Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ipod as Field Guide

I’ve been playing a lot with an iPod video that I got over chistmas. I am most excited about the ipod’s use as a portable information device. Pod2Go (for macs) is an ap that lets you sync movies, weather, news etc into your ipod Notes. That has been really interesting. I’ve yet to really use that info as I am still waiting for otterbox case to come so I can take my ipod out of its wrapper (i just cut a few holes in the packaging that it came in to make a temporary scratchproof membrane.) But after that, I want to turn it into my dream-come-true digital field guide. I have a DVD on order with videos of 512 birds of North America that I am gonna encode and dump on there as a bird guide. There is also a company that makes BirdPod, where they encoded the Stokes birding by ear CDs and make a bunch of playlists for you. I want to start scanning my paper guides to get images in there. And it should only start with birds. I’d love to have a field guide to aircraft, cars, flowers, dogs, what have you. Even just thinking about audio field guides, imagine one of accents of the world, where you could try and find out what language someone was speaking, or where in the US they were from, by listening to little samples… Folks are already creating their own audio guide and walking tours to their favorite places. One big difference between a field guide and a tour guide is that the field guide requires more attention and interaction to enjoy. A good menu structure and quick navigation is important to keep a person's eyes and ears on the world around them, rather than buried in the podiverse.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ipod Nano Wristwatch Hack

In this clearly authentic photograph, I show how I installed iPodLinux on my nano and hacked X windows to turn 90 degrees counter clockwise and make an inexpensive wristwatch with mp3 capabilities, along with all my cached data: weather, theater schedules, and news. You can use iCal to set 1000 different alarms, each with its own song. I also tucked a bluetooth transmitter/receiver in there. Wireless headphones are buried in my ears behind a pair of in-ear microphones for ambient sound. I can choose to mix my ipod audio with ambient sound at whatever level I choose, as well as run filters to counteract cocktail party syndrome and thus have easier conversations in bars and restaurants. When away from bars and restaurants, I have a dictionary of 50 common cocktails and 4000 easy recipes in Timed Audio and Text Instructional Format (TATIF files or TAT for short) on hand to help me towards comfort and good eating. I'll post more information and insructions on how to make one as soon as my neighbor fixes his internet.