Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Now Playing?

Now Playing?

Now Playing one of my favorite iPhone/iPad apps that was an easy way to check on local movie times and reviews is “currently down due to a request by a data provider”.

on one hand i think it was free, but the idea of an app becoming persona non grata without any notice from apple strikes me as unacceptable.

it seems to me that if you are going to have a walled garden software platform then you when you choose to remove something an explanation is due (especially since they have been there since the beginning). an email explaining the problem would be a good start.

granted this hasn’t happened that much with the apps i use on a regular basis. but what if this happened to one of the many music apps i use to perform with? i suppose that might be a little far fetched, but it’s giving me another reason to consider switching to an Google based smartphone after my contract expires in july.


i just got this email from the developer, Cyrus Najmabadi.

“I had to take the app offline due to one of the data providers demanding
more money to license their data.  I’m trying to work through the issue
right now.”

i hope he can come up with a solution that makes financial sense for him.

Music for Controllers (2009)

Music for Controllers (2009)

are improvisations performed live using ableton live, korg/nanokey, buddha machine and srutibox (iphone), and korg kaossilator

Music for Controllers I
created using ableton live, buddha machine (iphone), korg kaossillator and nano-key

Music for Controllers II (coming soon)

Music for Controllers III and Music for Controllers IV

were improvised live using ableton live/ korg/nanokey, buddha machine (iphone), and the korg kaossilator

Music for Controllers V
improvisation post-whatever ableton, buddha machine (iphone), srutibox just-intonation drone

Music for Controllers VI (A Stable Job is an Oxymoron)
this track was based on a field recording i made of my last day of work before my “fall break” at CSUF (a one-week non paid work furlough). a few days later i improvised over the recording of my commute (from highland park to union station) with some materials of an earlier piece i made last spring (not getting fired is the new promotion). when it was finished i felt it was a little too minimal and forgot about it until about a week ago and when i listened to it again i realized it pretty accurately captured my dread of what this financial disaster has become in my life.
interestingly enough on that was the same day on my commute home the conductor on my amtrak route told me that she had lost about 75 daily commuters between san diego and los angeles from a year ago and it was pretty sad how so few of us were left. i know for me there aren’t many part time faculty left in the music department at CSUF and at this point it’s can get pretty depressing whenever i think about all of my friends who are out of work.
probably a little TMI, but yeah… i guess it is a bit dark.

Music for Controllers VI (A Stable Job is an Oxymoron) is spoken word piece based on twitter RSS feeds on the keywords “fired” and “job”. parts of this piece were originally contained in the piece  “not getting fired is the new promotion” (2009) and was improvised/performed/composed using ableton live, novation launchpad, korg kaossilator, iphone (buddha machine, srutibox), text-2-speech, and a field recording (zoom H2) of my morning commute (metro goldline from heritage square to union station; los angeles, ca 10/15/2009 (10 min)
Music for Controllers by paul bailey

My Early iPad Review

so far the iPad has been a pretty interesting and although i’ve had only for a week i think it’s still to early to tell on how useful a mobile device it will become. instead of trying to read the tea leaves of what it might become, i’m going to break it down in some smaller chunks:

Things I Like

  • great to read magazine length multimedia content on the interwebs
  • i also prefer it as a newsreader and really a perfect couch computer
  • great for viewing photo slideshows and movies
  • at the end of the day it shines as a media consumption device


  • not really great for content creation
  • iWork is buggy, editing rich text documents without a mouse is a pain (although it’s been shown you can easily hack a Bluetooth mouse)
  • it’s a pain in the ass to type on (in relation i prefer to type much more on my iphone) i have pretty big hands and i have to peck out words one letter at a time
  • using it with a bluetooth keyboard makes you miss the mouse even more
  • no good Twitter client yet (twitterific is ok, wish they had echofon)
  • to heavy to read comforably in bed or on the couch
  • iBooks are too expensive. no reason not to continue using amazon and their very good kindle app for the Ipad
  • multitasking would make many programs much more useful (textexpander, pastebot, 1password)
  • screen glare is a problem, although works better in landscape
  • not many must have iPad specific app yet (i assume this will change by the end of the summer once developers have adequate time to create and test their iPad specific apps)

iPad vs. iPhone

  • after using it for a week i was surprised to discover that my iPhone is better for messaging and typing short notes and email. i think the form factor of the IPad makes it really a tweener mobile device. to big to do the basic mobile tasks, and not robust enough to do more than basic word processing.
  • on the other hand i have found when teathering to my iPhone it makes the iPhone/iPad combination very compelling. one device for the mobile bits and a more robust device for the larger more complex tasks (reading, basic word processing, basic music composition/improvisation)
  • like i said above i prefer to day most text entry on the iPhone. the iPad is too big and heavy to even write a long email.

My Favorite iPad Apps

  • Instapaper i use basically as a tool to read most of the content i find interesting on the interwebs. it’s fundamental function is to strip out all the excess pictures and adverts to leave you with a text only version of whatever article/blog you were wanting to read
  • simplenote is my basic plain-text word processor on the iPad and iPhone. i’m using it right now to write this article. the best thing about it is that it easily syncs between any mobile device your desktops. kinda like what google docs and pages should eventually be doing. although i used to be a big evernote user, the ease of use and the quick syncing has made simplenote my main tool to keep jot down quick notes on the go
  • comiczeal is a very simple and effective pdf/comic reader. and have finally been able to enjoy reading graphic novels on my ipad
  • Todo i have been using todo on the iphone for quite a while and it’s Ipad cousin is well worth the upgrade. i wish they would eventually have an OSX version (like things), but i’m very happy with the iPad and Iphone versions

iPad Case

  • i really like the inexpensive crazyondigital case. it’s light and simple and if you have a kindle 2 case you will know what you are getting (except this has straps on the edges). very thin and light and doesn’t seem to add much weight. for a $20 case i would say it is very good deal and i’m happy that i didn’t spend $40 (which seems to be the going rate for most “premium cases” also you can flip the cover back and use it as a decent stand (in landscape), but it doesn’t quite work in portrait mode.
  • Netflix

  • I’m an old fashioned couch potato and prefer to watch tv and movies on the big screen (which for me is the same LCD projector I bought for lecturing and video projection in my live shows) and was surprised how much we enjoyed watching ‘Moon’ via netflix on the iPad when TWC went out a few weekend ago. the main problem is that it’s too heavy and after a while my wife ended up holding for the 2nd half of the movie
  • Kindle iPad app

    • i really like that you can easily sync books and share your bookmarks and annotations publicly. i find that it’s to heavy for reading for long periods of time and think my kindle 2 overall is a better bookreader. i also noticed today that it doesn’t have the % read line at the bottom of each page, which for some strange reason i seem to prefer.

    iPad apps that show promise


    • it’s kind of a curated newsreader. i don’t have any clear idea how it works, but if i just want to catch up on the news it’s great place to start. i wish it had instapaper support or would let me open another browser to save an article for later, but for now all you can really do is email a link to yourself.

    textexpander, pastebot, and 1password

    • i’m starting to use these more and more between my macbook/iphone/ipad and i can see them becoming more useful when multitasking comes to OS 4 later this summer (and they release an iPad specific app)

    iPad as a Music Controller

  • right now there are too few iPad specific music apps to really judge it fairly, but based on the apps below i’m pretty excited about it’s possibilites
  • PatternMusic

    • so far it’s the most interesting music performance app. it’s a pattern based looper (similar to the session view side of ableton live) one of the great things about it is that it starts to show the possibilities of using the ipad as a stand alone musical instrument (instead of just a controller) right now its sound pallete is limited and would be great if it offered midi out and the ability to internally record it’s own performances


    • mp3 based sequencer in which you launch your own loops. it offers an interesting alternative to the session view and arrangement views in ableton live


    • seems like a ipad specific version of the Electribe/Groovebox, andcould be useful, but still haven’t figured out how to make it sing


    • really not a music controller, but a interesting generative music game that was pretty cool on the iphone, but is much cooler (b/c of the bigger size) on the iPad

    also if you haven’t tried this out for your iphone/ipad, your really should.

    "Relegate the Machine to the Background"

    "Relegate the Machine to the Background"

    got a great review of my Music for Controllers EP from marc weidenbaum at

    “Probably the sole development that wasn’t a surprise, pleasant or otherwise, was that other musicians would use the Buddha Machine as a tool of self-expression. Among the latest is Paul Bailey, whose recent Music for Controllers album includes several tracks featuring the Buddha Machine (in this case, the Buddha Machine app for the iPhone and iPod Touch). The opening tones on the album’s opening track are familiar, their patient looping like waves brushing up against the shore, albeit in slow motion (MP3). But that’s just the start. Then comes a pitter-patter like some children’s wind-up toy acting up, and a tentative bit of melody that slowly, ever so slowly, over the course of nine minutes, finds a common sensibility with the looping tones, and insinuates its own drone-like hymn. In the process, Bailey manages to do what many Buddha Machine adopters have not, which is to once again relegate the machine to the background.”

    Music for Controllers by paul bailey
    i actually found out about the buddha machine from reading marc’s blog and in the back of my mind i was wondering what he would think.  it’s not actually posted on this site yet (it’s  been a busy spring), but you can find it at (via blacksquare netlabel)

    Paul Bailey: Music for Controllers VI (2009)

    Paul Bailey: Music for Controllers VI (2009)

    Paul Bailey: Music for Controllers VI (2009)

    Music for Controllers VI by paul bailey
    this track was based on a field recording i made of my last day of work before my “fall break” at CSUF (a one-week non paid work furlough). a few days later i improvised over the recording of my commute (from highland park to union station) with some materials of an earlier piece i made last spring (not getting fired is the new promotion). when it was finished i felt it was a little too minimal and forgot about it until about a week ago and when i listened to it again i realized it pretty accurately captured my dread of what this financial disaster has become in my life.

    interestingly enough on that was the same day on my commute home the conductor on my amtrak route told me that she had lost about 75 daily commuters between san diego and los angeles from a year ago and it was pretty sad how so few of us were left. i know for me there aren’t many part time faculty left in the music department at CSUF and at this point it’s can get pretty depressing whenever i think about all of my friends who are out of work.

    probably a little TMI, but yeah… i guess it is a bit dark.

    spoken word piece based on twitter RSS feeds on the keywords “fired” and “job”. parts of this piece were originally contained in the piece “not getting fired is the new promotion” (2009)

    made using ableton live, novation launchpad, korg kaossilator, iphone (buddha machine, srutibox), text-2-speech, and a field recording (zoom H2) of my morning commute (metro goldline from heritage square to union station; los angeles, ca 10/15/2009 (10 min)

    Bookmarks for October 12th through October 15th []

    Bookmarks for October 12th through October 15th []

    Bookmarks from October 12th through October 15th:[]

    • Views: Professors Should Embrace Wikipedia – Inside Higher Ed -
      “I propose that all academics with research specialties, no matter how arcane (and nothing is too obscure for Wikipedia), enroll as identifiable editors of Wikipedia. We then watch over a few wikipages of our choosing, adding to them when appropriate, stepping in to resolve disputes when we know something useful. We can add new articles on topics which should be covered, and argue that others should be removed or combined. This is not to displace anonymous editors, many of whom possess vast amounts of valuable information and innovative ideas, but to add our authority and hard-won knowledge to this growing universal library”
    • Terminal Degree: Is he kidding? -
      “My previous employer just blogged about the need for a “health care solution that will enable a healthier place for all of God’s children.” Longtime readers of this blog will get the irony: While I was an adjunct there, I couldn’t get health care through my employer. Maybe that sentence should read “all God’s full-time, tenure-track children.”
    • Betty Draper Affair Advice: Not That You Asked | Unsolicited Advice -
      “Betty. Betty, Betty, Betty. I’m not going to recap your various travails here. I’ll leave that to the experts. But I can give you a few concrete pieces of advice (or plot developments, or whatever) that might exponentially increase your happiness. Ready?”
    • The music of Los Angeles on -
      “DavidDavid Weekend fun: Citysounds 2.0 “Exactly one month ago, we introduced you to, a really cool mashup created by Henrik Berggren and David Kjelkerud during the London Music Hack Day. Citysounds is built on top of the SoundCloud API and makes it easy to browse through SoundCloud tracks from a specific city around the world. Today, Henrik and David inform us about a big update they just launched and let me tell you that it’s pretty exciting. They’ve added a great set of features and we think that the current look & feel is a big improvement. So what’s new? Show more tracks from one city: when selecting a city on the frontpage, you’ll be able to click through to the city overview page where it will show you more tracks from that city:”
    • SoundGrid @ mifki -
      “SoundGrid aims to be the most advanced matrix sequencer for iPhone / iPod Touch to create stunning audio-visual performances in a moment and wherever you are. It was inspired by famous Yamaha Tenori-On and popular ToneMatrix webapp by André Michelle. Even if you never composed music you will find SoundGrid simple and exciting to play with and will start creating brilliant compositions in minutes with just the tips of your fingers. Then easily share them with other users and in turn browse, download and rate their creations. Or you can record composition to audio file, upload it directly to SoundCloud or export via email. You can even create your own unique ringtones!”
    • 10/GUI on Vimeo -
      Here it is: my crazy summer project to reinvent desktop human-computer interaction. This video examines the benefits and limitations inherent in current mouse-based and window-oriented interfaces, the problems facing other potential solutions, and visualizes my proposal for a completely new way of interacting with desktop computers.
    • TuneGlue° | Relationship Explorer -
      very interesting music mapping site based on band in
    • Essay – The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate – -
      “Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather”
    • Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » The Spotify Guys
      “Spotify employs P2P software, that’s why it’s so damn good. It takes 2-5 seconds to ramp up each and every song, which has reduced bit rate during that window, but usually that’s a relatively dead window and the listener isn’t paying close attention anyway. Yes, there are tricks. Only seventy five percent of the song is downloaded, an algorithm provides the remaining twenty five percent. This is how they all do it, it’s de rigueur. And the files don’t only come from Spotify’s servers, bits and pieces come from other users with the software installed on their computers. Net effect? It feels like you own the track. Usability is equal to iTunes. You can fast forward, rewind, there’s no lag time. Well, that’s a bit different. You see then Spotify depends on the network. Which is why they’ve limited sign-ups in the nations they’ve already launched in. They want the streaming experience to be perfect on your mobile device, after all, you’re depending on it…”
    • Acclaimed composer Terry Riley celebrated at Bard — Page 2 — Times Union – Albany NY:3351: -
      “Most composers notate a piece to perfection — hoping for a masterpiece, perhaps — and then move on. But Riley is a dabbler. “I’ll present a piece before it’s finished, then it will be different at the next performance,” he says. “Then after 10 years it will take a new shape that I’m happy with and maybe change again after 20 years. It’s because I improvise so much.” …his roots in jazz and Indian ragas should both come through on Saturday. To him, the term improvisation seldom means starting from nothing and just seeing what happen “They’re improvisations but built on existing structures, maybe not chord progressions (as with jazz), but modes and rhythmic cycles and looplike patterns,” Riley explains. “We’ll have a little rehearsal the day before (at Bard), but also a bit of flying by the seat of the pants. I like that and I think these players do, too.”
    • THE RESULTS ARE IN (Brown List 2009) -
      “Welcome to the official site of the 2009 BROWN LIST, brought to you by the Hollywood Temp Diaries. As you’ve gleaned from my postings and your own experiences, there are a lot of people in Hollywood who are a real pain in the ass. Oddly enough, there are some decent people in this town too (they probably won’t make it too far, but that’s their problem). Anyhoo, I’ve compiled a list of people’s MOST-LIKED and LEAST-LIKED entertainment industry executives in something I’m calling the BROWN LIST. Click on the .pdf below and enjoy the read. Thanks to everyone for participating.”
    • Cloud Eye Control joins the traditional and futuristic — -
      “On the fifth floor of the Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown L.A., the members of Cloud Eye Control are trying to create poetry out of collaborative technology. On one end of the large studio, makeshift tables hold laptops and electronic equipment, with a cluster of musical instruments nearby. The middle of the room is dominated by two free-standing screens… It’s only days away from the debut of the full-length version of “Under Polaris” at REDCAT, and there still are snags to work out, transitions to be smoothed. This performance combines live action, recorded animation, multiple projectors, mobile props, and a five-piece live band, so there’s still much to do. And, in the spirit of what Chi-wang Yang, the director of the group, calls do-it-yourself aesthetics, they somehow pull it all together.”

    Music for Controllers III and IV

    Music for Controllers III and IV

    still trying to get my head around live improvisation using digital sound sources and controllers. these next two tracks were improvised live using ableton live/ korg/nanokey, buddha machine (iphone), and the korg kaossilator

    Music for Controllers III

    Music for Controllers IV

    Steve Layton also made a nice mashup of my Music for Controllers III and Shane Cadman’s very beautiful piece: “For the Mighty Noah Bailey Dowell”.  Shane’s description of the piece follows:

    “I know Noah Bailey Dowell and his family from a church we all used to go to. He is known as “The Mighty” and he died on 10.3.09 after a battle with a rare form of cancer – he was not quite 8 years old. He and his family are an inspiration. They are all mighty indeed!. This piece is for Noah. I don’t know what else to say.”

    Shane Cadman

    100909 – For the Mighty Noah Bailey Dowell

    Steve Layton

    Chorale (The Mighty)

    listen and come join the fun at

    Bookmarks for September 28th through October 1st []

    Bookmarks for September 28th through October 1st []

    /a>Bookmarks from September 28th through October 1st:[]

    • Taruskin, vol.5, page 220 « The Rambler
      “I’ve just recently, and belatedly, started leafing through Richard Taruskin’s monumental History of Western Music, one of the musicological banner publications of 2005. Now, I’ve been an occasional fan of Taruskin’s work – his Grove article on Nationalism is flawed, but significant, and Defining Russia Musically was an inspirational book for me… There’s far too much to go into here about what winds me up about this book (how about the laughable Europhobia, in which European music after 1950 is merely a Cold War sideshow, and after 1960 non-existent), much of which will have been said elsewhere, but I just wanted to get my reaction to one page in particular off my chest. This is page 220 of volume 5, on which Taruskin is discussing (speculating on) the Cold War implications of Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. I fear, as an example of the lazy thought and downright falsehoods of this book, it may not be unique.”
    • Music Apps Blur the Gap Between You and Clapton – -
      “And this is where it gets back to being like a video game. Many musical apps offer the ability to record a track, then add layers on top of it. Doing this between disparate apps is impossible without external recording software, but a multi-instrumental app like Moocow’s Band gives novices the opportunity to record and edit tracks with drums, bass and guitar, and make sure it all sounds pretty good (even if one doesn’t know how to play a lick of music). It’s as much a game as Guitar Hero, only instead of trying to keep up with prerecorded music, the goal is to make music of one’s own.”

    Bookmarks for August 9th through August 17th []

    Bookmarks from August 9th through August 17th:[]

    • TRIUMPH OF HIS WILL: GQ Feature on Quentin Tarantino – “You can lie about a lot of things,” he says, “but your filmography doesn’t lie. It’s right there. And it doesn’t give a shit about why you did it.”
    • Clare Graham’s Wonderama – LA Times Magazine -”As for the question of art versus craft, Graham comes down definitively on one side. “I don’t like the terms outsider art, or naive art. What I do is craft,” he insists. “Fine art has a need to communicate something. My work is about simple processes done to the nth degree until the accumulation is significant.”
    • Lefsetz Letter » Amanda Palmer email; the new art of twitter and blogging – “BUT this is, hands fucking down, also why people listen, why they search, why they want art. connection = primary. music/art = secondary.”
    • Ready for the devil we don’t know -LA Times endorses a constitutional convention to fix CA budget mess -”A single initiative to end the current rule requiring a two-thirds supermajority of the Legislature to adopt a budget may be doomed at the ballot box. But opponents are more likely to accept the change if they can keep the supermajority to increase taxes and are assured that future taxes will no longer be disguised as “fees.”
    • Fieldnotes from a Rock Band Bar Night | – “Much to my surprise, the scene reminded me of the participatory tradition that was the focus of my first major research project: Sacred Harp singing, an American vernacular hymnody tradition that is open to anyone, regardless of perceived musical expertise, and that revolves around drop-in community “singings” rather than rehearsed performances for an audience. “
    • Views on Music and Life from an outpost.: Making the case for the musical amateur. -”think to say that people simply need more exposure to jazz, to classical music, etc- is only half-right. I think that people need to be directly involved. Make people an active part of any activity, and they are much more likely to stay engaged.”
    • This Blog Will Change the World: No neon arrows – “What we need here is a third option, one which avoids asserting the absolute superiority of any one musical style without sliding into relativism.”
      joey mariano [animal-style] demonstrates his GBC Gameboy Foot Controller
    • How American Health Care Killed My Father – The Atlantic (September 2009) -”Indeed, I suspect that our collective search for villains—for someone to blame—has distracted us and our political leaders from addressing the fundamental causes of our nation’s health-care crisis.”
    • A music lesson for LACMA’s film program | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times – “It is not without a twang of envy that I watch the film community react to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s announcement that the 40-year-old film program would go the way of the even older Monday Evening Concerts, which was thrown out on the cold street three years ago.”
    • Cal State Fullerton abruptly begins canceling classes – College Life OC – -”Cal State Fullerton officials say the university has begun canceling classes, including those that were already underway, because its being required to make tens of millions of dollars in cuts to help the state balance its budget.”
    • WATTS ENSEMBLE: IF WE ALL GOT MOHAWKS -”What would I call the next punkest classical record? Fuck. I could tell you probably the Andy Kaufman of classical music, which is probably Terry Riley’s ‘In C.’ Don’t get me wrong—I love the piece but it almost feels like it’s daring you to like it. ‘In C’ is typically 45 minutes to an hour long and it’s everyone playing the phrases at the same tempo—but they play it staggered so it creates all these different patterns. It’s an amazing piece. But I’ve shown it to people before and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is driving me insane—I can’t deal with it.’ It’s kind of the same thing with Andy Kaufman. Some people were like, ‘Wow, this is fucking amazing’ and other people were like, ‘I can’t stand this guy.’”
    • The Fun Music Company Ultimate Flashcard Set -”In the Ultimate Instant Print Flashcard Set you get a comprehensive selection of printable flash cards that you print yourself, right from your computer.”
    • Create Digital Music » Hexagonal iPhone Sequencer-Rhythm Machine from Jordan Rudess -”Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and developer Amidio have made a crazy-looking hexagonal sequencer for the iPhone. It comes with plenty of samples and factory sessions if you just want to play around…”
    • Terry Teachout Asks, Can Jazz Be Saved? – -”No, I don’t know how to get young people to start listening to jazz again. But I do know this: Any symphony orchestra that thinks it can appeal to under-30 listeners by suggesting that they should like Schubert and Stravinsky has already lost the battle. If you’re marketing Schubert and Stravinsky to those listeners, you have no choice but to start from scratch and make the case for the beauty of their music to otherwise intelligent people who simply don’t take it for granted. By the same token, jazz musicians who want to keep their own equally beautiful music alive and well have got to start thinking hard about how to pitch it to young listeners—not next month, not next week, but right now.”

    Bookmarks for the week: June 22nd through June 26th [];

    Bookmarks from June 22nd through June 26th:[]

    kindle too?

    admittedly i’m a pretty big tech geek and have been looking forward to using an ebook reader for quite some time. i commute by train and use much of that time preparing for lectures and have been looking forward to the day when i can replace many of my textbooks and reference materials with ebooks. on the other hand after getting burned a few too many times by new products i have learned to hold out for the 2nd generation so not to become an unofficial “beta tester” for when a company releases something that is not quite ready for prime-time.

    with that out of the way i have to day i really like it and it easily succeeds at its main goal (as a device to read long form content).  its already changing the way i read but i have to say this still feels like a 1st generation device.  during the past couple of weeks i found myself looking for features that don’t quite work or are not consistently applied but i still think the possibilities are pretty amazing and could fundamentally change the way we read, catalog, and share information.

    that is if they don’t screw it up.


    overall the kindle 2 brings up more questions than it answers. and i think the future success in ebooks lies in the following questions:

  • will the kindle’s software be allowed to function in other ways than than amazon indented?
  • will developers be able to integrate the kindle with their platforms to add functionality?
  • will developers be able to add features or functionality that amazon hadn’t completed or hadn’t conceived of?
  • will developers be allowed to change the existing functionality?
  • will it be truly interactive across the internet?
  • will it be an open platform?
  • the iphone is a great example of one direction that kindle/ebooks could develop. its mostly open and offers seamless integration and access to content on and off the device.  (except for itunes, although interestingly enough amazon has created a pretty seamless workaround to get music on iphones and ipods through their mp3 downloader)

    need access to an address in an old email? (gmail has got you covered)

    want to check your online accounts? (mint has a solution for you)

    looking for a great restaurant nearby? (yelp will help you sort it out)

    reading and annotating content

    so far the kindle has the right idea. i can highlight and annotate content while i’m reading (which is great preparation for my lectures) but once its tagged there is not an easy way to organize and access that information.  to be useful the experience needs to become as integrated into services like del.lic.ious or evernote which give me the ability to tag and annotate anything i read online and then access it from any computer or iphone/smartphone.  this is already changing the way i read and process information, especially in teaching and composition.  creating twitter rss feeds based on the keywords “fired” and “job” allowed me to sort through thousands of twitter messages on my iphone to create my new electronic piece “not getting fired is the new promotion

    Not Getting Fired Is the New Promotion

    book publishers need to understand that by opening up their content and allowing us share excerpts of their content with our friends will only help them out. sharing an interesting passage from neil stephenson’s anathem about parallel universes  (which i am currently reading on the kindle) or sending back and forth great quotes from edward gibbons’s the history and decline of the roman empire with my friend john could be invaluable (who is currently using it as a source on a new project)  .  i already do this with video, audio, news and blogs that i find online and whether or not the kindle (and book publishers) embrace keeping the content open will be the primary factor on its fate.

    with all of this talk of how integration, tagging and sharing is changing the way we read i have to point out that

    podcasts and the iphone have already fundamentally changed how i read

    like i said before the kindle 2 is great for reading any long form content (and i have to admit i have been reading less and less fiction over the last few years). reading newspapers and magazines on the kindle 2 is a pretty good experience, but after a few days i realized that preferred ‘reading’ the news on my iphone (through google reader rss feeds) or by listening to summaries of the news through podcasts (new york times, slate, the economist, la observed, kpcc radio, npr’s planet money…) i know for many podcasts (think tivo on the radio) still haven’t become mainstream, although last weeks podcast of the newly unemployed  adam carrola and the king of podcasting’s leo laporte is a must listen if you want to hear the future of this technology.  but when it comes to the news, i found i found that listening to the summaries of the daily news far more useful (while driving my car or riding on the train) than reading them online/kindle/paper.  if something is really important or catches my eye, i’m more apt to bookmark it in my google reader (on my iphone) and then download it to the kindle 2 so that i can really ‘read’ it.

    untapped potential

    the potential of the kindle 2 and ebooks is pretty amazing. but here are a few innovations that could really make the kindle 2/ebooks better:

    • i want to be able to click on any article and have it sent to the kindle 2.  i’ll be happy to pay for it with micropayment or even pay a monthly subscription fee (like emusic) to a consortium of publishers to have this access (btw… your going to have to update your content throughout the day to stay relevant.  slate is doing this well ($2.49 a month which i’m happy to pay for the convienence even though i can get it for “free” online), the and new york times (at $13.99 a month is not)
    • i like reading magazines on the kindle, but the way the articles are presented, formatted and organized is very inconsistent between publishers. in general, browsing and reading articles on the kindle is very poorly designed.
    • adding illustrations would help. they do it very well in the new yorker and many of my books. so why not in newsweek and the new york times? (although they seem to be adding more each week)
    • i want to be able to tag and footnote what i read and integrate it into my social networking (delicious, digg, google reader) so i can easily share it with my friends while creating a library of bookmarks and annotations that are easily accessible for future projects.

    update 031209

    one big problem with the kindle 2 iphone reader is that you cannot sync any public domain books or .pdf’s (and newspapers and magazines that we paid for) to read on your iphone, this is a big problem. if we are going to be able to “sync” the device. we should be able to sync all of the content.

    iphone in the classroom

    just a quick friday post on using my new iphone in the classroom.  its already become indispensable for teaching music related classes and lectures. here are a few of the new apps that i’m already using on a daily basis. remote like it says its a remote in your hand.  i can walk around the […]