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  • Writer's pictureJohn Papajack

The Pitch - or - Smart Sexy Simple

I just want to read about the world, I don't need all these creepy cloud stalkers looking over my shoulder!

Personal privacy is a component of our personal freedom our privacy is under attack. There's a limit to the amount of privacy we are all willing to abandon for a little convenience, That line has already been crossed. Just ask anyone who's been spied on,  trolled, or doxed online. All arrows of progress point to simply more of the same.

But why?

Current cloud based and Saas are multi-billion dollar businesses predicated on the idea that Apps are easy for the company to launch with near zero infrastructure, and that is of course correct. The externality they overlook is the consumer. That vastly simplified saas app though convenient and fun will never,.. can never substitute for the efficiency and peace of mind that a personal solution can provide.

Consider streaming music versus collecting Vinyl records, Which would you value more, "access" or a personal collection? Both have obvious advantages but access can be denied, revoked or monetized to the point of being unusable. Even Netflix, the best of the best in streaming services has movies going into and out of their catalog all the time. There is no real permanent reliability. It's never historically been a very good idea to have other people hold onto your stuff for you, it didn't work out so well with roommates after college and there's a whole lot less accountability online. If you want something done properly, you need to do it yourself. That does not mean it needs to be difficult. 

The solution:

This is why personal media servers proliferate. you can store your hard won digital collection for all posterity on your very own server far from prying eyes. Traditionally, this is not for the technically disinclined or the less than fastidious.

Shortwave is here to change the direction of the conversation.

Why not have the best of both worlds? scrape the web for all its worth and store locally for permanence and resilience. (This is why torrent sites continue to proliferate.) Then add in automated sourcing and sorting utilities and a voice recognition interface for screenless use, that would be the ultimate media server! And in fact Shortwave is exactly that, irreducible simplicity coupled with incomprehensible content variety. We all have a box somewhere is our home filled with electronic gadgets that turned out to be too complex or not quite what we had in mind. But even in its earliest stages, Shortwave was already suitable for decade long coffee table use. Shortwave functionality can not be taken away by a shut down website or a change in proprietary cloud infrastructure.

Just Ask

There is simply no such thing as easier than just asking and there is nothing more enjoyable than having someone else read to you. This is what the Shortwave project is all about; an experiment in ultimate convenience in infinite wisdom. Or, if you prefer, really dumb AI.

Shortwave is simply an Audiobook player, though a really good one. as such there are few flashy shiny aspects to it. The glamour in Audiobooks comes from use over time. You will get smarter, it's a virtual certainty. Its simply not possible to have someone read you hundreds of books and not become a smarter person. Day one operation is charming but not life changing; day 100 is.

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