Making computers more human at Universe. Previously built Lore.

  1. Navigating Music

    If you want to listen to a song on the iPod, or Spotify, you hit it and it plays. If you want to listen to a song on Sonos, or Rhapsody, you hit it and it prompts you with “Play Now” and “Add to Queue.” 

    What Apple did here was pretty marvelous (I don’t actually know who invented this navigation scheme, but Apple clearly made it popular). Rather than taking the traditional idea of a jukebox and making it digital, it re-thought this notion of a “queue.” The iPod has no front-facing queue. You click a song and it plays through the current list — whether that’s an album or a playlist. 

    On other systems, it’s like “we have to play something, so we’re going to make a play-list, or a queue. When someone wants to listen to something, they can add it to the bottom of this list, or move it to the top.” Sounds fine. But in truth it’s annoying for two reasons.

    First, the user has to keep track of this queue in her head. She’s not sure what’s next and she’s constantly thinking about it implicitly. Second, if I want to hear an album, but I want to have it start from the second song, I’d run into trouble. If I hit that song and press “Play Now” it’ll add it to the top of my queue, but the next song is going to be the last thing that was on the top of my queue. And something on a queue from yesterday, or the last time I used the app, is rarely ever relevant today. 

    I may prefer this no-queue way of doing things because Apple trained me to do so, but it seems to make so much sense: you don’t have to think about what’s coming next — the app just plays down the current list. Plus, if Apple trained me, it’s trained millions of others, so all new apps should follow that same language. 

    TAGGED: music product design writing

  2. Inbox: Weekly Mix

    Friend and fan of the blog Michael Grazi is doing an awesome job with Weekly Mix. It’s a compilation of new stuff, old stuff, indie, electronic, R&B, hip hop, jazz. Really, really good.

    Download the latest, number 4, here

    He distributes the mix every week by email. It’s an interesting way of doing it, but it really lends itself to what he’s putting together. It’s almost like a music newsletter. And it works — I can’t wait to get the next email. To sign up for the email, email “in” to  



    (Source: weeklymix)

    TAGGED: music email newsletters michael grazi michael grazi weekly mix writing

  3. - Pandora for Music Heads is essentially Pandora for people who are into music. It scans the hippest blogs in 75 genres — indie, electronic, house — and jumps from song to song. You hit play and it brings you directly to the blog page. Try it. It’s fantastic. 

    One of the service’s clear strengths is it’s simplicity, but there are definitely areas that could use improvement. For instance, if you like a song, there’s no direct link to go and buy it, or even save it. 

    Between this, Pitchfork’s Best New Music, and Sirius XMU, I’m able to get my fill of the indie world’s latest. 

    Fan of the blog Michael Grazi showed me the service last week, and I’ve been obsessed with it since. 

    TAGGED: music tech entrepreneurship pandora for music heads writing

  4. Ra Ra

    Download Ra Ra Riot’s “Boy” remixed by RAC. It’s great. 

    Listen here: 


    TAGGED: music arts ra ra riot boy rac remix ra ra riot boy rac writing

  5. My Go-To Blogs

    I now get most of my reading material from Twitter, but on a daily basis I still check the following blogs. They aren’t unknown at all — I simply think they’re the best at what they do.

    • Pitchfork - My source for new music. Any worthwhile up-and-coming band will make their way through Pitchfork. The blog puts each album through the paces with thorough analysis and spot-on critique. Check out their “Best New Music" page for the latest and greatest.
    • Uncrate - “The Buyers Guide for Men.” Love the idea. They post about 5 products a day from all different product categories – from leather iPad cases to wingtip shoes. Great stuff with objective perspectives. Be warned: you’ll spend money here. 
    • Gizmodo - The Wired Magazine of blogs. It’s more than a gadget blog – it’s a tech enthusiast’s lifestyle blog. It doesn’t cover every mundane digital camera with a press release, and that’s why I like it. Two things though: a) the recent fall-out with Apple has been annoying to readers. Gizmodo became the pestering fan. b) site design needs a refresh.
    • Engadget - The place for gadgets online. They do cover every new consumer electronic press release. It’s thorough, and I appreciate that, but a lot of times it’s boring.  I really like their site design, although I think certain posts don’t need to take up so much screen real estate. It’s good for what it is, but in a world where hardware matters less and less, I can’t see their model continuing.
    • TechCrunch - The best website for internet/technology business. Quality scoop with great opinion — mostly from MG Siegler and founder Michael Arrington —make this publication a winner. The company embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of its coverage; it’s constantly launching new events (Disrupt) and editorial projects (TechCrunchTV). 
    • Chris Dixon’s Blog - Engaging writing, stimulating opinion. Awesome advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. I recommend you follow him on Twitter as well. 
    • Brand New - Filled with “opinions on corporate and brand identity work.” Lead writer Armin Vit dissects letter ligatures and icon artwork to the tee. It’s detailed and nitpicky, but that’s what this stuff is about.
    • Daring Fireball - John Gruber’s blog. He posts his commentary on interesting articles about Apple, technology, design, and sometimes sports. There are no comments or photos. “My goal is for not a single wasted word to appear anywhere on any page of the site.” It’s perfectly concise and insightful. 
    TAGGED: bits of genius my favorite blogs my go to blogs blogs engadget gizmodo brand new pitchfork uncrate daring firebal chris dixon startups tech design marketing entrepreneurship music arts writing