Brian Eno – surfing on entropy

Posted in ideas, music, Online by solle on 28/12/2008

Attention recently has been drawn towards Kevin Kelly’s interview with Brian Eno from the May 1995 edition of Wired.

Entitled ‘Gossip is Philosophy‘ the interview (a mix up of face-to-face, telephone and email) is full of suggestions that it could easily have taken place just yesterday. The conversation is so full of enlightened thinking and foresights that on occasion you read in wonder at its breathtaking scope.

Frustration with personal computers and their limitations continue to dog our use of them. Eno’s explanation: “The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them”.

He continues:

“If you want to make computers that really work, create a design team composed only of healthy, active women with lots else to do in their lives and give them carte blanche. Do not under any circumstances consult anyone who (a) is fascinated by computer games (b) tends to describe silly things as “totally cool” (c) has nothing better to do except fiddle with these damn things night after night.”


Here are a few more worthy snippets:

Obviously his thoughts regarding how music will evolve are particularly interesting. You just about get a “Brian Eno box” with 77 Million Paintings. Obviously this is just a start and when watching/listening to it you get an idea of what is possible down the line. And yes you can pretty much “order an evening of music over the Net” – Last.fm will dance that trick.

And design:

13 years later and has the latest version of Photoshop really changed design? Maybe not as much as you would expect: “The answer is generally that, as with all computer-based things, the technology filters out most of the interesting people, and forces them to wait.” But how long do we have to wait?

This exchange between Kelly and Eno regarding algorithms and heuristics I think perfectly encapsulates the experience of interacting with the modern browser:

“Artificial life researchers talk about surfing the wave of increasing complexity. A very complex system gets close to a certain edge between rigid control and utter chaos – that’s when the whole thing can surf to the next level of complexity. They see this in evolutionary systems. Some go as far as to say that’s what life does: surf on entropy.

I like that. Metaphors involving the sea are very powerful to me. You have this interesting conflict – a sense of direction, a need to get somewhere, but in a medium that has its own, probably different, sense of direction. You can use the piggyback power of that medium, but you have to keep paying attention, making your own adjustments. Unless you really do want to go with the flow.”

The highlights above barely scratch the service. What is required is a follow up interview to catch up on the insights, ideas and thinking from 1995 and how they bare on the cultural experiences of today particularly the relation to ‘online’.

More will follow but for now please read Gossip is Philosophy

“History is changed by people who get pissed off”

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List of online music players and the like

Posted in music by solle on 24/12/2008
online music players

online music players

Lists are good and everyone has their own. What I haven’t seen is a stab at a list of online music players. Many appear and then disappear (Muxtape), obviously falling foul of copyright and have to make a new plan to reappear, some only exist within certain shores (Pandora – US) and some just keep on going (Favtape). What the future holds for new entrants like Tunesbag who knows (you could spend hours uploading your iTunes library and the wake up in the morning and the site has been closed down).

Please add any that I’m not aware of – thanks.

Here’s my list of online music players:


Last.fm v YouTube mashup



From the basement







Favtape Discovery


Muxtape and Mixwit (both should return soon but not quite sure what as)






Pandora (Install Hotspot Shield to access from outside US)


Wolfgang’s Vault



The Black Cab Sessions

There are definitely more out there. Any of them any good? Who knows. All a bit here today, gone tomorrow about it. Maybe I’ll try an online radio list next.

Please add any good ones that I’ve missed.

UPDATE: Found a couple of new ones, haven’t tested them: Just Hear it and Streamdrag and Simplify Media

UPDATE: Awdio live music stream from more than 60 clubs, Deezer, The Sixty One, One Llama, Jango, SoundCloud, Goom Radio, JamWee

UPDATE: Mixcloud Re-think radio (in private beta at present but get on the invite list by visiting the homepage.

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