Geek out!


Sometimes I just have to. Because I am a geek, a nerd, in my heart of hearts.

Here’s the latest thing that’s making me go into paroxysms of geeky delight:

I wander into my boss’ office, and find he’s out — but his internet radio is on.

Hm, says I, wonder what that catchy tune is?  Enter Shazam.

Pull out the ol’ iPodTouch (with its microphone, which just happens to be attached)….

Listen, little app...

Wait a bit.. and hey,  it’s —


It went and looked it up, clever little app — by listening.

But sure, Cher’s totally famous…  How about someone less ubiquitous?

I listen to WUMB during my workday.   They show the playlist as they go:


Point to the speakers….




Yep. Plus: it will show you the lyrics.

Sure, only works for recorded music — you can’t hum or whistle the tune, can’t hold it up during a live performance. But I find this just crazy cool.

But here’s the caveat, and it’s the usual one: Like everyone else these days, Shazam really wants you link up with your pals, share “tags”, buy the music through iTunes, set up an account so they can track every damn thing you do, go through Facebook, and in general use you as an unpaid shill and marketing research guinea pig.

But you don’t have to do those things. You can just use it to look up music. (Be sure to delete your “tags” afterward; the free version only allows you 5 tags at a time.)

So, it’s fun. Amaze your friends! I just did, wowwing my co-worker by sticking the iPod through an office door where music was playing, and coming back with the song name. And doing it again for the next song.

This probably impresses programmers and other techies more than it does general consumers. Consumers probably just generally expect computers to work this way, and be able to do this sort of thing. It’s a tricorder, right? We’ve seen that before, now we’ve got ’em for real. Whatevs.

But, hello, it’s a new thing, and hard to do! Masses of weirdly intelligent people got together and made this difficult thing happen, and then put it in my pocket, for my fun and convenience.

Love that 21st century.

4 Responses to “Geek out!”

  • Sabine Says:

    That is cool; I’m impressed. There are times when I do want to know that tune.

  • Brian Says:

    I’ve been a fan of HP’s WebOS since Palm came out with it. I talked Mary Ann into getting one. Her main criterion is that it just work without a big learning curve. Her Palm Pre does this and she’s happy with it. Nevertheless, her next phone will be an iPhone.

    Mary Ann’s brother, Chris, is an uber-Geek. He demoed his iPhone for us. I told him I used Fitaly Stamp to get text into my Palm Tungsten. I bragged that I could do 16 to 20 words a minute. I wondered, out loud, if he could match that.

    Chris was so happy. I’d asked the ultimate question. He started talking to his iPhone. Then he showed me the screen. There was the text of what he said. The iPhone has voice recognition. Not just any old VR, but Dragon itself.

    So there’s the attraction – the ecosystem of all those apps. And, as Chris said, they are apps you really want to use.

    Will I get an iPhone? No. I hate Apples’ wall garden, but mainly I’m too cheap to pay $80 a month for the service. I’ll stick to my $20 a quarter Virgin Mobile service and the feature phone it comes with. Maybe I’ll do like you and Sabine – buy an iPod so I can access all the apps.

  • Ita Says:

    Oooh, what an amazingly useful thing. Thanks for sharing. I don’t have an itouch but I bet my ipad could do it, too! Thanks!!

  • Sabine Says:

    Brian, I got an iPod for the apps, and have the same phone service you do. However, the iPod is definitely a gateway drug. After watching all the innovation on the iPad I caved and got one. I’m alternately delighted and annoyed.