Monday, March 06, 2006

Snarfin' Your DJ.

Here is a tasty yet possibly dubious little piece of tech that merges the two worlds of broadcast and personal music.

Snaptune One downloads songs, talk shows, interviews and live sessions directly from an FM radio to your computer automatically.

It isn't live yet...and you might wonder who the heck has a FM tuner for their PC...but it does get me thinking. Gee, I used to love to lie awake at night listening to the coolest DJ's on the planet (WLIR-FM 92.7 FM) play the best music on the planet. Mind you, this was back when DJ's were the people on the radio, not dudes with two turntables over the dance floor. It would be simply grand to have my own personal cool-hunting digital DJ go off and bring it on home to me.

That said, this one gets a "maybe" from me...I might believe this...but it is dependent on me picking and choosing by clicking and listening. If time-poverty is an issue then this isn't going to work. I am not conviced that there is a pressing need for this but it will be interesting to check out when it goes live.

Screenshot here:

Real Time Art.

This whole Web 2.0 thing is pretty darn fascinating and not least in the whole pile of mashup technologies is Flickr with its extensible, how-about-this mentality.

As more and more people populate Flickr with their images it is only a matter of time until others use that art as their building blocks. A wonderful example can be found here at Clockr:
Clockr uses random digit images from Flickr to display the current time but if you don't happen to like one of the images, just go ahead and click on'll change. So allow me to diagram that for you:

Person "A" creates image and uploads it to Flickr >>> Person "B" creates Clockr to diplay the time based on a community of "person A's" images >>> Person "C" (that's you) clicks on the images to change the art.

Tagnautica is an experimental navigation tool built to explore the space of related Flickr tags.

Even if your are not the type to appreciate forward thinking interfaces, you owe it to yourself to play around with Tagnautica a bit. Makes you go hmmmmmm.

> When Displays Are Interface Instruments.

The television was a great display. The networks broadcasted shows and our televisions diplayed those shows. Simple enough.

For a few technical types the computer display started to mean more interactivity. One could type an incredibly long and obscure string of alpha numeric characters on the screen and something would happen in the big box that the display was attached to. Nifty stuff and suddenly a display did more than just display.

Then came ATM's, personal computers, and Nintendo and we all got used to displays that encouraged us to think of the screens as interfaces rather than mere displays.

With that inadequate and accelerated historical timeline, here are three examples of display interfaces that are changing the game:

1) Wacom Cintiq
I just ordered one of these for an Illustrator in our Creative department and it has a very high wow factor in addition to changing the user experience from that old Nintendo hand/eye coordination skill to much closer to natural media. Working directly on screen really does change the game.

2) Jazzmutant Lemur:
Technically it is an innovative input device to control computer real-time applications. In practice it is the high-tech version of the one man band. And I do not mean that in a facetious way, rather it allows a performer such as a musician or visual artist to perform in new and fascinating ways.

3) Multi-Touch Interaction Research:
Any conversation in this area would be remiss if we didn't include some experimental offerings.
Once you get beyond the trippy stuff, the managing of photo's and navigating information started to look quite interesting. Kind of Minority Reportesque, as my friend Karl Long pointed out.