Dovetailing tools together

OK, this amused me enough I had to share. My fraternity brother Nivi just lost his voice, so he went and purchased a nice-sounding text-to-speech voice for his Mac at Cepstral and piped its output into Skype with Soundflower. Voilà — instant TTS phone.

I remember David Ross once told a story about how the Model T Ford (nicknamed the “Tin Lizzy”) was adapted to all sorts of things unexpected things, from winching wagons to pumping water. The key was the car’s simplicity: it was just a motor on wheels, and it didn’t take an expert to that motor for something besides driving. It’s a lesson that keeps repeating itself: tools made up of simple, powerful components with straightforward interfaces for linking the pieces together find their own new uses.