Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Journey into the Cloud

So a few weeks back, my computer just stopped working one night. I can't really explain how it happened- it was beginning to move really slowly, so I decided to restart it before I ran out to grab a quick dinner at McDonald's. When I came back home, I was greeting by a computer that was simply turned off. I thought that maybe I had accidentally hit "shut down" instead of "restart", so I pressed the power button and sat down to enjoy my incredibly greasy meal. To my surprise, the computer did not respond to the power being turned on. That's when I thought that maybe I just hadn't pushed the button hard enough, so I tried again. Still nothing. This was when I started to get concerned. I tried a different power source, as well as trying a different plug to see if anything would work but to no avail.

I hopped on to the family desktop to see if I could look up any possible solutions to my problem. Not being a very technical person outside of knowing out to hook up a multitude of USB ports and cleaning dust out of the fan, I didn't understand a single thing that I read. I went back to my room, tried it once more, and decided that I would just have to deal with the fact that my computer was not going to turn on anymore. From my understanding of what I had read it was possible to recover the stuff on my hard drive... I would just need the assistance of someone smarter than me. But I kept calm because most of my files (college papers I was proud of, album reviews, photos, etc) were either backed up online or on my external hard drive, and all of my music was still on my iPod. The computer was four years old and I had been looking for a replacement anyhow- so I thought that in the long run this could be a blessing in disguise.

So I went on with my life- I bought an iPod dock, busted out my old DVD player to watch things (rewatching the first season of The Simpsons reminded me of how much I love that show) while I browsed on my tiny little netbook that would freeze up if I had more than two tabs open. Things seemed like they would be looking up.

Then tragedy struck two days later. I got home from work, and threw my hoodie onto the floor because that's the sort of thing I do sometimes. A few hours later I went to work out, and I looked for my iPod so I could blast something heavy to get me pumped. That's when I discovered that my iPod, which was in my hoodie pocket, was not working. Over the last five years I've dropped my iPod on the concrete and the damage was minimal except for a few scratches, but when I toss it on the carpeted floor while blanketed in a cotton hoodie, that's when the serious damage occurs. Awesome.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I've spent the last few years building up a nice collection of music ranging from stuff I would listen to consistently, to rare b-sides that were fun to show off to other collectors, to bootlegs of shows that I had attended (or wish I had attended). I could deal with all that stuff not being backed up on my external because I had it on my iPod, but now my iPod was broken and all that stuff was gone (unless, you know, I figure out how to recover stuff from my computer's hard drive without breaking anything). I didn't know what else to do, so I just laid down and tried not to touch anything else so that I wouldn't break it. Luckily I still had a decent amount of music saved on my phone (all the stuff that I listened to on a regular basis, and maybe one or two things that I needed to review for DyingScene), and my girlfriend was nice enough to lend me her iPod. Hope was not all lost.

Flashforward to last weekend. I spent a good deal considering my options for a new computer and I finally decided that I would go with a Chromebook. I had considered it before when my desktop was still alive, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the jump into cloud computing when I still had 70-80GB of music. However, with my iPod no longer working I had nothing tying me down to something with a lot of storage space. I decided that it would be a fun experiment to try out a paid Spotify account and see if it would ever be necessary for me to go back to needing another 160GB iPod. Then I remembered Google Play Music- the app on my phone has been telling me to sign up for the last few weeks before June 30 and now that I'm using a Google-powered computer it only makes sense to go with their services.

I still haven't signed up because I want to sign up as close to June 30th as I can so that I can get the $8 a month deal that they're offering, but also be able to milk my free 30-day trial for as long as I can. I'll probably sign up tomorrow though, because I've got the next few days off and I've been hankering to listen to some Fucked Up and Lucero (two artists that, sadly, did not get saved on my phone when everything of mine died). I'm going to document my experiences jumping directly into streaming based services after spending so much time avoiding them. Right now I'm feeling slightly optimistic. I can't wait to see how I feel at the end of the month!

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