Chime.TV aggregates millions of videos from across the web (from sources like YouTube, Myspace and Veoh) to create a tv-like experience within your browser (with nothing to install). With over 20 premium channels to choose from you can get started right away or do a search to find what you are looking for. You can save favorites, create your own channels to share and even send video-mail to friends. With a fullscreen, non-stop playing experience that is always on-demand, Chime.TV is truly lean back internet TV.
Oh yeah, Chirag and I just launched it after 6 months in the making :)
The Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown promised to be reminiscent of a ringside event.
Find out which service creates playlists worthy of a veteran DJ, and which service recommends tracks like an iPod set on shuffle as they battle it out in the ultimate playlist smackdown. Based on audience feedback, trophies will be awarded.
The four competitors took their corners.
But no punches were thrown. No trophies awarded. No playlists were even created. Moderator Colin Brumelle asked each panelist to introduce another represented service rather than their own. No one was ever completely satisfied with the resulting description; they always added a few forgotten features. There was an apparent disconnect between their self-perceptions and what others see them as.
And that was about as interesting as it got. The closest thing to an argument was a discussion of algorithmic analysis vs. human recommendations. It ended up being little more than an exercise in public relations for the companies involved. Invaluable for them, no doubt. But I'm not sure how much the audience walked away with. The ultimate letdown indeed.
Bonus Fun Facts:
1. The Decemberists' bass player, Nate Query, was a music analyst at Pandora.
2. Last.fm has facilitated marriages.
3. If you like any band, you may also like The Beatles and Radiohead. Surprise!
Photo by Anthony Kerr
SXSW Interactive: Brian Fling Discusses Mobile WebSXSW Interactive: Brian Fling Discusses Mobile Web
Brian Fling of Blue Flavor * gave a presentation Sunday afternoon detailing both the why and the how of developing for the mobile Web. Hopefully soon everyone realizes the importance of reaching audiences across any medium. Making information accessible via Internet-ready mobile devices has become increasingly important.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Mobile Web...but Were Afraid to Ask emphasized finding a need, filling it and getting rid of anything extra. Navigation should be effortless (ordered lists with access keys); nothing hidden behind too many clicks. Most of the considerations hold true regardless of the platform in mind. But mobile devices present some unique obstacles, like varying screen sizes and more than 50 browsers. The constraints force simple, clear designs. And the experience can be truly contextual thanks to built-in GPS and location-based services.
Photo by Jeff Croft
Getting to Consistency: Don't Make Your Users Think stressed that consistency should not become legacy. While people (or what the detached refer to as "users") value comfort and familiarity, what works best evolves over time. Embrace change as long as the benefits are obvious. It reminded me of Taylor's conversation with Chirag about the pros and cons of two possible user interfaces. They went with the one that was less common but more usable.
Grids Are Good and How to Design with Them reassured me that the principles learned in my print design courses still apply to the Web. Khoi and Mark went through the steps of creating a grid-based layout through a combination of math and eyeballing it. See the results for yourself.
Beautiful Algorithms: Design from Nature and Mathematics showed how algorithms generate beauty in both nature and technology. Like the reaction-diffusion patterns found on tropical fish, or the L-systems and self-similarity of plants. I'm glad Alec focused on real-world and simulated examples of this stuff and not on the crazy formulas behind it all. It was reminiscent of the movie Pi, where a paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. Just listen to the sample at the end of Jedi Mind Tricks' "Speech Cobras."
High Class and Low Class Web Design juxtaposed "good" and "bad" designs, focusing on the success of culprits like MySpace, Craigslist and eBay. Paul Rand famously said:
The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.
But I think it's important to remember -- and this was brought up during the Q+A session -- that good and bad are not equivalent to beautiful and ugly. Usability and the audience's immediate goals should be prioritized, otherwise they won't come back no matter how pretty the design is.
Photo by Andy Couch
The best thing I've ever discovered via Google's adsense is http://theinternetband.net/. This guy is interested in creating a super group, and really, really believes he has the knowledge to take them to the top.
And now, the most quotes I've ever included in a post:
The World's Next Great Rock Band Is Now Forming. You Will Absolutely Be The #1 Band After Your First Cd Release. I Guarantee It.
I'd Like To Make 2 Things Clear. This Is A Rock Band. There'll Be No Dancing. Never. Also, You Guys Are The Band And I Will Be Owner Of The Band.
There Are No Outside Investors Needed Or Wanted For This Band Project. The Internet Is So Inexpensive And It Goes All Around The World. With Billions Of People And Word Of Mouth. Thats All You Really Need. You Make The Music, You Own The Music. You Sell It Directly To The People. Bypass Everything Else. Yes, That Is All You Really Need. It Seems, Nobody Has Taken Advantage Of This Fact. Until Now. Music Does Make The World Go Round. Oh Yeah. Oh Yeah.
I Want This Group To Do Everything Right That Every Other Group Has Done Wrong The Last 50 Years. This Group Can Record And Release 35-40 Good Songs The First Year, Every Year. It Could Be A 35-40 Song Download That Sells For $20-25.00 No-Cds, No-Cds, No-Cds. I Hope You Fiqure Out What That Means.
Bandwagon is "a mind numbingly simple online iTunes backup" service which uses Amazon's S3 service for storage space.
Apparently, it's all automatic too. No need to set backup to every day or every hour. It's event driven, so when something new happens (play count, buying a song from iTunes, ripping a CD) it's automatically backed up.
They've been blogging prior to their launch and it's been pretty interesting as well. They seeked out feedback on their pricing ($69/year introductory offer, $99/year regularly, and maybe a DIY $1 a month option just for the software). They also posted a bill of rights for the customer and the company.
ps. If you are a blogger, and you link up their logo and site before Feb 22, 2:59pm Eastern Standard Time, you'll get a free one-year account!
Prickie is a marketplace for buttons that anybody can create and sell themselves. Prices are generally in the $3-4 range and shipping is free if you buy 6 at one time. You can mix and match from any designer's store. It's quite fun to just browse around at the impressive works people have done on a 1" button. Unfortunately, the interface is all flash and it doesn't look like there is an easy way to permalink to a specific button, so if the above buttons interest you, start browsing!
Last.fm just launched a bunch of site updates including these very cool flash image quilts. You can embed these into your Myspace or Blog as a cool way to showcase your all time favorite bands. You can see mine below and over on my editor page (which also lists upcoming shows I plan on attending).
"iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X."
It works remarkably well. It detected that I lived in Gainesville and showed me quite a few local shows as well as stuff from Jacksonville and St Augustine. It's a bit bare bones at the moment, but it's still very new and launched by two grad students in their free time.
Most interestingly is where they are getting their tourdates from. They are coy about it on their FAQ (and since it's listed first, I'm guessing its their most FAQ too). They seem to be pulling from Jambase and even Pollstar, which is surprising as they seem relatively closed apps (no API's, no feeds etc).
I would love for those sites to hook up with Eventful to share concert data. As those in the know agree, all these concert sites should compete on features, not on who 'owns' the most tour dates. Exactly like browsers should be.
You can shop online for chenille bedspreads, or others having teddy bears and rabbits on the cover. Then duvet covers is also available in many different colors and themes, so you can match the colors with your bedding theme or overall theme of your bedroom.
While looking for tickets to a show. I hit up Ticketmaster, and visited 3 pages in a row before I got this error:
We limit the rate of web page requests that can be made by individual users in any given time period. Your web page requests have exceeded these limits and your access has been temporarily disabled. We impose these limits to protect the web site from automated programs, as part of our efforts to promote fair access to tickets. Please allow several minutes and then try again.
Apparently cable + IE6 is too fast for Ticketmaster to handle. And don't even get me started on that "fair access" part...
I'm not sure if I'm behind times or if this is new, but when you combine a song name plus the word band on google, it has a new shortcut that attemps to tell you what band you are looking for. It doesn't work all the time (mr. brightside search) but is a pretty nice time saving bonus for some of us. Thanks Google!
In case you haven't heard Songbird aims to be the Firefox of media players, taking what's best about iTunes and WMP and combining it into a free, open-source and extendable cross-platform media player.
You can browse music blogs within Songbird and it detects mp3s and lets you download them all or play them as a playlist. It's still got a few quirks but it's something I'm really looking forward to as development continues. Podbop comes as a default bookmark on the left pane too, so do check us out within Songbird!
Checkout the latest screencast for developer version 0.2 that just came out yesterday:
There are several types of rubber flooring you can choose from. Not all people like carpets, as it’s not easier to clean the carpets when you’ve kids at home. And some home owners believe that carpets are a source of floor heating especially in summers.
Remember cassettes? I don't, but if you do then I think you'll appreciate this gallery of hot cassette smut from the '80s and '90s. With over 350 cassette pin-ups, I'm sure you can hunt down and reminisce about the mix-tape you made for your hook-up buddy when you thought she was the one.
To be honest, I did purchase one tape in my lifetime. It was at the mall while I was in middle school. I invested in the single to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's 1996 hit Tha Crossroads. It was a damn good song, but I am still surprised to hear that it was #1 on VH1's Best Rap Song Countdown (according to Wikipedia).
The man, the myth behind Tapes 'N Tapes' stellar success.
Check out other brilliant stuff by comedian Aziz Ansari.
im going to say it.
animal collective fucking suck live. i love their albums, but live its just pure masturbation. they are punishing the people who pay for their albums and pay for tickets to see them by giving them an hour of crap with 2 recognizable songs thrown in. if they want to be a noise band, fine, but record noise albums. they've decided to record pop albums with songs, so when i go to see them live, i expect songs. but me, like many other people who have supported them over the years, are treated to sonic wankery. fuck those dude. never again. NEVER AGAIN.
I really couldn't agree more after seeing them at SXSW 2006.
Bad Album Covers Volume 1 and Volume 2 harvest the pit of horrible and hilarious album design. And to be thoroughly digusted/offended check out Zonicweb's Top 10 (or bottom 10 depending on how you look at it).
Here are some good pickins':
- John Buck Wilkin's In search of food, clothing, shelter and sex
- Roy Clark's I Never Picked Cotton
- Fugly Hungarians Self Titled
- Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals
- The Stanley Johnson Orchestra's Have Harp can't Travel
- Fun'da'mental's Erotic Terrorism
- Dante & His Orchestra's Serenades for Sex Kittens
5inch.com is a Chicago-based company that carries awesomely designed CD-Rs, DVD-Rs and cases. If you are willing to order at least 500, they also offer custom print jobs. Each of their printed CD-Rs are silk-screened in a limited run, so once the design is gone, it's gone.
I ordered 25 sets (triggercase + CD-R) of these for a Christmas mix for friends and family a few years ago and was very pleased with the CD-Rs. They definitely made the gifts stand out over the typical sharpie magic. I can't really recommend the triggercases though. While the look stands out, I found that shoving a CD-R back and forth across the opening caused light scratching.
Use them for mixes as presents or for you web designers, send one to a client with a backup of their site when you're done, for that extra oomph. I think a best bet is their Sampler Pack where you can pick out 10 different designs for $15.
Live Nation is an event company (they own booking rights for 153 venues worldwide and produced more than 29,500 events in 2005) and are doing a promotion called Live Nation Guest List where they are giving out 2 free concert tickets to past registrants of their website. The concert selction is a bit limited; almost all of them are Counting Crows, Hootie, Black Eyed Peas or Santana and you are probably going to get lawn seats, but hey it's free. I chose the Santana show in Florida, because who wouldn't mind seeing one of the finest guitarists ever.
If you have signed up for their mailing list before just visit the Guest List Promotion page and enter your email for the promo code.
The trick comes in if you haven't signed up before. Just think of a typical email address people make up when they don't want to get spam. I'll give you two working email addresses (and their codes) to get you started. If you do use these, leave a comment so other people don't waste their time. I'm sure you'll get the idea..
Full list of available shows for the Guest List Promotion after the jump..
Podbop fan Al Nevarez created an awesome hack to let you create a podcast feed out of practically any webpage with a bunch of mp3s on it (like the list of recently added artists on our artist database page).
It's only for Firefox users (because you need to have Greasemonkey installed as well) but I don't think that's too much to ask at all.
Go check out his write-up on the script including some great background into Greasemonkey and what podcasts are if you're unfamiliar.
Gig Posters is an incredible collection of those cool screen-printed posters you see stuck all over your favorite venues. The artists themselves upload scans of their work to share, and sometimes sell. You can even browse by artist or designer. It's a great place to get inspiration and art for your walls. Their forums are also a thriving place to get tips, tricks and insight into screen printing and how artists did their posters. Definitely worthwhile.
Not all great artists are famous and not all great music gets heard. Metafilter, probably the most popular community blog on the Internet, is helping bridge the gap between amateur musicians and their audience with MeFi Music. Released on June 30, the site lets Metafilter users upload their own musical projects. There's some gold on there.
- You Spin Me Round is a beautifully sung cover of Dead or Alive's classic dance song.
- Diamond Joe is a really fun piece of Irish country that must be a blast performed live.
- In Testing 1-2-3, user starkeffect took recordings people had made of themselves and mistakenly left for upload on P2P services and made a genius song out of them.
- I am a demon and will swallow your soul! by the Christian Science Monitors should get reviewed on Pitchfork any day now.
- Dracula Man X2 Alpha Turbo is an awesome high energy videogame-esque composition.
- The Writing's on the Wall, my band's magnum opus, is my own contribution to the site.
"Music Arsenal is a music industry business management tool. Our web application helps record labels, booking agents, managers, promoters and anyone else in the music industry manage their companies in an easy way."
I've had the chance to take a look at the backend and it's a really easy, inexpensive tool to manage your company. The best part? It now submits tour dates you've listed within the program to Eventful and Podbop. It will be very interesting to see which record labels are smart enough to utilize the new web tools coming out these days.
Read more about it on the Music Arsenal Blog.