living in the future

I spend a lot of time talking to Americans on the Internet, and they’re always reminding me that, due to the timezone difference, I live in the future compared to them. Today, though, I had a moment that reminded me that all of us really are living in the future.

It was simple enough, really — I was sitting on IRC, and someone pasted a URL in to channel, but instead of linking to some lewd image from 4chan, it was a live stream of the recording session he had in progress in his home studio. Streaming audio isn’t exactly a new thing — Internet radio and live online concerts date back to the days of RealPlayer and dialup — but there was just something fascinating about being able to listen in on someone else’s bedroom studio as they put a track together, with everyone on channel listening and giving feedback, and even recording and emailing across their own snippets of audio.

The best part of it all is that the technology isn’t that hard to get running. I installed Icecast on my virtual server, and DarkIce on my desktop at home, and before too long I had a live stream of my Ardour session up-and-running. DarkIce runs as a JACK client, so it can take its input from anywhere in your JACK signal path, and it can encode to Ogg Vorbis, which is supported natively in Firefox 3.5.