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Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data?

Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data?

When it comes to enjoying audio or video on your mobile device, you may be presented with an option regarding how to proceed: stream it or download it. But choosing an option may not be as obvious as it appears, depending on how you intend to use the content and when.

To help you make the decision about spending your mobile data on streaming or downloading, here are some important points to consider.

Downloading and Streaming Are Functionally the Same

Both streaming and downloading involve a file being sent to the device. The key difference is that a streaming file is simply played as it becomes available, while a download is stored onto memory. Both processes involve the act of downloading, but only one leaves you with a copy left on your device that you can access at any time without having to receive (or download) the data again.

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If you access a downloaded file later, you do not have to use more mobile data to play it. However, if you choose to stream a file again, you will have to download the information again (and again every time you choose to access it).

The Amount of Data Transferred is (Typically) Equal

Another thing you need to understand is that the size of the file itself is often the same regardless of whether you stream it or download it, as long as it is offered with the same level of quality for both selections. For example, if an MP3 of a song is 3.5 MB, that fact doesn’t change whether you download it or stream it.

However, certain options may differ depending on available quality. If you have the option of streaming a video at 480p but can download it at 720p, the 720p file will be larger than the 480p counterpart. This means it takes more data to download the 720p file than stream the 480p version.

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Additionally, some streaming services, like Netflix, offer the ability to adjust data usage settings, allowing you to choose a lower resolution option to save data.

Intended Use of the File

Since many of the factors are similar, whether you choose to stream or download a file needs to be based on how you want to use the file.

If there is a particular song you love, and you can imagine listing to it every day, then downloading the file is the better option. By choosing to download the MP3 to your device’s memory using a music downloader, you use data during the initial download. Then, if you want to listen to it, you can simply access it from your device’s memory. You only use the data once, and you can replay the song indefinitely.

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This approach is also necessary if you want to access the file at a time when you don’t have a connection to the internet, since you can’t stream music or videos without an active connection.

However, if you aren’t interested in using a file more than once, you might want to stream instead. Unlike downloading, streaming doesn’t place the file in your device’s memory. That means you can enjoy the song or video and won’t lose any storage capacity. This is especially ideal if you are in an area with a strong signal and want to access the information immediately.

Stopping, Starting, and Choosing Not to Finish

It is important to point out when you stream a file and can’t finish it, you may not be able to start the audio or video from the exact spot in which you left off. Some systems are pretty good at letting you restart the playback from where it was paused, but others will automatically start over. In those cases, you may have to download certain sections of the file a second time, raising the total amount of data used.

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In contrast, if you start an audio or video file and decide you don’t want to finish it, streaming results in less data use. Downloading requires the file be retrieved and stored in entirety before you can enjoy it, while streaming allows it to play without the entire file being loaded. So, walking away in the middle of a streaming file saves you the amount of data that you don’t listen to, while a downloaded file does not.

Watching Your Data

While this may seem like a lot of analysis for choosing between streaming or downloading a file, if you are using a device with a limited data plan, these can be important considerations. So, review the file size and consider how you intend to use the file. Then you can make a choice based on what is best for you.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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