Saturday, August 21, 2010

NowHearThis: Profoundilize your audio-blogs, podcasts, sound bites, and life


NowHearThis, our latest audio recording and podcast publishing tool, is now available in the app store here.

NowHearThis turns you into a radio star in four easy steps, as seen in this tutorial video (proving that, despite what The Buggles may have implied, a video can show you how to become a radio star):

  1. Record - NowHearThis is ALWAYS recording, so you never miss any memorable moments or best takes.

  2. Clean - Simple editing tools (trim, fade, cut/paste, & zoom) remove the mistakes and improve your audio quality.

  3. Profoundilize - By adding sound effects and short bits of music, you can turn a plain-ole-recording into thought-provoking, radio-worthy art.

  4. Share - In a few seconds anyone who tunes into your automatically-created podcast channel will hear your masterpiece. It can also be shared with Facebook friends (playing on their news feed), as a Twitter update, sent via email, embedded in a web page, or heard in a RadioWeave channel.


Why make another recorder app when there are already dozens of recorder apps in Apple’s app store and Voice Memos is included by default on every iPhone?

In our RadioWeave service, which blends audio from all manner of sources, we where hearing a wide division of quality between the devoted, professional podcasters using powerful desktop software, and the field- or amateur-recorders using a simple iPhone recording device. For example, one would hear the Adam Carolla show or This American Life or Jonathan Goldstein’s WireTap, followed by a recording made with Cinch or Audioboo or our own SoundBiter, and the production quality was painfully obvious.

In reviewing the available apps for making field-recordings, man-on-the-street interviews, or simple audio-blog style podcasts, we saw that the tools were either too plain, and so produced overly-amateurish results, or much much too complicated, requiring advanced using of audio editing tools. NowHearThis sits right in the middle, providing just a very few basic, but profoundly useful, tools so that anyone is able to make a decent recording without much hassle.


NowHearThis started as a weekend hack at the San Francisco Music Hack Day a few months ago. In sharing information about our respective APIs, it struck is that with a few calls we could be retrieving tagged and labeled snippets of audio that would enhance standard recordings. It struck us that the difference between most of our recordings, and those one might here on Ira Glass’ popular This American Life show, wasn’t that they were more interesting so much as that they added short musical segments now and then to enhance whatever they just said. Through the magic of music, the mundane becomes profound. An example:

BEFORE NowHearThis: Here’s the raw audio-diary I recorded about our hack weekend. Mundane, right? I’m even boring myself.

AFTER NowHearThis: I'm not so boring anymore, am I?

Turning a weekend hack into a real product took a few months, but I think the results were worth the wait.


Now we want to hear from you. Literally. Be a radio star and broadcast to the world with NowHearThis.

Related Links:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Facebook and RadioWeave are now friends.

Thanks to the latest RadioWeave feature, Facebook Integration, here's what happened:

I'm walking my dog, listening to RadioWeave, and I hear my wife's Facebook update "Surprising Brent with a feta-spinach-egg-substitute-omelet. Aren't I a good little wifey!" I'm now quite happy for at least two reasons 1) Our new feature worked: I can now hear Facebook on my radio, and 2) I've got an omelet waiting for me at home (my only concern now is how to act surprised).

Facebook/RadioWeave integration means you can now:
  • log in to RadioWeave with your Facebook id
  • hear your latest News Feed updates read to you
  • share recordings you create (and any track you like) with your friends, playable directly in their Facebook News Feed
Detailed information about listening and speaking to Facebook Radio is available on our help site here.

Being a new feature, we're hoping we got this right but expecting that it's not perfect, and so we're looking forward to your feedback on our help forum, or via email.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How blend your own music files into RadioWeave

I own lots of music. I love that music. Just because I'm listening to podcasts and weather and tweets and friends does not mean I don't also want to listen to my music.

So I configure RadioWeave to play a song from my own music library every few tracks.

Two Methods for adding your music into your radio weave:

weave-your-music method 1)
add iPod music directly from the iPhone/iTouch/iPad

The latest RadioWeave iPhone app (available at the store here) contains this option to blend your on-device music library into the RadioWeave experience.

Instructions for using the "Add iPod music" feature are available here.

weave-your-music method 2)
upload your music into the cloud with RadioWeaveMyMusic

The second method for adding your music library is with a helper tool we're working on called RadioWeaveMyMusic (RWMM). This is an application for Windows or Macintosh that will keep a rotating portion of your local music cached on the RadioWeave servers. RWMM doesn't manage artwork or ratings yet, and isn't very pretty, so we don't consider it complete. But even in this form it is quite useful so we're making it available for feedback.

The RWMM AIR application may be downloaded here. (If you don't have Adobe AIR installed, see here.)

When you run RWMM on your computer you'll get a screen like this:

  • A - size : This is how many of your music files will be kept on the server at any one time.
  • B - tbd : This is feature is not enabled.
  • C - choose restricted channel : To protect musician's rights, RWMM will only upload to your own personal channel (but restricted for only you to hear) or to a restricted channel you own.
  • D - list of your music folders : Add all folders containing music files to hear on RadioWeave.
  • E - folders to ignore : Add folders within "include folders" that should not be cached to the server.
  • F - status window : Activity and error messages.
If you run RWMM on your local computer every few days you'll hear a fresh sampling of the music you own mixed in with the rest of your radio content.

If you have questions or suggestions for RadioWeaveMyMusic, please email

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New iPhone Release: Declaring an end to streaming smartphone radio silence

RadioWeave iPhone/iPod version 1.2 is now available in the app store here. With this version we have achieved a significant milestone in the mobile streaming experience… or should I say a 272-milestone: the final QA test before submitting this version was a taxing 272 mile drive through cell-coverage hell using a first-generation iPhone.

The San Francisco Bay Area’s AT&T cell network is notoriously bad. Last weekend I drove from home to a relative’s Oakland apartment across the bay, then down 101 to Monterey, then up the coast back to Oakland through SF and another bridge, with a couple of passes through the Alameda tunnel for good measure. RadioWeave played for me, uninterrupted, the entire time. At no time was there a 3G connection, sometimes there was an Edge connection, sometimes GPRS, and quite often no connection at all (especially through the mountains and along the coast). Long periods averaged close to 20 kbps, and too often it was zero, but RadioWeave just kept playing and playing.

Immediately after the trip I called Dale, our iPhone programming genius, and said “Ship It!”

There have been other important real-world milestones in the development of RadioWeave. One of my favorite milestones was the first time I could jog for over an hour without realizing I’d been running for so long because our server algorithm delivered just the right mix of talk and tunes that made me forget how long I’d been exercising. (Should I call that a 7-milestone?)

The importance of this 1.2 release, as exemplified by last weekend’s 272-mile test drive, is that this is the first time that RadioWeave could prove itself more reliable than any terrestrial radio option, or any other iPhone option for that matter (except for Pandora - kudos to the developers at Pandora for holding up to the strain against similar tests I’ve performed).

BTW, if you’re a developer of a streaming mobile application, and you want it to run robustly under real world cellular network conditions, I'd recommend doing what we did. First develop a cell-network simulator that mimics slow networks, faulty networks, networks that deliver wrong data, and networks that frequently drop connections at any random point during communication. Second, test your code against that simulated-awful network. Third, put the code into a smartphone and test against the real network but frequently enclose that smartphone in a cast-iron pot for minutes at a time. If that all works, then, finally, take a 272-mile drive with a first-generation iPhone on the Bay Area AT&T cell network.

There are other important improvements in this iPhone release, such bug fixes and new ways to find content based on other listeners, but for me this release is all about that 272-mile drive. If you want personalized streaming social radio on your iPhone, and you aren’t always fortunate enough to be close to an unobstructed 3G cell tower, then RadioWeave 1.2 is the version for you. Get it now, before the app store runs out of copies :-)

- Brent Noorda
Founder, CEO, & QA Motorist, RadioWeave

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tune in to SXSW: How to experience SXSW 2010 via an internet radio stream

I’m not at SXSW this year. Again.

But I almost feel like I'm there in Austin, eating 'Q and walking down 6th Street, because I'm tuned in to the "SXSW-List" channel on RadioWeave. I hear people reporting the goings on, tweets from attendees, and coverage of the products to be released and the bands that will play.


To preview the SXSW-List radio channel, go to
you don't need to be a member to preview that channel. You can also hear that channel from our iPhone app (available here) by adding that channel to your weave.


These are the channels in "SXSW-List" so far:
  • tag:sxsw - This channels holds any RadioWeave tracks that have been tagged with "sxsw". These may have been contributed from the RadioWeave website, or using our RadioWeave or Soundbiter iPhone apps.
  • twitter:#sxsw - This is a Twitter channel. It contains tweets hash-tagged with '#sxsw' and converted to speech via TTS. (If you care to add more related twitter channels, see RadioWeave twitter instructions)
  • sxsw AudioBoos - Boos tagged 'sxsw' and posted to from their website or iPhone app (BTW, AudioBoo launched their audio-blogging application one year ago at SXSW; Congratulations AudioBoo!)
  • sxsw:Huffduffer - This channel streams all items entered through the podcast-aggre-creator and tagged there with 'sxsw'
  • podcast:Scobelizer - Robert Scoble is at SXSW and using the Cinch audio-blogger to upload podcasts directly from an iPhone.
  • sxsw etc... - If I catch any SXSW-related information coming in that miss the above channels (e.g. uploads that weren't labeled, band recordings) I’ll also put them in this channel
If you have more suggestions for SXSW material that should get into the SXSW-List channel, let me know by emailing


RadioWeave content is all community created. You an add audio to the SXSW-List through any of these methods:
  • To give direct audio feedback to anything you hear on RadioWeave, press the microphone icon and reply directly with your computer microphone or your iPhone/iTouch. That audio will be available for all to hear in a few seconds.
  • Any content created on RadioWeave (e.g. microphone, URL, uploaded…) may be tagged with 'sxsw'
  • With our Soundbiter iPhone application, you can capture sounds, live music, & comments directly at the show. With Soundbiter you can immediately edit, tag (with 'sxsw') and upload directly into the radio.
  • Record with the AudioBoo iPhone app, tag ‘sxsw’ and upload to AudioBoo.
  • Import any audio to huffduffer, and tag ‘sxsw’
  • tweet with #sxsw and it might appear on RadioWeave. I say ‘might’ because there are approximately a gazillion tweets about sxsw this week. There’s no way to listen to them all so we only take a reasonable portion.
  • Create other channels or tags related to sxsw, and let me know about them

Instead of listening only to SXSW-List I suggest you add SXSW-List to your weave, so you can hear about SXSW along with many other informative and entertaining channels.

For more information about how to use RadioWeave, see

What was that SXSW-List URL again?

Keep Austin weird.

Modular podcasts (modcasts?)

Despite spending (what seems like) 100 hours every day working on RadioWeave, I’m not very good at describing the service. So it was nice to come across someone who can make a refreshingly good description of what we’re doing (at least with regard to podcasts), even though, as far as I know, he’s never used RadioWeave.

Andrew Dubber is publishing 30 days of ideas this month. In idea #4, he explains how a better radio can be formed by modularizing and reassembling content that is being made every day, and how it can benefit listeners and publishers.

It’s all about modularization, workflow, and magic!

So skip our own embarrassing attempts to describe the future of radio, and instead read Andrew Dubber - 30 days of ideas - 04