Ever since my friend Uki inquired about music environment in my office, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It went something like this: ‘ You must crank up the music and have a ton of fun’. Hmm. Hey how come this didn’t come to me on my own, ‘crank up the music’ and ‘have a ton of fun’ . Something is wrong with me, slaving all day on client projects, staying late into the night.
Anyway I decided to ‘funnify’ my office. Since my baby boy took my Sony stereo for baby songs, I didn’t have any respectable source of music. I did have computer speakers though (which is 5.1 very respectable Logitech system). I looked at SirOliver (development Ubuntu box). It served it well for two days, however after years of faithfull service it died just two days later, compliments of power fluctuations of ComEd (they were connecting the connection or something). I suspected that I might be cursed.
Next thing was trip to MicroCenter and I got awesome RCA system (I know what you thinking RCA?). It has 5CD changer with mp3 support, wireless link to computer, plays from flash drives or mp3 player it comes with. It has awesome remote with bigger LCD then my Sansa.
I loaded it with music and off we went. Life was good. Acoustic Alchemy was here all day.
However, if I could just listen to Pandora I was thinking, my life would be perfect. There is always something more.
I realized that perfect thing to improve my office life is media server. I used whiteboard to develop my media center strategy and discover what are my real needs (excuses to buy 🙂 ).
I found it again in MicroCenter, as super cute HP mini desktop. It is just perfect. It does all, can download torrents all night, we can finally share printer between computers, I can have online radio playing, I can watch video on it, or Mac or my Barbara, or even on DellBoy laptop. Plus I could have all the servers I want as this HP baby desktop is not slow. Plus, it has media cart reader so we can finally have central place for our photos (before it was my machine but it was not shared).
Life is finally perfect. I am still setting things there but future looks bright.
Now back to original intent of this rant, Pandora vs Slacker.
My friend Stiven suggested that Slacker is great online radio. I listened to it before and liked it. What I like especially promise of mp3 player that can play music you like through wifi.
Anyway I set out to discover what is the best way to listen to your music. Slacker looks far more engaging, you can click around quite a bit, make choices, change your mind. However in terms of music selection, it is like regular radio, you get good stuff and you get stuff DJ decided to shove on you, due to his preference or due to advertising deals. Not that this doesn’t happen with Pandora, I remember when Madonna’s next single was every second song. At first theoretically seemed that Slacker is better way to discover music, but I discovered that it just create your taste like regular radio does, forcing you to choose what you like between fixed choices.
Pandora, which I liked always but was never that thrilled about as I am now, is considerably more AWESOME. It takes a little bit to show what kind of music you like, but choice in which music you like is considerably more precise and you truly get far more creative freedom to listen to what you really like. I don’t think people can realize how liberating it is, until they give it a good trial and pay attention on what kind of selection they are getting from other sources of music. It is not your iPod or CD collection which is totally predictable and tend to bore quickly, but it is all the music you like. I am really surprised that my very specific taste can be fulfilled by Pandora.
In my view, Pandora is hands down best choice when it comes to listening to the music. Slacker gets boring quickly (sorry), but is still great choice compared to other radios, just can’t compete with Pandora and I think it was more appealing before Pandora, but after it sounds boring.