Pandora, fall semester, what I’ve been up to

So I’ve been on the hunt for some new music recently. For anyone that knows me, you know that I have one of the strangest tastes in music, and I’m really picky about it, too. Of course, I go to the place where most people are going for new music today: Pandora. I really like Pandora because they can find so many artists that most other people haven’t heard of, but they have the qualities of the artists that we all know and love, and it’s really good for discovering new music. However, I still feel that Pandora could be done a little better. There are a couple of ideas that I wanted to share with you regarding Pandora that I feel could enhance the music finding process. If you guys use Pandora simply for a great music selection, regardless of the song, then a lot of these suggestions aren’t too useful for you guys. However, for those that are serious about finding new music a little quicker, hopefully these will help:

Unlimited skips: Now, I know the idea behind Pandora is to get everyone to listen to the new music and not just haphazardly search through all of the songs on a channel and crash the servers. But there are some channels that I have which are from mainstream bands, and a lot of the songs on the channel are mainstream songs that you could hear on the radio, and that’s not what I’m using Pandora for. I know that there are some people who enjoy listening to the radio songs, but I really want to find something new that sounds great.

Revising the Like/Dislike options: So when you use Pandora, there are two buttons that appear underneath the song you’re listening to: a like (thumbs up) button and a dislike (thumbs down) button. However, I feel that both of these buttons could be done better. First, when you like a song on a particular channel, it gets added to a list of songs that you like on that channel. When you come back the next day, and you go to that channel, the songs that you like usually take precedent over other music – you basically hear the same songs you like over and over again, and for anyone looking for new music, even the songs that you like which always play first on a channel can really get in the way. Also, the dislike button basically skips the song altogether, but on top of that, it keeps track of what you disliked so that it can tailor the future songs that it chooses to what you like.

Here’s what I propose for the like and dislike buttons:

“Like artist” – This should be one of the options under “Like” – The “Like artist” option. It’s pretty straightforward in function – when you hear an artist that you think is really good, and you want to hear more from that artist, select “Like artist”, and the system can take note that you like that artist’s sound.

“Like song” – This should be the second option under “Like”, and this works basically as the “Like” button currently works. If you like a song, and want to hear it first in the lineup or just more often in general, then you can select “Like song”, and it’ll do exactly what the “Like” button does now.

“Dislike song” – This should be an option under “Dislike”, which again works just like the “Dislike” button. If you don’t like how a song sounds, and you don’t want to hear it again, click on “Dislike song”, and it won’t show up again.

“Dislike artist” – If, for some off chance, you absolutely hate an artist, and don’t want to hear anything from that artist, you can click on “Dislike artist”, and all future selection will not include this artist. However, it should be worth noting that some of your favorite artists are capable of writing songs that you don’t agree with. That’s why there should be a differentiation between “Dislike song” and “Dislike artist”. You can dislike a song from your favorite artist if it doesn’t sound good to you. I would use “Dislike artist” for Nickelback. At least until they can find some different harmonies. There was also another time I was on “Citizen King Radio” (Citizen King is a famous one-hit wonder from the 90s with “Better Days”), and one of the artists that came up was (not kidding at all here) “Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head”. On top of that, the music they sung sounded like a raccoon caught underneath a lawnmower. It was bad. So, to prevent these random nuggets from surfacing, there should be a “Dislike artist” button.

Repeat Track button: This is something that YouTube needs to get on, too. A freaking auto-repeat button. I’m tired of the song running out, and then having to dig into my pocket to get my iPhone, unlock it, and then hit repeat. And I can’t do it without looking at the screen because it’s a touch screen device, so I always have to get the iPhone out. With a Repeat Track button, if a song sounds awesome, and you want to hear it over and over, you can do it.

I started writing all that stuff above yesterday, and now, I can’t remember any of the other ideas. Bleh.

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How does this stuff work?

If something is described as “bad” = not good
If something is described as “ass” = really not good
Yet, if something is described as “badass” = really good?

eligible = able to do something
ineligible = not able to do something

BUT

genius = excellent intellect, work, or achievement
ingenious = clever, original, or inventive

(I know ingenious is just the adjective form of genius =P)

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So the semester here at GW finally started again, which means two things: 1) I can get the Washington Post for free again since I look like a student and 2) The pool hall at the Hippodrome is finally open again. I did manage to play some pool yesterday afternoon, and in the beginning it was a bit shaky. I haven’t shot pool seriously in months, so everything was rattling or not even coming close, and I could feel my stroke was getting rushed. But I finally got some of the pace back after I slowed down to the pace I usually play (hypnotically slow). I was only shooting straight pool though, because my control went to hell in the time that I’ve been away from the table, so even playing racks of 8-ball would have taken forever. The tables at the Hippodrome are as bad as they’ve always been – they’re still way too close together and the spot was coming off of the table I was on. But hey, playing on a bad table forces you to concentrate, too, so that when you get to a table that’s pristine, it won’t take as much work to get the cue ball around the table. But if any of you guys want to shoot around, I’m usually at the place between 4:15 and 4:45. =] Although I’d much rather play at Buffalo Billards where the conditions aren’t so rough XD

Hopefully I get inspired to make up some new web stuff for you guys in the next few days. I already have a few ideas (one of which is already on ustream, but it’s a bad video because you can’t see anything with the angle I shot it in), so when I get the chance, I’ll do them ^_^ I gotta think of a new puzzle for you guys, even if the very first one wasn’t ever solved! And that was the easiest one!

Also, the next series of blog posts are going to be about my trip to the Bahamas. I realized while writing an e-mail to my friend Steff that I never talked about it with anyone yet, so you guys will get to hear about everything, with some videos to help narrate it. A lot of the videos are already on my share site at dfloriza.shutterfly.com, but some of the videos will be exclusive to the blog post, so check those out!

Alright, back to work. See you guys soon!

– Danny

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