I don’t know what exactly happened, but around work this is about as busy as we’ve ever been. We officially released Dream 1.0 this week to Freshmeat.net, and have been in nonstop meetings for the last week and then some with the LiveSupport developers as we near its release deadline. Not to mention projects in Serbia, Russia and West Africa, working with developers in Australia, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, and Praha-zapad.

Software development is a funny thing, because it’s such a combination of extremely mundane tasks that require intense concentration, combined with tasks that are so abstract as to make you question your sanity.

Suffice it to say that development on LiveSupport is moving at breakneck speed, and should be done in the next few weeks. We’ve declared our features and design freezes, and are now working on getting the bugs out of all the various components.

So what is LiveSupport? It’s a system designed for radio stations so they can automate their broadcasts. But to the user, it looks a lot like an MP3 player combined with a calendar and clock. So you can put together a playlist, and then set a time for that playlist to play. Or you can work in “Live mode” and choose songs as you go.

Here’s a screenshot that gives you an idea of what it looks like right about now.

The other nice thing about the way we’ve written LiveSupport is that you can do most of this either in the studio, or remotely by the web. So you can run your radio station from any place where you have a web connection.

When I say “radio station,” remember that the definition is pretty loose. It could be a big station with a big transmitter and thousands of listeners, like Belgrade’s B92, or it could be one guy broadcasting to his rural village from his kitchen.

It could be someone at home who has installed a very-low-power FM transmitter in their PC. Here’s one that sells for GBP 99, for example.

The next steps for us on the LiveSupport team will be really interesting, because we’re not exactly sure what kind of interest we can expect – not only from radio professionals, but from the open source community as well. We’re hoping to get great interest, as we’ve designed the whole project with maximum hackability.

The next round of features will also be interesting. One thing I’m requesting is the integration of an RSS aggregator, so that small community stations could use podcasts as a source of programming material. The possibilities of such a system are pretty endless.

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