Jun 2 2009
Chords.fm took their awesome service offline and left with nary a word. We held a moment of silence in the office in their honor, during our lunch. With everyone out of the office it must have been really quiet in there.
Geeks aren’t always the most social beings. Historically they’ve been shuffled to the background, pushed into garbage cans, duct taped to flagpoles. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride for glasses wearing computer obsessed aesthetically challenged nerds. I’ve enjoyed my role in this long and rich tradition of classism and beatings. Rain Man– that was a nickname attributed to me in High School. Always spaced out, thinking about something else, somewhere else, imagination taking the lead. I still refuse to watch the movie. But years of degradation and despair have led to finding ways to beat the system. To overcome the oppressive forces of “cool”, and just for a moment, learn to resonate its aura.
These attempts can come in many ways. From Dogbert using his intellect to reverse the direction of trash can exposure, to dot com founders making loads of money, the days of geek bashing have dwindled from their golden era.
Dilbert Copyrighted Comic. (We used to be allowed to embed it!)
On the list of tricks geeks have employed to escape the clutches of meat heads and the bimbos that adorn them, is music. Not marching band music, mind you, but picking up a guitar and playing some songs. It instantly brings people around you. Whether on a stage or just messing around with friends, knowing a few tunes can quickly change one’s perceived ranking in the social ladder.
Chords.fm provides a tool to speed dweebs out of the clutches of bullies and into the admiration of peers. They built a simple Winamp Plugin that will display the chords to your favorite songs. It saves time and effort searching for the right chords online or figuring it out by ear. Once installed, click the button to chord the song. When it’s ready press play and the chords will float across the screen Guitar Hero style, and you can strum along.
The primary flaw with this software was pointed out on a comment board. It’s a plugin for the waning Winamp, as opposed to iTunes. I have to concede that I didn’t have Winamp installed as I never had the need for it. The next flaw is that there isn’t a clear uninstall path. Maybe I deselected too many option during install but I don’t immediately see where the files even live. I didn’t see them under the Start Menu, Program Files, nor is there an uninstall option in the control panel. This bugs me, more than a little. There’s a help forum I can pick through or post to, but it appears I’m stuck with this plug-in until the 15 day trial ends. (Ultimately I found the files under Program Files/Winamp/Plugins, but who knows if there are registry entries as well. I’m not a big fan of manual uninstalls.)
Now that geeks the world round can use this plugin to increase their status I’m reminded of a story a friend relayed to me. During the audtion for the Fonz role in Happy Days, a series of cool guys were told to go up to the mirror and comb their hair. Henry Winkler, the eventual winner, allegedly walked up to the mirror, comb in hand. Instead of using the comb he just looked at himself and said, “Hey”, in the classic voice we all know. Moral of the story, he was cool enough not to make a change. Food for thought. Now if I could just get this Chords! tool uninstalled, that would be really cool.
Great review, thanks! Yes we know we need to do the uninstall thing. You’re totally right. On the list for the next release. Working on iTunes and Media Player plugins, too, as well as a standalone version for Macs and PCs.