Ten years ago, when hard drives were small and NAS systems for home use didn't really exist, I could see the point of all this ripping and converting. But now, with multi-terabyte HDs and the proliferation of NAS appliances, there is a limited need for this or any other 'compressed' music file format.
I'll give you one: metadata. WAV doesn't really support it in a standard way across applications. AIFF is a little better but it doesn't have a lot of traction on Windows. FLAC has a robust tagging scheme. Since converting to lossless is incredibly fast, and you typically save about 30% of the disk space, why not do it?
Which is kind of ironic considering their cloud vending came from their retail business. Amazon used to have tons of extra server power set aside which was just used keep the site running smoothly during the insane blitz of online shoppers during the holiday season. Of course that only lasted for a month or so out of the year so they began to lease out that extra server power during all the months it wasn't in use.
This is a myth. AWS founder addressed in in a Quora answer: http://www.quora.com/Amazon/How-and-why-did-Amazon-get-into-the-cloud-computing-business
Google apps is sold with a 99.9% uptime guarantee - that works out to a maximum of 526 minutes downtime per year.
In the last three years that we've been using Google apps, I've never had more than one hour of cumulative downtime in a calendar year. I also haven't spent a single second configuring or monitoring email servers, backing up email data, or with an executive breathing down my neck while I work on a server problem.
I'm pretty happy about that track record.
This. 1000x this. We've been using Google Apps (paid) for 5 years and I can't remember any significant downtime in that period. We've had more problems with our internet connection than Google problems.
And it's more inconsistent than people realize... I routinely place orders for food in the Delivery.com and the SeamlessWeb apps and because I have no credit card on file with either, I enter my credit card info for payment instead of using an iTunes account. So no 30% goes to Apple for my burrito, but DropBox leaves a link to their website in their SDK and suddenly all hell breaks loose. But Apple has a DropBox competitor and doesn't currently offer burritos I guess...
It's not that the rule is applied inconsistently, it's that you don't understand what the rule is. The rule is you pay apple 30% if the thing being sold can be used in the app. Doesn't matter if it's a subscription that you can ALSO use online elsewhere, if it's usable in the app, you pay 30%. A burrito can not be used in an app. Dropbox storage can. A subscription to Office365 can.
As a PC user, I absolutely hate iTunes. I stay away from Apple products specifically because of iTunes.
My kids have iPod touches, and I loath having to go into iTunes and update their software/apps.
Well, you don't have to do that any more. Remember the whole "PC Free" thing from a year or two ago? You can update the OS, apps, whatever, on the device itself, and use iCloud for backup. If you ever have to reset the device for some reason it will just redownload everything automatically once you put in your iCloud login. As long as your kids' iPods can run iOS 5 or later, you never need to connect to iTunes ever again.