Check out We Rage, a small hack I put together to explore Rage playlists.
For those who've never heard of Rage, it's a music video show on Australia's ABC network, playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Most Saturday's they'll invite in a celebrity guest programmer to play their favourite clips. It's been running for over 20 years (which their distinctively 80's identity can attest to!) and it's fair to say is a part of every young Australian's upbringing.
We Rage let's you view old playlists, search by song or band and most fun of all, build your own playlists. These can then be played back in a full-screen video viewer (complete with song titles) and played at parties or just as background music during your working day.
I've also taken the opportunity to run some statistical analysis and produce a feature I'm calling "Ragematch". I've looked at how often songs are programmed and which other songs were played before and after. In theory this should then find useful recommendations for similar songs.
For example, Middle of the Hill by Josh Pyke suggests songs by Bernard Fanning, The Shins and Devendra Banhart whereas Jay-Z's body of work produces decidedly different recommendations.
After recently discovering the awesome interview archive at charlierose.com I've forgone my usual music playlists for his lively, intelligent discussions as the soundtrack to my working day.
It was a couple of days ago while playing a Bill Maher interview from 1996 that something he said jumped out at me. After replaying the soundbite and re-checking the interview date the evidence was undeniable: Bill Maher was using "Fail" as a stand-alone interjection almost 15 years ago.
Know Your Meme traces this usage back to 1998 -- a couple of years after Bill. And Wikipedia simply references the KYM article on the term's origin. So here's the excerpt (with typography added by me) to hopefully correct, or at least update, the meme's origin.
The Vuvuzela. Yes, there's already an app for that (actually there are about 15 apps available at the time of writing). Hated by many, but now an indelible part of the fabric of African football, this popular horn produces a B-flat note at around 127 decibels. To put that level of noise in perspective, the Vuvuzela produces a tone louder than most rock concerts - about as loud as a jackhammer or chainsaw. And that's just a single horn. Imagine a stadium full of them!
Together, these thousands of Vuvuzelas create a deafening cacophony inside the stadium where they are relentlessly blown, with little regard to the action on the field. While it must be tough for the players and referees to communicate, adjudicate and otherwise hear themselves think, it does make me ponder what a small part audio generally plays in sport.
Television viewing seems to me to be unaffected by the instrument, if not enhanced a little. Few people will think of the 2010 Word Cup without recalling that signature sound. Other than the commentary, football seems to suffer very little from a lack of on-field audio. As do many other sports - how important really is sound to cricket, baseball, basketball and most other popular sports?
Perhaps I am just not paying enough attention. Although, I can definitely appreciate the grunts and crunches found in a televised game of Rugby (Union and League) and never tire of listening to the angry canned-hornet buzz during an onboard shot of an F1 car.
It seems to me soccer (any many other sports) could use sound in a much better way. Let's hear (or with the right home theatre setup, feel) the percussive thump of a Xavi Alonso missile, brutally struck from outside the goal box. Or listen to the goal keeper bark his disappointment at his defenders -- even if it's in Italian! We need a ton more microphones on the field and maybe even on the players. It certainly would have shed some more light on the events leading up to this:
I do wonder whether it's the players are the issue. With the sledging and foul-mouthing that allegedly goes on, it could be that the broadcasters exclude player audio so we don't realise these men, so often held up as role models and heroes, spend 90 minutes carrying on like a pack of immature school children.
I've been reading about a hack where people add tragedy keywords to their email signature to force Gmail into 'respect' mode -- a mode designed to prevent displaying ads for "Blazin' Fast Back-ups" next to an email about a children's hospital fire. In fact, if Gmail determines a subject matter might be sensitive it will suppress all advertising.
Google being Google, this determination is made with a statistical algorithm. And of course with statistical methods like this it's all about the ratio of disaster words to non-disaster words (one determined individual posits a ratio of 167:1). While adding words like death, fire, earthquake etc. to a signature may prevent advertising within a one or two paragraph email, it probably isn't going to work for longer emails where the standard words overruled the tragic ones.
I took it upon myself to come up with a more robust method. It's both simple to implement and 100% effective when installed correctly. Take a look...