audio guide app in livecode?

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Thu Sep 8 14:56:10 EDT 2011

The way the audioguide business works is, you have a special museum type
handset.  This costs hundreds of dollars to buy, but what it consists of is
a keypad, tiny lcd screen and a phone type speaker.

The user goes around the museum and sees large numbers attached to exhibits
or freestanding.  He/she then hits the number, and the track plays.

Yes, that is really it.  And yes, they cost hundreds each.  They come with a
charging rack typically so you can plug them in to recharge overnight, and
they have a 512Mb compact flash card.

Then you get software with them.  The way this works is very nice.  The
software is registered to the individual machine you first install it on. 
Want another machine?  Pay.  This software uploads the tracks you have
recorded into the handsets.  What you do is load one handset, the master,
and then this propogates to all the others.  The makers of this software do
not seem to have thought of virtual machines, because if you install on one
of these, you can put it all over the place in as many machines as you like. 
Well, there you go.

My first inclination, when confronted with this, was to say what is wrong
with cheap mp3 players?  Well, this is where it gets interesting.  You get
grants for this stuff as a charity and museum.  The grants are based on the
going rate, which is hugely expensive, because no-one does this stuff
themselves, they get consultants in  to do it all for them.  A museum, which
will be state run of course in Europe, can easily spend $100k or so to have
50+ handsets and the right tracks recorded by professional actors.

Into this surreal world comes Android.  The thing about android phones is
they can run apps.  It looks to your usual, what is the word, adventurous
user?  asi if anyone with half a brain could make an app that as J says,
only needs to play a track when a number is pressed.  Why, I am asking
myself, should this cost more than about £200 including the mobile
non-profit Livecode purchase?  Some cheap machine they have lying around,
and there's a usb port to host it on.  What more do you need?

So, I'm on the point of saying to the museum, buy me the livecode android
version, and away we go.  Glad to hear everyone saying in tones very like my
own, that this is not rocket science, more like an afternoon.  But given
pause by the fact that I have never knowingly seen an android phone, so
maybe developing an app for one from scratch is a little courageous?  

If any of you guys have a spare afternoon, I think the museum market is
quite interesting.

Sometime if there is a long rainy afternoon, I'll tell you about the even
more surreal world of museum databases and catalogue software....  Now if
you think audioguides are a turnup for the books, wait till you hear about


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