Jack sharing

Crandall was boldly approached by another iPod user, a 30ish woman bopping enthusiastically to some high-energy tune. “She walked right up to me and got within my comfort field,” Crandall stammered. “I was taken aback. She pulled out the earbuds on her iPod and indicated the jack with her eyes.” Warily unplugging his own earbuds, Crandall gingerly plugged them into the woman’s iPod, and was greeted by a rush of techno. “We listened for about 30 seconds,” Crandall said. “No words were exchanged. We nodded and walked off.”

Maybe I’m just getting old or something. But these unintended uses of technology never cease to amaze me. As a tech builder, I think it’s one of the best compliments is to see your technology being used in ways you never imagined.

I guess the notion of Jack Sharing (sharing someone else’s iPod) doesn’t sound that novel. But I never heard the term used to share someone’s portable CD or tape player. Maybe it’s the notion of an entire music collection being available, which gives more insight into a person, that makes it compelling?

If nothing else, unintended uses give technologists the best ammunition for what next to build. For Apple, how about broadcasting playlists or entire music collections via bluetooth or wifi via rendezvous? Bluetooth might not offer enough range to be really useful. But wifi would work. Then if I perhaps found a coworker’s or friend’s track/album I liked, I could add it to a on-the-go wishlist on my iPod and have it sync back up with iTunes where I could buy the track(s) at the iTunes Music Store or Amazon. Better yet, if I have wifi access, it would be ideal to connect directly to the iTunes Music Store and just download the tracks to my iPod immediately (assuming I’m near a wifi hot spot). Immediate gratification!

Cool ideas all courtesy of customers. What more could a development team ask for?