One of the coolest things about having access to an app store to download programs from is the tremendous versatility of being able to find a custom function that is perfect for the situation you are in. For example, the coworkers on my schedule have a regular lunch appointment on certain days of the week. I suggested we should go to a very nice Italian restaurant with a wood burning stove and cooks that actually know how to cook Italian food.

The other benefit of this restaurant is also that it has excellent music. Usually Korean music is very similar and the same songs are so heavily played that you can’t escape it. While we were waiting for the food to be delivered to our table, there were several songs that weren’t annoying, and were actually nice to listen to for a change. They provided some atmosphere without being grating or interfering.

One of them was a series of pops and beats that I recognized from a shoutcast station I sometimes listen to, but didn’t know the name of immediately. I usually listen to down-tempo techno music to zone out in the office, but I don’t know the bands that the stations play, but did know that I had heard the song before.

My coworker pulled out his phone and had the app Shazam analyze a few seconds of the song to find the artist, pull up their information, and could link to the Youtube video for the song immediately. He said he kept the app on his phone to settle arguments with his girlfriend when they disagree on an artist of a song. I commented that being able to identify a song in seconds after a machine listens to it made me feel like I was living in the future.

I remember listening to the radio and paying attention to the DJs because I wanted to know what the new song I was hearing. Now there are Internet radio stations delivering music to a portable device I have in my pocket that I can listen to anywhere, and if I ever hear a song I don’t recognize I can simply have my device discover what it is called immediately. That’s mind-blowing!

Once my phone is able to listen to someone speak a foreign language and fully translate a complete translation will be (nearly) the end of my job. That’s incredible, and terrifying.