What’s Your Tempo?

I bought a whole bunch of iPhone apps as soon as they went live a while back, and they were each fun for a few minutes, but I’m finding most of them going unused.

There’s “TapTheBeat,” a tiny app with an OS 6-looking interface that tells you the tempo that you’re tapping into the iPhone. This will be useful at some point (say, the next time I get into a tempo disagreement with somebody — “No, I’m telling you, a-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ is mm. 84, not 96, you tempo-ignorant fool”), but I haven’t had any reason to use it yet.

There’s WeatherBug, a very slick weather app, but I rarely look at it, because how many times do I need to be reminded that it’s over 90 degrees every day?

There’s Enigmo, which I love on the Mac, but find it to be a little lacking some slickness on the iPhone.

There’s Karajan Beginner, an entry-level ear training app that I downloaded for fun, but whenever I run it, I’m reminded that my ear is retarded.

There’s Midomi and Shazam, two absolutely incredible apps that will listen to any song and tell you within seconds the name of the song, the performing artist, and the album the song is from. I can’t imagine how this technology works as well as it does. I’ve played with it — it seems to recognize every crappy song I can throw at it (and believe me, there’s a lot of crap in those 15000+ tracks in my iTunes library) — but I haven’t actually needed to use it yet.

The one app that I use almost daily, though, is a free one from Apple: Remote. This brilliant little app lets me control iTunes with the iPhone, using the iPhone as a WiFi remote. Combined with an Airport Express, I can set iTunes to stream my iTunes audio from my main computer in the studio to the Airport Express in the family room (where the main stereo lives), and control the music from the sofa that sits 30 feet from the library. It’s great.

Anybody else running any good apps on iPhones or iPod Touches? Anything else you’re looking forward to? (I know I’m pretty psyched about the upcoming 1978 LED Football Game — and I suspect that Steve Bryant is, too.)


Laura says

Hi John,

I'm just getting caught up on your blog again, I missed a lot! Entertaining as usual. I'm waiting for some more food pictures though... I think your blog played a big role in me going un-vegetarian. Well done.

I just moved down to Fort Worth from Tallahassee, and you're right. Texas is hot. Your new house looks great though!

Take care,


Cathy says

I use the WeatherBug app a lot 'cause it has that nifty radar to tell me how much outdoor rehearsal time we have before the lightening gets too dangerous to rehearse in...or something. ;)

I also find myself using the flashlight apps (two of them) quite a bit as well at home since my light switches are in gooby places. Of course, Facebook & MySpace apps are the only way I can keep in touch while at work since all the social networking sites are blocked. Have you tried Urbanspoon? That might help find nifty new places to eat.... I had fun with iMaracas and Kazoo (as well as the other games I've downloaded) during staff development, too. I haven't paid for one app yet, either.

BTW, did you upgrade to the G3 or are you still with the original iPhone?

Steve says

No way, LED football? You must have seen the real thing I have sitting in my apartment. In fact, V is playing it at this moment...

Kevin Howlett says

Remote is used almost constantly by me for my Apple TV. It's a much better way to interface with the unit than the Apple Remote.

I realize it was a joke when you typed it down, but I really think Take On Me is more like mm = 152.

I had a really good idea for an iPhone app that I can't implement because I have no idea how to program...like so good I don't want to talk about it here where someone could read about it and steal my idea.

...I'll...be...gone....in a day or...TWOOOOOOOOOOOOO

John says

I was honestly torn about what tempo to indicate for "Take On Me." According to my tap, it's either 84 or 168. (Do you not think I checked before posting that?! ;) Having never seen the sheet music, I'm not sure how it's notated...

Jake Wallace says

Simplify Media is pretty incredible. It's similar to Remote in that you can use it to control your iTunes library from the mobile device, but you don't have to be on the same wireless network to do it. So I can listen to things on my school computer at home and vice versa (they also have the app for your computer, if you want to do the same thing without an iPhone). You can also tag up to 30 other users (friends) whose libraries you can then also share.

Kevin Howlett says

John, you're correct, I listened again to "Take On Me" and it's faster than what I posted. Acutally, after I posted I said to myself "Y'know, John probably checked."

Having never seen the music myself either I would guess that the music is probably 168 notated out in a fast four which would make the vocal and lead synth lines nearly free of sixteenth notes, simplifying the reading process for the first rehearsal of the tune.

I own the Pat Metheny song book and there are a few tunes in that book that are metered in double time to cut the amount of black on the page. Check out Metheny Group's "Third Wind", which is very clearly mm = 150; in the book it's ultra-fast four at mm = 300.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that we are a couple of fucking dorks.

David Jones says

John - you might consider adding "LocalEats" to your iPhone arsenal. It is pretty expensive ($.99), but it shows the top 100 places to eat in a bunch of cities, including Austin. It also provides maps and directions from where you are to get to the places.

No guarantees as to whether their top 100 restaurants list matches anyone else's list, but it is a slick app. Regards,


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