Monday, March 10, 2008

Introducing Little BlogSongs

Allow me for a moment to take a break from blogging about Flea's stuffed animal pants so that I may introduce a use for Twitter that I think is actually pretty un-WikiChump.

How this call came about:

Despite all the buzz, I always thought that Twitter was taking it a little bit too far with the who microblogging thing. I mean, like seriously, who cares where you are going to get coffee. It's just a little too precious, dontcha think? With people posting the minutia of their lives via cell phone, it seems to be made for people who want to get stalked. So yeah, I always kind of rolled my eyes when I heard people talk about it. I only have one friend who uses it, Kyle, and he doesn't even use it very often, and when he does, it is not about where he is getting coffee. Well anyway, I subscribed to his feed on RSS, and today he sent out this question:

"what did jennifer aniston call the pins on her sash at the restaurant in office space?"*
I was like "Oooooooooooooooh! I know this! Please let me be the first person to answer!" like a kid going buck waving his hand in science class when the teacher asks if anyone knows why bubbles float to the top of water. So I went to his thing, and then I was like, I don't get it, where do you post your comment? So I signed up and got an account to see if that would allow me to comment, but that option did seem to be there. Now I was stuck with a Twitter account. Sneaky...

The thing with Twitter is, I can understand the benefits of blogging via cell phone, but I hate texting, it just sucks. It's a horribly inefficient way to communicate. It always thinks you're trying to say "Asian" when you are actually trying to say "Brian."** On the one hand, there is a certain haiku-like simplicity to some Twitter posts, but why not just write resolve to write briefly on a regular blog? That way if your post does happen go over 120 characters or whatever it is, you'll still be ok. Anyway, I can see the appeal of posting stuff on-the-go, but I don't want to text.... So....

So I Googled around a bit and found Jott.com, a service that lets you call a toll-free number and say something, and then it transcribes your words into text and sends it to a place you tell it to, like, as a Blogger post, to your own email, as a Twitter post, a Google Calendar appointment, etc. This sort of makes sense. With this, maybe this microblogging thing could be tolerable after all. So I try it, and I'll be darned, it works, weirdly well.*** After a little tweaking, I have it set so that I can tell it to send what I say to Twitter. But the secret weapon, and the thing that makes it the killer app for me is that it also includes a tinyurl that links to a sound file of your voice message. Perfect! I now have a lo-fi 30-second song blog, automatically updateable via cell phone. So I don't have to be anywhere near my computer to do this crap. Yeah, the sound quality is crummy, but that's the endearing part, right?

So my goal is to record some kind of music onto it every day - for a month, at first. It'll be added to the sidebar over there on the right, and you can directly click on the tinyurl links right from there, but it can also be a separate subscription from the Twitter feed if you need that (feed readers are too time-saving though, and it ruins the surprise that comes with typing "fu..." into your URL bar, I know...). Hopefully this will keep me in the songwriting mode, and force me to be creative in some way every day. After a month, I'll see how it goes. I'll at least have a fast way to put up little updates, knock-knock jokes, soup recipes, etc. if I need to.

Here's to new, faster ways to say the same old crap!

*This question seemed almost too easy, like it was one of those banner ads that is designed to trick you into thinking that it's an actual contest, like "which one of these people is Tom Cruise?" and then there's a picture of Billy Bob Thornton, Will Smith, and Tom Cruise. I will say that Twitter does seem to be good for getting weird questions answered quickly, as Bre Pettis of ex-Make Weekend Projects podcast now-Etsy fame also wrote (dude, iTunes, duh [j/k!]).

**I find it quite surprising that there isn't some collection of funny T9 predictive text message errors like this anywhere on the internet. Am I looking in the wrong place? Help me! I like NEED this. Maybe this should be the place. Send me your funny T9 errors! We can do this!

***It turns out that the reason why this transcription service works so well is because it is actually done BY HUMANS. IN INDIA. Weird? Yes. Kind of reassuring? Sort of. I hope they like stupid songs. I wonder if they'll try to transcribe the lyrics. That could be amazing.

5 comments:

Kino said...

wow! i'm loving these so much! please keep this going. i really like how they misheard ditty and typed bitty.

there are certain commands you can tell twitter to respond directly to questions and to other neat stuff: http://microformats.org/wiki/twitter-syntax

M. H. D. said...

Yeah, I'm going to try and see how else I can trick their transcribing abilities. This will be fun.

Thank you for the Twitter information. Without you, none of this would be happening. Did you sign up for Jott.com? I look forward to seeing some cryptically mis-transcribed Twitter posts!

Kino said...

i did sign up. it's an amazing idea. they have a blackberry plugin that allows you to respond to emails by voice, very helpful when driving. well i wonder what is really more dangerous, talking or texting...

Chris Foresman said...

Is there a chance I'm considered one of your friends?

http://twitter.com/foresmac

quba said...

I had a girlfriend text me, "God, you make my puppy wet."

I replied, "That must smell awful."