Derek Featherstone's Box of Chocolates: You never know what you're going to get

Box of Chocolates

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 - 11:41pm


Something revealing happened to me that night, as I sat in my family room, watching TED Talks and flicking about the Apple TV menus trying to change the screensaver to something other than my Flickr stream.

Not only do I have the ability to view my Flickr photos through the Apple TV, but also those of my contacts. At the time, I simply thought “cool!” and went to the list of my contacts.

First up? Ben Buchanan, who I’d just had the chance to see at Web Directions South. I pushed play to view a slideshow of Ben’s photos from Web Directions South. The photoset starts playing and is set to music — I didn’t realize it would do that, but the tune seems very appropriate: Three Little Birds from Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley (“Don’t worry… ’bout a thing… ‘cos every little thing… is gonna be alright”). As the photos play, I see my friends. I see Ben. I see Chaals. Lisa and Lisa and Lachlan, John and Maxine, Scott and Cheryl. My head and heart both started racing.

Next up was Jeremy Keith. Scrolling through his sets I see dConstruct 2008 and push play. I see photos of speakers, attendees, conference organizers — and friends in each category. It starts happening again. I see Jessica, Paul Duncan, Andy Budd, James Box and more. Heart racing, fitting with the music. What is happening?

I need to see something else.

I get down to the J’s. And I find Jason Santa Maria.

I push play. It happens again. The music is perfect. Iris, from the Goo Goo Dolls.

Picture this: a Ryan Irelan flap ‘n snap comes across the screen and the lyrics play… “And I don’t want the world to see me, because I don’t think that they’d understand.” Yes, it was perfect.

Photo of Jason Santa Maria, flap and snap.

And then it happens. Again. Jason Santa Maria, frozen in my TV, staring at me as I’m sitting on the couch. In all his flap ‘n snap glory, Jason sings to me: “I just want you to know who I am…”

I completely froze.

Partly because it was a great flap ‘n snap, but mostly in the realization that this experience was something completely different than any photo browsing I’d ever done before. I wasn’t in front of my computer — my usual conduit to my friends. I was in my family room.

Family room. Where I sit and watch movies with my wife and three children. Where we LIVE.

And I realize that for the past 20 minutes, I’ve been immersed in the lives of my friends, but in my home. Not at a conference at some far reaching corner of the world. I’m in my home. And my friends are there with me.


Awww, *sniff*. Is there anything Flap ‘n’ Snap can’t do? The answer is no.

That is way cool. What I would like next is a chance to talk with all my brothers and sisters from their own living rooms and see their faces while they talk and while I am sitting in my living room looking at them on my TV. Kinda Webinar turned personal. And free, of course.

See? You’re finally picking up what Bill Gates has been putting down all these years!

But seriously, that’s pretty badass. I had a similar realisation the other day when we set up the Mac Mini on our projector in the living room and showed Flickr slideshows of our honeymoon photos to my cousin and my parents. It was actually quicker and neater streaming from the web than using Preview etc locally on the machine.

Taking it to the next level and using it for our friends’ photos is exactly what I had planned for our next party!

Man, this is the good stuff :) This is what technology should do for us!

…and when more people catch on, web tv is going to go nuts! :)

Aw, you big sop you :-)