and looking for an outlet are a perfect match.

I love watching documentaries. There is always something I can learn or a topic I’ve never thought about being explored in abundant detail.

Sure, documentaries may not be as interesting as watching idiots parade drunkenly on television, action movies with explosions and romantic comedies which are neither. However, there is a vast wealth of excellent documentaries available.

Here is a sample of the documentaries I’ve seen on Netflix streaming:

Dive!: Living Off America’s Waste
– Every year 96 billion pounds of food is thrown away from our nation’s grocery stores. Much of this good and trashed before its expiration date. The documentary follows the path of Los Angeles-based dumpster divers who salvage a huge amount of food for their own use and to give to those in need.

Waiting for “Superman” – Children are falling through the cracks of our education system. There are many alternative schools popping up trying to educate those lost children. This is a heart-breaking look at parents trying to make the lives of their children better through education. Sometimes succeeding and sometimes falling short.

Maxed Out – Credit card debt is a toxic snowball slowly burying its victims. It’s easy to go down the road to credit card debt but takes many years and a lot of discipline to climb back out of debt. You owe it to yourself to watch this one.

Life In A Day Remember back in June, 2010 when a call went out for video from people across the world of their life on June 24th? This movie is the result of that call for video. 4,500 hours of video were edited down to make eye-opening film about how people across the world live.

Helvetica is a movie about a typeface and Objectified is all about industrial design and are required viewing for design geeks.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated shows how the MPAA chooses ratings for movies. Or more truthfully, how secretive the entire organization is and how cloaked they are about their decisions and who chooses what all movies are rated and how. A very eye-opening look at the decision makers for every movie that the MPAA rates.

Young@Heart is a chorus of elderly performers singing modern music. This film will restore your faith in humanity and leave you laughing. I got the opportunity to see a different group perform in DC and it was a great show.

Word Wars is all about Scrabble and those people who play it at a very high level.

Nerdcore Rising follows nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot and others and delves into the culture of nerdery, gamers, bloggers, and other nerdy topics.

This should be enough to get you started on your voyage. Go forth and find what interests you. I guarantee there is a great documentary about what you’re into and you might even learn something.

Be careful because once you start watching. Netflix will recommend more and more and you’ll have a list a mile long like I do.