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Talking Machine World

What would 1906 have thought of Pandora?

I was rummaging around the early recording industry trade journal Talking Machine World the other day, and ran into an item that reminded me of a recent Pandora innovation: its mobile alarm clock feature. The Internet Archive has copies of TMW from the Progressive Era through the 1920s. I quote from a January 1906 edition with the headline “Use Phonograph as Alarm”:

“People whose nerves are jarred by the strident tones of alarm clocks, but who still require artificial assistance in being brought back to consciousness every morning, may now be awakened, if they choose, by the music of a talking machine. There has just been invented a device for connecting an alarm clock with a talking machine in such a manner that the lever of the talking machine will be started at a certain hour, and, instead of the jangling bell of the clock, the sleeper is awakened by sweet music, oratory, or any form of entertainment which a talking machine can ordinarily provide.”

No picture comes with the news story, but apparently the record player included some kind of lever tripping spring connected to a cord that, to quote the article some more: “passes over a pulley and is connected to the starting lever of a talking machine.” The device also came with dry-cell batteries that lit up a lamp when the record began to play.

This all sounds very complicated. The post did not identify the manufacturer of this contraption. I doubt it got very far. But it’s interesting to see that almost a century ago, long before Pandora or even clock AM/FM radio alarms, device makers thought along these lines.

What would 1906 have thought of Pandora? I think the year would have liked it just fine.

In other news . . . says it is working on a new back end. Requested features that plug.djers can expect to see at some point:

    • Improved lobby with a better look, making your communities nicer and easier to find
    • Over 60 new avatars with animations that are twice as long and more expressive (with more to come regularly after the initial set)
    • Special rewards for all of our passionate music listeners
    • A new chat server to resolve connectivity issues and enable us to provide private and community staff chat in the future
    • A new landing page to make the welcome experience easier for everyone
    • A new login system, including email+password, for improved account recovery

psyMeanwhile, some weeks ago I mentioned that Tunein aspires to become the Twitter of web radio and offered an updated review of the service. Since then I’ve been paying more attention to my Tunein account, and it has been paying more attention to me. I now have sixteen followers on Tunein. The problem is that I don’t know what to do with them. Besides following them back, how do I communicate with them? So much potential here, but I’m stymied by the limitations.

Finally, congratulations to South Korean rapper Psy, whose tune ‘Gangnam Style’ has hit two billion YouTube page views. This is a record, apparently. As I write (Sunday morning), the YouTube count is 2,002,643,319 views, which is between a quarter and a third of the world’s human population. South Dakota Public Broadcasting notes that this is twice the previous record, Justin Beiber’s “Baby,” with about a billion page views.

To what do we owe Psy’s success? I have no idea and suspect that Mr. Psy doesn’t know either.

“very honorable and burdensome numbers,” he tweets. “With the appreciation, I’ll come back soon with more joyful one!”

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