My Thoughts on Tidal

As a fan of different music genres and theories, it’s always a treat to come across a really nice streaming service that answers my needs, music selection and overall design considered. When I first heard of Tidal years back, I didn’t really consider it an option.

First, it’s not available in the Philippines, second, I wasn’t a fan of Jay-Z (who owns the company), and third, I had heard reports about it being expensive as hell. More than Apple Music & Spotify combined, in fact.

What you see when you visit  tidal.com

What you see when you visit tidal.com

Converted to Philippine Peso, the base monthly plan starts at P522 and gets up to P1,044 for the HiFi subscription. (That would already pay for a Family Plan on any of the other streaming platforms!) Being the sucker that I am for new things, I caved and got the HiFi plan (‘cause why not?).

What I Love

Using Tidal is super easy. The user interface is simple, direct, and beautiful. While I had always disliked Spotify’s dark colors, Tidal gets away with it by balancing the dark with colorful album covers. (This must be why Spotify had recently started adapting and learning from them.)

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The iPhone app is also very beautiful, with no distractions at all when you pull out a track into full-screen mode. Very sleek. I also love that it took me less than 5 minutes to set things up just the way I wanted. From “collecting” albums to creating playlists, the experience was smooth.

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Their claim to provide lossless audio for HiFi accounts was accurate. There was a period where, to test the quality across the three platforms (Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music), I’d play the same song on the fullest, highest settings available on all of them. To give the two a fair chance, I temporarily set Tidal to play at Standard quality. Tidal came out a tad bit better. More bass and a fuller sound.

Just like the other platforms, you can save songs for offline listening via the app and all the nice features you expect to come with the service. Unlike Spotify, they have videos that you can save to collections - kind of like a personal video playlist. They also house music-themed podcasts, which i also like.


What Could be Better

So, Tidal is great. I never said it was perfect, however. For one, the desktop version of the app doesn’t allow downloads for offline listening. I’ve tried exploring the interface but I haven’t found a way to do that. While that disappointed me, it wasn’t a deal breaker.

Desktop app for Tidal. Can’t see a download button anywhere.

Desktop app for Tidal. Can’t see a download button anywhere.

Secondly, I was hoping that their podcast directory wouldn’t be music-based only. One of the things I love about Spotify and Apple Music is that there’s a huge selection of podcasts ranging from music, to self-improvement, to language learning, and more.

Thirdly, their global music selection is incomplete. Similar to Spotify, not all K-Pop or J-Pop tracks are listed. Apple Music has an advantage here, but also, the platform isn’t complete in itself.

Lastly, I hate the fact that it’s so damn expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, a single user on Tidal could be paying for a whole family subscription on any of the two platforms. (I’ve found a trick though: pay annually so I don’t feel the money slipping away every month.)

The Verdict

Considering all these pro’s and con’s, I’d still recommend Tidal. It has more of what I love than hate, I love how it looks, I love its simple interface, and I’d be willing to give it more money on my next annual bill.

Have you ever tried Tidal or thinking of getting a trial subscription? Sound-off in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Bye!

IOS 12: A First Impression

Whenever a major tech company comes out with something new, there’s basically just two types of reactions: extremely excited and positive, or very skeptical with an “it’s not that big of a deal” attitude. Personally, I try to be more reserved, holding off my opinions until after I’ve tried it myself.

Less than 24 hours ago, Apple’s newest phone OS, IOS 12, was released to the public. When I came into work this morning, a colleague was already telling me to download the update so I could experience the “buttery smooth” system and its new features. 

 

Initial Thoughts

Speed was a major update for this version, and I’m happy to say they did not disappoint. Opening apps on IOS 12 was faster, and swiping through app pages responded with noticeably lower latency. Images also appeared more crisp and clear. 

From what I observed throughout a day of normal use, battery life also improved, and for some reason, charging to 100% also finished faster than with IOS 11. From this, it seemed like the hype was well deserved.

 

What’s New

Quite a few apps were redesigned for IOS 12, and well-done at that. 

IBooks (now Apple Books) 

One of the apps I’d stopped using was iBooks, as frankly, the user interface and overall experience lacked personality compared to other readers. However, the revamped app now holds promise.  

Visually inspired by their App Store, Apple seems to have opted for a clean-cut, polished design. About time, I reckon.

Visually inspired by their App Store, Apple seems to have opted for a clean-cut, polished design. About time, I reckon.

The app now seems able to automatically detect when you’re the dark (or probably if it’s night time) and switches to dark mode.

The app now seems able to automatically detect when you’re the dark (or probably if it’s night time) and switches to dark mode.

Stocks

For us who keep an eye on companies’ stocks, the new Stocks app has also had a redesign, and I’m not entirely sure if this is a favorable change or otherwise. The more I use it though, the more I can appreciate the changes.

Important information are front and center, directing the user’s eyes to what needs to be seem.

Important information are front and center, directing the user’s eyes to what needs to be seem.

I follow Starbucks (and other major players), as I plan on buying shares in the near future.

I follow Starbucks (and other major players), as I plan on buying shares in the near future.

Photos  

Another app that was shown some love in IOS 12 was Photos, and it’s definitely gotten cleaner in terms of design. 

“Memories” has now been replaced with “For You”. Good riddance.

“Memories” has now been replaced with “For You”. Good riddance.

Inside a “memory” set. Still loving the layout.

Inside a “memory” set. Still loving the layout.

Navigating through categories or media types has never looked better.

Navigating through categories or media types has never looked better.

The new “For You” tab now lets you travel back to highlights in the past, and intuitively categorizes them into sets, complete with a slideshow option. While these features aren’t entirely new, navigation has gotten easier (Moments wasn’t really working for me) and browsing through the sets feels more natural, like it was always meant to react that way since the beginning.

Aside from redesigning a few apps, the new IOS 12 also came with new additions to the family. 

Screen Time

If you’ve ever had little self control over how much time you’ve spent on Social Media or any app on your phone, this new feature might come as both a curse and a solution. More than just a usage tracker, Screen Time allows you to set a limit for apps, disabling use after a period of time. 

This might actually help us social media addicts. Might be a feature we all didn’t want but need.

This might actually help us social media addicts. Might be a feature we all didn’t want but need.

I love that it also appears as a Widget for quick checks throughout the day.

I love that it also appears as a Widget for quick checks throughout the day.

Screen Time will also be a parent’s ally in restricting play time on the phone for their kids and in establishing times for studying and breaks.

Siri and Shortcuts

Siri was also given a more active role in getting things done quicker, with the help of the new Shortcuts app. If you’re familiar with the Automator on the mac or IFTTT, t should be no problem to set up.

Shortcuts I’ve created so far. The process is quite intuitive, although editing elements needed a little more exploration.

Shortcuts I’ve created so far. The process is quite intuitive, although editing elements needed a little more exploration.

It’s also great that a Browse tab is available, so you can just keep adding suggested, commonly used shortcuts.

It’s also great that a Browse tab is available, so you can just keep adding suggested, commonly used shortcuts.

Under Settings, a list of shortcuts connected to Siri is displayed. Been using it for music and calls.

Under Settings, a list of shortcuts connected to Siri is displayed. Been using it for music and calls.

In the past versions of Siri, I’d mostly used it for asking about the weather, a random topic I suddenly wanted to know more about, and asking it to play music for when I get in the shower. Now, I can use it to directly call people with custom phrases, as I don’t label contacts just “Mom” or “Anna”. It used to be tedious, but it’s gotten easier with the Shortcuts app.

A negative to the app would be integration with third-party apps like Spotify, and Tidal. I had hoped that with the new update, Siri would start working with more apps. I’m not sure whether it’s from Apple’s end or if these apps just won’t integrate with Siri.

Measure

One of the highlights of the Apple Event last June for IOS 12 was the Measure app, claiming to be able to accurately measure surfaces and objects quickly. On the public release of IOS 12, the app sparked crazy ideas, with the most ridiculous one being the question of measuring house pets.

A demo of the measuring app.

Demo of the level feature on the Measure app.

There may be a few other features I haven’t covered, but these so far are the major updates evident from the get-go. Have you installed IOS 12 yet? What do you like about it so far? Let me know in the comments below!

Centro Square

Centro Square is a new hotel/dormitel/lifestyle hub where people can stay for business or lease a room for university purposes. A lot of students consider it their dormitory or home away from home, while people on business can stay a few hours if attending conventions or the like.

The owners are half-Chinese and take colors and symbols very seriously. In the brief, they wanted a dragon logo in gold and blue, to invite “good luck” to their business.

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I also created a website for them, which has since been handed to their IT team for in-house management.

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A towel design concept for their guests.

A towel design concept for their guests.

Princeton Grocery

Princeton Grocery is an idea from the Princeton Distribution company to bring their goods closer to their consumers and give them cheaper prices compared to what’s in large groceries.

For this one, I was given less than a full work day to come up with a logo and branding for the whole project. No briefs and just a color scheme to work with.

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Delivery Dude

Delivery Dude is a small company based in Naga City, Philippines, that delivers food, groceries, and small packages for s small fee. They serve as the logistics of restaurants and distributors in the area.

I was given a brief and a preferred color scheme for this one. I was also given specific instructions for the tshirt design to be a light color, since it can get super hot in the Philippines.

All contents of this page are copyrighted. Please do not share or distribute the image below.

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Writing Prompts #14

Hey all! Oh my goodness. How many times can I apologize for being inconsistent with these prompts?! I feel really bad now, though I probably should've scheduled my posts in advance. Man, work can get in the way of blogging sometimes, haha. 

Anyway, I've got a fresh set of prompts for you today! Also, I'll be including some beauty-related and photography-related prompts in the coming weeks. For now, let's keep it general. :)

  1. Imagine our world in the year 3000. What would it look like? (The more detailed, the better!)
  2. Write about your alter ego. Do you think he/she would be better at living your current life?
  3. How do you feel about tattoos? Would you get one (if you don’t have any yet)? 
  4. If Facebook/Twitter were a person, what would its personality be?
  5. Do you believe in conspiracies? If so, which one tickles your fancy the most? If not, why?

Again, thanks for stopping by! I won't make any promises this time around, but probably just surprise you with an on-time post next Friday, haha. 'Til then!

Writing Prompts #13

Hi loves! A fresh set of prompts for you. Also, what do you think of the twice-a-month schedule for prompts? Do they occur more often or less frequent than you'd like? Let me know in the comments, okay? :) More articles on the other categories will be up soon. Enjoy these for now!

 

  1. If colors had corresponding sounds, what would they sound like?
  2. Write to your future spouse. What are 5 things you’d want your spouse to understand/know about yourself?
  3. If you were a scent, how would you smell like, and why? What about other people in your family, circle of friends?
  4. If you were an author, what would your first book be about?
  5. “Rain” or “Shine”: Which end of the spectrum are you?

 

Those are the prompts for this week! Enjoy writing. Have a great long weekend!

Past Prompts:

Prompts #1 | Prompts #2 | Prompts #3 | Prompts #4 | Prompts #5 | Prompts #6 | Prompts #7 | Prompts #8 | Prompts #9 | Prompts #10 | Prompts #11 | Prompts #12

Writing Prompts #12

Hi loves! Extremely sorry for the inactivity (especially with these prompts which I know some of you actually look forward to every week), but I was struck with the flu twice (ugh) and had to take a break from everything for a while. I have a really nice September planned out though, so we're truly back!

As promised, here are prompts for the first of September! Hopefully, these prompts will inspire you to keep writing. Have fun!

 

  1. Which social media platform do you feel is most closely related to your communication style? (Eg. Twitter, because my words are short, but every word matters.)
  2. Would you rather be a planner, or a journal?
  3. If you weren’t doing what you are doing today, what path would you most probably be on?
  4. Imagine/Create an alternate universe. What would be different? What things in this world would exist in that other universe too?
  5. What are you more afraid of, what you can see, or what you can’t?

 

And there you go! I've been meaning to ask: are 5 prompts enough for you every week, or would you like a little more? I'm looking for suggestions, people! Let me have 'em! :) 

Have a great long weekend!

Past Prompts:

Prompts #1 | Prompts #2 | Prompts #3 | Prompts #4 | Prompts #5 | Prompts #6 | Prompts #7 | Prompts #8 | Prompts #9 | Prompts #10 | Prompts #11

Writing Prompts #11

Hey, you! It's that time of the week again! Fresh new prompts to help with writer's block. Didn't post last week due to work being such a stressful little thing, but I've got a new batch for you to continue writing. On to the prompts!

 

  1. Explain why you're a Windows / Apple type of person.
  2. Defend your right: What do you think you should be entitled to do as a citizen of your country (that isn't already in action)?
  3. What is one thing you've read about in the news that has struck you tremendously? Share your thoughts about it.
  4. Does 'love at first sight' still exist, or do you believe we have become superficial in our approach to love?
  5. Let's make a list: Jot down the perks and bums of being single or being married (depending on your current status).

 

Hope you liked this week's prompts! These are posted every Friday, every week (if I don't forget or get drowned in the sea that is my job). If you've got suggestions or any comments in general, leave them below. See you next Friday!

Have fun!

 

Past Prompts:

Prompts #1 | Prompts #2 | Prompts #3 | Prompts #4 | Prompts #5 | Prompts #6 | Prompts #7 | Prompts #8 | Prompts #9 | Prompts #10