Friday, January 19, 2007

I'll name that tune in 2580

Sometimes technology amazes even a tech veteran like myself.

A few weeks ago I was watching a "Best of Top Gear" programme and a tune I've enjoyed for a long time came on as background music.

After the show I couldn't get it out of my head and remembered there was a mobile service called Shazam. You dial 2580 - play a piece of music into your mobile phone and Shazam texts you back with the name of the piece. It's all automated - their software matches patterns in the music with their huge database of known tunes.

So, I logged onto YouTube, found the Top Gear programme segment and played it into my mobile. And even though Richard Hammond was in the foreground banging on about some wet-dream Lamborghini, a few seconds later I got a text with the name of the tune.

To complete the triumph of technology, I then went to the iTunes store and checked it out - yes, it was the right tune.

"Dead Bodies" by Air, since you ask.

It's a fairly trivial application, but please note that none of the elements of the solution (Fast home broadband, Shazam, YouTube, iTunes) was available even 5 years ago. Last century I would have had to brave ridicule by singing the tune to the clerk at my local record store. And we thought we were pretty advanced back then.

Any bets on what will become possible in five years time that we find hard to do now ?

I pity the record store clerk. I'm sure life will become less funny when people stop coming in to sing "You know - the one off the telly - 'la la - dah - la - bhun bhum''"


Kenny said...

Someone in the treasury must have read this given the funding that the BBC have for the next few years.

Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the £1.2b.

Kenny said...

Oops - that was meant to be a comment on the previous post.

Flitcraft said...

A week ago R. asked me what I was reading online and got the reply 'Oh it's just so-and-so complaining that some New Labour spin doctor is astroturfing his blog' and he fell about laughing pointing out that most of the words in that sentence hadn't been invented for most of our lives. The pace of change is pretty quick.

Stan said...

Cheers Fli - hadn't come across Blog Astroturfing before. Didn't even know what an Internet Sockpuppet was. Getting so out of touch I would make a high-court judge one day. Can I just reassure any readers that Flit and Kenny are not Sockpuppets - they are, in many ways, real people.

Flitcraft said...

Re the astroturfing - when R. wrote an article criticising the Microsoft Zune, his ZDnet piece was suddenly hit with comments from all kinds of people who'd signed up specially to attack him and spout what looked awfully like company propaganda. Of course I'm sure we were imagining it and their PR people would never do something like that... but that's how I learned the word!