No more earworms!


Haven’t you ever been tortured by a tune “stuck in your head”, which you can’t figure out what is? Now such is no longer a problem. I came across the ultimate solution on Channel Five’s The Gadget Show this evening. A website called Midomi [above] will tell you where the tune is from – if you hum it to the site through a microphone! How cute. 😀

The site was launched early this year. So what did one do to drive out earworms before its advent? Voilà, the Korean way.


This is a screenshot of Naver, the # 1 Web portal in South Korea. Its Q&A pool, to be precise. Naver has been outperforming giant multinational corporations such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in the Web search business. More than 50% of the online population of the country have Naver as their browser start pages, while Google handles just 1.7% of Korean Web searches. This is why the chairman of Google Eric Schmidt came to Seoul last May and puzzledly said, “Korea is a great laboratory of the digital age” (at the Seoul Digital Forum on 30 May 2007).

It’s popularly known that Naver has gained and enhanced its market position by its user-to-user Q&A pool, called Knowledge Search (지식검색). I believe it deserves a separate post; incidentally, my presentation to the AoIR conference of this year in Vancouver last month was about it. Anyway, back to the screenshot above. If I briefly explain it for non-Korean speakers, the questioner said, “I can’t remember the title of this song that I learnt in a music class at school. It goes like this: ta tata ta tata tatatatatatatata ta tata ta tata tatatatatatatata. Anyone knows?” An answer was then posted within 24 hours, “Isn’t it the Canon Variation?” He also kindly provided references, an optional field to be filled in by each answerer, “My own ears and sense of pitch.” The questioner came back and replied to the answerer, “That’s right! Thanks [five stars]. I am sorry I can’t afford to offer you any points for this.”

I absolutely adored this entry when I first saw it. Who would need a Silicon Valley technology, ey? 😉


One thought on “No more earworms!

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