Keeping Up With My Mind

I love my technology, as anyone who knows me even slightly on the blogosphere or twitter will know. I particularly like my iPhone, and the convenience and utility contained in such a small device. Sometimes though I get thoroughly frustrated with the pace of technology to keep up with my mind, to produce what I see as quite logical leaps to applications that can take advantage of the world we live in.

My main frustration this year has been with our national broadcaster, the ABC. The ABC has this amazing amount of content, in particular audio content. Local ABC radio has these little regular segments on their shows, probably too small to podcast, but incredibly interesting nonetheless. Stuff like the AFL and NRL sunday shows, Spencer's chats with Susan about kids entertainment, The Hidden Persuaders, the radio version of Gruen Transfer that came before Gruen, Richard Fidlers friday afternoon cocktails or Kelly HD chats with Amy Gray, which while incredibly funny could do with less Glee and more Dr Who.

Now you can access a lot of this content on the presenters blogs, where it is put up, in f*&^ing flash. Flash is the twilight vampire of the web, sparkly, but ultimately utterly, utterly useless. I spend a lot of time in the car for my job, as do a lot of other people, and a lot of people spend times in trains or buses, where they have the time and inclination to listen to the wonderful content the ABC can provide and I do have a lot of the podcasts on my iPhone. But the hassle of getting that content from the web onto a device is too hard for me, a tech nerd, so it would be way too hard for the ordinary punter.

Which brings me back to the iPhone, which is almost as ubiquitous as the sparkly twilight celery eaters, but much more useful. It has apps. The ABC has an app, which for all intents and purposes, is useless. It doesn't provide me with anything more than the webpage does. Now if they had been trying to push the envelope, here is what they could have done. They have recordings of all these little segments from all the incredible shows the ABC has. And i only know of the ones for my local ABC. What about all the cool segments from Sydney or Alice Springs or North QLD? What I'd have is a virtual radio station. Let me build my own station, dragging and reordering my segments how I wanted them. Then let me cache 10 hours of it on the phone when I have a wifi connection, or let me straem bits over 3G.

I don't really care how its done, but the ABC is doing itself and its stakeholders, us, a disservice by trapping the content, by not realising that there are ways that they could be giving us all that content easily. There are over 1 million iPhones in australia already, not counting iPod touch's and iPads and you could just as easily write an app like this for Android as well. Considering the market for a 24 hour news network and the money spent there, is there really more people who are interested in that than being able to easily access their favourite ABC segment as they sit on the train on the way to work?