So I’ve slacked a little on Ask The en articles. Still, when I reached out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for new questions to get the column going again, you fine folks didn’t disappoint. It’s because of you that this edition is packed with questions and answers about Groove Music, how I game at home and my stance on Net Neutrality.
If you’ve got questions about any of the things I’ve just listed or entertainment in general, send them my way. I’m planning to fill another edition of the column in late December with your questions about the Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch, Amazon Alexa and anything else that plugs in and could result in you paying more for internet access.
We’re here. So, let’s get started.
Warning: The End of Groove Music is Near
Q. Have you reminded your readers about Groove Music’s shutdown? You really should.
I’d planned on mentioning the Groove Music shutdown closer to the time the service stopped working, but why not do that now? If you have a Groove Music subscription, it’s about to stop working. And, if you’ve purchased music through the Windows Store, download it now from the Groove Music app on Windows before it disappears forever.
Microsoft says the service will stop letting people download or stream the music they’ve purchased from the Groove Music catalog on January 1st. The app will stay around, but all the cloud services that power it are going away. If you open the app right now, you can offload your playlists to Spotify.
Don’t worry, I’ll issue a front-page warning closer to the end of December for all you people that like to wait until the last minute to handle something like this. I don’t blame you; I’ve yet to make a back up of every song that I purchased from the service during its 11-year run.
I’m sad to see the service go, but also happy that Microsoft is keeping the app around. It’s finally solid enough to replace Windows Media Player as your default media app.
Ready for that Destiny 2 Curse of Osiris DLC?
Q. Did you buy the Destiny 2 Curse of Osiris DLC?
No, I didn’t. Hear me out though, because that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
I got Destiny 2, not because I was eager to play it. In fact, I never played anything besides the original’s beta until that point. I picked up the game because my favorite two internet friends, Marc and Hal, love the franchise and I wanted to play with them.
The game’s mechanics are fine, but I’m not necessarily impressed with the story enough to drop $34.95 on the Destiny 2 Expansion Pass to experience more of it. If they need back up, I’ll be there for them, but if they don’t, I’ll invest that money in some other form of entertainment. Or I could just buy an entire season of Billions. I haven’t decided yet.
No, I Didn’t Get the Xbox One X
Q. I know you got that Xbox One X. What’s the rest of your setup look like?
I purchased a home over the summer and all my spare cash has gone into creating an emergency fund in case a stud collapses or something, saving for the future, and mundane things. Right now, I’ve got my good eye on a leaf blower. How the mighty have fallen.
That’s ok though because the Sharp 4K television and the Xbox One X that I game on are both relatively new. A free software update that arrived a few weeks ago unlocked HDR and 4K without me having to pay a dime.
But I got you, fam. Expect a new breakdown of what I’m using at home soon. Maybe even a video showcasing the new office and studio setup.
Trav on Net Neutrality
Q. I don’t feel like Net Neutrality is the thing everyone is making it out to be.
Net Neutrality is exactly what everyone is making it out to be. But first, let’s break this down for anyone not yet well versed on the subject.
Net Neutrality fighters want to establish rules for how internet service companies can provide you with internet access. As I understand it, with neutrality rules in place, Comcast or Verizon would not be able to curve traffic or give any websites priority access on their networks. They would have to treat every site the same.
The FCC Commission changed broadband internet’s classification to telecommunications during the Obama Administration. This leveled the playing field for all sites and allowed the FCC to start enforcing the ideals of net neutrality on the likes of Verizon, Comcast, and other companies.
And that’s where things get dicey. Comcast and Verizon don’t want rules getting in the way of any new business ideas they could dream up to make more money from their existing infrastructure. The nightmare scenario of Net Neutrality proponents is the rules going away and internet providers introducing tiered packages that force you to pay more to get access to certain sites. In this reality, buying a monthly service that lets you check your email could cost you $29.99 a month, but streaming Netflix could require a more expensive, $99.99 a month plan. Since most of these companies have big cable arms of their own, it’s in their best interest to offset the loss of cable revenues by raising the cost of the internet services people need to actually cut the cable in the first place.
If you’ve read to the end of that, then you know exactly how I feel about Net Neutrality just by my tone. I see big business and government regulations as two ill-behaved school children that are locked in an internal fight. You can’t have open and fair markets if there isn’t regulation keeping big business from flipping the table and fleecing everyone for as much money as they possibly can. On the hand, regulations can get in the way of new technologies and companies trying new things.
I disagree with the general argument that Net Neutrality threatens freedom of speech, association, and expression. Also, I personally feel that anyone wanting to scrap Net Neutrality guidelines because we can trust internet providers is full of a substance I can’t type before 7 PM. Finally, I find it entertaining that companies, who have gotten caught making deals with content providers to give their services priority access, feel like they need to promise us they won’t screw us over without a government agency telling them not to.
Don’t cry wolf if you aren’t ready for someone else to call bullshit.