Memory Test

I was riding home yesterday, Carl was driving, and we were listening to that iTunes Weekly Rewind podcast, which is just a few people talking about music and playing a variety of clips.

There were a few that sounded interesting, and I wanted to remember what they were.
My first instinct was to reach for my iPhone and write myself a note, however, I decided it would make a good experiment.

So there were 3 phrases that I wanted to remember, either band, album, or song names. The phrase would be enough to find out more with a Google search later.

The first phrase I converted into a visual mnemonic.
The second phrase I converted into a mixture of visual mnemonic and text.
The third phrase I left as text.

I forgot to try to remember them when I got home (metaforgetting?).

So today I remembered the experiment, and was trying to remember the three phrases.

The first was easy to remember. I visualized a clothing iron and a glass of wine. This is for a band called “Iron & Wine”.

For the next phrase, I could remember the visual part of the mnemonic, but not the words. I had been visualizing one word, with a line drawn under it, and another word underneath. But I don’t remember the words. It was something like “____ under ____” or “_____ below ____” the second blank mighta been a longish word.

The third phrase I didn’t remember at all.

Clearly, visuals are extremely easy to remember when compared to words.

When a new programmer was hired to our team at work, I came up with a visual mnemonic for his name, and can now recall it easily. I pictured a guy with lots of keyboards and a camera, “John Tesh” and a “Konica”. His name, therefore, is Shantesh Kanekar.

Reminds me of an example Derren Brown gave for how he does a card trick. He said he visualized a room, and in that room are 52 objects, each representing a specific card. When a card had been played, he would visualize putting a bright ribbon tag on that object. In this way, he would be able to remember which cards had been played, and which were still in the deck.

I guess to remember the missing two items from that podcast, I’ll have to download it and listen to it again. I checked for show notes, knowing my memory would be jogged if I saw the missing phrases, but oddly they list the songs for every episode except that one.

Amazon MP3s – Initial Experience

I decided to try out the new Amazon MP3 service before going to bed.

The first thing I noticed was that for previews, Amazon uses RealPlayer. I’m not a big fan of RealPlayer, as in the past it was an invasive app that had all sorts of control panels and took over all media playing functions. Maybe it’s not like that anymore, but I didn’t really want to install RealPlayer. So instead, I opened iTunes. The albums I was looking at were available in both Amazon and iTunes, so I used iTunes to listen to previews.

After listening to a few clips, I decided on an album to download:

The Sunset Tree, by The Mountain Goats

It is $9.99 on iTunes, and $8.99 on Amazon.

When I click to buy the album, Amazon alerts me that I have to download and install their “tiny app” to complete the sale. Uh-oh. I am suspicious. Is this a tracking app, or controlling my usage, or just bloatware?

I download an install the app. It *is* pretty tiny (under 600k), and seems to be just a file download queue system. I set it to not automatically add the downloaded songs to iTunes (I’ll put them on the media server and link to them from there).

I complete the checkout, and it prompts me to download a .amz file, apparently a download queue list for the downloader app. The files start downloading. The process is quick.

Once they are done, I copy the files from that directory to the media server downstairs, and add links to them to the iTunes library.

I listen to the album as I sync the songs onto my iPod.

Overall, the whole process was quick and pretty easy. I’ll have to install RealPlayer if I want to hear preview clips, not something I’m happy about, but other than that, they have a better product than Apple.

Amazon has a higher bitrate (256 on Amazon vs. 128 on iTunes), more universal file format (MP3 vs. Apple’s AAC), no DRM, and cheaper prices than Apple! I may never buy from iTunes again.