As well as regular posts, I’ve been working on some overview pages, two of which are now visible below the image header: Overview: mp3 players and Overview: music recommendations. These pages aren’t finished, but I wanted to publish them to get going on on them. I’ll be updating and extending them as I go. I hope they prove useful. Any advice gratefully received. I will be adding one or two more of these overviews in the future.
I just stumbled across this video on an MP3 blog and think it’s absolutely brilliant. It cycles through and literally explodes a small number of key pieces of music playback hardware, ending up with what my awfully limited knowledge of Spanish translates as ‘music is never going to die’ (la musica nunca va a morir). It appears to be an ad for a Spanish design/music/technology magazine. Do follow the link below to watch it all!
(Oh and seeing one of the old cassette players with the piano keys and integrated mono speaker (do they still make them?) reminds me that I used to borrow my dad’s one – a weighty brushed metal and black plastic affair protected by a leather outer cover – and take it to school. In particularly boring lessons I’d plug in a mono ear piece, snake the wire through my jacket, plug it into the cassette recorder secreted in my school bag and listen to my recently recorded John Peel compilation tapes. This was, for sure, before the mainstream popularity of Sony Walkmans. I never did get caught…)
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.
iConcertCal is a bit of a clumsy name, but I like the implementation. The idea of a gig notification website was something a friend and I did a little preparatory work on a few months ago. It’s a distinct gap in the market – how many times have you discovered too late that a band was playing in your local area, but the concert is sold out or it took place two days ago? How great would it be if you could visit one easy to use website, select the bands whose gigs you want to be notified of, submit your email address and forget about the whole thing until you receive an email saying that band X have announced they’re visiting your town in two months’ time and you can ‘buy your tickets by clicking on this link’. After some initial research, it turned out this wasn’t exactly an original idea and ultimately, it looked like too much work so we shelved it. None of the sites we looked at though, were as easy to use as our concept which was built around a set of expanding choices in an Ajax interface that aspired to the simplicity of the Google homepage.
These people (their About page states “We are not a company and this is not a commercial venture. We are just two grad students in electrical engineering. We wrote this plug-in in our spare time because we were tired of missing concerts for our favorite bands and we figured other people probably are too” – my hats off to them!) have taken an attractively different approach by integrating their interface into iTunes and using iTunes’ library as a basis on which to search the web for relevant listings. Very nice. Unfortunately it doesn’t list a single upcoming concert. I know I have fairly obscure music tastes, but a quick read of the FAQ revealed that it doesn’t do listings outside the US which is a great shame. Fingers crossed that the service can be extended.