(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit, July 20, 2011)
Our daughters spent the past week at the Tanglewood Girl Scout Camp (no word on any Ty Pennington sightings). They’ve saved some money over the summer, so my wife told them it was OK to buy a little something at the camp store. They brought home this really interesting gadget. It is made of clear plastic. You could see all the little the gears and sprockets inside. Immediately we recognized it as an old fashioned, disposable camera. To them it was magic. “Can you really take a picture with it?” asks my daughter.
“You sure can. Just point and press the button.” She lines up the picture. You hear the click of the shutter, and then,
“Mommy, I can’t see the picture.”
“Yes, that’s right sweetie. You have to take it to the store, and they will make pictures for you.”
My other daughter then decides it’s time to climb up the inside of the door frame. “Hey, everybody, watch this! Take a picture!”
Click. Click. Click. Click.
My turn now. “Hold on! Slow down. Do you see these numbers? You only have 24 pictures, and then you have to get a new camera.”
One of the big tech news items this week is the debut of Spotify in the United States. Spotify is streaming music service that has been available in Europe for several years and boasts over 15 million songs in its catalog. The Spotify service allows users to select individual tracks and play instantly. Users can also build and share playlists with others through integration with Facebook, or through one of many Spotify playlist sharing sites (Google “spotify playlist”). The free version of Spotify is by invitation only, limits users to 10 hours per month and contains advertising interruptions. For $5/month, users don’t have to wait for an invite, and the restrictions are removed. For $10/month, downloads to mobile device and offline play is enabled. I like to listen to a wide variety of music, and I’ve had to shy away from iTunes because the per track purchasing gets too expensive. Spotify is a great fit for folks that want to control their playlist but don’t feel the need to own every track.
The other huge Augusta tech news item is that I now am on Google+. The one thing I really like about Google+ is the Circles concept. Facebook’s big drawback has always been the all-or-nothing way in which you share information with friends. Yes, I know you can create groups and you can limit the data you share with groups, but I’ve not seen anything in Facebook that approaches the simplicity of Google+ in managing and sharing information. It doesn’t yet have all the features of Facebook, but I think that discounting Google+ at this point would be a mistake.
I received access to Google+ after another Google+ member sent me an invite. If you are still on the waiting list, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you an invite. Also, I have one Spotify invitation for free service that I would be willing to give to a reader if they could convince me they deserve it.
Follow me on Twitter @gregory_a_baker.