Our Digital Music Strategy

After several years of indecision and just trying to see how the industry is unfolding, I have finally committed to a firm digital music strategy. Kalonji and I own a lot of CDs.  To date, I have not digitized them as I had not found a system that I felt would work for us.  However, this weekend, I chose to start using Amazon Cloud Player as our digital online music locker storage of choice.

Here are the requirements of what we needed:

  • lots of space
  • cheap
  • easy upload of our mp3 files
  • stream over the web or via Android device
  • playlists so we can segment according to family member
  • company stability, something that I know will be around for awhile

Why not iTunes?  ITunes is great for ripping CDs. I really like how managing music is easily done with the iTunes interface. Their iTunes in the Cloud service met all the criteria except two – no web streaming, and we can’t use it on Android devices.  Not being able to stream on Android devices is a deal-breaker. I am an Android fan gal, not an Apple one. :-) 

Why not Google Music? I, a self-proclaimed Google freak, was very excited with the launch of Google Music about a year-and-a-half ago. Google Music meets all the criteria. However, the process to upload mp3 files to the online library is horrendously slow. I could not sacrifice the time it would take to get our music library imported to the web account.  I have been waiting on the process to get better, but I have waited over a year and after trying again this weekend, it doesn’t look like it is getting any better. I also do not like their online navigation through the music library; it lacks options that are important for me. 

Google Drive? I do use G Drive extensively, and wondered if I could find convenient way to play music files stored in my account. It too meets the criteria above with the exception of playlists. Though, if I could find a player for music files in G Drive, surely the player would facilitate playlist creation. So far, no luck there either. All the options I have been exploring were insufficient in functionality.

Amazon Cloud Player to the Rescue!   Last week, I received a notice that my free cloud subscription would be ending soon, so I took this as an opportunity to check out Amazon again. I already am a heavy Kindle book user via the apps, and liked what I’d seen during my trial for the cloud service. Yet, I never committed because I was waiting around for Google. Well, I decided to wait no longer and I am enjoying adding our files to Amazon Cloud Player. Especially since not all files have to physically be uploaded.  Just a few months ago, they added a “match” feature where your files are run against their catalog and songs that are present are added w/o you having to upload the file. The upload speed for files that do need to be physically added is great and I’ve had no troubles. In just 24 hours now, I’ve ripped and uploaded around 1,000 songs. I am putting everything under my account, and then using playlists so that each of us can quickly get to our own music of choice on our individual devices. This rocks!  

Kaleya Was on TV

During the last week of August Kaleya was on television! Her school was featured in the local news for the changes that the new principal, Jahi Rohrer, is trying to make to help bring the school up.

Kaleya can be seen at 0:58, at the end of the row of students doing their morning cheer.

Though we withdrew Kaleya from the school just two days after this aired, it was still cool to see. Kalonji is President of the Parent-Teacher organization and he will still be involved with the group. However, we felt for Kaleya’s best interest that we needed to transfer her to a different school. 

TSU Has Him Now

This weekend was another exciting weekend for us. Miles has been accepted into a transportation engineering camp at Tennessee State University and this weekend was drop-off weekend. The camp lasts the entire month of June and he’ll be living on campus. The camp is for rising 10-12th graders and only has about 20 participants. We learned today that participants come from around the country, not just Nashville, so that was a pleasant surprise. See this blog post from last year to get an understanding of what the kids will be doing.

Yesterday, we dropped Miles off for camp.

luggage in hand
on the hall
Q and Kaleya will miss him!
view from his window
in front of engineering school

This is going to be a great opportunity for Miles given his interests in pursuing engineering. Enjoy Miles!

Then, after we dropped him off, we went to Sweet CeCe’s. It was my first time there, but Kalonji has taken Kaleya before. Of course, it was good. :-)

Sweet CeCe's
yes, the ice cream is good

As we were leaving though, I had a moment of shame. It took me forever to understand the significance of the anchor in this football game ad.

the anchor signifies the commodore - captain of the sea!

I should be ashamed too; as much as I like the Vanderbilt history and everything related to the Commodore!

A Crazy Seven Days

It’s been a hectic week this past week for us.  This was the last week of school and then we had a busy Memorial Day Weekend.

Kaleya at school luau
Kaleya w/ 1st grade teacher

On Saturday, I took a quick trip up north of Nashville to visit a genealogy friend. On Sunday, I met up with a group visiting the states from Spain to help one member of the group search for her family. On Monday I rested most of the day, but did various household tasks. We did however, take a quick trip out to Radnor Lake. I’d not been there before, so it was nice to just walk around some.

whoa! a deer!
beautiful Lake Radnor

Busy, busy, busy!

Saturday Outing: The Symphony & Cheekwood

Today, we did another Nashville first – our first visit to the Nashville Symphony.  For this I need to greatly thank my co-worker Frances who used her ticket credits to purchase the tickets for us to go see the Pied Piper.

inside the Symphony Hall

…but I have a confession to make – I actually did not know the full story of the Pied Piper, only knew bits and pieces.  So I didn’t know what to expect. But it was great! The conductor began the show by describing the plot, then having the orchestra play music representative of the different characters in the story so that we’d know when the characters were involved during the musical performance. I think our favorite “character” was the music for the rats; it was very appropriate.  On top of that, they had a performance group on stage acting out the story and the conductor continued to provide explanation.  I think all the kids and adults alike enjoyed it – I know our family did! :-)

Kaleya poses outside after the show is over

After the symphony, we then headed out to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. This was my second visit there, my first one having been back in September.  This time, our visit was free as Kaleya’s school was having a Family Fun Day and we could enter at no charge.

When I went in the fall, it was Kaleya and I, so I’d been wanting to take the boys to visit – this was the perfect opportunity.  We arrived at about 1:30 and spent the next couple of hours walking the grounds, playing around the ponds, and going through the museum.

by the pond
turtle peeks his head out
Miles and Jihad exploring the pond
the kids in front of the house
Miles did not really drink the water!

The exhibits in the museum changed since my last visit and one I particularly enjoyed was the Red Grooms exhibit. We have some of his artwork displayed in the library where I work – the Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. My favorite piece was cool, and I didn’t even get the name of it. You can see it at about 1:20 into the video below about Red Grooms and his wife.  Red is a Nashville native so I really should make more of an effort to learn about his artwork.

In all, we had a great day today! Tomorrow, I look forward to staying in and relaxing though. :)

Learning to Latch Hook

I am so tickled! Today, I taught Kaleya how to do latch hook.  Latch hooking was the origin of my craftiness – I learned how to do it when I was about her age and would do it for about 10 years.  My sister gave Kaleya an old rug that she’d  made, so when I saw it, I realized Kaleya was about the right age.

Kaleya holds her new latch hook kits
working the latch hook
more hook work

She got a little bored with it, but hopefully, as we make it an activity we do together, she will become more interested.

Kaleya's first WIP picture.

Great job Kaleya!