Move Over Pandora, Hello Grooveshark

I’ve been a long time fan of Pandora, an automated music recommendation and Internet radio service. Users enter a song or artist that they like, and Pandora responds by playing similiar music. The recommendations come from the Music Genome Project, a complex mathematical algorithm to organize songs using more than 400 attributes. You can give a song a thumbs up or thumbs down to help tweak the station to your liking. Pandora has been my sole source of music while at work. Programs like PandoraBoy for the Mac and Open Pandora for Windows turn the web player into a standalone desktop app complete with keyboard shortcuts. Pandora offers it’s own standalone application with higher quality sound and no ads for $36 a year.

While the musical recommendations have been very good, my radio stations quickly become stale. The same songs keep coming up again and again and the only way to rectify it is to create a new station. You also can’t search out a song and play it on demand. You give Pandora a song or artist to use as a seed for generating similiar songs that make up your station.

Compare this with Grooveshark which provides the ability to listen to single songs from the 7-million song catalog on demand, save playlists, and embed both on other sites; all for free. The user interface borrows heavily from the iPhone with sliding menus and a minimalist design. The application is a cinch to use.

Grooveshark interface screenshot

Hovering over a song brings up four small icons: play, add to queue, more info, and embed. The more info menu brings up more options like browsing the artist or song, adding it to a playlist or your favorite list that you can recall later, and a list of similiar songs. After you get tired of looking up every song you can think of, make use of the autoplay feature which keeps the songs coming based on your listening history. You can also like/dislike songs which Grooveshark suggests to further tune your song list. You can see it in action below thanks to ben westermann-clark:

Grooveshark is reminiscent of the golden age of Napster where nearly every song was available at your fingertips only without downloading anything. What’s the legality of Grooveshark? I’m not really sure, but the company claims to have license agreements with a long list of record labels. It doesn’t really matter since you can use the site without signing up, which you only have to do if you want to save songs or playlists.

The only thing Grooveshark is missing is a desktop client with keyboard shortcuts though it sounds like that is coming sometime real soon. In the meantime I’ll just use Fluid or Mozilla Prism with a nice custom icon to complete the effect. It seems crazy to use any other online or offline music client now that I’ve gotten to know Grooveshark.

Fuelfrog Lets You Track Gas Mileage Through Twitter

There are many web services and tools that can be used with Twitter. Such oddball web service/Twitter mashups include TrackThis which sends you a twitter message every time the status of a package you are tracking changes, and Timer which helps act like an alarm for things you need a reminder about. But I just stumbled across Fuelfrog which is one of the more useful collaborations.

Fuelfrog provides a simple service allowing you to track your cars mileage per gallon as well as the average price you pay at the pump. Using their website you enter 3 things: the miles you traveled since your last fill up, the price you paid per gallon, and the total number of gallons you bought. Fuelfrog will then tally your findings and provide you with some handy specifics over time. I only started using the tool today but the site will tell you the frequency you are filling up, the average MPG your car gets and the average price per gallon you are paying. In the future they hope to let you compare your performance to other vehicles to see how you are doing. helps you track your cars average MPG as well as what you pay at the pump.

This simple tool comes in handy for tracking the performance of your car. My parents used to do this manually by writing down the mileage from the trip odometer onto the gas receipt and do the number crunching later at home. But thanks to Twitter integration I can ditch the pen and paper and simply tweet my gas stats straight to Fuelfrog. After providing my twitter username (kingkool68) I can now send a tweet from my phone to @fuelfrog with the miles, price per gallon, and total purchase amount in that order. A handy nemonic is MPG – Miles, Price, Gallons. There is also a Windows Mobile app if you want to be lazy about it.

I’m going to be using this over the next couple of weeks to see if I notice any patterns about my fueling habits. At the very least I can look back and remember when gas used to only be $3.71 a gallon!

(via DownloadSquad)