Great Services FINALLY Gaining my Attention with their Premium Offerings

annonce_premium_content

I’ve been against paying for Internet services for most of my life but have recently changed my stance.   During my school/college years when finding deals was customary, I would learn how to find music, download apps, and acquire services – all for free.

Recently, it seems that both the offerings and the prices have leveled off where I find myself saying, “Hey, that’s kind of worth it”.  Worth it for less hassle of finding and maintaining free services and products as well as peace of mind and overall better experience.  

I think certain companies are using same strategy of offering free services that will “hook” users and then later ask or offer a premium services that most consumers will be hard pressed to find a reason to say not to.

I’ve already pulled the trigger on two services: Google Play and CrashPlan.

Google Play replaced my Spotify subscription as a cheap way to stream music over the web and on mobile devices.  I wasn’t happy about moving away from other “music gathering techniques” however the price and the service are worth while.

CrashPlan is an online cloud backup service that offers peace of mind to users who wish to backup their data safely and securely.  I love it and know my data is safe from system crashes, viruses, data loss, etc.

Now I’ll turn it to three services I use today for free and love.  I’m just on the fence about paying for the premium offerings:

Evernote logo

Evernote – I use Evernote for archiving all things personal and professional.  Taking notes at work, tracking projects, clipping technical articles and so on.  Recipes, favorite articles I come across, movies I want to see, and countless other reasons.  I have over 1,500 items clipped to date and so far haven’t paid a dime.

Evernote Premium – $45 per year

  1. Offline syncing – this is the big one.  It would be great to have access to my whole trove of archives for digging through on a long flight.  With the free service the app needs to pull from the cloud which is kind of lame.  But it works great if you’re always near a cell/WiFi connection which most people are 99% of their lives.
  2. Increased upload capacity – the free service puts a cap on the total data uploaded each month, but I’ve never gotten close to it so this isn’t really critical.
  3. Note collaboration between uses – don’t care
  4. Better mobile security features – don’t care – my phone already has a passcode, no need (for me) to have an additional passcode
  5. Enhanced searching (in PDFs) – this could be nice, but not really critical
  6. Presentation features – don’t care

feedly logo

Feedly – While I’m still not fully over Google Reader shutting down, Feedly has filled in the gaps pretty well and I would say I’m fully transitioned/adapted/dedicated to using their service.  Feedly and RSS is something I use daily.  A lot.  Multiple times, every day.  It’s how I keep up with everything and stay on top of the news and current events, both mainstream and special interests.  Feedly is free (like Google Reader was) however they offer an premium package.

Feedly Pro- $45 per year

  1. Search within content – this would be nice, but I can use Google for searching on past articles 
  2. Faster updates – don’t care
  3. One-click saving – don’t care
  4. One-click to Evernote – don’t care
  5. Create custom URL – lame, don’t care
  6. 48 hour customer support – who’s really paying for support with this product?
  7. Karma supporting the Feedly team – sorry, team
  8. Participate on future product development – don’t care

short fitbit logo

Fitbit – Ah, my beloved Fitbit.  For over two years I’ve worn some type of Fitbit product, starting with The Ultra and then moving to The One.  They’re about $100 and worth every penny.  I actually lost my first “One” on a plane and immediately purchased a replacement.  They also replaced my Ultra for free when it broke, so their customer service is pretty outstanding.  Anyway, their dashboards and data services are offered for free after you purchase one of the $100 devices.  They offer a premium package which basically include more in depth reporting options, all of which are pretty slick.

Fitbit Premium – $50 per year

  1. Benchmarking – Could be cool to compare yourself (Weight, Activity, Sleep) against your peers in the Fitibit user community
  2. Enhanced food, sleep and activity reports – eh, interesting but not worth the money I don’t think
  3. Trainer – I’m skeptical on how well a “digital trainer” would work…
  4. Export – this is kind of bullshit, because where I am a fan of data exporting and user freedom, I think it’s piss poor they require you to pay to export data in CSV/XLS.  They need to offer this for free, just like Google does and just like everyone should.

Not sure if I’ll be subscribing to any of these premium services any time soon however I just thought it made sense to document the fact that for the first time web  companies are finding the solution to making money from their public user base that isn’t directly related to advertising as it was in the past.  Most of the Internet was always free for me so it’s in a way unsettling to think of the future where good services are worth their price and I’m paying for everything.  However as these things are introduced the open source community may scoop them up and begin to offer competitor services for free.  This in turn will keep the premium providers on their toes and force them to always improve their product.  Long live the free Internet.

End of an Era: Last Day for Google Reader

adele

The day has come…the last day for Google Reader.  I spent a lot of time with you and am sad to see you go.  Below is a screenshot of my last day metrics.  Since 2011 (I was active since 2008), I’ve “read” 299,987 items.  I could read 13 more to surpass 300k, but I think this metric is better left where it stands.

I’ve moved onto Feedly.  It’s just OK.

#rip #respect #rss

Last Day Google Reader

Last Day Google Reader 2 Last Day Google Reader 3

Audiobooks Are The Best & Books I Read in the Last 12 Months

audiobooks

This post should really be titled, “Books I Read Last Year” but I think it’s kind of late for 2012 posts.  ANYWAY, for approaching a decade now, I’ve kept a pretty exhaustive Amazon Wishlist of books I want to read.  The problem is I just add to the list and rarely cross one off as read.  With work and school, it’s tough to read as much as I’d like to.  Work all day, gym/run, drive home, catch up on life, cook, Internet, clean – and before I know it it’s bedtime.  And I’m not even married, have kids or own a home – I’m probably in for a surprise later in life.  There has to be a better way to read more books short of knocking out three pages as I fall asleep.

Enter: Audiobooks.  OK, so listening to books may not be for everyone, but I absolutely love it.  A weekly commute to work totaling 4-5 hours, plus about another 3-4 hours running and working out merits finishing an average book in about 2 weeks.  It’s amazing.

Few things to mention:

  • No Work – I find that audiobooks work best when I’m doing tasks that don’t involve a lot of thinking.  Like driving and running.  I have to listen to music when I work at my desk but for some reason audiobooks just don’t cut it.  I either focus on my work and miss the story or my work takes a hit as I’m overly enthralled in the story I’m listening to.  So, when you’re working, switch to music.  Save the books for when you can clear your head and get into them.  GET THIS: I actually look forward to my 6:30 AM drive to work.  I even look forward to running – if the book is good enough.
  • No Fiction – for whatever reason, I have a hard time listening to fiction.  What works best, I find, is history books and biographies.  They read like a really good NPR story.  If that makes sense.  I only tried fiction once, with Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard.  Perhaps I should try again.

So that’s it.  Sign up for an Audible account and get reading.  That’s right, I still call it reading.  Here’s a list of books I’ve read in the past few months.  For the first time ever, my “to read” list has decreased in books to read.

Author Title
Hitchens, Christopher Hitch 22
Nate Silver The Signal and The Noise
Damien Echols Life After Death
Kevin Mitnick A Ghost in the Wires
George Tenet At the Center of the Storm
deGrasse Tyson, Neil Death By Black Hole
Richards, Keith Life
Klosterman, Chuck Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs
Ambrose, Stephen E. D-Day
Fey, Tina Bossypants
McDougall, Christopher Born to Run
Pollan, Michael The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Bergen, Peter L. Manhunt*
Kaling, Mindy Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?*
Pynchon, Thomas Gravity’s Rainbow
Ferriss, Timothy The 4-Hour Body*
Hitchens, Christopher God Is Not Great
Isaacson, Walter Steve Jobs

* denotes non-audiobook reads.

The Albums I Enjoyed Listening To The Most In 2012

This is a list of the albums I found myself listening to this past year.

 

Rank Band Album
1 Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory
2 Frank Ocean Channel Orange
3
Grizzly Bear
Shields
4
Grimes
Visions
5
Hot Chip
In Our Heads
6
Tame Impala
Lonerism
7
DIIV
Oshin
8
Metz
Metz
9
Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream
10
Bat for Lashes
The Haunted Man
11 Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city
12
Divine Fits
A Thing Called Divine Fits
13
The Shins
Port of Morrow
14
John Talabot
Fin
15
Julia Holter
Ekstasis
16
Chromatics
Kill For Love
17
Killer Mike
R.A.P. Music
18 Crystal Castles III
19
Beach House
Bloom
20
Wild Nothing
Nocturne
21
Floying Lotus
Until the Quiet Comes