RadioMe is the name of my most recent project. It’s an Android app that I call a “social media DJ”. The idea for RadioMe came during one of my frequent bike rides. I usually listen to music, but that wasn’t enough to keep me connected. I hate the feeling of not knowing what is going on around me, so whenever I wanted to catch up with my social environment, I had to interrupt my ride to read my Twitter/Facebook streams and check my e-mails. So the trade-off was: enjoy a nice ride without interruptions but be disconnected from the outside world, or stay connected with the downside of having to interrupt the ride.
With RadioMe, I finally solved this problem. RadioMe is a social radio that plays your Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, Google Reader and SMS so you LISTEN to it instead of looking at a screen. It’s like having a personal assistant that reads everything to you aloud. RadioMe has an integrated music player that automatically turns down the music when you receive updates, and turns it up again as soon as you’re up-to-date. You can configure how frequently you want to be updated, and how many updates should be read during the “social break”. To make it easy, you only need to define the “music period” and the “update period” (e.g. 10 minutes listening to music, then 2 minutes social updates, then back to music for 10 minutes…). It’s perfect for when you ride your bike, drive around in your car or simply prefer to hear what’s going on instead of reading it.
But the functionality of RadioMe doesn’t stop there. The app is multilingual, it can read updates in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and even in Japanese and Simplified Chinese. You just have to tell RadioMe which languages it should detect. If you get an incoming call, RadioMe pauses automatically. You can configure by how much the volume of the music should be reduced, if you want RadioMe to stop reading upon shaking, temporarily turn off certain providers, etc. Duplicate updates are automatically recognized and only one will be read.
One really important aspect is the speech synthesis. The standard PICO TTS voice included in every Android device sounds like a robot from the 80’s with a cold. So if you want to use this app, you should definitely install SVOX TTS from the Android Market (sounds much better and is quite cheap). The new version of RadioMe will have a trial version of SVOX already installed. I designed this app, and it was built by Alberto Alonso Ruibal.
Here’s a video where I show how RadioMe works. You should give it a try, I’m completely hooked :).
The following are ideas that surfaced during a brainstorm with FON colleagues in France. Some already have been used in Spain and I will share them with those FON members who are interested in spreading the word.
FON sticker on your mailbox: the problem with mailboxes in apartment buildings is that they usually are packed with advertising (flyers, coupons etc…). With FON, it’s time to get even. It’s time we use our mailboxes to do our own publicity. Let’s put FON stickers on our mailboxes so that our neighbours know that they can change to FON if they’re unhappy with their ADSL provider or know that there is a Bill nearby who is ready to sell them WiFi access.
FON flags: why not make orange FON flag for Bills so they can put them at their windows and let roaming Aliens in the area know they can connect.
WiFiFONs in parks: how about a Bill who brings a couple of WiFiFONs to a park and lets Aliens in this park call back home at ridiculously low prices.
Personal FON homepage: When a fonero connects using another fonero’s connection, it would be interesting to have a FON homepage pop-up upon connection. The idea is to let each fonero have a homepage that he or she can personnalise. For example, if a fonero wants to promote an NGO, the fonero would be able to place logos and write about this NGO. Or it could be a blog, or an artist…
Sharing more than your connection: Another intesting idea is based on the fact that by definition, Linuses like to share. So why not share more than bandwidth? How about sharing your books, your DVDs, your playstation games, etc.? Sharing with FON would have a much broader sense whereby FON members would not only share digitally but also share physical objects they can either deliver at another FON member’s doorstep directly or through the post.