Social Security

This is a great Rolling Stone piece about Social Security.

[via Best of Metafilter]

Android + Cloud Music

Mobile music is mostly a wonderful experience these days thanks to streaming services like Rdio. But due to licensing issues, we're left to manually deal with small-but-crucial catalog holes — think the Beatles, Zeppelin, etc.

How to do this without resorting to weird desktop apps (like Google's service), convoluted syncing (think Amazon's service), and non-cross-platform solutions (like iCloud)?


It turns out that if you Favorite music files in the Dropbox app, the Play Music app can see and play them. Unfortunately you have to Favorite them individually (starring folders is being discussed), but for a few must-have albums it's quick. And because you're using the native music app for playback, you can also scrobble.

"an Illusion of Value"

Nick Bilton in the Times:
"'It serves the interest of the investors who can come up with whatever valuation they want when there are no revenues,' explained Paul Kedrosky, a venture investor and entrepreneur. 'Once there is no revenue, there is no science, and it all just becomes finger in the wind valuations.'" 
"When small start-ups I’ve spoken with do make money, they often find it difficult to recruit additional investment because most venture capitalists — and often the entrepreneurs they finance — are not interested in building viable long-term businesses. Rather, they’re interested in pumping up enough hype and valuation to find a quick exit through an acquisition at an eye-popping premium."


Prepaid Cellular Data

I've been experimenting with this since last summer, and have been meaning to write up my results, but Skylar beat me to it: How To Reduce Your Smartphone Bill to ~$30/month

My bill is more like ~$25/month because I don't use much (if any) "voice that's not data" at $0.10/min. And the only reason the bill is "per month" is because AT&T expires unused data after 30 days, which is preposterous.

A few other related things:
  • here's Matt's writeup
  • this Wikia site lists all the US services that provide prepaid data
  • I've tried SIP over 3G/4G and the quality just isn't quite there, so I'm sticking with AT&T's $0.10/min service until something better comes along
  • when I'm on wifi, I use GrooVeIP
Unlocked phones + prepaid data + Google Voice = FTW

Update, 2012-05-14: apparently as of 2012-04-18 AT&T has decided to couple prepaid data with a recurring monthly voice/messaging plan, effectively doubling the price for folks with usage patterns similar to mine. T-Mobile's $30 plan appears to be the next best thing.

Also, an Android and Me post rounding up our options.