[Edit: Elpis is no longer being updated due to opposition from Pandora. It still works (and is lovely!) provided you don't skip songs or change stations.]
[Edit #2: Elpis is back on the map (what a busy week for Adam!) as of a surge of users and reviews. Don't forget to show your support!]
I know this might seem kind of pointless but as a blogger when I feel compelled to share… well, here it is.
Dear Fellow Writers,
I know you have attention-span issues. I know against your better judgment you find yourself on the internet far more often than the next chapter of your novel. I know you try to fight this urge using a variety of different means.
I also know a lot of you, like me, need music to concentrate and, also like me, if you’re not careful this attempt at concentration can become distraction waiting to lure you down the path of procrastination.
Especially if you’re listening to Pandora.
(ooo,… I make it sound so devious, no?)
Pandora is an online music service, streaming, blah, blah, blah. Normally I use Last.FM on my computer but as I’ve embraced the mobile age and LFM charges (a very tiny) monthly fee for mobile users I’ve been forced out of my natural habitat.
Not to say Pandora is bad or anything, I’m just picky, hate commercials, loath ads in general, like the word scrobble and all the many services it can be connected to. That said, as I have been using Pandora lately with my writing and I’m a creature of habit I’ve been tuning in at home too which also happens to be where I get my most important writing done.
Let’s start with the continuously open FireFox page with blinking and winking shinies that flirt with me whenever I go to like, dislike or quickly kill a track before it can putrify my ears… when it starts playing rap on a station you’ve cultivated toward softer tones… you know what I’m talking about. It just has to be done sometimes.
Ads are distracting (commercials are unavoidable on free Pandora so I’ll ignore that). A browser being open at all is dangerous to the attention-span even if you leave it minimized 90% of the time. You see your toolbar and go, ‘well, while I have this up I might as well check my email.’ Or Facebook or whatever and you know each one of those leads to a whole new set of distractions.
Each one which kills valuable writing time.
My point and solution?
Just as I have a desktop client for Last.FM I now have one for Pandora.
Why is this worth sharing with the rest of the blogosphere?
Because I had to go through three sets of software before finding one that works.
Starting from the beginning:
- Googled Pandora and desktop.
- Went directly to the official Pandora website.
- Discovered they have a beautiful application… and that I’d have to pay in order to use it.
- Went back to Google.
- Amended my search, Pandora desktop free.
Found a lovely post naming off seven decent sounding softwares and tried out the first one that met my needs according to the summary. OpenPandora.
Alas, I’d discovered from the home site that OpenPandora hadn’t been updated since 2009’ish. Well the post I was reading ‘about’ OP in was fairly recent so I ‘assumed’ they must have tried it out first, right? Well if they did they must have had an ancient (by contemporary standards) computer because when I installed that beast it did nothing so I went back to the home site where it tells me if beta # whatever doesn’t work try an earlier one.
Don’t eat my soul for trying out betaware. I do know better but c’mon. I was desperate.
So I tried the earlier version. Didn’t do shit and I had to manually uninstall it. Manual as in it doesn’t show up in control panel and you can’t simply type any fragment into your search bar. I have an awesome computer, stuff like that should nada happen!
Next I tried the second software that seemed it would meet my needs. Screenshots showed it was browser based but cut out a lot of jarble-garble-distractions and didn’t provide access to all the other browser based junk that might lead you astray. It was called Pandora’s Box.
Now what do we learn in school, children? Nothing good comes out of that damn box!
It worked if working is what you’d call it. Opened, glitched every time I clicked like or dislike, setting, just about anything. I clicked to view the boasted about lyrics window- nada. Bunch of error messages alerting me to a scripting error before IE of all things pops up with a lyric search sight. Just awesome and to top it off none of the controls worked from the launch bar so you had to have the little unresizeable browser square open at all times.
Uninstalled, closed out the post without wasting my time on their ‘lesser’ recommended blargles and went back to Google.
Immediately wary I go to the home site instead of wasting my time reading the review. It’s sparse but recent.
- Updated, check.
- Free, check.
- Pretty, check.
- Simple, check.
My only worry was that it happens to be betaware BUT… so far so good. I’ve been listening to it for the past two hours compared to the nine and a half minutes I tried to put up with Pandora’s Box out of sheer desperation.
I could give you a review about how simplistically awesome and totally not distracting it is while remaining perfectly functional or you could reread the above and decide you don’t want to waste your precious writing time trying other things.
My only regret is that it doesn’t scrobble.