Why Am I Listening to Enya?

I recognized Enya. I have no clue who this woman is.

This could have made for a good one-liner, but the backstory leads me to a subject that’s been kicking around in my draft folder for several months. The story began just before leaving for our road trip to Pittsburgh. We needed music. I have tons of music – well, not compared to our daughter, but still, I have more than enough for a 9-hour drive. The problem is, my approach had been old school. By that, I mean I would group a bunch of songs together and burn a CD. My new car doesn’t have a CD player, so time for a new process.

The music is all digital. I assumed I could just build a playlist, download it to my phone and be done. That proved easier thought than done. Having not wanted to spend more for iCloud storage than I needed to, I left most of my music on a desktop PC, managed by iTunes. Transferring from desktop to iCloud, building a playlist and downloading same was going to be costly, tedious and time-consuming. When I said “just before” I meant the day before, so… Frustrated with Apple, and myself, I decided to just copy everything from my PC to my phone. Somewhere north of 900 songs. What the heck, we could figure it out while driving.

The problem? Somewhere along the line some of Faith’s high school music ended up in my music library. I know how this happened, but I’ll spare you a lengthy technical explanation from the early days of home networking. Whenever these songs pop-up, I text something like the title to Faith.

So, why didn’t I just buy more storage on iCloud?

Because you don’t buy it, you subscribe to it.

You subscribe to everything these days. In fact, the draft of this post was filed under “Bankruptcy by Subscription.”

I started looking at the services I subscribe to. I’ve begun to prune the ones I used primarily for work, and I am taking a hard line with new ones. Here’s a partial view of the results:

Office 365 – I subscribe to this Software-as-a-service (SaaS) from Microsoft, because I think it is one of the best bargains available on the Internet. At the family level, I get to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on 6 laptops and more devices than I’ll ever own. In addition, up to 6 family members can join me on OneDrive, each with 1 TB of online storage.

Adobe Photographer – I subscribe to this SaaS, but I wish I didn’t have to. For $10 a month, I get access to Photoshop and Lightroom. I love Lightroom! I’ve found free alternatives to Photoshop, but I can’t find a free alternative to Lightroom. As for the rest of Adobe, while I enjoy working with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, and I prefer Dreamweaver over any other HTML editor, I’m not giving Adobe $29 a month for the pleasure. Fortunately, there are free alternatives to Acrobat.

Music Platforms – In addition to Apple Music (which I don’t subscribe to) there are several other services (Pandora and Spotify, Amazon, and others) that I don’t subscribe to. Some offer free versions, but the free service is limited – with some, you can’t create personal playlists – and you are generally using your data plan to download the music. On a road trip, that can be excessive and spotty (still many dead spots in central PA). Besides, how many times do I have to pay for music I bought when I was 16? I’ve bought albums, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and paid to download songs from iTunes. Enough is enough.

O’Reilly Media – O’Reilly is by far the largest publisher of technology books. I own many of their titles. I was looking for a good book on Python, a programming language I might try learning after I retire. O’Reilly quickly sensed my interest and sent me an offer – $39 a month for digital access to all their books. I can buy the one book I want for $44.

Box – I opened a free account, during a limited-time promotion, with 50 GB of storage. I can step that up to 100 GB for $10/month. I’m not interested. I love Box. In my opinion, it is the absolute best cloud storage option, but I can live with 50GB.

Security – I do maintain an annual subscription to anti-spam/malware/etc. The vendor changes from time to time, but I consider this a cost of living on the Internet.

YouTube – YouTube Premium promises to let me view/listen to content without ads for a mere $12 per month. Note: when I originally signed-up for YouTube TV (to lower my cable bill), they said it would include YouTube Premium – it doesn’t. I’m giving Google (who owns YouTube) $50 a month for YouTube TV – that’s enough.

I could go on, and on, and on. I listed 13 services I’ve been offered from companies I have a relationship with. The math shows I could be spending over $160 per month – for the rest of my life – for music, entertainment, software, security and storage (and that doesn’t include WordPress!). See the screen clip below (from Washington Post article) for what you could spend with Apple alone. Thanks, but no.

I think I give Apple enough money.
Somewhat ironic that when I misspell “Google” Word suggests “Gouge”

89 thoughts on “Why Am I Listening to Enya?

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  1. You landed on a subject that’s been front and centre in my mind lately – subscription services.

    I am constantly getting reminders that I need to update my out-of-date standalone version of Lightroom but another standalone version doesn’t appear to be an option. I really don’t want to subscribe to a monthly service nor do I want cloud storage. Call me a dinosaur, but I prefer control of my content in an external hard-drive.

    Upgrading Lightroom strikes terror in my heart. The last time I made a change by moving to a new computer, the LR conversion went sideways and it took FOREVER to sort it out. I’m afraid of risking all that again. I’m left wondering what exactly I’d be paying $10 a month for … because it certainly isn’t technical support.

    In the meantime, I’m dragging my feet hoping nothing explodes any time soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I figured I wasn’t alone in this, Joanne. I do think Adobe is the worst. They beat you away from the desktop versions, and they charge a pretty steep price for the subscription, and they don’t include Acrobat until you start paying a premium. All of these things seem so easy, but when you realize what you’re paying and what you’re getting, it doesn’t seem right.

      My big beef with Adobe is that, in order to have the images synced, so I can work on them on my iPad, I (seem to) need to use their cloud storage. Of course, I’d run out of room there fairly soon and, boom, that’s another $10 a month.

      It’s like ATMs, delivering software via subscription saves the publisher a lot of money. It should cost less than it used to, not more. They do it because they can.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous group of photos today. As to the subscriptions? Preach brother, preach! Your part about buying the same music over and over again really hits home. When the iPod came along I thought, finally! A massive storage device that will last forever. How naive I was. After finally converting and transferring and downloading thousands of songs and filling it as close to perfectly as I can…. frigging Apple discontinues iTunes. I still run it on my PC and they say that’s safe… for now. I swear I don’t have it in me to give that all up and stream.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope it doesn’t come to that. There has to be a way to own music and carry it with me. I mean, I had a “transistor radio” when I was 10. I strapped it to the handlebars of my bike, and I had music on the road. How could we come so far and be worse off?

      The biggest problem I had, was that I never really did the organization thing. I didn’t think I had that much music. Now, I just have to laugh (at myself) when one of Faith’s old songs starts playing in the car.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I use GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is safe, if you download it from the main site! https://www.gimp.org/

      Lots of places offer to let you download it for free (it is always free) but then they tack on a bunch of crapWare.

      It’s different from PhotoShop, enough that it takes a little getting used to, but it’s every bit as good. I was able to learn how to use it, but I had to use PhotoShop at work, and switching back and forth was a pain.

      There is a lot of help available online, especially if you know what you want to do. “how do i crop in gimp” or “layers in gimp” will get you a fast answer and lots of options.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love foggy pictures and your spider webs are brilliant! I don’t have a lot of subscriptions, I think. I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime but I only have Amazon for the free trial period because I wanted to see “Good Omens”. Hilarious show, quirky too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like the fog and webs, Pam. They are two of my favorite things to photograph. I switched from Netflix to Hulu, I do count those, but since the two of them combined cost mush less than the cable bill I was paying, I’m OK. We don’t buy enough from Amazon to make Prime worth it, and the “I know what they do with my data” side of me wants as little to do with Amazon as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Subscriptions are dangerous, Dan, as you rightfully point out. For me what is particularly irksome is that so many of them will renew automatically “for my convenience.” Personally I like to make a conscious choice before I renew any subscription to decide if it is still worth it. Your captions often crack me up and I was particularly taken by the one for the final photo, “I hope this spider has some instant Ramen in the pantry.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mike. I was wishing I had your skill behind the camera when I was taking those pictures of the spider webs. The web, the sun, the moisture – I wasn’t sure how best to capture “what I saw.”

      I’m like you, I prefer to evaluate those subscriptions. I have a premium subscription to Evernote. I know why – so I can link to others, including my daughter. I’m not sure that’s worth $8 a month. It sounds inexpensive, but I look back, and I haven’t shared anything so far in 2019. I think I’m heading back to the free version/.


  5. I think I need more coffee because I just realized reading this I must live under a rock compared to your subscriptions. I definitely agree with Mike Powell about those wonderful ‘automatic’ subscriptions, and one of those is WordPress. I renew the MG site and some day I’ll hand that off and I’ll still be getting the charge. Hmm, I don’t like that idea. :-) I think we need a post where we share ‘free’ things that work almost as well as the subscriptions. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might follow this post with that one, Judy. There are a lot of free things that work very well. I only ever check the “renew automatically” for a service I don’t want to lose because I forgot. I think the only one is Microsoft. I use the products often enough to make it worth it. Everything else, I question annually and I’ve been dropping them fairly often.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I only recently updated from Office 2010 to Office 365 only because I found out as a teacher I could get it for free. Otherwise I think the only subscription services I have are Netflix and Amazon (and I only got the latter for Good Omens but it’s pretty cheap so we’re hanging onto it for now). I have all my music on a USB stick that plugs into the car and runs through the sound system.

    I love a foggy morning and your spider web photos are gorgeous.


    1. Thanks Heather. I’m glad Microsoft does that for teachers. You guys deserve a break. Sorry to be responding late, this was in my spam folder.

      I do love the fog, especially when I don’t have to drive in it.


  7. I subscribe to nothing but 3 magazines. And then I get ticked off when the next month issue is at the grocery store and I’ve not yet received my copy. Grr-rrr.
    The ‘dicey’ photo is beautiful but I started laughing as I pictured the woman in the walker powering through and scaring the daylights out of you and Maddie. Have a great Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That lady was there, Lois! I tried taking an indiscreet picture of her with my phone, but between Maddie’s frantic barking and her pulling me out of harm’s way, there was no way to get a picture.

      I cancelled one magazine subscription because they wanted me to pay more for online access. I cancelled another because the Cologne ad/samples were making me sick. They switched the paper subscription to digital, and I may renew that.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The photos of the sun burning through the fog are beautiful. The spider webs are phenomenal!

    I think Maddie was hoping you would work on your laptop for hours so she could enjoy her deck!!

    Still laughing about misspelling ‘google’! Points for Word for giving you the accurate correction! Lol.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. We sat on her deck for just over an hour. I have power out there now, I may have to run a network cable out there, so I can have wireless access.

      I’m glad you like the sun/fog/webs as these are some of my favorite subjects.

      I thought the spellcheck option was perfect.


  9. You do have the subscriptions! We have ones so that we can enjoy movies and tv and music, but I could give them up in a heartbeat. Which I suppose could happen if it comes down to entertainment or meds. Both are things that cost too much with no relief in sight. Ain’t life a pip?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life certainly is. I am giving up subscriptions quickly as I approach retirement. On of the benefits of having some of these is that I could take work and personal stuff with me as I travel. Mych less of that in my future, and plenty of time to get better organized before the trip. It would have been so easy to pay Apple more money and put those playlists in the cloud, but I’d be paying them forever. I’ll just do what I used to do – make Faith responsible for the music.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I first heard of Enya when the Lord of the Rings movie came out. I have been a great fan ever since. Hers is the kind of music I play when designing or working on something serious. Flows with the work.
    I like the photo where the sun is breaking through. The day looks strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. I have to say, I don’t jump to the next song when she comes on, but I know I never would have purchased her music. I love the way the world looks when the sun is breaking through the clouds after a storm or through morning fog.


  11. That last photo reminds me of the small “fairy tables” my mom used to call them on morning dewy grass. My grandkids have tons of music on Spotify or Pandora. They are free. I had Apple Music and paid for a few songs. Then I quit for money reasons and they took them all. I’d never use that service again. I have Pandora on my phone with a few favorite artists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should probably look at the music services a bit more, but I’m frustrated with the way music has gone. I didn’t mind supporting artists I liked, but now, it seems they are struggling and the people with technology, but no talent are making the big money.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re so right, we can get bogged down with subscriptions these days. I miss the days when you just bought a computer program outright and were done with it. Yes, sometimes that’s still an option but the costs have sure skyrocketed. So far I’ve been avoiding buying more ICloud storage, making my own backups on USB sticks, but it might bite me in the butt one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. iCloud is nice when you get a new phone and want to transfer, but I don’t want to rely on it for storage, because there are other, less expensive options. Apple’s goal now is to bleed us dry with services. I’m trying to avoid that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Death by 1,000 cuts, to be sure, Bryant. Nothing wrong with any music that helps you think or relax. The only time music is bad, is when my daughter listens to country music while driving – “ooooh, this car will go 90…”


    1. Ha ha – I know what you mean. Sometimes, we needed just the right bit of HTML or the right page for an application/website/etc. Dreamweaver let you create that, manage the CSS and play with things in a safe environment. Develop-review-approval-publish-done!


  13. I don’t subscribe to that many things that you pay for, Dan. Twitter, FB, WordPress, Pinterest and Instagram are all free except for the data they use. I subscribe for Wifi and my mobile phone. I think there are more things available to purchasers in the US. I love Enya, I walked down the aisle to Caribbean Blue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a few extra subscriptions to support my job and to make it easier to travel, when I’m not carrying my laptop. I am not renewing most of those. On the other side, with things like Microsoft Office, I switched to a personal subscription earlier so there wouldn’t be any interruption when I retire.

      I like enya. She just wouldn’t be an artist I would purchase.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I learned about Enya through my husband. He is a great one for music, Dan. Working life is so much easier now with all the technological support. When we traveled from Budapest to Germany recently, I noticed how the businessmen connect to wifi everywhere, on the tube, in the airport, on the plane, and they just carry on working.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. What wonderful photos! I especially like the one with the pine branch hanging into it, so sharp against the soft mist. Hope working on your laptop with Maddie was a success. Happy Dan, happy dog–total win! Yay, GIMP! I’m trying to learn PhotoShop in order to help design book covers. GIMP doesn’t do things the way Amazon wants it to, apparently. Bleh. I just had to buy extra storage for my web site backup. Excuse me, subscribe to extra storage, because you never BUY things in the cloud, you keep on paying. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Like blackmail. I back up my files on SpiderOak AND on an external drive. If the grid ever crashes, I will be … free…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m curious about what Amazon wants that GIMP can’t produce. I’m not surprised that there would be something, but it’s odd. That’s another pet peeve of mine – companies that go out of their way make what should be common access technology proprietary.

      The laptop on Maddie’s deck worked, but it’s at the ragged edge of my wifi signal. It’s going to be weird when I’m pulling network cable into the garage so I can work while sitting with our dog :-)

      I’m glad you like that particular photo, it’s one of my favs.


        1. According to my very limited research = “Open an image in Gimp. From the Image menu, open the Separate sub-menu and pick Separate (to Colour). Choose a source (RGB) and destination (target, CMYK) profile and click OK. … You can only separate flattened images, so it is recommended that you save a new copy of the image.”

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Okay, I don’t have Separate. And the Separate and Separate+ plugins don’t support all the true CYMK thingummies. You know what they say: The Devil is in the thingummies. So I’m back to learning Photoshop for my book covers. ~sigh~

              Liked by 1 person

  15. I must confess I was soooo disgusted when I learned I can’t just buy Microsoft Office in a cd. That the only way to get it is by yearly subscription. Hanging on to this old pc as long as possible. And what happens when you don’t renew a paid blog? Does all your hard earned content just go poof?? Asking for a friend lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can still buy a single copy of Office, but it’s the most expensive option and it’s good for use on one PC only. You still have to download it, but there’s no annual fee.

      My understanding is that, yes, your blog goes poof. I keep copies of the Word files that get posted. It’s not everything I ever wrote, but it’s most of it, in case anyone cares after I’m gone, or in case I want to ditch WordPress. I make backups of the blog, but I’m not sure how easy those are to access.

      Digital content is very scary in that way. This is what I do for a living, and we go to great lengths to make sure we don’t lose the platform our content is on. .

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Love those Web photos, Dan (Spider that is) Vannessa Carlton is a terrific singer. I think 1000 miles might be her only big hit. Anyway, the fog photos are great. I’m with you on the subscription stuff. I too have MS Office 365 and love it. Great bargain. I have deleted some of my other premium accounts since it seems like a nickel and dime to death situation

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like those photos, John. I like most of Faith’s music, it just always catches me by surprise when I’m listening to something I don’t remember every buying. I did enjoy that song by Vannessa Carlton.

      Office 365 is a great bargain. Microsoft wants to win the online storage war in a big way. It makes it hard for companies selling 100GB for $10/month when Microsoft gives away 10x that storage x 6 users and tosses in the most popular software suite. I am eliminating most of the premium subscriptions.In most cases, I no longer need the added features a premium plan provides.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Beautiful photos. I love fog and dew. I use free Spotify and have several playlists. Not the 7000 songs I have on my ipod which I use in my car but all my favorites and more. PS I love Enya. Still. My good friend Debbie, who passed away a few years ago, introduced me to her music. I always think of her when I hear it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for the chuckles and education on what to use and what doesn’t work well. I almost spit out my coffee at these lines “Besides, how many times do I have to pay for music I bought when I was 16? I’ve bought albums, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and paid to download songs from iTunes. Enough is enough.” My kids tell me to get apps, or go online or subscribe to this or that ‘in-thing’ all the time. I so appreciate your critiques on what works well for you! Your fog photos and dewdrop ones are gorgeous – they are Enya classics ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shelley. As with everything, you’re mileage may vary, but everybody seems to want me to subscribe to something. After my mom died, my brother had to freeze her accounts to keep people from billing her.

      I like fog, and water drops, and I even like Enya, just not enough to buy an album.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I guess I need to look into GIMP. I don’t use Photoshop (and have an old, non-subscription version) but I’d like to work with photo manipulation more. As far as a non-subscription alternative to Lightroom, have you looked at Luminar? It’s not free, but pretty inexpensive and you don’t have to pay more every year. They are coming out with Luminar 4 later this year that is supposed to have some wiz-bang AI stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The thought of making a list of every subscription gives me a bit of anxiety…but I’m a fan of knowing all the facts so maybe I’ll take a deep breath and take the plunge. The music issue is ongoing around here — my son lobbied successfully for a family Spotify subscription so he could download music to the app and go offline to listen on road trips. Guess I’ll start the list with that one. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fortunately, I only have to worry about mine. Just me and my wife, and she’s not a fan of online anymore than she has to be. I would guess that with two teens, your list is longer than mine


  21. Enya was our lullaby music for babies, just blaring from the nursery, lemme tell ya. And to this day, if we play the first track of any Enya disc, they zonk out in the car LOLOLOL! It is almost as effective as C-Span.

    We have Apple music and we’re okay. It’s fiiine. It’s not ideal and I still miss my cd player in the car, but like, this is good, too. I mostly hate forwarding through the music my kids chose years ago and Christmas songs. I feel like they could fix that, minimally, no holiday tunes from Epiphany to Thanksgiving, ya know?

    The fog is wonderful, especially sunlit on the web.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Excellent photography, Dan!!! Truly! Boy did I enjoy your gallery today! As for subscriptions, the only one I have is Adobe Cloud which covers Photoshop and Lightroom. I can have a ton of other programs that is included with Adobe Cloud if I want to, but I don’t. For $10 a month, I’m not complaining. I have no music subscriptions, no spreadsheets subscriptions, no Youtube subscriptions, and we pay every 2 years our antivirus for 3 devices (no subscriptions). My eyes crossed when I read all of yours. I use something called the library for books. Yep, I like the old-fashion ways best. I don’t go on road trips so I have no need of digital music and if I did hubby would put together an MP3 for me to play. All this technology …. I’m just not up with it all. I have my head so deep in photography world, believe me, and that is more then enough, yet still NOT enough according to what is out there! Speaking of … how DOES anyone keep up with all the latest stuff for photography? I do have one plug-in for Lightroom/Photoshop which is Topaz Studio. It is SO cool. No it isn’t free. I dug deep and begrudgingly paid for it. Snapseed is FREE which I have on my phone. That is the only program I could find that puts my watermark on the entire photo. I love this app, just in case you are interested. Anyways ….. cool post. I saw it the other day and was curious. Glad I read it!!


  23. What? You don’t love Enya? I had a disturbing discussion today with a 20 something whom I work with. He didn’t know who Gordan Lightfoot or Seals and Crofts were. Please tell me you’ve heard of them. Interesting thoughts on over-subscribing, I’ll have to consider this.

    Liked by 1 person

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