Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cool Music Interface Explorations

It seems like the music tech scene on the Internet is bursting with potential these days. Unfortunately, I've been so distracted with other projects that I haven't had a chance to do all the crazy cool things I want to with Fathom… I keep telling myself I'll get to it soon, but, well, so far that hasn't happened. There are sketches in my notebook, but not much else.

The good news is it hasn't stopped other folks from taking some of the same ideas and running with them. At least I get to see them in action, right?

For instance, I wanted to do a kind of group DJ/party/jukebox thing where everyone collaborates to make the mix we all listen to. Well, someone has made that:

I also wanted to make a service that would watch your social feeds for links to music recommendations and give you a “music inbox”. Yup, someone has made that, too:

Here's another one I at least got around to writing up (well, in terms of books): an easy way to share music recommendations without having to know what service your friends use for streaming. Sure enough, someone's made it:

Of course, they're not quite exactly what I would make, so maybe I'll still get around to playing with those ideas, but in the meantime, it's great to see all these explorations happening! I mean, if I'm not going to get around to it, someone should.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Off Planet Mozilla

I've been syndicating my blog to Planet Mozilla for about a year now, and it's been great, as it's a community that shares a lot of my passions. I've been finding lately, however, that I've been subconsciously censoring myself, wanting to make sure my posts are at least somewhat relevant for that audience. Considering my extremely low blog output, anything that slows me down further probably isn't a good idea, so I've decided to switch to a tagged feed; only posts I specifically tag for Mozilla will show up on the Planet.

If you've been reading me through Planet and would like to continue following my (hopefully more frequent, but no promises) off-topic posts, you can do so with the RSS feed for my blog, or even (for more off-topic bits plus blog post notifications) my Twitter stream.

I haven't been actively working on Firefox for a while now, but I still consider Mozilla to be one of the best families I've been welcomed into. Cheers to all of you!


Tuesday, March 06, 2012


I've been back in the freelancing world for a couple of years now, and still loving it. The only downside, really, is I need to force myself to get out of the house and socialize from time to time, lest I become a complete hermit.

Trying to explain to people why the freelance life makes me happy, I've realized there's actually a lot of history there. Not only have I spent most of my career working from home on freelance projects, but my parents worked from home the whole time I was growing up (my father still does). Early on I even rejected the daily grind of elementary school, opting for a self-made curriculum in the wild. Given that history, it's amazing I sat still in an office (at Microsoft no less!) for four years.

Of course I love the short commute, and having more time to spend with my family. It also seems like a really good use of my time: I'm able to devote myself to a project when they need me, but when the project is over, I move on to the next project for the next client, rather than having to contrive ways to fill my weekly time obligation for a single employer.

While there are many of us freelancers in the tech industry, it still seems to be more the exception than the rule. The film industry, on the other hand, is dominated by freelancers. Hundreds, even thousands, of people come together to work on a single film, and when it's done they all move on to other projects. Some of them may work for various production companies and service houses, but the dominant paradigm is that of the free agent.

I feel like this may be happening with the tech industry, and things like open source and github certainly lean in that direction. Of course some people prefer the comfort of employment. Ultimately, it's healthy for the ecosystem to support both modes.

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