Pandora - the music genome project

September 4, 2006 by pedro mota

I still get amazed the job these folks are doing. Pandora is a bandwith monster as a streaming radio service. Basically, you indicate the system a music or artist and it generates an internet radio station based on that preference. You can fine tune the radio by indication. It runs on a browser, on a java app. Slick, simple, nice. 3 months ago they inserted a top ads banner wich took a lot of it’s visual interest. You can advance musics for a limitid # of times (10). Then you must let it flow.\r\n\r\nEach music is categorized using more than 40 parameters. It’s done one by one by specialized (meaning with musical studies) musicians/professionals. There is an \“inside the net\” podcast conducted by Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur talking to Tim Westergren of the Music Genome Project. Listen to it. Apparently he departed to a trip accross america to find unknown bands, records, tapes. A kind of musical road trip.\r\nYou can create your own stations very simply. Then if necessary add music/artists for the system to adapt to your preferences.\r\n\r\nHave some hours of good music, legally. I do on my 9 stations. Great product. \r\nThis behaviour would not be acceptable if done by humans under a normal mail delivery. Not with that persistence. We could not ask the mail man to sleep by that person door waiting for him to get home. But this technological implementation is a wish for that to happen. And it gained trust for important content to be delivered this way, by single or corporate entities. The national Post-Office CEO said their business is a dieing one. The graphical curve of normal mail delivery is declining in perspective. And it is declining fast. They will have to reinvent themselves or will become obsolete.\r\nThe number of people putting their lives in digital format increases every second. Documents, spreadsheets, images, sounds, videos became an extension of us. There are people that work every single day trying to maintain safe those extensions. Keeping them safe and secure in data storage servers is their goals. Network infrastructure administrators keep their eyes on flat screens monitoring digital traffic. Billions of dollars are spent and earned to maintain this flow of intellectual property running. Distances are huge. The time we expect data to reach us is getting shorter in a month basis. The fascination of speed improvements last weeks. Soon after, the content being spread gets more complex. Simple text files became complex formatted text. Single low resolution images or low bit rate sound files, are not acceptable. High resolution images, sounds and videos are becoming standard. Will the universe quantum physics have to be upgraded ? Universe 2.0 ?\r\nAfter all, we don’t want to wait too much to get our life back in our hands. Not so long ago, the FBI or the CIA had files. File was a strong word. It usually meant lack of privacy. Knowing someone in detail without knowing her. Now… everybody has files. We exchange files. We upload our curriculum vitae to websites for public analyses. We upload personal photos to public photo websites. We do podcasts. We are exposed. I pretend not to talk about safety or lack of it. We expose what we produce professionally. Based on that we build images of thousands of miles persons. Physically, emotionally, intellectual. We mentally build people. Then we relate to them using Internet and that allows to fine tune the image, but always in perspective. So, are we getting unreal most of the time ?

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