Sunday, Jul 17, 2005
Rachel and I ran so many errands today, and made a few exciting discoveries along the way. Amidst attending a preview day at a new housing development (gotta see how the housing market is coming along, and we miss looking at new houses!), finally choosing just the right patio furniture, and spending a few hours at Keeble and Schuckett, we got sucked in to an estate sale.

Oreste Allario had been a cornerstone of Sunnyvale for nearly 50 years, a member of the Elks, Shriners, Lions and Masons, and a long-time member of Sunnyvale's Chamber of Commerce. As Rachel and I walked through his home amidst several of his kin (adorned in bright pink shirts that say 'Family' on the back in much the same way as FBI agents identify themselves on their jackets) we couldn't help but notice how so many grandparents homes smell alike. It's not a bad smell, but a familiar mustiness that takes you back to penny jars with Lincoln cents and silver quarters, Radar ranges and shortwave radios.

It was in this minor reverie that I came across what appeared to be an abnormally small cassette player given the apparent age of the piece. It had only a 'Play' and a 'Stop' button and a small switch labeld 'ffwd'. It also had a strange unmarked extention behind the player. Imagine my surprise when I figured out it was a plug-in adapter to let you play 'state of the art' cassette tapes in an 8-track player. Sure enough, on the next shelf down was an AM/FM/8-track player that the adapter could plug in to.

Rachel though I was joking when I said I had to have it, but I resisted the urge and left empty-handed. Well, that's not strictly true. We managed to spend $37 at the estate sale, 20 of which went to an unused dress (not this one, but one for the same almost-wedding). $4 procured us a small painted ceramic garden gnome, while $7 purchased five tailored coats and two tailored trousers, at a dollar apiece. The jackets fit wonderfully and I'll hopefully find occasion to wear most of them. The pants may need a little retailoring.

But back to the point: Why would someone who's worked so hard to reduce clutter in their life consider an 8-track player? I was wondering how cool it would be to hook the audio-out jacks to my mac, stream the output to Live365, and create the first Internet radio station fed entirely by a realtime vintage 8-track player and carts.

Of course the problem is that it would be cool for a couple days until the inevitable slashdotting takes the thing off the air, the inevitable cease and desists from zombie RIAA lawyers from beyond the grave, the chore of swapping carts every hour or so, the effort to actually find interesting 8-track carts (okay, maybe not such a big problem), and of course the myriad other projects on the docket, including more functionality for Fury 5, Underblog, fixing Qwer, Randompixel and, you know, work stuff.

I hope someone takes up the idea though. That would be pretty cool.

Bonus points for hooking up either a full 8-track jukebox or for creating an automated system whereby listeners could influence which tracks play when.

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
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I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

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