MySpace Music: Confusing

I was looking forward to MySpace Music, and I’ve visited it a few times in the few days since its launch. My main reaction is one of confusion. For example, I created a couple of playlists, one of which is my “Profile Playlist.” While I was creating it, songs seemed to disappear from it, so I added them again, went back to the list, and found them there twice.

I assumed that my Profile Playlist would appear on my MySpace Profile. It didn’t. I looked among the Edit Profile options, to no avail. Then I found that it was a checkbox on the Profile Playlist itself. I checked the box. The Profile Playlist still doesn’t appear on my profile.

That’s a great pity, since MySpace is so strong in terms of artist pages. But on the basis of my recent trial, there are several music sites I prefer to MySpace Music. Hey, I’ll even keep on paying to stream music using Rhapsody.

Google Gears and the Need for Speed

The purpose of Google Gears, I thought, was to make browser-based applications available when the web wasn’t available. I was right, but there’s more to Gears than that.

MySpace said it would use Google Gears to power search and sort functions for its email, giving users a highly sought-after functionality at little cost to MySpace infrastructure, reports GigaStacey. So Gears allows MySpace to do more processing without having to invest in more cloud power.

James left the intersting comment that WordPress is using Gears in a similar way. I clicked over to his Geniosity blog, where I found his post about WordPress 2.6 and Gears. That forthcoming version of WordPress uses Gears to manage a cache. James finds it appropriate that the way to enable this caching is to click on the new “Speed Up!” button.

I’ll resist the temptation to make jokes about “Automattic gears” and “top gear.”

MySpace, Picnik, the App, and the Magic Sketchbook

Magic Sketchbook SampleMySpace seems to have been doing some good things recently, so this post is overdue. What prompted it was the launch of the MySpace App platform.

I decided to try the Picnik application. At around the same time, I decided that I had to blog about Elio’s Magic Sketchbook project, which I saw at on Flickr, and that I wanted a cropped and resized take on a particular page to link back to Elio’s photoset (which indeed it now does, as you’ll see if you click on the image).

So I used the MySpace Picnik application to pull in the photo from Flickr, edit it, and save it to MySpace. My main comment is that using the MySpace app was rather like going to the Picnik site. Lest that seem too obvious, I should point out some things that surprised me.

There’s a way in which using the MySpace application seemed better than using the Picnik site: the ads were less obtrusive. Picnik has recently changed the way it implements the freemium business model. The free and premium version used to differ significantly in terms of features, with both being ad-free. By this I mean that the difference in features was significant to others, but not to me. Since the change, there are ads for us users of the free version, and I for one find them annoyingly greedy in terms of screen and mental real estate (i.e. attention).

Then there are a few ways in which the MySpace app was worse than using worse than using the Picnik site. Less of the screen was giving over to Picnik editing, since there was MySpacy stuff around.

Then, when it came time to save the photo, I was surprised that MySpace was not prominent among the places to save it to. While it’s true that I’ve never saved a photo to MySpace from Picnik (or anywhere else) before, it was the MySpace application I was using. I’d have preferred it if the app had picked up on that, and promoted MySpace to be among the prominent targets for the save.

When did find the option to save to MySpace, I had to sign in to MySpace, even though I was already signed in. I think that this is because the free edition of Picnik won’t talk to Flickr and to MySpace at the same time. Whether you’re at Picnik or in the MySpace app, you need to have a remium account before Picnik is willing to talk to more than one service.

Please someone, correct me if I’m wrong in any of the above statements about Picnik’s freemiumosity these days. It was rather late when I did all this. That might be why I saved the cropped and resized version to Flickr, as well as to MySpace, and used the Flickr instance for this post.

I do have some photos at MySpace now. My main comment on photos at MySpace is that I’ve been spoiled by Flickr.

As so often, a post has grown in the telling. What started off as a brief comment on MySpace apps with a little example grew into a more detailed example of the application, the service it provides (Picnik), a related service (Flickr). It also highlights Elio’s Magic Sketchbook, which seems to make it all worthwhile.