Traveling, but love to listen to music without paying?…

There are endless rows of terraced gardens on the island of Madeira.

Over the past week or so, we’ve been posting some products and services we’ve been using that have added to the enjoyment of our worldwide travels over the past 12 years. An integral part of that enjoyment has been listening to music, especially at the end of the day when we’re sitting outdoors on a veranda or patio.

We’d often partake in a cocktail (for Tom) and a light wine (for me), making the simple activity seem like a night in the town. Dinner will have been prepped and ready for cooking to add to the pleasant evening as it progressed and the sun disappeared on the horizon.

While we are in the US right now, without a veranda or patio and in a public location where we can’t make noise, we’ve had to forgo this pleasant pastime. Once we can be on the move again, we’ll undoubtedly begin again, hopefully next year in South Africa.

Over the past several years, we have listened to music on our phones using a Bluetooth speaker with such clarity and sound quality that it’s been astounding. Recently, we had to replace a JBL speaker that stopped working (they wear out after intended use), but we found another for only $39.99 on Amazon at this link. Following is a photo of our new speaker:

Portable Speaker, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, IPX7 Waterproof, 25W Loud Stereo Sound, Bassboom Technology, TWS Pairing, Built-in Mic, 16H Playtime with Lights for Home Outdoor – Black

When we made the above purchase, we wondered if it would be as high quality as the JBL speaker we had, based on the price. But the quality was equally good; we couldn’t imagine it would have been better. Since Tom is hard of hearing (his hearing aid appointment is coming up on August 1), having a speaker has been necessary for listening to music, podcasts, and streaming shows using our laptop as the broadcasting device.

When we’re streaming to the TV monitor, it’s easy to increase the sound using the remote, which is suitable for his hearing ability. But if we’re streaming a show on my laptop at the table during dinner, the laptop’s sound doesn’t get high enough or clear enough to use it exclusively.

Right now, during this waiting period, we are listening to or watching something for most days and nights: streaming podcasts during the day and streaming services in the evening. Of course, when we’re feeling better, we are out several evenings each week, such as this upcoming Friday and Saturday nights when we’ll be out with family and friends.

Undoubtedly, it helps our state of mind to stay distracted with interesting morsels in podcasts, movies, and series. In between listening, I head outdoors to walk, and so far this morning, I walked for 15 minutes in one session, which was the first since my legs hadn’t been working so well.

To avoid “paying for music,” we often use YouTube, not YouTube Music, which requires a membership. Type in the name of a favorite song, and you can play it for free. Eventually, your smartphone will remember the songs you picked, and your list of favorites will be readily available—there is no need to pay. In the worst case, if your list doesn’t build automatically, you can type in your favorites and hit “save.”

Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, as we are, we have access to 100 million songs ad-free, the largest catalog of ad-free podcasts, and thousands of playlists and stations included with Prime at no additional costs.

Of course, there are many other music streaming services, some free and some with monthly or annual fees. By searching online you can find many different options you may prefer.

If any of this is unclear to you, please don’t hesitate to ask, and we’ll post the answers to our questions here.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 27, 2014:

These unusual flowers hung from a short tree. For more photos, please click here.

How to listen to podcasts, if you don’t already…

Old abandoned house in the hills of Madeira.

When we tell some family members and friends that we listen to podcasts, they shake their heads in astonishment, uncertain of what we’re talking about. Many understand why we do this and are avid followers of podcasts themselves covering various topics that appeal to them, as in our case.

Podcasts are described as follows from AI:

“Podcasts have been steadily increasing in popularity since their invention in 2004, but some say they really took off after 2014. The term “podcast” was coined by Ben Hammersley, a journalist for The Guardian, in 2004 by combining the words “iPod” and “broadcasting.” The medium began to gain traction with the advent of broadband internet access and portable digital audio devices like the iPod. Adam Curry, a former MTV VJ, is considered the first big-name podcaster, starting the popular podcast The Daily Source Code in August 2004. In 2005, Steve Jobs introduced the idea of subscribing to podcasts through the iTunes interface, and George W. Bush became the first US president to deliver his weekly address in podcast form.”

The first podcast we started listening to was, at first, in the format of radio, specifically Garage Logic. Tom had been listening when it first began broadcasting in 1993, most often on the radio in his car if he happened to be on the radio during his drive to and from work, about 45 minutes from our home.

Over the years, I became interested in the show as well. We could listen to it while it was on the radio, at home using our computers, and were directed to the KSTP radio broadcast. It was in 2018 that the radio broadcast ended, and months later, the first Garage Logic podcast began.

As mentioned above, podcasts became popular beginning in 2004. At that time, we both began searching for other podcasts that appealed to our tastes, interests, and current topics of the day. Tom’s and my interests differ in many ways. He can listen to podcasts about sports, history, and politics. My interests revolve around health and wellness, cruise facts and news, science, and technology.

We both enjoy Garage Logic and listen to all five weekly episodes together, along with several others revolving around politics and the state of the economy. Also, we always enjoy the Bachelor TV series, and weekly, we listen to Chris Harrison, the former host of the show’s fun and lighthearted podcast, “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever’ which may be found here.

But, for those who don’t listen to podcasts and would like to do so, here’s how to find them below:

“There are several ways to find podcasts, including using podcast apps or listening on a web browser:

  • Google Podcasts
    This app allows users to browse popular and trending shows on Android phones and tablets, explore recommendations, and customize their listening experience. Users can search for podcasts by category, such as comedy, news, or history.
  • Apple Podcasts
    Available on iPhones and iPads, this app allows users to search for podcasts by name and select them from the search results. As users type in a search term, suggestions will help them find what they want.
  • Web browser
    Podcasts can be listened to on a web browser like Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge.”

Also, it’s as easy as typing a topic in the search bar of your device’s browser: “podcasts…” followed by your favorite topic or name of a person who broadcasts via podcasts. Many options will appear. You can select any you prefer, and if you enjoy a particular podcast, you can bookmark it or save it as an icon on your device for easy future reference.

The fun thing about podcasts is that you can listen to many live or save to listen to later at your convenience.

You may ask, what app do I use to listen to podcasts, and do I have to pay for them?

Here is an excellent list of several apps suitable for listening to podcasts, but there are many more. When you search for a podcast, you’ll often encounter the app you will use to listen. Many are free. We do not pay for any of the podcasts we listen to.

Podcast app Best for
Spotify Music and podcasts
Player FM Android users
Castro Customized listening
Pocket Casts Simple app interface
Audible Audiobooks
Google Podcasts Google ecosystem users
Apple Podcasts iOS users
SiriusXM Flexible listening options
Overcast Social sharing
Why do podcasters have their broadcasts in an app? 
The answer is logical. Through the specific app, the podcasters receive compensation from advertisers. This is all set up by the app, making it easier for the producer to get their podcast up and running quickly and easily. Plus, being affiliated with certain podcasting apps lends to the credibility of the content provided. The more listeners the podcasters entertain, the more revenue is generated.
In the case where no advertisers are associated with the podcast, the presenter may ask for a monthly fee for a subscription. For free podcasts, don’t be alarmed if you are asked to “subscribe” to the podcast. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must pay If you particularly enjoy it. Subscribing to the podcast allows you easy access each time you return, and some offer notifications to your email or text. To avoid paying, if asked, research to see if there is an unpaid option.
You can easily “unsubscribe” anytime by simply unchecking the “subscribe” button on the app page.
We hope this article helps those less familiar with podcasts get into the groove of this entertaining and formative means of topics in your wheelhouse.
Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 23, 2014:

More Christmas holly was growing in the Campanario, Madeira neighborhood. For more photos, please click here.