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Poolside.fm (poolside.fm)
431 points by MrBuddyCasino on Feb 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 79 comments

I have no idea what's that and why it exists but I like it!

The UI is brilliant, and everything just works. Not that it's doing anything as such.

> I have no idea what's that and why it exists but I like it!

Sometimes it's better not to explain things.

But my guess it's a fun OS version of those lofi Youtube channels with the slowly changing background images and never ending playlist which get tons of pageviews daily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHW1oY26kxQ

Yeah, it used to be exactly that - a never-ending rotation of 80s “summer” clips over a soundtrack of retrowave / synth dance. At some point last year it changed into this.

When opening this website, i instantly remembered that music band that made this website (and probably hitted the HN front page) :

> https://www.windows93.net/

Oh, that's just evil. The Minesweeper game (Briansweeper) always kills you on first click.

"UI is like a joke. If you have to explain it,it's bad."

If it's an incredibly boring enterprise app that people have to use for work, yeah. Make the UI obvious so users don't hate it any more than they have to.

For websites and apps that are recreational in nature, a unique UI that encourages exploration is completely fine. The death of Flash has turned websites into a wasteland of cookie cutter templates that still take forever to load thanks to hulking masses of tracking Javascript behind the scenes.

If users are so turned off by an unfamiliar UI that they'll bolt to a substitute, like scrolling endless feeds of images/text on Reddit/IG/FB, then that's their prerogative.

If you can get away without explaining it explicitly, that's great.

But if you make a user interface for eg pilots to fly a plane, there are other things to optimize for than not-having-to-explain-anything.

Similar considerations apply in less extreme scenarios, too.

You shouldn't use a button where every other plane uses a lever, or a new term for a label to describe added functions when you can easily use a modifier of an existing similar label. It means things like that. Pilots know the UI of planes so newer planes should need minimal explanation of the UI to pilots is that the philosophy means, it does not mean new planes should have pretty ui anyone off the street can understand

This is only true for one kind of user. Granted it's the most common user assuming consumer facing products.

But if your UI is targetting professionals, substituting ease-of-grokking for speed-of-getting-shit-done is a very sound choice. Ideally you don't comprimise too much on either side of the spectrum, but there is still a tradeoff.

Consider how fast you can do various tasks in the CLI after knowing your way around it, and how many easy-to-use UI applications you would have to interact with, and how long, to do the same thing.

Compare a Tesla interface with a cockpit, and that you quickly need to just input some command. Would you rather have to browse on-screen menus until you reach it, or have a dedicated button/lever per function, when input speed is crucial?

Cli is still UI. "You shouldn't have to explain it" is relevant for the audience you target. For example a cli program should have a help flag like -h or --help, if you do --options that would be bad UI. If you have dedicated buttons in your UI for complex functions targeting advanced users, the labelig, icons and coloring should make their impact and current state very obvious to the user. You shouldn't come up with complex terms and custom icons no one else undetstands,etc... It does not mean water down the UI so everyone can understand it. Just like jokes you have to be relevant to the context of your audience.

--help is literally explaining how to interface as a user.

You are simply asking not to be any more complicated than you have to be after the fact of design trade-offs, which I think no one opposes.

Awk, grep, understanding regex, piping and much more an is not very friendly, but still extremely powerful and I have yet to find a sufficiently fast alternative with easier UI in however many decades it's existed.

There are alternatives with better UI that can do the job, but much slower, both in setup and execution.

This leads me to believe that the steep learning curve for the interface is intrinsically linked with the capabilities. I would honestly like to be proven wrong.

You can draw a parallell to programming, it's all about telling machines what to do. There have been more attempts than I could even list of trying to make natural language programming languages, GUI code generators, etc, and yet here we are choosing Rust (or relevant tool for your task).

I applaud every iteration improving usability without compromising performance in development or execution, but like your joke concession in your followup, there's no joke in the world you have to explain, assuming the recipient understands the context. But arguing from that point makes the original quote meaningless, does it not?

I would paraphrase that as: "Don't be any more complicated than you have to for the task", which is a truism I never aimed to dispute.

Ok, let me try again: the principle has nothing to do with user friendliness,learning curve or complexity of the UI.

Let's look at awk as an example,the language itself is not the UI, the means by which you interact with it is:

awk 'BEGIN{FS="\n"}{print $1}' somefile

How the quotes, braces,value assignment,input file specification,etc... Works is the "UI" ,what the terms BEGIN,FS,print,$1 mean and do is the functions of the language.

FL=somefile awk =BEGIN+FS=~\n~++print $1+=

If that was insteas the "UI" for the awk language, the functionality and power of the language remains unaffectes. But there is plenty to explain to your audience there and it has nothing to do with the functionality or capability of the language.

Even the most complicated aircraft has a seat,an obvious entrance and buttons as an interface to the pilot. It's fine for the functions of the buttons or how to be secured in a seat to require explanation,it's bad UI to have a bed,or a seat that pops up from a hidden location or buttons that look identical to indicator lights.

I have been using the macOS menu bar application for a while [1].

There used to be a page [2] linking to it, but it seems they deleted it.

Surprisingly, the app is fully native [3] and that’s why I keep it around.

Here is a screenshot [4] in case anyone is curious to see how it looks.

[1] https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/poolside-fm/HeyThereHotSt...

[2] https://poolside.fm/mac/

[3] https://pastebin.com/raw/9j45WN00

[4] https://i.imgur.com/k0Ahk6h.png

I had some issues with that a few years ago and wrote my own version in PyQt (it’s basically just a shuffled stream of their SoundCloud playlist). Never managed to polish it enough to publish though... maybe I should rewrite it in Go and release it.

Downloaded it, but it asked for permission to use MacOS' accessibility features, which I thought was weird.

But they mention iOS and mac apps on the site coming soon and have an email signup form.

A lot of non-accessibility apps use the accessibility features to do things like window resizing and clipboard management. Looking at my relatively pristine MacBook Pro's settings, I've got Flycut and Rectangle (expected) and less expectedly Dropbox and Aquamacs with accessibility access.

I think (but could be wrong) that it's a relatively low-risk permission to grant.

It’s a risky permission. It allows the app to read keystrokes and manipulate other apps as though they were receiving input from the user.

Agreed. Accessibility permission gives pretty much root access, since you can click anything and give yourself any other permissions.

I totally understand why certain apps need it, but not a simple music player.

Even "simple apps" can improve their UX with it like a translator app that you can summon with a global keybinding.

There just seems to be lack a convention around telling the user why the app might need those privs. Users don't even know what accessibility privs do.

the mac link doesn't work (anymore?)

Here's the soundcloud playlists that the website pulls from.


It looks like the first repo list is intentionally left empty?

More Gitlost than Github.

I want more of this kind of internet.

Unfortunately, I can't find Windows RG in HTML5, but there's this:


Thanks. The only thing that doesn't click with me and a lot of these kinds of sites, is that I was never an Apple user. There were some at school, but I started with early Windows. Not making a value judgement, just saying I have very little nostalgia for Apple because I didn't use it.

Did you reply to the wrong comment or something?

Not sure how that happened. I had replied to a comment where someone posted a link to https://www.windows93.net/

Sorry for the confusion.

I have not played it, but I've heard... things about Hypnospace Outlaw, which is a simulation game inside an alternate history/satired 1999 (a bit later than OP experience though).

The onboarding experience is so good. I was dropped into a nostalgic interface that I recognized and I immediately knew what was going on and started exploring. Everything made sense and I happily signed up. Good Job!

I had the opposite experience. There was no context or description provided by the author, and the website is confusing and has stuff flying all over it. Furthermore, their Soundcloud API access is already revoked, so there is no music playing, thus making it even more confusing. I'm all for novelty websites, but this is a mess.

The website is confusing? It's a desktop layout, how could it be any more familiar? Also there's a message explaining the API access issue.

Without passing comment on the contributors in this comment string, I think we will find more often either a jarring or nostalgic reaction to design elements depending on if your formative technology experiences were on Apple II’s, DOS, and Win3.1 or iPhones, iPads, and Alexa.

"I’ve been into ‘80s/‘90s design for years, I can’t shake it, it’s just so full of fun and positivity."

80s music strikes me as this way. Even the breakup songs have this upbeat vive.

There's so much music these days, a lot of really interesting and innovative stuff. You just don't get to hear it because everything has to be written by someone like Max Martin to get on "popular" media. When you look at the catalog of pop songs him and his mentor are responsible for, it puts a lot of the music scene into perspective.

Maybe it’s a scientific research question. Maybe as everything pop / media was limited/produced/organized we as consumers could only be hit with heavy filtered (see nice and consumable from bigcorps) content ?

Maybe it was the fact that media didn't play as dominant a role in people's lives? You'd read the daily paper and then move on with your day.

As for the popular music, I dunno. I mean 80s music is distinctly optimistic in contrast with 90s grunge. Maybe it was an echo of the disco era of the 70s that bled into the music style?

I remember the 90s very well and it definitely was an optimistic period even though the music was mixed, with hip hop taking off amongst the gang violence of the early 90s. And grunge and emo with their much more emotional versions of rock. Still, seemed like the world was generally at peace and everything was getting better and people believed they were getting better.

In many ways the world is still getting better, but there seems to be a lot of tension today and I don't know what all the root causes of that are.

There is a "science" behind it, very good watch even if you know nothing about music theory:


That's an awesome and informative video, and yes, I know nothing about music theory.

The positivity of ‘80s culture was a reaction to the darkness of the ‘70s, which were marred by political violence, the heroin epidemic, massive international tensions, and a lot of ‘60s acts trying to stay relevant by taking themselves way too seriously. At the time, a lot of the intellectual establishment criticized the ‘80s shift as vapid, shallow, and “commercial”, in the context of a rising yuppie culture based on banal materialism.

The ‘90s felt peaceful because the Cold War was over and Desert Storm was a walk in the park. Europe was uniting, political-correctness was rising (which helped minorities get more respect every day), and a lot of people thought that we could now move on from “capitalism vs socialism” to a capitalist society that could responsibly adopt the best bits of alternative systems.

Interesting tidbit I recall from an interview with Steve Martin, a stand up comedian who became popular in the mid-late 70s:

"Mr. MARTIN: Yes. It sounds so frivolous now but it was a crucial decision then. I - you know, the Vietnam War was raging but it was winding down. America was very politically conscious. There were protests, you know, there was political humor everywhere, and I just sensed that the era was ending, that it - you know, it was a kind of - I don't like this word but it was an implosion because you know, you just can't keep taking drugs and have a philosophy, live on. People are dying, and you know, Charles Manson came on the scene and besmirched everyone with long hair. And so I decided, OK, I'm putting on a suit, I'm putting on a tie and I'm cutting my hair. And I cut every political reference out of my act, which was a staple for comedians at the time because it was such an easy laugh. You just mentioned the word Nixon or something - everybody would cheer, I mean, meaning because they didn't like him. And so that was, at that point, the difference between me and them." -https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=989365...

> The ‘90s felt peaceful because the Cold War was over and Desert Storm was a walk in the park.

Desert Storm may have been, but that was the very beginning of the 1990s; the 1990s also included Somalia and the Balkans Wars, neither of which were walks in the park.

> and a lot of people thought that we could now move on from “capitalism vs socialism” to a capitalist society that could responsibly adopt the best bits of alternative systems.

The US basically abandoned any serious “capitalism vs. socialism” dialogue for the entirety of the Cold War plus the period of the neoliberal consensus Which overlapped and extended through the 1990s and 00s, and it also abandoned significant adaptation of capitalism during the same time period, which is unsurprising because the synthesis that Spurs such adaptation has always been, throughout the life of capitalism, driven by exactly the capitalism v socialism debate.

There's a lot of localization involved in these feelings as well. In Europe, the 90s were broadly seen as similarly upbeat as the 80s but perhaps a little less synthetic. In the UK, for example, europop, the Spice Girls, bubblegum dance (like the Venga Boys), jingly-jangly Britpop, etc. are more commonly associated with the 90s than grunge, alt rock, or punk revival as were more popular in the US. (When "retro" stations are playing "90s music" in the UK, they're not usually playing the Smashing Pumpkins or Dave Matthews Band, alas, but banal 90s pop.)

I've known about Poolside for a while, looks like they've changed their format a bit (it used to just be a full sized 80s videos with background music.) When I used it often, I discovered some artists which was nice.

Yup, same. The new website is pretty cool, as it is the fact that they’ve diversified over a few different playlists.

I’m slightly sad that they removed some of the videos they used in the past.

My expectation was that this was Uber for pools: a VC backed 2 sided on demand pool marketplace where I could instantly book and swim. Now I'm totally confused :) <s>

No, that would be https://www.swimply.com

And as someone who owns a pool, it will freeze over here in CA before I let some stranger book it for a party on the Internet. This is the pets.com of the sharing economy.

Poolside FM is great music to play in the office; it's upbeat but never obnoxious or explicit; no one ever complains. I don't stream the graphics though I think that would be a little cheesy for work.

See also: https://plaza.one/

This reminds of the rose colored Internet of the past.

Well, you beat me to to it. I've been creating radio visualizers and fake OS libraries to make this kind of projects. Yours is well done and I love it. Congratulations.


Hat tip to the classic, the original:


Makes me have hope for the internet again. Thank you.

Crazy, been on poolside for at least 6 years now. Tell everyone I can about it. It's just fun. Simple.

I feel ignorant but the radio never loads for some reason.

Edit : ahh > the mojito cooled server has hit it's limit.

I'm willing to donate a mojito to splash on it, so it cools down faster.

That’s too bad, its awesome 80s/Vapourwavy stuff. I wonder whether SoundCloud limits are daily or monthly.

If i remember correctly, daily.

I would like to find a list of similar places on the internet. Also I use Poolside FM for a while now and I liked their IG account too: https://www.instagram.com/poolsidefm/

It's cool and in 1997 I was around 16, so this does bring back some good memories. Very well done. Is this just for the the visual reminiscence of the mid 90s or does it have a direction that I am not aware of? Good job!

This is actually v.2 (or even 3) of the site. The previous one was just a “tv channel” showing ‘80s tv material while playing music “you would hear by the poolside”. The idea was to play music that feels all summer-y and lounging, with a touch of retro nostalgia for what were arguably the peak years of Miami-style iconography. I think the guys behind it are Scottish.

I love how this isn't at all what you'd do if you were to optimize for usability, but it's absolutely a great experience.

It's like they maxed out the style stats and disregarded all other conventions. I love it.

Looks like we killed their SoundCloud API access with too many requests.

Sad. Soundcloud API maxes out at 15000 calls per day and these guys hit it. I'm not sure how Hype Machine gets around it.

Cute. No way I'm going to enter my email to ride a jackass, homie.

The 'Format C:\' option made my day.

My first computer was a Macintosh Quadra 610 running Mac OS System 7. It looked exactly like this!

Oh, the memories!

LC 475 and Performa 5200 here

I don't know wtf this is but it's amazing. Windows 3.1 throwback

It's the look of a classic Mac OS desktop, not Windoze.

Whoa, I was just thinking about this site today. Amazing aesthetic.


Fun little vacation.

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