HoydenSeek’s Weblog

hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

slacker.com & the slacker portable February 11, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 1:59 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Website; Handheld Internet Radio/MP3 Player

I know a lot of people enjoy internet radio, and I think a lot of people use Pandora or Yahoo music like I used to… until I discovered Slacker Radio. (Actually, Kim discovered it and enlightened me. Thanks Cheesehead Sr!) Anyway, it has so many great things about it, I’d better get to it.

  1. The site has tons of premade stations, so you can just click one and go. Or…
  2. It also has the option to make your own station, which is really easy. You can start with another station and edit it, or add artists you like manually to build stations for every mood. It’s like an ever-changing playlist.
  3. Whenever a song is playing that you like, you can tell it so. You can also ban songs and artists that you don’t like from ever being played again on that station. So it gets to know what you like and plays more of it. I can’t possibly go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it is extremely customizable.
  4. You can listen to other people’s custom stations, including those made by your friends.
  5. There are comedy stations, both clean and explicit that can brighten any day in a minute.
  6. You can tell it how much you want to be exposed to new artists. It’s a great way to get suggestions. It knows that if you like Jeff Buckley you might also like Elliott Smith and may never have heard of him. Or say you then become a huge Elliott Smith fan… you can quickly make an Elliott Smith station, which automatically plays primarily his music and the 25 other artists most like him. It’s a great way to deeply explore your favorite genres and really branch out.
  7. There are no commercials! That is one of the things I can’t stand about regular radio- half of it is talk, and the other half is nearly all commercials. The small remainder is music. Very rarely on Slacker, there is a little blurb that just says “Slacker Radio” I would say it’s about 5 seconds long. I hear it once about every hundred songs or so. I can live with that.
  8. Best of all, the basic use of the site (unlimited) is FREE. I have never felt the need to upgrade. Though if you do, you can save songs you like to your library, request certain songs to play on your stations, and skip an unlimited number of songs.
  9. Slacker, Inc. Headquarters : 16935 W. Bernardo Dr. Suite 270, San Diego, CA 92127  – Woohoo SD!!!

In addition to the awesome site which keeps you company at your desk, there is also the slacker portable player. Joel and I both opogled these over the summer and finally sprung for them. And we’re so glad we did. I still use mine every day. (My iPod is now my backup player, if that gives you any idea how much I love it.)  Also, if you have an iPhone or Blackberry, you can use the applications without even buying the Slacker portable. Again, the app and the service are FREE. But if you are in the market for a portable player, here is the rundown:

  1. It is great for working out, though it is a little bigger than an ipod. The iPod is still better for running because it fits in an armband. Luckily, I don’t run! 🙂 (Keep in mind, we got the first generation of portables, and they have already since come out with a slightly smaller version.) They have great pictures of it on their site, of course.
  2. It has buttons to quickly let you “heart” or ban a song from your portable stations.
  3. It updates when you connect it to the internet to refresh with the changes you may have made to your stations, and to get new music for them.
  4. It comes with pretty decent earbuds, a wall rapid charger, and a USB cable that connects it to your computer.
  5. It has a library that you can use to store songs from your current music collection. It even has a user-friendly drag & drop method for transferring songs from Windows Media Player right into your portable library.
  6. It has a great big glossy color display that will tell you about the songs and artists.

The minor drawbacks:

  1. The portable is a little larger than I would like, though very light.
  2. I don’t really like or use the protective tough cloth case it comes with, though Joel uses his.
  3. Sometimes it can take a while to connect and update. It depends on your internet connection, but I think it is pretty slow. You don’t have to refresh it all the time, though. It prompts you every few weeks, but you only have to do it every few months. I never get bored with all the stations, so I hardly ever update it.
  4. I wish it had more stations that were separate regarding movies and musicals. I like musicals, but not all Broadway music. And I wish they weren’t lumped together. I also wish they had soundtracks separate from scores…

Obviously, I’m splitting hairs and reaching for cons, but it is to illustrate that I am being thorough. Overall, it is the coolest thing ever. So despite the drawbacks, I still give it 5 hearts. They may even have addressed some of these issues once I got my first edition. 🙂 And even if they didn’t, I would buy it again in a heartbeat… Though, I may have just bought a Blackberry or an iPhone if I had known about the compatability. But the Slacker was cheaper.  🙂

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