Pandora – Your Own Radio Station

I’ve been hearing a lot about Pandora thanks to the profile by TechCrunch, and at first I wasn’t aware as to why it was deemed so wonderful. Since it has gone public today, however, I’m realizing why it may just be revolutionary for music lovers everywhere.

Here’s how it works: You tell it what artist you currently like. It then takes your choice, and does a lot of computations and educated guesses to find out other artists you like and play their songs one-by-one like your own personalized radio station. For example, when I asked why it played a particular song, Pandora said, “We’re playing this track because it features mild rhythmic syncopation, a subtle use of vocal harmony, major key tonality, repetitive melodic phrasing and mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation.” This is based on my choice of Snow Patrol as the artist I gave it to start on. So it doesn’t give you random artists, or choose based on who bought what album, but actually uses mathematical and scientific algorithms to find what you like.

It gets smarter as it gets a feel for your listening tastes. You can rate the song easily, choosing whether you like it or not. After about 6 songs that I really enjoyed, it played a song I didn’t care for, and when I told it so, it skipped it and went to a song that I really like. Best of all, no ads, no talking, no interruptions of any kind. Other features; you can buy the album of the artist you just discovered via Amazon or iTunes Music Store, create multiple stations based on the artist’s style/genre you’ve chosen, and find out why Pandora chose the particular song for you.

You can listen up to 10 hours for free, and then you can subscribe for $36 for a year’s worth of musical bliss (that’s $3 a month.) If you ask me, that’s a steal considering how great this service is at this point, and the creators are intent on making it even better as time goes on (you can read their blog).

Aged Sumatra Coffee

Normally I don’t consider myself a coffee nut, but recently when I purchased a new coffee maker and grinder (see related post), I’ve been dabbling in gourmet whole bean coffee beans from Peet’s. It wasn’t until I ordered and am now enjoying the Aged Sumatra coffee beans that I’ve fallen in love with coffee all over again. It’s amazingly rich, aromatic, and mops the floor of any already ground coffee you buy from the local grocery store. It’s described as being a “very rich coffee with a slight hint of a tropical wood flavor, a concentrated dried fruit sweetness, herbal notes, and ample body.

The best part of waking up? It sure ain’t Folgers.

Duck Doom

Combine the NES lightgun classic, Duck Hunt, with the legendary first-person shooter, Doom, and you get Duck Doom. It’s pretty hilarious, and quite fun. At the very least, it brings back good memories.

Google Talk Released

Google TalkOnce again Google has done it again. They’ve released a stellar software that you can’t help but love. Google Talk hopes to compete against AOL’s AIM, MSN’s Messenger, Yahoo’s Messenger, Cerulean Studio’s Trillian, and GAIM. Essentially it’s an instant messaging software with quality VOIP capabilities so you can call someone up over the internet and chat via voice in case you don’t feel like typing. If you have a Gmail account (required right now for beta testing) it’ll notify you of new emails.

The UI is clean, snappy, and feels nice as you use it. No advertisement, no bloat, no useless features. It’s classic Google goodness. I’ve been using Trillian for years, but the feature creep bloat has me itching for something new, and Google Talk may just be the ticket. Here’s a review from DownloadSquad.