June 18, 2016
I’m unearthing a unpublished draft post written in reaction to the announcement of Google Play All Access from 2013. I recall thinking of “Tyranny of the Majority”, “Dunbar’s Number” and “The 90-9-1 Principle” and the notion that communities of unpaid music curators are rare, fragile, precious and worthy of preservation.
The thing is, what Google was promoting then is equally apropos to what Spotify is now.
So here it is, from 2013, what the presenter said announcing All Access, and my reaction:
“Music unites us. It’s universal. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, the joy of music is a constant. And with ubiquitous mobile devices, there is a potential to bring that joy with us wherever we are. But when a bunch of us on the Play Team got together to talk about the next generation of our Music service, we all agreed the reality was somewhat different. Yes, mobile devices give us more choices than ever before, but they weren’t helping us discover music we loved. It felt more like work. .. so why is it that like managing my queue feels like a chore?”
My answer: “because it is a worthwhile chore.” Would you ignore a reading a book that wasn’t on the New York Times Bestseller list? What is wrong with expending effort, especially on something you are passionate about? For me the hunt and sharing of discoveries of any art is a joy. Google may have a spectacular categorization, tagging and recommendation algorithm, but if one succumbs to only what the robots anticipate as your every desire, it diminishes the value of one’s connection to every other sentient being.
April 2, 2013
Our beloved Roku SoundBridge has ceased to function. After seven years of service tuning into SomFM, otherwise unreachable radio stations and our iTunes library, it emits neither light nor sound.
It turns out, the thing is beautiful inside. Constructed like double-ended Pringle’s can. Pop the ends off and it’s inner shell slides out of the aluminum tube.
Splitting the clamshell exposes a single circuit board.
Notice the how the primary circuits are completely encased in a shield? This unit was unaffected by nearby cell phones, the microwave oven or other radiation sources. Which is pretty amazing because I don’t think things like 3G phones were invented when this was made.
Fortunately, there is EBay and it’s vintage replacement is on it’s way.
September 2, 2010
dude, where's my Lala?
I’ve just taken a test drive of Apple’s Ping and I am totally underwhelmed. As a user of Pandora, Rhapsody, Last.FM, MOG, and most significantly, Lala, I am completely befuddled. Why in the world would only iTunes purchase history be considered in user profile creation and not the wealth of data contained in the user’s iTunes library? There are play counts, ratings, playlists, genre tags, BPM annotations and so forth. No, really, can someone explain this to me? As it stands, Ping is utterly worthless to the musically driven social net citizen and is not likely to perform a meaningful social networking function in Apple’s marquee media store. Surely Apple must realize how scale-free social networks are formed. Without well-connected nodes capable of generating quality content, and without those nodes’ mass of preference data there is nothing going on here. Had my library and playlists been pulled in I just might have cared enough to write some reviews, invite my tribe and hang around long enough for a little more Lala DNA to show up. Not a chance now.
In summary, dear Apple, compare and contrast how hard Last.FM works to import and export user music preferences.