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RedDotNet - A cool product

Posted by jonathansimon on October 20, 2003 at 7:47 PM PDT

Hey all. Been a long time I rapped at ya, so here it goes.

I was heading over to barnes and nobles tonight to pick up a copy of Enterprise Application Patterns - a book about design patterns for message systems that I wrote a chapter for ( They didnt have it in yet (poop!), but while I was there, I thought I would check out some CDs (Outkast, Aphex and Seal if anyone is interested).

My wife was over listening to a CD at the listening station. Fairly normal. Then she called me to check out the listening station. Basically, they had replaced the old cheesy 6 CD changer (which was a terrible pain to use) and replaced it with these new mini devices.

Basically, the device is 9x9 inches, has 4 thumb wheels, a small color LCD screen and a bar code reader. The way it works is that you scan the CD you want to check out and it uses an online database to play you previews of the tunes on the album. Plus there is a very simple and easy to use interface to browse information about the CD as well as adjust controls. (I personally would have preferred they get away from the wheel controllers and use touch screens, but that will have to wait till I rule the world.)

In any case, it totally beats the other alternatives I have used.

  1. Not listen to anything that the 6 cd changer doesnt have
  2. Rely on sketchy music store people to go through my stack of CDs with me and open every one and play it for me. (Anyone remember Blockbuster music? A good saturday night in High School for me was a stack of 40 CDs at blockbuster music...)
  3. Use the force

The quasi web interface and the tactile non-mouse keyboard UI worked really well. This is the kind of stuff I hope we see more of. This is also a perfect Java app. I dont know whats its written in, but J2ME some networking, and a couple of beefy servers and database would kick this out.

I would love to see an emphasis on more real world applicable uses of technology and interfaces rather than toasters powered by duke on smack like we saw at JavaOne.

This totally skirts the issue of the fact that the market is dead for CD stores. I mean doing this online would be a breeze. What I thought was cool (and would be cool for non-CD applications) is the blending of technology, micro computing, networking, and big datastores into something that helps me do something useful.

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