What’s Playing?

Being an independent consultant, I often have to be where my clients are, which recently has involved a lot of driving. I’ve always enjoyed being on the road – when I’m in song-crafting mode, I’ll often have my bed tracks on to sing along with; other times it’ll be audio books or, as recently, I’ll be discovering new music by streaming curated playlists on Apple Music.

[I’ve discovered some great artists and songs this way]

Now, as much as I am a fan of new music, I’m also a fan of not crashing my car and, over repeated trips, I began to get very frustrated with the Music app on iOS. It’s fine when you’re sitting and able to focus on it, but while driving fast on a freeway, the amount of clicks to find out who is singing, or the name of the song, became very, very distracting

[and you wouldn’t believe the number of albums where the cover art doesn’t mention the artist at all]

More than once, I found myself looking away from the road for extended moments, and/or dropping the phone as I tried to juggle it with the steering wheel.

NOT GOOD.

As luck would have it, I’d recently been working with a friend to develop MgmtDNA for my business, and as a long-time coder, was beginning to lift the lid on iOS apps. As I was learning, the idea of What’s Playing began to emerge and I set to work.

Fast forward to mid-January and What’s Playing was approved for the App Store.

What's Playing - available at the iOS App Store now
What’s Playing – available at the iOS App Store now

So, what does What’s Playing do? It simply tells you the artist and song you’re listening to in Apple Music

[it’s not trying to do what Shazam, or Soundhound, does]

And it does it in BIG text, so you can read it at a glance.

And it lets you touch the screen to Play/Pause.

And it lets you swipe right/left to skip between tracks.

And it lets you choose a color-scheme that suits your mood – including night-time driving.

I use the app ALL the time. Here’s a picture of What’s Playing in action just this morning:

What's Playing

If you’re an Apple Music user, you’ll know how different it is to be able to read the artist name at this distance from the screen.

[a good example above – Gui Boratto – a Brazilian artist I’d never heard of until this morning]

All the time I was developing the app, I’d have music playing on my iPhone in front of me on the desk, with the latest version of What’s Playing up-and-running. As new songs came on, I got used to just glancing down to the phone to see who it was, and then straight back to work. What usually took full attention became a quick glance.

Now, the funny thing is, once Music is playing, I immediately jump over to What’s Playing, I’m so used to it!

I’m looking forward to extending the functionality of What’s Playing

[including, possibly, a version for Mac OS X]

but it’ll never lose it’s core focus – letting you know what’s playing without putting you at risk of crashing the car, or falling off the treadmill!

What’s Playing is available at the iOS App Store now.

Busy, busy, busy

Those who follow these things will have noticed that it’s been quiet here at VinceT.net for the past little while. The reason is simple – I’ve been very, very busy.

The good kind of busy; the kind of busy I thoroughly enjoy.

Since October, I

[and my partner-in-development, Nic]

have successfully developed and released three iOS apps, with more on the way. I’ll be sharing more on each of the apps in separate posts, however here’s the high level:

MgmtDNA

MgmtDNA – helping you lead, manage, and perform better in each moment, without having to read a million management books first.

Letter Grab

Letter Grab – like playing Hangman… On an Air Hockey table…

What's Playing

What’s Playing – a simplified playback overlay for the iOS Music App, once you’ve try it, you’ll use it all the time

Stay tuned for more information on each app.

Vince Sig 131x89

Feel

Now, more than ever I think, we are at the mercy of how others make us feel. 

Think marketers forcing our compulsive purchase by stimulating fear of shame.

Think comedians encouraging us to laugh at another’s misfortune.

Think of monied interests convincing us that the politician who’s the worst for us is our favourite.

And yes, think of this year’s latest terrorist atrocity driving us to fear, hate and blind retaliation.

We are at mercy of how others make us feel.

So I say that I am at the mercy of a 9-year old declining her umpteenth chemotherapy, her incredible grace and courage.

I’m at the mercy of musicians filling this night with love.

I’m at the mercy of a dog chasing a frisbee in the dog park, for its unrestrained passion for THIS THING RIGHT NOW.

And I am at the mercy of nos freres et souers de France who, despite their open wounds, are not turning back refugees.

I reject the shame, fear and hate that others would have me feel. 

I choose to dive deep into the pool of courage, love, passion & tolerance that warms me, and gives me hope for this lump of rock we share as it hurdles through the void.

Today’s lyric that stuck

“And if my scars were tattoos
I could hide them in full view…”

Well played Ian Thornley, of Big Wreck, well played.

Eleanor Rigby’s itchy trigger finger

I’m not rewriting it – it still says what I want it to say.

VinceT.net

All the lonely people
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

I was reading an interesting piece in a local arts magazine earlier today

the title of which was something along the lines of: what do all teenaged mass-killers have in common?

In summary – they were male

and they were

on prescribed psychiatric medication

In fact, the piece was a thinly-veiled, single-issue opinion piece that psychiatric medication is a

BAD THING

The piece started with the wrong question.

It’s not what mass-killers have in common… It’s what non-mass-killers have in common.

The murders of 26 people in Newtown, CT understandably caused a shock-wave of introspection and hurt. Such a shock-wave, reinforced by our polarized, special-interest-bred social and political discourse, very quickly descends into the blame game.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

but

People without guns kills a lot less…

View original post 1,164 more words

Like Taking A Gun

[sigh]


[Originally published June 2nd, 2011]

[and again on December 24th, 2014]

Lots of people taking sides on who shot who, why they pulled the trigger, were they right, were they wrong…

At this time of peace, I keep getting drawn back to this meditation, written in response to an atrocity in Syria, but applicable to so much happening in our world right now

LIKE TAKING A GUN – VINCENT TUCKWOOD

It’s like taking a gun
and pointing it
in your brother’s face
Telling them
unless they stop
you will pull the trigger
Wasting life
to make you feel better
to make you feel like
you are getting
somewhere
You become those them
becoming you
face down on the ground
for the sake of scant borders
Pointless
Pointless
Pointless
Like taking a gun
and pointing it
in your brother’s face

Words, Music – Vincent Tuckwood
Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at Monkey68 Studios, Waterford, CT.


Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. His novels are EscalationFamily RulesKaraoke Criminals, and Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? His records are Turquoise Cyan SapphireWriter’s Flow – Music For Writing,  Grope, and Sparse. His poetry is collected in Garbled Glittering Glamours.

Meet me in the silence

Meet me in the silence
in the stillness
in the breath

This moment
where I’m open
you of welcome made

Meet me in the melody
familiar tone
coda and twist

Meet me in the lyric
its story fickle
universally made

Meet me in the silence
where music swells
song, breath and being

Meet me in the silence
where you and I
we merge


Vincent Tuckwood is a story-teller working in fiction, song and verse. His novels are Escalation, Family Rules, Karaoke Criminals, and Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? His records are Turquoise Cyan Sapphire, Writer’s Flow – Music For Writing,  Grope, and Sparse. His poetry is collected in Garbled Glittering Glamours.

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