Interesting Websites

I've been really impressed today by two websites which a friend (thanks Nichole!) led me to.

Firstly, she told me about StumbleUpon. Basically, this is a way of finding websites that are useful in categories that you are interested in. Doesn't sound very special, but it's actually really good. I find the hardest think about using the web is summoning up the enthusiasm to work through all the dreck that's out there in search of the good stuff. Basically, StumbleUpon does a lot of that work for you and the more you use it, the more useful it gets. I'm impressed.

I'm even more impressed by one of the sites that I found using StumbleUpon, Pandora. This is (possibly) the best designed website I've ever seen. I love it. It's functional and minimalist. The purpose of the site is to help you find more music that you might like. It takes it's direction from a seed band or song that you provide. The only drawback is that to use it you must live in the USA. However, this is only validated by providing a valid US Zip Code, so I don't think that will deter too many international users. I'm listenting to some great tunes as I write this. If you like music, you must try this site out.

I think the best thing about both these sites is that, although they undoubtedly are using some fairly crafty technology to achieve their goal, both sites have put a lot of effort into presentation and ease of use. That's what helps them stand out.

Could it be that I'm finally beginning to see the point of social networking sites? I mean, both these sites seem to be a lot more useful and appealing to me than the likes of flikr, delicious, orkut, friendster, etc...

Comments:

Pity that Pandora is distinctly toxic to Firefox. Also fun, though not quite so useful are Song Tapper and Musicbrainz. The former actually works occasionally (it got "I Predict A Riot") which is quite surprising. The latter is similar to the mobile phone service Shazam; haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Posted by John Levon on January 16, 2006 at 05:53 PM GMT #

I'm writing this in one firefox tab whilst I listen to pandora in another tab. I've had no problems. I'm using firefox 1.0.6 and it's running on a Ferrari laptop (5.11 snv_27). I used it on firefox/Windows XP last night and it worked fine there. What is the nature of the toxicity?

Posted by Gary on January 17, 2006 at 06:04 AM GMT #

I'm on Deer Park Alpha 2 and it crashes Firefox instantly. I suppose I should try upgrading to 1.5 No way I'm going back, I'd miss bfcache (http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Using_Firefox_1.5_caching) too much...

Posted by John Levon on January 19, 2006 at 07:40 AM GMT #

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