For anyone who was waiting with baited breath for my latest edition of 5✭ Fridays, I apologize. It will likely be posted on Tuesday now. I'm still having some music player issues.
For those keeping score, we've got iTunes solidly scrapped and uninstalled (I still use it on my Mac, but mostly to play CDs). WinAmp is running a strong game, but the rating thing isn't as intuitive as I'd like it to be. I'm working on that. Right now, with an ever-so-slight lead is the dark horse; Windows Media Player. However, right now I'm barely listening to my own music library, because I've been enjoying Pandora.
For those who do not know, Pandora is a customizable internet "radio station". It's not really radio - what happens is that you pick a couple of songs / artists that you like and use them as "feeders" for your station. For instance, I have a Dark / Prog / Metal station which I fed with Tool and Rage Against the Machine for artists and a couple of songs by other hard rock artists that I particularly enjoy. Once given this feed information, Pandora will play a song to establish that it's in the right sort of genre, and then it will start to suggest other music, which you can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to. The idea is that it will "learn" what sort of music you want in your station and will play songs that you enjoy. Also, if you give a song a thumb-down, it will skip the song and not play it on that station anymore. I have, in addition to the aforementioned Dark / Prog / Metal station, three more:
Alternarock based on Nirvana, Audioslave, Thornley, Pearl Jam and The Tea Party, to scratch the alternative rock itch that I grew up trying to scratch. Electric Blues and Awesome Shredders based on a number of musicians including B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan because you can't have enough awesome guitar. A bit o' CanCon which is fed with ten Canadian bands, across a number of genres. That one's more experimental than anything else.
If you're interested in starting up with Pandora, it's free (as in beer, not speech), and entertaining. If you don't want to sign up, I think you can just listen to my radio stations at my Pandora profile. I thoroughly recommend all the channels except the last one - I'll have to spend some time listening to it to tune it up.