How to reduce the hard drive space Spotify uses

Spotify uses too much hard drive storage space. They cache most of your songs, and use upwards of 1gb of drive space. They do this only to reduce bandwidth to their servers. If you have an enormous hard drive, this isn’t as big of a deal (though I still don’t like when programs use more resources than they need to).

But if you have an ultrafast SSD (such as the 60gb one I have), then hard drive space is once again at a premium. The following simple steps will allow you to limit the space Spotify uses, freeing back up your disk space, while still allowing Spotify to work just fine.

STEP 1: Eliminate the current cache

Open windows explorer and navigate to:
C:\Users\[computer username]\AppData\Local\Spotify\Storage

… replacing [computer username] with the name you are logged into Windows with. Note: you may have to first set explorer to display hidden files to see all the files.

Delete all the folders / files in this directory.

STEP 2: Manually edit the settings file

Since Spotify’s preferences only allow you to set the minimum storage space at 1 gb (i.e. 1024 mb), you’ll have to manually edit the settings file to set it lower. I’d recommend no lower than 20 mb, in order that at least the current song you’re listening to and a couple more can be cached. I’m using a value of 50.

Once again in windows explorer, go to:
C:\Users\[computer username]\AppData\Roaming\Spotify

Open the file “settings” in Notepad. Find the phrase “cache_size”, and change the value following it to your desired size. Example:    “cache_size”:1024   ** changed to **   “cache_size”:50

Notes:

These instructions are for windows 7. Another OS should only differ in where these files are located.

As with anytime you are editing files, backup the original files first (e.g. copy and rename to “settings.old”).

Notification System for New Albums and Concert Performances from Artists You Like

I have so many apps, programs, websites, tools, etc etc that I use related to music (I listed them out below).

But I’m still missing a functionality I really want… and that is: a notification system when an artist I follow is about to release new material, or is about to perform in my area! If anyone knows of something reliable that provides this data, I’d love to hear about it.

Muspy is supposed to tell when artists release new material, but its unreliable. It misses a lot of data, or sends it late, and duplicates data (for other country releases).

Last.fm has listings on artist performances, but its incomplete and hard to get at the data. It relies on artists/users to upload the information regarding tour dates. Also, it doesn’t have a notifcation system for when artists you like are coming to your area. You’re left with hoping you visit the artist’s page at the right time.

Here’s the things I’ve used related to music:

  • Last.fm (web, desktop, mobile)
  • Pandora (web, mobile, desktop “OpenPandora”)
  • Grooveshark (web, desktop, mobile)
  • Spotify (desktop, mobile)
  • iPod (mobile)
  • iTunes (desktop)
  • Windows Media Player (desktop)
  • Youtube (web, mobile)
  • iHeartRadio (mobile, web)
  • iLike (mobile, web)
  • mySpace (web)
  • Muspy (web)
  • 8tracks (web)
  • AllMusic (web)
  • Playlistify (web)
  • Shazam (mobile)
  • Soundhound (mobile)
  • BingMusic (mobile)

Then there is of course, the more traditional avenues: FM radio, Satelite radio, Television, Concerts, and Coffee Shops.

It’s crazy how often and in how many different ways we have access to music! In another article, I’ll attempt to summarize everything that these tools are trying to accomplish, and every functionality one could possibly want related to music.

The best Windows PC laptop alternative to a Macbook Air

For the past year or so, I’ve been doing work on an Asus 1000HE EeePC. Well, its no longer “working” for me. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a great little netbook.. probably one of the best made still to this day. It’s got excellent battery life, pretty quick, lightweight, and very small. But as a computer programmer and web developer, I just need something (literally) bigger.

But not too big. My main concern is ultraportability. I’m not looking for a desktop replacement. Especially since you can make a pretty killer desktop nowadays for under a grand (see this article). I’m sure there will be more articles to come on that project once its completed ;.)

I just want a laptop I can quickly throw in my bag and take to the coffee shop, and yet which has a big enough screen to actually get some business done on it. So I started looking at the (13.3″ Macbook Air). With it’s dimensions and weight, it’s a great balance between size and portability. But at ~$1300, it decreases the thickness of my wallet a little much for my liking. I also don’t need the frills and thrills of the Mac OS so much. Most of my business is done best in Windows. So my search for a comparable PC began.

I was sort of surprised to see that in terms of hardware layout and “slickness” (pure coolness factor), there weren’t many companies trying to compete. Apple certainly has the edge in terms of marketing. It took me a couple months, but I think I finally found a great alternative to the Macbook Air. I’ll just have to boost my image elsewhere.

So without further ado… the best “PC Air” that I found is the Toshiba Portege R835-P56X.


Let’s take a look at the specs compared to the Macbook Air… keying in on the most important features.

Portability / Size

Mac Toshiba
Display 13.3″, 1440×900 13.3″, 1366×768
Battery life 7 hours 8 hours (6 cell li-ion)
Weight 2.9 lbs 3.2 lbs
Thickness 0.68″ 1.05″

They have the same screen size, but Mac’s native resolution is higher… so you get a bit more screen space (at the cost of smaller text). The Toshiba squeezes out a little more life, and also has a removable battery for easy replacement in the future. The Mac is 0.3 pounds lighter, and 1/3 of an inch thinner.

Now lets take a look at the power aspect. Time is money. The faster, the better.

Power

Mac Toshiba
Processor 1.86ghz Core 2 Duo 2.3ghz Core i5
Memory 2gb 1066mhz ddr3 sdram 4gb 1333mhz ddr3 sdram
Hard drive 128gb ssd 640gb sata

Toshiba is quite a bit faster (Mac has a 2.13ghz option at the cost of $300 more, but even then, it’s still slower). Toshiba also states speeds of 2.9 GHz with it’s “Turbo Boost Technology” (whatever that is). Toshiba’s memory is faster by 125%, comes with twice as much, and is expandable to 8gb (compared to only 4gb max in the Mac). Toshiba’s hard drive is larger, while Mac’s is faster. However, some people have replaced Toshiba’s internal hard drive with a solid state drive. With several reports of power-on-to-fully-loaded-OS times of 20 to 25 seconds, this seems like a great option for this laptop (unless you’d rather have the extra space). Here’s a comparable SSD to the drive in the Macbook Air. You could even sell the Toshiba’s internal 640gb hard drive on ebay for $50 to $80, and end up making a great upgrade for ~$200.

Let’s try to compare apples to apples as much as possible (after all, we are looking for “an alternative to the Macbook Air”). If you were to upgrade each Machine to get them as close as possible to each other, here’s what you’d end up with:

Price

Mac Toshiba
Starting Price $1300 $800
Hard Drive Upgrade n/a $200
Memory Upgrade $100 n/a
Processor Upgrade $300 n/a
Total (incl. est. tax) $1840 $1083

So what do you get with the Mac for the extra $750? Not much: a higher res display, a slighty lighter / thinner Machine, Bluetooth preinstalled, and some cool commercials. But you also give up some battery life, a good deal of processing speed, an extra usb port, and an optical drive.

In conclusion… I set out to find a good alternative to a Macbook Air. What I found was something better, for a much lower price. I’ll use the extra money to buy some accessories, and still have enough leftover to buy an iPad if I want. Let me know what you think.

Highly Rated Accessories