Thursday, February 16, 2006
Now this is an impressive music site. For those who get bored trying to fiddle around with online music from Yahoo! or NME then you'll be pleased to know that this site is a breath of fresh air. Pandora.com is marketed as the 'Music Genome Project' where the average Joe can find and listen to music online, or through a stereo.
In simple terms, you can pick one of your favourite songs or musical artists and Pandora will search its ever expanding music catalogue and present you with music that is similar in genre or musical style to the artist or song you chose. The best bit is that Pandora will highlight bands and songs that you've NEVER heard of, but it will keep churning them out for you to listen to all day long! So, if like me you want to listen to some background music while you work, Pandora is the perfect accompaniment to get you through the day.
In essence, Pandora's aim is to let you discover new music and listen to it whenever you want. They also welcome positive feedback on their blog and there are now ways to let you play the online music through your stereo. Look over their blog for how to do this.
You'll have probably guessed that this blog is all about quirky and innovative products and services, but Pandora is one of the best so far. It beats the WiFi Lamppost, but not Siemens' paper TV's!
Pandora also work with iTunes, so any great songs you discover can be stored in your 'favourites', and can be bought and downloaded at iTunes for you to burn to CD, or simply expand your personal music collection. Mine certainly needs expanding, and I don't listen to half the music.
Pandora.com is currently being developed in the USA, so if you do want to listen to music after the free trial then don't be out off by the USA address you have to enter. According to their blog, it will soon be developed specifically for the UK and other countries in the near future.
What impressed me is that Pandora's music library is much more extensive than Yahoo! For instance, a small band such as the Thirteen Senses would not be recognised by Yahoo!, but Pandora picks them up no problem and will provide you with similar music to listen too. Great stuff!
I thinks its so good that I've added a link at the bottom of this post for people to try it our for themselves. Just type your favourite musical artist or song, and see what music Pandora comes up with!
Needless to say, this is becoming a hot topic online as more and more people are discovering its innovative approach to discovering and listening to new music. Sign up while you can, and keep an eye if they go public - it could be a good investment. In fact I'd put my money on Google buying this in the future for one of its music projects....
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Paintballing is now my new favorite past time. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the yelp as you plant a perfect sniper shot on one of your colleagues backsides!
Bedlam paintball was a great laugh, and something I'd certainly do again. There are different games from skirmish and capture the flag, to everyman for himself or last man standing. No matter what game, if you've got to get rid of 600 paintballs its fairly likely you'll get trigger happy!
I'd recommend Bedlam Paintball for a group of 12 or more, but just be patient with the guns as the paint can clog them!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Oh dear. The latest big name to fall under the knife of the irrepressible Google.
Last week it was revealed that Google had removed the BMW.de site from its algorithm because of 'unethical' techniques that are non-compliant with Google's website guidelines.
According to Matt Cutts, one of Google's bloggers it is down to the search giant ramping up its crackdown on international webspam.
BMW have now tried to rectify the issue, however I hope they were not too reliant on search engine traffic.
And the moral of this story ladies and gentlemen? Google doesn't give a stuff if your a big brand or a new start up company. In it's quest to provide the most relevant search results you need to obtain results ethically. Google's notion of 'Don't be Evil' certainly takes presidence in this case.
It could also be useful to discover if, and when, BMW Germany get reinstated.
It must be the fastest Google reinclusion in history! I think because this was such a high profile news story BMW benefited greatly. Welcome back to Ricoh also!
Google's BigDaddy data centres are on the march, so look out for a faster, deeper indexing Google over the next few months.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
For those big and small, young and old, there is nothing more exciting than a lads ski holiday. A week away from work and time to relax (which in this case means ski, eat and booze. Lots).
This time it was a late deal booked through internet ski giant Iglu Ski. Although unimpressed with the booking itself and the almost invisible rep at the airport, this holiday in Tignes was second to none.
January is a fantastic time to go skiing - no kids, quiet pistes and you can get roudy without offending too many people.
Although Tignes is not the prettiest of resorts, it's a high, snow sure resport, with plenty of good bars. Depending of what kind of night your wanting (and which part of Tignes your located) there are lots of bars to suit all tastes. We were located in Tignes La Lavachet, one of the quieter areas, but the Brasero and Scotty's Bar kept us content with beer and shots!
After an afternoon's skiing (especially finishing off with Trolles, the ONLY run available to get you back to Tignes La Lavachet), there's nothing better than a pint of the cold stuff, and the staff and Brasero were always more than happy to help!
For accommodation we stayed in Chalet Petit Ramo, based in Tignes la Lavachet. The chalet sleeps 12 in total, but if you're like us and don't plan on sleeping much then the food will knock you out. A big 'thank you' to our Kiwi chef Emma, who worked her socks off and provided us with superb food all week. The highlight? Probably being able to sniff her little puddings....
Higher up, the scenery was absolutely superb as you'll see by the photos and the Espace Killy ski area provides a great range of skiing from wide blue runs to house-sized mogulled black runs such as Sache down to the village of Les Brevieres. Takes a while, but definately the run of the week for me.
So for anyone looking for a great ski holiday, try going with Ski Olympic. If you're going to Tignes, look out for the reps, they're a great bunch.
Great Tignes Ski Reources
http://www.endlesswinter.co.uk/espacekillymap.html - Tignes and the greater Espace Killy piste map area
http://www.tignes.co.uk - All about skiing, accommodation and the resort of Tignes
Tignes Snow Report