My next computer (?)

I have long been a Mac fan.  Started back in 1988 when I bought a Mac SE with a 20 megabyte HD built in. I used the heck out of that before getting deeply engrossed in FPS games and building a string of PC clones.  I came back to the Mac fold in 2001, with an iBook, and have been there since.

His Steve-ness with the MacBook Air. But will it blend?
His Steve-ness with the MacBook Air. But will it blend?

Currently I have an aging 15″  MacBook pro.  It isn’t dying, but it is showing its age.  I did rejuvenate it with a SSD, and a second HD where the optical drive used to be. But I have been jonesing for something newer. My first encounter with a Retina MacBookPro was OK, but it wasn’t lust at first site (and a well equipped 15″ version with 16G ram, and 512G SSD is about $2,800 before buying the AppleCare extended warranty).  I looked at the 13″ version and it was ok, but not blow your socks off.

Then Apple decided to spam me for Father’s day on the new MacBook Air’s.  I guess they think my furkids should buy their daddy a MacBook Air. Suddenly the idea of a powerfull-enough, but light and long battery life machine was appealing. Yes, I would have to give up the huge HD storage (almost a TB between drives on my MBP) and a bit of speed, but I would be getting a real 10hr + battery, and a very small, light package.

I can see myself springing for a 13″ MBA, 256G SSD, and 8G ram.  Probably my next computer. And it is about 1/2 the price of the Retina MBP.  The current MBP will make a fine server and media streaming box.

Music Streaming – conclusion

TL;DR version: Spotify wins

To round out the saga, I needed to make a decision on whether to keep Google  All-Access or Spotify for my online streaming pleasure. If you recall, I signed up for a trial of the Google all access, and was comparing it to Spotify.  While I am an Apple fan, I am not sure their entry this fall into an ad sponsored offering is going to be worth my time. (Perhaps if it was free with my iTunes match subscription …) Primarily, it is because I need to use it on my windows machines as well as my Mac, my iPhone and my Android tablet. iTunes sucks donkey balls on the PC, so unless Apple does something amazing, I am discounting it without trying it.

Early on, Google All Access was plagued by the glitches that I experienced with my tunes in their database. Skips, pauses, and long halts in playing. Spotify pulled into the lead, because their dedicated application was really solid, and whatever magic they do buffering, it has almost no issues (except when my crappy work network connection flakes out).  But about 2 weeks ago, Google got their streaming act together, and it became solid. Almost as reliable as Spotify.

However, I am going to stick to my Spotify premium account, and turn off the all access.  While it is $2 cheaper, and it is better integrated with my Android tablet, the Spotify apps make the difference. A quality user experience across platforms, coupled with great streaming, and a good catalog. Spotify FTW.

Aside: One thing that I never did much of was use the radio option of spotify. I compared the radio option of Google All Access versus spotify, and I like the selections of the Spotify radio stations a wee bit better than on All Access.  Both services have holes in their catalog (due to licensing issues, I would believe), but points in All Access’s favor is that since I have all the Led Zeppelin and Paul Gilbert tracks (legally) they get in to the mix. But that isn’t enough to save its bacon.

Winner: Spotify