A while ago one of the people from my old board game designers group got interested in the facebook phenomenon. He sent out invitations, and curiosity got the better of me a few weeks go.
Probably the most fascinating thing has been how many casual acquaintances from high school have been friending me out of blue. I recognize names, but often little else. Cornell, on the other hand, seems to have a much lower representation, although msphat seems to have found me at just about the same time I found her, and oddly almost the same time I’m getting around to writing about it.
I’m still rather wary of ‘applications’ Mostly they look like big time sinks, and I’m somewhat paranoid about getting involved in another ‘thing’ – I’ll have more to say about that (hopefully) shortly.
Actually, badly designed websites* were not the only thing encouraging me to get broadband. A few weeks ago I ran across last.fm. It looked as thought it might be the kind of music service I had wanted – streaming (don’t have to buy CDs all the time), no commercials, and capable of making suggestions. I started recording CD playing history immediately, hoping to get some recommendations. So I was seriously considering broadband for the first time – it had always been too expensive for my limited use, and some kinds still are. It was only then that the slow web sites pushed me over the edge ;^)
So, I’ve finally played though all of my CD’s and have started using the radio for regular background music. The last few years I went through a long time of not listening to music very much. I suppose mixed results is what I should have expected. A lot of it is no doubt due to a limited selection – for instance, the global tag radio for anything with ‘harp’ has either one or no playable songs. I’ve had slightly more success with the celtic tag, (despite some decidedly mis-tagged tracks) which is a little better represented in popular music. I suppose it’s called popular for a reason, but it leaves us niche listeners out. I suppose I have my CD’s when I need them.
There have been a few discoveries. I heard one good piece from Hans Zimmer, so may keep an eye on him. I’m definitely going to check out the Mediaeval Baebes. (Boy, that sounds bad. Good music, but I might have liked a different name.) There were a few other interesting things, but I’m mainly treating them as outliers so far.
Meanwhile, I’m learning to lower my standards for using ‘love’ and ‘ban’. I might like a more finely graded scale, but I think that last.fm’s rating is based on quantity, (of plays) not quality.
I may also look into Pandora, which appears much better for exploring related music – but one thing at time. I’m also not too keen on the fact that they want a credit card up front, even though there is a free version.
Anyway, I’m on last.fm. Is anybody else?
*(and yes, I’ve found several kinks in my recent site update that escaped me earlier while I was worrying about the flyout menus. The kinks will be fixed… um… eventually)
A history (from memory, I could be wrong):
1) Got an install CD from WOW! – “the first online service for windows 95″ (then a pretty new OS) It was the first time I had seen a fixed monthly rate for the internet. Signed up for the free month, and shortly realized that I wanted an Internet Service Provider, not an Online Service.
2) Used WOW to research real ISPs. Ended up deciding on Internet MCI. Ordered installation diskettes, and canceled WOW before I paid anything.
2) Internet MCI sold to Cable and Wireless.
3) Cable and Wireless said that Internet MCI didn’t fulfill their contract for the move. And apparently, C&W wasn’t making any money either. So they sold their accounts to Prodigy.net (which used to be an online service, but is now just an ISP with a web portal.)
4) Prodigy.net announced that it is either selling to or becoming (not sure yet) SBC Yahoo Dial.
Huh. That was fewer steps than I thought ;^)
For about the last week, my internet connection has, in a word, sucked. A generally spiky performance graph, with most of the time spent on the low end of it.
Today I got around to trying one of the alternate dial up numbers in my area. So far it has been holding up nicely to the speed it claims it is supposed to be, with a few spikes up into physically impossible speeds (got to ~100k once) It’s nice to have a real connection back, but it’s still kind of shame that it couldn’t keep on defying the laws of physics… ;^)