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Friday, September 11, 2009

"Statistics are like loose women, you can do what you want with them."

  • Funny People
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
  • (500 Days) of Summer
  • The Jackson 5
  • The constructs of family (continued)
  • Generational Gaps
  • Black Christmas (the orig. vs. new)
  • Unbreakable
  • The Hazards of Love
  • Disney Factory
  • The State of Horror
  • I want to do something..
  • A case for slashers.
  • Violence in...
  • Sex in...
  • Violence and Sex, one in the same?
  • Once
I know, I'm a big Blog liar. I never update when I say I will. I was going to knock out a couple during the NFL kickoff last night, but I didn't. For some reason, I am more capable of splitting my attention between a movie, or TV show, and writing an entry versus trying to do so during a football game. This is odd because typically, in a visual story like a movie or TV show, the plot is just as important as the ending, whereas in a football game, more or less, it doesn't matter how you get there, the end result is the only thing that matters. The Titans, in many ways, won the game last night based on the 'plot' I saw, but the scoreboard says differently and that makes all the difference, doesn't it. This bodes poorly for me who also intends on doing homework during football on Sundays. We'll see if I can split my attention better in the future.

We did have a comment on my most previous post regarding Pandora, to which I will respond directly, "Max" said,
I have been aware of Pandora for about the past year. I hadn't participated until recently and I must say good work AI research people. Of course, it's not a perfect system. I don't think it's possible to create such a system that uses logic and cross references to calculate personal taste. Currently, I am inclined to say I don't like DMB, only because it plays him every other song. True AI, as seen in "I Robot" is a long way off. Perhaps over time, Pandora can assimilate a close relative, but to be a cognitive entity that learns and understands a person fully is the not yet attained dream.
I had a Pandora profile for the longest time but rarely used it because, like you're facing now, it wasn't very accurate. My flash drive, which contained all the mp3s for my laptop died, so I was forced to come up with a music solution for my long work days, so I rediscovered Pandora. First and foremost, it requires patience and rate your songs as often as possible. If you give the same artist two thumbs down on a given radio station, that artist will be banned from that station (assuming they aren't listed as one of the artist nodes). Also, create lot's of radio stations. I have 22 radio stations and more often than not, listen to 20 of them on QuickMix (two of them are very specific moods, in which I am rarely). I have a radio station with my top songs, I have another with my top ten artists, then I kind of veer off into more genre based music. I found that having a radio station only associated with the Beach Boys plays a lot of lightweight pop from the 60s (Jackson 5, Frankie Valli, etc...), however adding any of these specific artists skew the variety, the Beach Boys are the perfect middle of the road band for this. I try not to double up any of my artists, but I have things like 'Rap' (Atmosphere, Jean Grae, The Streets) and 'Pop Rap' (Eminem, Kanye West, OutKast). I try my best not to choose two similar artists (I wouldn't include Dizzee Rascal on my rap station, he's too similar to the Streets).

Here's my profile - - where you can see all of my radio stations, songs I've thumbed up and down, etc... I bookmark songs I really like, so I can add them to my "Wanted Media" list, which is a Google Doc where I track CDs I want...I send it out to family members around the holidays in hopes I get CDs for Christmas...I never do. As anyone can see, I have very eclectic tastes, but I think I did a pretty good job as far as variety on my QuickMix goes.

As for the AI, no - it's not perfect and I like the approach, attempting to break down a song into specific elements and finding tastes accordingly, it is going to be inaccurate. For me, I generally like most music, so I'm probably an easy customer to please. There's also a memory aspect that Pandora can't account for, if I can't listen to Pearl Jam because of a terrible memory from my childhood, there's no accounting for that if I build a radio station with Nirvana, Soundgarden and Sonic Youth. Honestly, I'd probably be disappointed if I didn't heard Pearl Jam almost immediately. So you're right, there's no accounting for taste, really and while this computer tries it's best, it'll always play something God awful that you just have to thumb down.

Nathan out, hopefully some posts this weekend (watching Once tonight, maybe some posts during the movie). Ta.

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