Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pandora for BlackBerry saved my drive to work!

My entertainment on my drive to and from work is podcasts on my iPod,
usually from http://twit.tv. I mostly listen at double speed using
the new feature in the iPod Touch 3.0 software that allows audiobooks
and podcasts to be played in real time, at 2x speed without pitch
shifting, or at half speed.

I had an iPod sync failure this morning which blew away all of the
music and podcasts that were on there. I put the radio on instead,
but within half a mile I decided that I needed something more
personal. I turned to my BlackBerry, and fired up the Pandora app
(http://pandora.com) that I had installed ages ago but never used.
For the few who have never heard of it Panora is a web-based service
that will stream "personal" music stations to you based on knowledge
of your likes and dislikes, using their database of music which they
have analyzed for many characteristics so that they can suggest things
that you might like based on stylistic similarities.

I hooked my phone up to the car's AUX jack (where my iPod usually
goes) and pressed Play. I drove on very happy for the rest of my
drive. My "station" came up just as it would on the desktop
application, with it's usual great selection of things that I like and
new stuff from other artists based on the Pandora algorithm and
database. What really impressed me was the solidity of the
connection, which only dropped out once for a few seconds in a place
where I regularly lose cell calls, and the sound quality, which was
every bit as good if not a bit better than the 128kilobit/s AAC files
I usually use for the "filler" music on my iPod (I have the "good
stuff" on there in lossless). The application pauses when you use the
phone, even through the Bluetooth hands-free connection to my car, and
starts right up again when the call ends. You can give thumbs up or
down to songs to help Pandora learn your tastes. this works perfectly
on the application, and your choices on the phone add to the data in
your account, which is shared amongst all Pandora clients.

This service is completely usable, even on the EDGE connection that I
have (no 3G for me, unfortunately). The sound quality is great, and
the opportunity to discover new music is unparalleled in these days of
mass-market, hits or oldies only radio. It's a toss-up now whether I
use the iPod or whether I use Pandora. It's nice to have two such
great choices.

Posted via email from Ian Harrison's "blog"

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