T-Pain + DataSF = Tinny Voiced Do-Gooder Web Apps?

robbie-the-robot-20020500.jpg
There's an app for that...
​Calling all computer-whiz nerds: not one, but two Bay Area-based Web application contests were announced this week. First, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has been helping to promote the DataSF App contest, which challenges entrants to create civic-minded applications based on the newly available government data featured on the new clearinghouse of city data (he even wrote about it here, and tweeted about writing about it here. Naturally, we're writing about him tweeting about writing about it.).

Newsom's looking for more apps to add to the increasingly popular collection, as displayed by the DataSF App Showcase. Although Newsom has his name all over the contest to help it gather publicity, the real organizers include a long list of pioneering new media people and organizations like Craig Newmark, Spot.us, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Winners will receive a cash prize of an unknown amount, or an Apple gift certificate.

Meanwhile, down the road in Palo Alto, the start-up company Smule just announced its own Web application contest, called the "I Am T-Pain" contest. This one challenges entrants to use Smule's "I Am T-Pain" app -- which allows users to transform their own voice into the tinny, mechanical, robot voice most commonly associated with Kanye, Lil Wayne, Cher, and of course, T-Pain -- and use it to upload their own version of SNL's "I'm On A Boat" (featuring T-Pain) with their own creative version of the song and associated music video to YouTube. Winners of the T-Pain contest will receive $5,000 in cash, a "Big Ass Chain" that's worth $47 and weighs 10 pounds (according to the Web site), and a chance to hang with T-Pain.

Smule says it has already sold over 300,000 copies of the "I Am T-Pain" app -- which makes one wonder why the company really needs more publicity with this latest contest. Still, depending on how much traction Newsom hopes to gain for his civic-minded contest, this SF Weekly reporter thinks the mayor may want to seriously consider joining forces with Smule and get on the T-Pain train before it's too late. How might one combine civic-minded Web apps with T-Pain's tinny robot voice? Now there's a challenge.


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