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Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 10:22 am
Catch a falling mag and put it in your pocket

It's amazing how quickly iPhone / iPod Touch apps are evolving. It reminds me of the early days of Macintosh, when everyone was coming up with new extensions and control panels (they'd load across your screen with app-like icons, or billboards popping up on a highway), or the early days of the web, when there seemed to be a new gimmick for loading a webpage every week (for a while we were all making our pages flash like lightning as they loaded up). Apps, though, have the potential to be much more useful than either.



Already, musician friends are thinking in terms of iPod apps the way they once might have thought of releasing albums on labels. Who needs a label when an app could be a worldwide delivery system for people interested in your music? Or how about keeping up with Japanese magazines? I've already mentioned Nakatree Viewer, a free app that lets you look at the paper ads for magazines that hang in Japanese subway cars.



Nakatree Viewer began as the ad sheets themselves (typically showing a modified version of the mag's latest cover), then added pop-up QR codes allowing you to access some of the content of the magazines. Now there's talk of the Viewer actually taking you to online versions of the magazines, either reduced versions (like Courrier Lite, a standalone application for one mag) or full ones.



At a time when magazines are dropping like flies, giving them a new distribution platform is giving them the chance of new life. Whether the iPhone is the ideal reading environment for magazines is another matter. I have a digital subscription to The Wire, but prefer to read it on my big computer, or on paper. But when Apple releases its iPhone-OS tablet computer -- rumoured either for next month or early next year, depending on who you believe -- who knows?



Now Nakatree Viewer is joined by a similar app, Pick-Up Museum Cafe, which allows you to see posters for the art, design and museum shows currently on in Japan. The shows themselves, of course, will never be shrunk down to pocket-size. Or will they?

43CommentReply


(no subject) - (Anonymous)
loveishappiness
loveishappiness
O.H.
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)

I like that. It's one of the few things I've seen that improves on paper technology rather than just imitating it. It has the same problem as the paper imitators though; it's more comfortable to read off of paper that off of a back-lit screen. Especially if your job is to look at a back-lit screen all day.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)

Who needs a label when an app could be a worldwide delivery system for people interested in your music?

So much new music sounds like shite because it's been poorly recorded - and/or mastered to be played on a phone. The craft of making records (and the ability to listen to music) has been lost.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)

“Who needs a label?” has been on the cards for 15 years (?) or so. And as false as it is true.

False - because the notion that you can get the audience (or the fun) bands had when labels existed has never been achieved. You need marketing, cash for hotel bills and parking tickets. Arctic Monkeys had a quarter of a million pounds spent turning them into “MySpace success stories”. But if you want the dole and to be a name on a playlist on iPhone, you got it!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)

"The craft of making records (and the ability to listen to music) has been lost."

I think you are confusing two seperate issues. The fact that we have access to more music, means that of course some of it is going to be dreadful. But there is still plenty of beautifully conceived, recorded & produced records being made, and if you arent hearing them then perhaps the problem lies with you?


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)

Momus (and anyone else out there who would like to share) - being a well informed fellow, was there ever a point when you found yourself having to consciously take a stance on capitalism and its proliferation of amazing new commodities?

Is it possible to separate the excitement that comes from new inventions (which in itself may be an entirely 'innocent' enthusiasm that is merely exploited by State ideology) from the awareness that all these new inventions are part of a larger dysfunction?

I'm just intrigued about your stance on this, as I'm sure you're well read on the revolutionary avant-gardes, Marx, etc. Do you seperate the two in your mind, or do you even find yourself having to?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)

I don't think new inventions are capitalist per se. Leonardo da Vinci's inventions and the Sputnik are both exceptional and exciting technological developments which come from very different social systems.

It's interesting that the American gadget I talk about today -- the new Apple Tablet -- is a joint product of the USA and Taiwan: "Foxconn is the manufacturer tipped to be assembling the device, the same company – Hon Hai Precision Industry – as manufacturers Apple’s existing iPod range." Taiwan's own political status is complex, to say the least.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
Twit Opera

My enjoyment of adverts and magazines has now been shrunk down to pocket-size!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Twit Opera

Hmm, not really vicious enough for Twit Opera. How about:

"Can you read these Japanese magazines? I sure as hell can't. But they're great."


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Re: Twit Opera - (Anonymous) Expand
count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)

Kindle and the future of reading


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I read that already. And I'm tempted to agree with him about the iPod beating Kindle hands down -- even without using the Kindle!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
This one goes up to 11

The Kindle is the Spinal Tap of electronic devices.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)

Is it good to be able to get whatever book we want, whenever we want it? Now that we've booted God out the door, are we making our way closer to his throne?

Click your fingers, and you shall have it!


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endoftheseason
endoftheseason
Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Nothing to do with Japan

Momus, would you agree or disagree that Edinburgh is "the chaotic, and smelly, Athens of the North"?

"Scotland's capital needs rescuing from tram barricades and a rat infestation, says Alan Cochrane":

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/alancochrane/5967023/Welcome-to-Edinburgh-the-chaotic-and-smelly-Athens-of-the-North.html


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
Re: Nothing to do with Japan

Edinburgh is often described as "the Athens of the north" because of a cluster of 19th century white elephant projects up on Calton Hill, budget overruns which far outstripped the trams and parliament that columnist deplores, and which ended up serving no good purpose. I'm all for both the trams and the parliament.


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