Audabble: A New Approach to News
Following on from my Hamachi “cool tool” post, here’s another one: Audabble. This little flash app lets you listen to music (from your own machine) whilst also hearing interstitial news “broadcasts” read out every 15 or 30 minutes. It’s a nice way to stay in touch with the world during those long coding periods — you know, when the world fades into a hazy background and there only exists you and the beauty of endlessly streaming lines of… I need to get out more.
Anyway, the Audabble news is read out by computer, but rather than the Brief-History-of-Time announcer style I was expecting, I got a pretty smooth male voice who actually made sense (most of the time). The news sources include CNN, BBC, Digg and TechCrunch.
So now whilst I think Audabble is cool at the moment, I have to say it could be a lot better. Notably:
- You have to add links to your songs manually, and recreate your playlists. For anybody with a large song library this is a show stopper.
- There’s no integration with iTunes or Media Player.
- The news reader is great, but it can be hard to understand sometimes, especially when reading technically focused headlines like “AMD Considering Outsourcing ATI Drivers” — you can guess how this sounded.
- There are some other little annoyances (like restarting the current song when you refresh the playlist) but those you can live with.
Audabble’s opportunity is unique though, and assuming they can jump around the copyright issues, the idea of inserting interstitial computer-generated audio is a solid one. They just need to get it to work with existing players. If done right, Audabble could change the way we listen to news.