Category: Uncategorized

New Device Can Turn the Back of Your Hand Into a Touch Pad | Geekosystem

April 1st, 2013 — 12:06pm

New Device Can Turn the Back of Your Hand Into a Touch Pad | Geekosystem.

Usecase: you don't have to take a smart phone out of your pocket, so you can do tasks that involve input a lot faster.

Using finger binary you could do an Englebart keyset on the back of your hand.

A new device developed by Kei Nakatsuma at University of Tokyo Department of Information Physics and Computing lets you use the back of your hand as a touch pad. Encased in the form of a wrist-watch, the device uses infrared sensors to track the movement of your finger across the back of your hand and translate it into the same sort of signals a mouse or a laptop touch pad provides.

This may seem sort of trivial, but there are some interesting uses this functionality could provide. First of all, since you can feel the back of your hand and feel with the back of your hand, you’ve got built-in haptic feedback

1 comment » | Uncategorized

Advertising and Soundcloud’s Soul

March 12th, 2013 — 10:08am

I can imagine Soundcloud adding advertising in a way that doesn’t betray its soul.

The company’s soul is to serve sound creators. It’s not to serve advertisers. Thus browsing the site has no ads.

However some sound creators, basically the highly visible professional acts, need to monetize their plays. They don’t mind paying for hosting and a widget but that’s only part of what they need. Soundcloud is underserving them without enabling ad monetization. It serves their needs by enabling them to earn money from ads.

Problem: how can it sell advertising without gettings its incentives misaligned? It must continue to serve the bands first, not the advertisers.

Solution: If Soundcloud didn’t take any cut of the ad revenues, its incentives would remain aligned with the sound creators. It could charge a flat fee for this option, and create APIs that enabled third parties to sell ads.

4 comments » | Uncategorized

The Rules

March 7th, 2013 — 11:05am

As a musician I live by Lefsetz’ creative rules, more or less. Which are:

  • Be real. No lying. No pretending to be someone you're not. Fully inhabit the art.
  • Commit fully to the quality of the music
  • Be patient for success
  • You’re not in it for success, you’re in it for music.

But there are easy counter examples. Studio musicians do most of the performing for hit songs. And instrumentalists in general are mercenaries. The front person benefits from being a purist, but the band members need to be adaptable enough to play in a lot of bands.

Also, musicians past the age of seeking to be famous still want to play, and maturity has taught them that compromise is a lot better than not playing at all. If you love jazz piano, playing a lite version for money in an airport lounge is not awful. Just leave the grating Sun Ra riffs for another day and use the gig to indulge your Art Tatum.

The rule is that there are no rules. If the art works, the rules can change to include anything.

Comments Off | Uncategorized


March 6th, 2013 — 11:16am

Lefsetz is wrong about the music business all the time. Often. Frequently. Usually.

All those things he says about what musicians need to do are more or less made up. What’s true is that he applies them to his writing.

Like here:

What you’ve got to understand is Amanda Palmer is a special person. And if you think doing it her way is going to work for you, you’re sorely deluded. The only thing that’s gonna work for you is YOU! Your personality! Your uniqueness! Your honesty!

That’s what art is. Not a cash cow, but a missive from deep inside one human being to another.

Well, yes, true for musicians. But then again, total nonsense. At this very moment plenty of musicians are profiting by copying Amanda Palmer lick for lick. And that's fine because playing is great and you do what you have to do. Musicians can choose any rules they want as long as the art is decent.

What’s not bullshit is how this advice applies to Lefsetz’s own creative work. His heart is directly wired to his writing. He’s a real actual Writer.

Don't think of him as a pundit. Think of him as a creator.

2 comments » | Uncategorized

March 5th, 2013 — 7:35pm

Billboard on Google subscription streaming service:

Under current plans, which could change as Google firms up its strategy, the Mountain View, Calif., technology giant will offer an ad-free subscription tier for YouTube viewers. In addition, it would offer another service from its Google Play platform, which currently sells song downloads similar to Apple’s iTunes and has a free scan-and-match locker service that lets users stream songs from their music library via any Internet connection. Subscribing to a Google Play music service would give listeners access to licensed songs that they don’t own, according to executives knowledgeable with the plans but who are not allowed to speak publicly on behalf of Google.

An ad-free YouTube service… /me strokes chin. So there would only be content that was on YouTube anyway? And it would alway be video, not pure audio? And no album or artist browse or other music-specific niceties? That would be a really odd and interesting user experience. I want the rumor to be true just because it’s a creative approach to the product.

The Verge has the best story I’ve seen:

We already knew that Google Play has sought licenses for a subscription music service, but now comes word that Google’s YouTube wants them, too.

the YouTube deal is largely an extension of earlier negotiations with Google Play.

sales at Google Play have improved but still aren’t generating “significant revenue,” according to multiple music industry sources with knowledge of the numbers.


By contrast, YouTube is gargantuan. Professionally produced music videos account for hundreds of millions of views, and represent some of the site’s most popular fare. All of YouTube’s music videos are available free of charge but Google indeed generates significant revenue by selling ads against the videos. Yet, some of the shine comes off YouTube’s figures when set against the overall number of users. Music industry sources say that on a per-user basis, YouTube isn’t making that much money. The labels want it improved.

Some in the music industry still worry that YouTube chokes off demand from more profitable outlets, such as Apple’s iTunes and Amazon. The Fortune story offered a telling stat: “64 percent of teenagers prefer YouTube over any other music listening and discovery engine,”

2 comments » | Uncategorized


March 5th, 2013 — 12:15pm

Fortune: YouTube music streaming service launching this year:

We've been hearing rumblings about Google's plans for a Spotify-killer for what seems like forever now. More recently, there's been word that the company's YouTube brand is also getting set set to enter the space, albeit with some overlap from a Google-branded effort. *Fortune* spoke to some anonymous-type folks in the record industry who confirmed the latter, adding that the service is set to launch this year. The offering will apparently give users some free streaming, with additional features being made available for a subscription fee. The site reached out to YouTube, who offered the following bit of hopeful non-commitment:

While we don't comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that.

That sounds like an awkward fit. But pay per view on YouTube would be interesting.

Comments Off | Uncategorized

Subscription streaming service from Google

February 26th, 2013 — 3:57pm

Google is apparently going into the subscription on-demand music space of Deezer, Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG/Beats, RDIO, Sony Music Unlimited, Yahoo Music Unlimited, etc.

I am sorry to hear it.

YouTube is a sensible business model for music on the internet. It scales globally. It improves incrementally. It tolerates catalog gaps yet blows past the catalog of other streaming vendors.

YouTube makes a lot of ugly mistakes when it comes to the content ID system. But these mistakes are gradually being fixed.

YouTube is elegant and disruptive.

A subscription music service will be in competition with music on YouTube. Google will have to spend a lot on licenses and will need to protect the investment. It’s hard to imagine that music support on YouTube won’t suffer.

I miss the days when Google didn’t need to compete everywhere. The Play store competes with the iTunes store and with Amazon’s digital products. The Chromebook competes with Macbook Air. Android with iOS, Nexus with iPhone, Samsung, HTC, etc. Android and Chrome OS compete with Windows. Google Docs competes with Microsoft Office. Google+ competes with Facebook and Twitter.

Building a subscription service of its own fractures the market further, making it that much less likely that any company will survive. Google could have partnered with existing subscription companies. Or it could have built an API to allow third parties to integrate music services. That would have been the internet-y thing to do. Interoperation is a good thing.

And a Google Music subscription service doesn’t have great prospects, needless to say. I hope that it makes a reasonable profit if only to justify the tradeoffs.

2 comments » | Uncategorized

Morphology is king

February 14th, 2013 — 11:19am

I'm blogging about new form factors for computing on a Tumblr blog at My topic there is post-mobile contexts like biohacking, head mounted displays, wearable computing, smart TV, haptics, and neural interfaces. The subtext is new applications enabled by changes in the physical shape of devices.

Comments Off | Uncategorized

The YAGNI non-license

January 29th, 2013 — 11:03am

I appreciate the punk rock implications of “POSS (Post Open Source Software).” (Back story: @monkchips, Luis Villa and my previous post). But it's not just punk rock, it's also an accepted engineering strategy.

“You aren’t gonna need it” (acronym: YAGNI)[3] is a principle of extreme programming (XP) that states a programmer should not add functionality until deemed necessary.[4] Ron Jeffries writes, “Always implement things when you actually need them, never when you just foresee that you need them.”[5] The phrase also appears altered as, “You aren’t going to need it”[6][7] or sometimes interpreted as, “You ain’t gonna need it”. YAGNI is a principle behind the XP practice of “do the simplest thing that could possibly work” (DTSTTCPW).

Do you really need to attach an open license to your source? How do you know? Why can’t you just make your source available in a completely unfettered form such as a Github public repo?

Doesn’t that form of publishing demolish any future copyright claim you might make? Let’s say you put a project on Github. Somebody forks it, somebody else forks that, before you know it your code is part of somebody else’s product. Now you sue the people who make the product for copyright infringement. Do you really have a case?

You can cause trouble, but it’s hard to imagine you winning. And if this isn’t true, can you tell me of an example of contradictory case law?

The no-warrantee component of the BSD license is similar. BSD basically says “do whatever you want with this code but don’t sue me if it doesn’t work.” But has anybody ever actually tried to sue?

Let’s say you put a half baked piece of code on Github and a developer who works on medical equipment copies it into the code for a defibrillator. Time passes and then, one day, somebody in the emergency room is on the verge of dying. A doctor juices up the defibrillator to heroically save the patient. And then a bug in the original code causes the defibrillator to explode, killing the patient on the spot.

The no-warrantee component of BSD prevents the patient’s family from suing the original developer, you, for posting negligent work on Github. But are they really going to do that? If they are anguished enough to actually try is there any reason to think they’ll win? Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to sue the defibrillator maker? So what purpose does the no-warrantee clause serve?

3 comments » | Uncategorized

Anti licensing zeitgeist

January 28th, 2013 — 11:57am

Luis Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture>:

Once an author has used a standard license, their immediate interests are protected – but the political content of not choosing a license is lost. Or to put it another way: if license authors get their wish, and everyone uses a license for all content, then, to the casual observer, it looks like everyone accepts the permission culture. This could make it harder to change that culture – to change the defaults – in the long run.

Are we – particularly authors and evaluators of open licenses – part of the problem of the permission culture? Are we actually responding to the people who use our licenses, if one of their desires is to push back against the need to license? Can we be more creative about expressing distaste for the permission culture, without gumming up the works of sharing too much?

2 comments » | Uncategorized

Back to top