Software (Part I – The Web)

So I decided as my every 2 weeks blogging challenge, I’m going to just write about the websites / software I use. I kinda posted this late, sue me. I wrote it a while ago but should cover most software that has a web presence.

You might have already heard about some of these, you might have not. oh well~

Pandora – Music Streaming service. You pick a song / genre, it will play songs that it will think you will like based on that assumption. Rate songs to get better feedback. Songs get repetitive sometimes and you will hear the same one over and over again. Pandora does try to introduce new stuff to you but falls back to stuff if you’re down voting their new stuff.

If you run OSX/Linux and have some basic programming chops. I would recommend getting pianobar, a terminal based app that uses the Pandora service but gives you unlimited skips, no ads, and just a more streamlined experience. Though the new pandora HTML site works a lot better now and honestly I don’t use pianobar that much.

https://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar

For mac users, use homebrew to install it though, the Pandora hash keys change every few weeks so unless you want to recompile and generate it from source again and again, I recommend just using the brew.

Google Reader – Oh god, this is necessary on the internet.

Instead of visiting a ton of sites and trying to figure out if you’ve read this or that, RSS + Google Reader will help you manage all of that.
So if you don’t know about a technology called RSS (this icon), what it will do is when a site posts something new it will go into their RSS feed. You can then subscribe to many RSS feeds in order to find out new content in one centralized space. It’s good for sites that are not frequently updated.

Benefits: One centralized place to follow lots of sites quickly, you instantly know what you’ve read/skipped and what is new, you have information about your reading habits.

I usually use RSS for webcomics so I don’t have to check sites especially comics with infrequent scheduled releases.

One detriment though I believe is that the byline becomes more important, if the headline or title is boring you will more than likely skip the article. Which kinda sucks I’ve missed some good articles that I found later on reddit / hacker news that popped up in my feed but I skipped because the title was meh.

Reader’s social features will soon be integrated directly into Google+.

OhLife – OhLife sends you an email everyday (or every week) at a time specified by you asking you to write in your “journal”. I like writing out my thoughts for the day at the end of the day. So this works well really for me. It’s also nice to be able to look back on previous things, like when I met friends or a particular time when I watched a movie. I also use it recall memories of things I might have forgotten.

Plus it’s nice to catalog your life in a searchable way, I wish they had some more features like a real search but since you are replying to emails you can actually use gmail search to search for text with a restriction to be emails related to OhLife.

Instapaper basically bookmarks. You use a bookmarklet to mark articles you want to save. The service is tied in with a bunch of iOS apps and has google reader integration as well. Whenever you want to save the article, you hit the bookmark, done! It will save the article you’re viewing on reader or the web page you are currently on.

Plus tons of other webservices tie into it which makes it easy to figure out stuff to read on Mobile / Web without having to sync through Safari.

The service is so awesome that Apple even copied and integrated it into Safari.

Lots of iOS apps also tie into the service including the Twitter official app.

TV Calendar (http://www.pogdesign.co.uk/cat/) – I use this only for the sake of finding out which shows I need to download / which shows I haven’t seen yet. It’s a straightforward way to keep track of what I need to watch night and what I don’t.

I wish it had better iCal or Google Calendar support though. I can never get the iCal feed to be generated correctlty, it only shows certain shows a few days, not sure if that’s a feature or not.

Songkick – Best way I’ve found to keep track of concerts in your area that I know. It supports MOST concert halls and even gets bands like the Pillows. Facebook integration and a small desktop app that figures out your songs from iTunes make it pretty spot on.

The only issue I’ve had with it is that for Festivals, it will notify me once for every artist. That’s aggravating, especially when they change the lineup in the festival. The best thing would be if they got a weekly email that summarizes it all instead of a daily one.

MangaUpdates – for keeping track of new manga releases.
BakaUpdates – for keeping track of new anime releases.

Woot Shirt – Greats shirts, one shirt a day, $10 each (including shipping). Amazon subsidiary now.  Woot.com is also useful for electronic deals.

SlickDeals.net – decent deals site, used by a lot of people so the best deals go *poof* quickly. TVs and the such, but you might catch a good deal once in a while.

I obviously excluded Gmail since I just assume people know about it by now.