Pandora and me

I finally broke down and purchased a smartphone.  Instead of the ubiquitous iPhone however, I opted for a HTC Incredible Android phone.  Not that I have any distaste for Apple, Inc.  Rather, it is more because of the lack of ATT coverage in areas where I travel and the new data plans from ATT.

The phone is great, I enjoy the functions, the GPS navigation tool, Gmail, news, and all the other apps.  It fills many roles while I am out gallivanting around earning a living.

HTC incredible Android phone with Pandora App

I have tried Pandora in the past on my computer.  I found it to be okay, not great.  I guess my main issue was it seemed a little boring just listening to music.  It was good music, and when I interacted with the programming, voting a song up or down, the music selections got better.  But it was distracting to interact while I was trying to work on the computer and in the end, I turned the volume down and it became background noise.

In the car, I figured, things would be different.  I could listen to Pandora the same way I listened to my car radio.  Lots of music would be great and not distracting at all.

Except…  I found it to be… boring.  The music was great but the whole thing lacks personality.  I suppose we are blessed around here with several radio stations that play new music.  With Pandora, there was almost no new music, even if I created a new music radio station.  Further, it seemed like something was missing:  human interaction.  I enjoy hearing the deeeejay talking about some band factoid or some such.  Just listening to music endlessly left me wanting something more.  Perhaps that is just me.

Whilst on the road to various places, I like to listen to WEQX in Manchester, VT; WDST, Woodstock, NY; WKZE, Salisbury, CT; WXPK, White Plains, NY.  All of those stations have personalities and play great music.  They also stream audio, which means I can listen to them on my phone.

So Pandora gets a meh, and the phone gets a thumbs up.

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10 thoughts on “Pandora and me”

  1. If you think the new “data plans” from AT&T are not appealing, you won’t be jumping for joy with Verizon. Be prepared to be constantly pushed into buying the top dollar plan to make their bean (byte) counters happy. And if you take that CDMA phone out of the country, you might be displeased when you don’t get any service. As for Pandora, it will be another fancy fad that will probably be short lived. When there was a large diversity of ownership in broadcast stations and earnest competition, broadcasting flourished. When two major telephone companies try to become broadcasters, the byte counters win and the public citizen loses.

  2. Actually, the Verizon data plan I have is one flat fee for all the data you can download. I am not sure if it is a regional thing, but that is the only data plan they have, at least around here. The voice plan is the same one I have been using for the last ten years. When I go out of the country, it is on vacation and I turn off the cellphone, so lack of service in a foreign land is of little concern.

  3. What do you want – pure music that you want to hear, or blathering DJs, endless commercials, and some PD’s choice of programming. I’ve only tried Slacker, and loved all of the old 1960’s groups that I had forgotten. Radio is nothing lke what it used to be in the 1960s, except for WABC’s Saturday Night Oldies.

    Pandora has reduced their bitrates, so most listeners will never reach cell phone datacaps. Slacker is now using Wifi hotspots to update their players through caching – expect Pandora to do the same.

  4. Hey Greg, I like listening to good music, it makes no difference to me whether a computer picks the music or a PD. What I found about Pandora is I can’t seem to find any new music. That, and a general lack of personal interaction. I am not a fan of stupid blathering DJ’s either, however, a good talented DJ that offers something I’d not heard before is welcome. Also, commercials, when well done, can also be informational.

    My phone will automatically switch to WiFi, if one an open one is available. It’s pretty neat really. The other thing that the HTC android phone has that the iPhone does not is an FM tuner, which actually works pretty well. Surprisingly, no HD though.

    I will have to try slacker and see what I am missing.

  5. Hey, Admin: Thanks for letting us voice our opinions on your great site. I do love radio, but hate what the Clear Channel’s have done to it. My favorite stations are WABC (for Saturday Night Oldies), and WLW’s nighttime Scott Sloan. Agreed, there are certainly things these “personalized” music services could never offer, but I have read that Slacker has DJ’s, and I think I heard one talking over my son’s Blackberry Slacker App.

    As with you, I caught the radio bug – back in the mid-1960s listening to AM-DX, and building a Star Roamer SW set with my Dad. I have always preferred to AM-DX than listen to SW. Boy, did that change in the Fall of 2007, when the FCC authorized the IBOC monster for nighttime AM. I am in the D.C. area, and found out how badly WOR’s nighttime hash coveres up WLW.

    I was posting on RI’s HD Board for about a year, until someone suggested starting an anti-IBOC blog and trashing the Web with it. So goes for the past three years, as time permits, with thousands of backlinks and tens-of-thousands of visitors. AM-DXing was one thing that could be carried over from the 1960s, but now, the East Coast is awash in iBiquity hash, as you know. This needs to stop.

  6. This seems to me worth taking as separate comments on Android, Pandora, and the phone service provider/s.

    Android is an inheritor of Linux+GPL concepts and also leverages them for operating “software defined radio” devices. There’s a point of contention in what parts of the Transmit controlling software are fully “Open Source” or not. Same indeterminate status applies to some Android phones with the hardware ability to receive and transmit FM broadcast bands.

    Pandora and it’s peers seem to be answering questions not asked properly for many user bases. Simply put, If there’s a user base of folks with similar musical tastes it works well. If you are not in a niche that’s represented on the platform you use= Pandora, etc.. you are unlikely to find them worth bothering with.

    As for phone carriers- I won’t be able to comment in family suitable terms.

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