Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 133 - Shazam

There may be a cooler iPhone App, but I haven't seen one.

Every time I use Shazam it blows my mind. And I use it a lot.

What's Shazam? Dude, come here. No, not here-here, 2010-here. It's ok, don't be afraid... 1997 won't miss you.

Shazam is for people who just need to know... now.

Tell it to listen to a song, at any point in the song, and wait for a few seconds. Then, it tells you the song, album, artist, and with a click you can get to it on iTunes.

But let's think about this for a second... you point a phone (15 years ago mobile phones didn't even fit in your pocket) at a speaker. It records the sounds of the song, pretty much ANY song, whether you're in a car, or noisy bar, or like me last night, a chattering outdoor restaurant. It encodes those sounds and ships them off, through the air, to a cell tower, to the telephone network, onto the internet, to some server somewhere, probably in San Jose, CA. That server decodes those staticy, crackly, bar-glass-clanking-diffused sounds, starting who knows where into the song, and through nothing short of magic, finds THE song that those sounds go to, out of gajillions of songs in what must be a fantastically cleverly designed database. Finally, it nonchalantly sends a neat little packet of data back through the internet, through the telephone network, to the right cell tower, through the air again, and to your phone.

For free.

I know!

Round trip from "Oh man, what's this song? I know it...It's driving me nuts!" to "Ha! Bad Company - Movin' On.Told you it wasn't Boston. Beer me!"... 15 seconds.

Sure, it's pretty much pointless. Sure, it's an obscene waste of technology and bandwidth and data, that could be curing disease or find bad guys, just to settle bar bets, feed a teens obsession to be up to the second on her Disney Pop, or ease one's anal need to just know, but damn if it's not cool.

Here's a suggestion for the good folks at Shazam for something cool AND incredibly useful... Shazam for People. I want to point my phone at that dude I used to work with but can't remember his name or even where we worked together and who is walking to my table, wait a few seconds, and have his name and bio pop up on my phone.

That would be a life saver. Think of all the embarrassing, awkward conversations that we could avoid.

Huh? Invasion of privacy? Who would use Shazam for People at night clubs to stalk... people...

Uhm, hey Shazam folks, never mind.

Good running,
Doug

Numbers: 4.6 miles on roads with my good buddy Matt who gave an excellent overview of Catholic Orders in general and the Dominican Order specifically.