Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Homemade Zen Alarm

I don't know who coined the phrase "life hack," but the idea is that you apply the aesthetic of hacking -- solving problems with a focused ingenuity -- to your everyday life. Here's one I just came up with: I have been interested in the Zen Alarm Clock since I first saw one six months ago. Instead of punishing your mind and body with an irritating noise in the morning, it strikes a pleasant chime. The part I really like is that it starts out with a long pause between the chimes, and over the course of ten minutes, the chimes get closer and closer together until they sound every five seconds. It gradually brings your sleeping mind around to the idea of waking up, which is good for me because my mind is particularly spiteful in this regard. The only trouble is, they want $110 for it. Absolutely out of nowhere, I had the idea to make a CD that sounds just like a Zen Alarm. I've already got a CD player in my bedroom that can be programmed to start at any time I like. I downloaded a sample chime from Now & Zen and used Audacity on my mac to boost the signal and place the tones in the prescribed sequence: Then I exported the 12-minute sequence to iTunes and burned a disc. If you don't count the CD player and the PowerBook, the total cost of my project was around a dollar.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Events Aggregator

There ought to be a way to subscribe to upcoming events in the same way that you subscribe to RSS feeds. Your aggregator would just be a calendar that knows about event feeds. Ideally, you can also see events that your social network flags as interesting. I would be interested in any events that my friends and my friends’ friends are interested in. The events should be location aware, so that you can filter out events that aren’t happening anywhere near you. The reason this hasn’t taken off before is that it only gets really useful when there is a critical mass of venues and artists and organizations using the event format. The conclusion we draw from that is that there has to be a killer application to create the critical mass of adoption. I think the killer app could be a free, hosted event calendar that is just as easy to embed as Google Ads.