Educating Pandora

Technology, especially late in the second decade of the 21st century, is ever evolving.

There's so many apps you can get on your Android or IPhone that most of us don't really play around with it all that much. It's kind of like revolving addictions, really.

Recently I got hooked into Pandora, the service where you pick an artist and it delivers a radio station based on that artist and music like it.

But as in the case with many applications for your phone and computer, there are hidden intricacies and nuances that make the apps addicting. In the case of Pandora, there are "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons you're encouraged to press to fine tune the station.

What I've learned is not to hit "thumbs up" too much, or you'll hear that same damn song every time you fire up that particular radio station. Hit it when it plays your favorite artist, but not too frequently.

Example: one of my stations I'm fine tuning in Pandora I call Goodfella Radio. A lot of the Rat Pack, modern day crooners like Matt Dusk and Michael Buble, some older music from mob movies, stuff like that. It'll want to play "Mambo Italiano" by Rosemary Clooney. But it's Goodfella Radio I want, not Good People Of All Genders Radio.

For some reason, the station wants to play Harry Belafonte music. Don't get me wrong. I love Harry. His Carnegie Hall album on 8-track was the first album I ever heard. But he's not a perfect fit for this niche I'm trying to develop.

That's the addiction. Thinking of what fits on the station you develop and what doesn't. Looks like it's hooked a few people other than me.


The Unexpected Gift

Still in shock that I was the recipient of an Xbox 360, December 24th, 2012.

I didn’t do too badly for someone who thought the world might be ending a few short days ago.  The Windows 8 computer was supposed to be it in terms of Christmas gifts for me, which was fine, since that’s all I wanted.

Over the weekend, my mother was peppering me with questions about Blu-Ray DVD players. as this was going to be a gift for her boyfriend for his Christmas.  So when I see her again on Sunday morning, she’s sporting not one DVD box, but two.  I asked her who else was getting a Blu-Ray, and she responds that I was getting one as well.  I wound up with a Sony, the boyfriend got a Panasonic.  My first thoughts were: why me?  I already had the gizmos a Blu-Ray player has on the Windows 8 computer, like Pandora and Netflix.  I guess she thought that I figured out how to set up the DVD system for myself, setting one up for her boyfriend would be a cinch.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve.  Just before I left the boyfriend’s house, I get this bag for Christmas from him.  Having been over to his house before to watch some Buccaneers games this fall, I noticed he had an Xbox 360 with a Kinect device, and he mentioned he was trying to get rid of it for a good price.  I open up the bag, and there it was.  My mom had bought it off of him!  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy the Christmas haul, but it far exceeded my expectations.

If I was 18, I guess I’d be saying “Wow!”

But at 41, I can’t help but ask “Why?”

So later on this morning, I’m off to Walmart, hopefully to quick up Madden 13, but I have several backup plans in place if the popular video game isn’t at the store for the big post-Christmas rush.  Might be there when the store re-opens at 6am, as the Tampa Bay area is supposed to get some stormy weather around midday as a cold front passes through the area.

I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday, as I know I’m already looking forward to 2013.