Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pandora: Friend of a Friend

Both of us should prolly have had our minds more on books -- or maybe we should've had more of our minds on books than we did have -- but as I have always said it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Anyway, I owe my introduction to Pandora to Chris Myers at Peter Lang USA. Chris gave me a bit of a spiel on the Music Genome Project and how it worked. It sounded like friend of a friend and I guess it is. Given ubiquitous wireless this could almost make yer iPod redundant, although it would mean remembering your headphones when you stepped out with music on your mind.

Based on the Music Genome Project, which maps the traits of music, Pandora invites you to establish a radio station on your computer. You feed in the name of a musician or group you like and Pandora plays one of their tracks. It then asks for guidance -- I like that song, play another like it; i don't like this one, this station shouldn't play music like that; why are you playing this track? -- and based on your response offers up another track. By way of your responses you build up a playlist, with options to bookmark the song, purchase for download to dump on the pod with itunes, and so on.

And there's the social software side as well. Build your profile, share your radio stations, profile, and so on. It could take up a lot of time.

Whoops, time away from books.

If you haven't spent a day or two with Pandora I'd be surprised if you regretted it once you have. Writing may never be the same again.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Google's new research tool

Google has released a News Archive search engine that trawls historical archives. One particularly groovy feature of this new service is it's "Timeline" function that organises search returns chronologically, from oldest to newest. The time span at this stage appears to be from "Before 1910" to 2005.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Too much to Proof

Not a lot of blogging going on around here at present. A lot of proof reading, however. We are currently on the second round of page proofs for NewLits 2 and the process is not helped by tired eyes and the fact that we have somehow blown the text out to almost 300 pages. It didn't feel like that during the writing. In fact, it almost always seemed like there was more to be said on whatever point was being made at the time than we had the space to indulge. But the fact is that the new book will be fully 25% longer than the first edition -- notwithstanding our knowledge that these days shorter, like smaller, is good.

We have found LOTS of little things to address during the proofs stage, some of which we have been alerted to by readers -- for which, many thanks. Here is the draft of Chapter 6.

On other writing fronts we have got the manuscript for A New Literacies Sampler off to Peter Lang for clearance to go into production, and almost all the copy is in for the Handbook on New Literacies Research being edited with Don Leu and Julie Coiro, to be published by Erlbaum. This has been a long project, but the end is in sight. Most of the work left to be done will involve writing the Editors' Introduction -- which we'll be doing on a wiki.

And we have begun work with Jim Gee to produce a collection of his essays on Gaming and Learning for our Lang series. Jim has sent ten great pieces and we are looking forward greatly to working with him on this book.

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