I launched 3 sites recently (Instant.fm, Instant.IO, and EmuSpin) and haven’t written about them yet. I know you noticed.

Instant.fm (built in 3 months)

Instant.fm Logo

I was planning a more elaborate blog post to announce this site, but it’s been live for a while now and it’s not a secret anymore (was it ever a secret?). Instant.fm is the culmination of a 3 month long collaboration with Jake Becker, a good friend (and fellow Stanford CS student).

We both realized after YouTube Instant went viral (1 million visitors in 10 days!) that it was very handy for discovering music videos, and that’s the basis for this new site.

Here’s an interview we did with All Things Digital. Read the full article here.

The main idea is to make it easy to publish and share music playlists with your friends using YouTube music videos as the source of the audio.

Instant.fm allows you to upload a music playlist (exported from a music player like iTunes, or created from scratch from songs on the site). When you create a playlist, you get a unique URL to share it on Facebook and Twitter so your friends and followers can check it out.

We know that there are lots of sites out there that let you share playlists, but none make it as simple and intuitive as we think it should be.

Now, since we launched the site we’ve learned that many of our core assumptions about how people share music weren’t 100% correct, so we’re planning a revamped Instant.fm that will be pretty different. I’ll write another blog post in the future about what we’ve learned while building Instant.fm – there’s quite a lot we’ve taken away from this project.

Instant.IO (built in 8 hours)

Stanford Hack Competition

Sheesh, I think I’m definitely obsessed with the word instant. I admit, the name “Instant.IO” doesn’t tell you much about this site’s purpose, but I had the domain name and I didn’t want to let the $100 registration go to waste (yeah non-standard TLDs are pretty expensive).

Anyway, you have to try Instant.IO for yourself. Trust me, it’s worth doing once (and maybe only once). I built the site in 8 hours during the Stanford Hack Competition which I helped to organize. This was the first hack competition that my club, the Stanford ACM, organized.

We had Adam D'Angelo (founder of Quora), Andrew Bosworth (creator of Facebook News Feed), Steve Bourne (creator of sh), and Steven Schlansker (founder of Trumpet Technologies) judge the hacks. See the results.

The whole event went splendidly – we’re planning to do this every quarter from now on. Fun times.

Instant.IO re-uses the Google text-to-speech API scraper I built when I made Brain Grinder last month. I’m planning to open source the code for this (and more) sometime soon.

Update Sep 1: Source code for both Instant.io and BrainGrinder is now available on Github.

Emu Spin (built in 30 minutes)

Yeah, what can I say about this site? It was an inside joke that (sort of) unintentionally went viral.

I built the site as a joke for Jake (my Instant.fm partner). Jake has long used this emu picture as his Facebook profile picture. And for some inexplicable reason the emu got rotated 90 degrees at some point (either a bug in Facebook or he accidentally rotated it). After that, it became a running joke and it’s been rotated several times since then.

I rotated the emu once when Jake stepped away from his computer, and I can only assume that others have done the same. EmuSpin.com is a tribute to Jake’s spinning emu.

Emu Spin, the genesis

Get the source code for EmuSpin on Github :-)

EmuSpin on Reddit

I didn’t think anyone but Jake would enjoy the site, since it’s an inside joke. I suppose I should have known better. An odd-looking animal spinning around for no reason = instant interweb lulz.

EmuSpin.com made it to Reddit. (should’ve guessed it). Here are a few of my favorite comments:

I was emused.

Surprisingly difficult to turn away from.

Anyone else expecting something profane to pop up at any moment?

Stare at his beak for a long time then look away :o

I can’t get drunk and write a coherent paragraph; who does LSD and builds an entire website?

A rival appears against nyan.cat!

BEST WEBSITE EVER.

Traffic to Emu Spin

I love the Internet.

Your Turn

Thanks for reading! Have you built anything cool recently? I’d love to check it out. Leave a comment below.

Update - This is my 100th blog post!

I just realized this is my 100th blog post! Woo hoo! It’s been too much fun. My sincere thanks go out to all 251,003 visitors for reading my stuff 402,946 times since I started this thing in 2009.

Here’s to the next 100 posts!

(If you liked this, you might like Travels in Japan.)

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Feross Aboukhadijeh Hey, thanks for reading! I'm Feross Aboukhadijeh, a programmer, designer, teacher, and mad scientist. I am currently building WebTorrent, a streaming BitTorrent client for the browser, powered by WebRTC. In my free time, I work on StudyNotes, a website to help students study better and get into college.

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