Category: Technology

Bandcamp launches

Forget MySpace Music, this is the future of music on the web.

From Bandcamp’s FAQ:

We’re a publishing platform for bands, or, anthropomorphically/arthropodically-speaking, your fifth, fully geeked-out Beatle — the one who keeps your very own website humming and lets you get back to making great music and building your fan base.

Here’s a review by Andy Baio.

Disclaimer: Bandcamp was started by former Oddpost colleagues of mine and I’m an advisor/board member.

Schneider family vacation – gadget edition

Our family went on a great 10,000 mile road trip this summer. We really tried to keep a lid on the number of bring-along gadgets, but ended up hauling over a dozen of them around the country:

Plus the camera I used to take the above picture:

After joking about our gadget collection to Om, it dawned on me that we had just conducted an extended, heavy duty test on a bunch of devices. The good news is that we didn’t lose any, only one of them broke completely, and only a couple had a little trouble along the way:

- The Canon PowerShot SD300 gave up the ghost about 1 week into the trip. The lens refuses to retract, and the device flashes error 18.

- My iPhone stopped delivering email for about a week, then started working again. I think this was related to the iPhone 3G launch.

- The home button on one of the iPod Touches started doing strange things, then kind of started working again after several reboots.

Here’s a list of the devices, why we brought them and how they fared:
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Dash GPS mini review

I’ve driven several thousands of miles across the US in the last 4 weeks, much of it aided by a Dash GPS device. Overall, I’m quite happy with it. It’s certainly made our road trip less stressful.

The pros:

  • It’s web connected, the killer feature for me has been to be able to send addresses from my laptop to the device. I can research our route on my laptop at night – hotels, sights, restaurants, etc – and send them all to the GPS. The next day we get in the car, and I can just tap on the addresses and go.
  • Another web connected feature that we’ve used a bunch is web search – you can search Yahoo Local from the device. For example, one evening we rolled into Columbia, South Carolina, searched for nearby restaurants (3 clicks), and blindly trusted Yahoo’s top rated recommendation which turned out to be a great Japanese restaurant.
  • The UI and touchscreen work well.
  • The road data and software updates have been seamless.
  • The directions work well most of the time (though I don’t have anything to compare them to).
  • We’ve not hit much traffic at all, but the few times we did, the traffic warning system worked pretty well. I’ve also not yet used any add-on apps, though the Weatherbug weather reports and the speed trap app look promising.

The cons:

  • The device is a little slow, the screen only updates about once every other second or so, which gets tricky when you’re supposed to make immediate turns.
  • A handful of times the directions have been strange with the device recommending routes that are clearly not the most direct way of getting somewhere.
  • With the full touch screen, two large buttons at the top, and the on/off button on the side, it can be difficult to grab the device (for example to adjust its angle) without inadvertently activating something.
  • The device/software have locked up a few times, requiring a reset.

Data portability

As the debate on data portability rages, I’m learning some interesting things:

Marc

1. Marc Canter is painting a fence in his backyard with an open data mural. I love that. What a great reflection of his personality and passion and of Silicon Valley as a place. There’s something cool about the collision of the abstract world of data sharing and the real world of a wooden fence.

2. Eric Schonfeld has it right, the data has already left the barn. Real apps pulling your data out of places when you need it will beat out abstract data sharing schemes any day.