It's been a good week on the technology front. I finished my first free audio book and started a second. I enjoyed watching the World Series. And we started a new Netflix movie. All of these activities had one thing in common; streaming.
Streaming means that data, especially audio and video content, is received (or transmitted) over a computer network (like the Internet) at a steady, continuous rate. Basically, the content is delivered to you as you listen and/or watch. It isn't permanently stored on your device (e.g. computer, cell phone, or tablet).
Streaming is different than a "download" which copies the content completely from one device to another providing you with a permanent copy (unless it has some technology to automatically erase it after a given time period).
Free Audio Books Unlike an Audible.com purchase of an audio book where you download the book onto a device and then listen to it, when you check out an audio book from your local library (via Hoopla or Overdrive), the book is "streamed" to your device via the Internet. This means that you have to listen to it on a device that has an Internet connection. For me this is my phone or laptop. Previously, with the downloaded books, I listened to them on my tiny iPod Nano. I am surprised that the phone actually works really well. I finished my first book in record time and am already into my second book. This change has caused me to swap my habit of listening to the radio while I'm in the house and listening to my audio book while I walk outside. Now I'm listening to books in the house and listening to the radio while out for a walk. Given that the news is rather unsettling right now (with the election and all), I'm finding it better to take in the news while I'm outside where it seems easier to remain optimistic. It's worth noting that I had the ability to listen to audio books from Audible.com on my phone all along, I just thought I didn't want to use that device because of its size. Necessity really is the mother of invention ... or at least the incentive to try something new.
Live Video Streams More and more, live video streams are popping up on my Facebook News Feed. It's been fun to watch Cubs fans live as they celebrate their big win, while concerning to watch some civil unrest unfold real time. I've also had a friend and a relative post live video streams on occasion. This has me wondering about the appropriate etiquette for these events. Should I feel compelled to watch if a good friend or relative is "live streaming"? If I do watch, should I feel compelled to comment in the moment? These are not rhetorical questions. Please let me know what you think.
Netflix Streaming vs. DVD Movies It feels like we've watched most of the reasonable content via the Basic Netflix Streaming service, so we recently decided to live it up and order the DVD option too. Over the years, as we've watched streaming content via Netflix we begrudgingly learned to endure the occasional Tech Frustration when there is a break up in the picture and or audio. It wasn't until last night, as we were watching a movie via a DVD, that I realized the streaming experience has really improved recently. It's rare to have a picture break up these days. Unfortunately our DVD contained a few trouble spots (aka Tech Frustrations) which required us to skip over very small sections of the movie. As it got late, we gave up during one of the glitches near the end. Hopefully we can finish this nail-biter soon. (We are watching The Intern, which really isn't a nail-biter at all. It's surprisingly funny and even a little thought provoking.)
So it seems that streaming is merrily here to stay, the quality it good, and it is changing the way we listen, learn, and connect with each other. What are you streaming?
Do you have any Tech Frustrations? If so, tell me about them on the Tech Frustrations web site.
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