Spotify – The Enlightened Music Data Despot

In the age of ubiquitous cloud computing, the rise of streaming services feels like old news. Of course we love streaming! For consumers, prices are lowers, libraries bigger, and services suddenly bespoke. What could be better?

While services like Facebook have received the brunt-end of public outrage for their use of consumer data, Spotify has managed to stay under-the-radar despite its aggressive data collection practices – which are commonplace across the “app” industry.

How has Spotify managed this? By giving users just enough value for their data in return. Features like custom playlists, API tools, and social/UI features shift public perception of Spotify from a looming corporate data farmer to an enlightened data despot.

Yet upon further inspection, I believe Spotify could be doing more for both its common consumers/users and less-common developers and amateur artists folk like me.

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The Color of Music

Building upon my artist lyrics analyzer project, I made a small web app that searches artist lyrics for the colors that they mention in their songs.

You can try it yourself here.

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Lyrics API: Artist Word Choice

Using data from the musixmatch API, I have created a tool that shows what words musical artists use most in their lyrics. It uses a combination of jQuery and D3 libraries to work as a single-page “app”. Try it here.

The web “app” works by finding the artist you search for, and running through every lyric it can find by the artist to develop a lexicon. Once that lexicon is built, you can click on the box that is created to view statistics about their most-used words.

You can also view the most-used overall by clicking the “All Artists” button.

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‘Hacking’ the Hue: Control Interface for the API

I have Phillips Hue at home, so using the nice instructions from ITP Light & Interactivity I was able to connect to my home’s hue setup as a developer. Here is a snapshot of my home’s current setup (collected through a GET request after connected):

5 lights and a bunch of scenes

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From API to LED: CRYPT0MANIA

Cryptomania is a sculpture designed as commentary on the cryptocurrency pandemonium. It lights up based on the 1 hour price change (a percentage value) of a particular crypto-currency – Ethereum.

Note: For details on how the physical enclosure was made, read more here. For details on the code and wiring of the crystal, read more here.

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From API to LED: Creating the Crystal

Creating the physical enclosure for the CRYP0MANIA crystal was a project in and of itself. This post is about the crystals physical details.

For a summary of the sculpture overall, read more here. For details on the code and wiring of the crystal, read more here.

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From API to LED: Digital Details

Lets call it CRYPT0MANIA – the connected crystal.

This post is about the crystals digital details – because it works – it really works!

Note: For a summary of the sculpture overall, read more here. For details on how the physical enclosure was made, read more here

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From API to LED: Physical Specifications

As the technical feasibility of the API to LED project comes together, it is time to consider the physical specifications, including design, construction, and materials. Here is the current conceptual design:

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From API to LED: Our friend WeMos

Meet our new friend, WeMos D1, aka WeMo, aka WeBro

WeMos D1, aka WeMo, aka WeBro

WeMos is going to use its wifi chip to gather information from the web, and eventually – hopefully – interpret that information and do something about it; namely lighting up some LEDs!

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Sunrise, Sunset

Above is a little illustration that depicts the sunrise and sunset times (listed on the y-axis) of two locations in the world for each day in the year (spread across the x-axis).

See the code and web version here (press the play button – not optimized for mobile).

In this current case it is the 2016 sunrises and sunsets from Eastern Standard Time (EST) – aka New York –  and Central European Time (namely Switzerland & France).

At many stages in my life, for different reasons, I have found myself doing a mental calculation to imagine this time difference, and specifically when our normal waking hours overlap.

These days, both a friend and my girlfriend’s father are stationed in Switzerland.

This illustration is designed to show that our days share a lot of the same sunlight – especially in the summer. So even if we are far away, we can often look up at the same thing in the sky. ?

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