Rdio Arrives in the UK and France

Rdio

Although Rdio has yet to officially confirm the launch, the music streaming service evidently launched late yesterday in both the UK and France. Available for £4.99 for web-only streaming and £9.99 for unlimited streaming, Rdio is in direct competition with the well-entrenched likes of Spotify and Deezer.

Honestly, at the end of the day, each service boasts its respective benefits but all, regardless of personal taste, ultimately deal with an economy of music library breadth. Rdio, from my experience, offers a somewhat smaller library in comparison to Spotify but, for what it lacks in an endless library, Rdio makes up for it in novel and affable social implementation.

I highly recommend at least experimenting with Rdio. The recent redesign, social aspect, and ever-increasing selection, all contribute to a wonderful music streaming experience. Perhaps it’s not for you but, in spite of such a presumption, I tend to think it’s worth — at the very least — a cursory glance.

Spotify for iPad

Spotify for iPad

Boasting beautiful, retina-enabled cover art, a novel user interface, and powerful gestures, Spotify for iPad has just been released.

With regard to the design of the app, the user interface is immediately reminiscent of Twitter’s paneled implementation for iPad. Although many have grown tired of this often frustrating paradigm, Spotify has certainly implemented some interesting touches. Whether it’s the unique gesture-based ‘Now Playing’ screen, powerful search, or the enormous cover art, Spotify for iPad is a refreshing experience, indeed.

In recent months — as I’ve clamored for an iPad-enabled streaming client — I’ve run Spotify and Rdio in tandem. While Rdio’s app is certainly capable, I can unrestrictedly state that Spotify’s app far outdoes its competitor’s efforts. In spite of this victory, however, I fully intend to sustain my Rdio subscription for the coming months. Rdio is undoubtedly the underdog in the equation, but the underdog in this instance happens to boast an utterly compelling social element for its service. Spotify’s flimsy Facebook integration, on the other hand, prompts frequent and outspoken contempt with each launch.

Now, with both Rdio and Spotify displaying their respective tablet hands, I find myself excitedly waiting for the forthcoming competition between the two. Rdio — ever a scrappy and affable service — has plenty of work to do, whilst Spotify has extensive refinements and improvements required of its entire application line.

As I’ve remarked all-too-frequently in the past, competition is certainly not a bad thing to behold.

As an aside, just to get it out of our respective systems, everyone please let out a collective “finally,” and move on. We certainly don’t need to be sifting through mountains of self-entitled headlines this morning, thank you.

For further coverage of the app’s launch, The Guardian, MacStories, The Next Web, and The Verge have extensive information and reviews.

Cloud-Centric

iCloud

Earlier this afternoon, following a link from Mr. Pat Dryburgh, I eagerly read through Elliot Jay Stocks’ piece regarding his abandonment of a traditional hard-drive-centric computing setup for a cloud-centric model. Without delving into the specifics of Elliot’s piece, I contend that his endeavors toward such a setup are indicative of an important shift in the nature of computing.

Simply put, the notion of a cloud-centric computing setup is representative of our impending future — a future that is endlessly enticing to me.

For the better part of a year now, I’ve steadily angled toward utter reliance upon a variety of cloud services. Thanks to the rising prominence of Rdio, Spotify, and Apple’s iCloud, such an endeavor has been natural, painless, and lacking of any semblance of struggle.

Although an OWC Data Doubler cradles a 500 gigabyte hard drive in my early-2011 MacBook Pro’s DVD bay, the drive is rarely graced with activity in my day-to-day life. Instead, my workflow centers around a 40 percent full solid state drive. Only 128 gigabytes in size, the drive — when coupled with a variety of cloud services — is an adept, robust, and versatile means for my computing needs. Fundamentally small for holding swathes of media, the drive has fostered a healthy cognizance of the overarching notion of enough.

As the nature of the Mac, iOS, and commercial cloud applications stand, I’m on the cusp of unfettered confidence in transitioning toward a MacBook Air with a relatively small drive as my primary means for traditional consuming (i.e., excluding my iPhone and iPad). Despite certain outlying situations in which such a setup is riddled with impracticalities, I tend to air on the side of optimism with regard to such a model. If the timing’s right, I hope to embark upon such a lightweight setup within the next two-to-three months.

As an aside, it’s worth noting, however, that with the (purportedly) impending arrival of Retina displays for the Mac, app sizes may steadily be subject to growth. Thus, a somewhat larger drive may be required to avoid encroaching upon a safe reserve of space in the latter 50 percent of the drive.

Arguably the effort put into achieving such a setup is somewhat counterintuitive, but I cannot help but regard the cloud as the future of computing. As I’ve written in the past, I have a romantic infatuation with the prospect of a frictionless, effortless, and seamless computing environment. While I believe such a reality is rapidly coming to fruition, I am — as with many others in this community — characteristically impatient when it comes to innovation, ease of use, and productivity.

Most importantly, however, is the guiding concept of carrying less.

Less, as a concept, allows for greater agility, unhindered flexibility, and contextual impartiality. Thus, whether computing, exercising, cooking, or what have you, a central tenet of my life thus far has been the endeavor toward less.

For further intellectual stimulation on such a topic, I highly suggest you read Mr. Patrick Rhone’s phenomenal treatise on the matter, Enough.