Ok, how did this happen? Dropbox, iCloud, Amazon Cloud, OneDrive, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, Evernote, OneNote – talk about over kill and duplication. Time to pare down the services. But which go? Well, it becomes a tradeoff between price and usability and features. Let’s break it down – remembering that I’m pretty firmly in the Apple ecosystem.
Storage – you have to backup. I do that locally with an Apple TimeCapsule. Advantage: it is seamless with Macs. As in seamless – I don’t have to think about anything. Disadvantage: none, as long as the drive doesn’t go tits-up. Which it will at some point. Just a question of when.
Which brings me to cloud backup. Great for redundancy and access across devices/platforms. Dropbox is probably the best of the bunch for being agnostic but you have to step up to 1TB @ $9.99/mo to get useful storage. Turns out I really only have about 50GB that I need to be accessible/shared. Hmmm. I purchased the year of Amazon cloud for $60 and that is unlimited. Which is great. But it is clunky, with no sync and a fairly abysmal integration (i.e. none). It will get better, but for now it really is only good for bulk backup. So that will be the cloud backup of the local backup.
For cross platform, Dropbox wins but I’m tired of paying for storage I’m not using. Would love to use iCloud but it is hopelessly crippled/limited. You finally can store non-iWork files but it is far from seamless for sharing, etc. Fail. I had to upgrade from the free as my backups were pushing that but at $0.99/mo for 50GB – that works and is cheap for iOS backup and photos (which is seamless). Which brings me (back) to Google Drive. Some months back I purged myself of most all things Google as I got tired of being a revenue generator for them. But the reality is that I’m generating revenue for someone no matter what, and “privacy” is a thing of the past. Unless I want to go to great lengths to try and be electronically anonymous (Tor, etc), it is pretty much just different flavors of various poisons. Drive has good integration and sharing, and many friends/colleagues use it. Plus you can get 100GB for $1.99/mo, and that is the right amount of storage for my shared digital crap. So back to Google it is (I never stopped using google news – it still is my favorite aggregator, though Flipboard is useful as well). Transferring files as I type, Dropbox gets kicked to the curb.
And then to music. I’ve been paying $20/mo to Tidal to get hi-def audio streaming. I can hear the difference most of the time. But some tracks go missing, and it is twice the price of other music services. I’m on the 3 month free trial for Apple Music and I’m…unimpressed. Yes, the music is there, but the iOS app is stupid (it loves to repeat single tracks rather than playing an album) and clunky. Plus I don’t care about Taylor Swift. I had Google Play back in the day and it was pretty basic. But with the advent of Youtube Red, the game has changed. I end up watching a lot of youtube for reference (either learning old songs or research, etc). Ads suck. Red kills that. Plus you get Play music on top of it. So it comes down to:
$20/mo for Tidal – hi def audio, some stuff missing
$10/mo for Apple Music (actually we have the family for $15/mo but that’s another calculation) – lower def, not great UX
$10/mo for YT Red/Play – lower def music, decent UX, no adds on youtube.
Sorry Apple, won’t be paying for Apple Music once the trial is up. Especially since YT Red/Music has a $15/mo family plan. Tidal may get kicked to the curb as well. I don’t care about Jay Z either…