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My 19 year old son and I were on a road trip from Orange County, California to Denver, Colorado. It was a 16 hour drive, split up into 2 days.

At nearly the midpoint in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the beginning of our second day it became apparent that there was a lot of tension through the first half of the trip since we couldn’t agree on what music to listen to. Both of us wanted to figure something out to fix this.

Typically I listen to Christian Praise and Worship, or sometimes the news, or even classical. But when I’m on a road trip I want something totally out of the ordinary: I might scan to a radio station that plays 70’s or 80’s music that often times brings back memories from an old song from my youth or other years.

Or I might scan to a country station when on a road trip since I don’t normally listen to country even though I like it, and there are a ton of country stations to be found when driving through the West. I might listen to a Christian station for a bit, but am ready to move to something else quickly since generally it doesn’t suit my road trip mood. For me, loosing connection to a station and having to scan to something else is half the fun since you don’t know what you’re going to get.

I especially like to hear the radio stations that are local to the areas that I’m driving through, with their quirky commercials and sometimes funky DJ’s. And the main point is that this is totally out of character of what I would listen to at home on my iPod, my CD collection, the radio, or Pandora (more about Pandora in a minute).

My son likes Christian Praise and Worship some too, but what he listens to the most is techno; something I can’t stand because of the driving beat that gives me a headache within 2 minutes, and the repetitiveness, repetitiveness, repetitiveness.

So we basically argued every time he would put one of his techno CD’s in, or when I would scan to a new radio station.

Suddenly he asked for my iPhone, which he does sometimes in order to play games that I have downloaded. He then realized I had downloaded the Pandora app onto my iPhone. I introduced him to Pandora a couple of months ago. He and I now each have our own play lists created within Pandora on our PC’s and iMac at home.

We were both surprised to find that I had a strong 3G connection while driving in remote areas of the West…

He launched Pandora on my iPhone. We were both surprised to find that I had a strong 3G connection while driving in remote areas of the West, and that he was able to bring up my playlist since we had a 3G connection and Pandora remembered my login. He wasn’t interested in my playlist, so he quickly created a new playlist by typing in a song name or two from his techno stuff. He was able to listen to music on my iPhone using the earphones that came with the iPhone while the iPhone remained fully charged using $30 a car charger that I keep in the car. And I was able to listen to the radio at the same time.

So for the rest of our trip we both listened to our own music while we drove through the rest of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. To our surprise we had a good connection on the iPhone with Pandora the entire way. We were both much happier since now I could listen to my music on the radio and he could listen to his on the iPhone.

Yet another reason why I won’t travel without my handy iPhone.

My only complaint about Pandora is that it does seem to repeat the same songs quite a bit. This may have something to do with the way I am using it. Maybe I haven’t set it up properly. I often have to select the option that says “Don’t play this song for another month.”. I think the algorithm Pandora uses needs more interaction from me to tell it what I like or don’t like, so I get repeat songs until it receives my input. This is my best guess anyway, but I still really like Pandora. I find myself using my iPod a lot less at home since Pandora is always right at my fingertips at the computer.

Jeff Kemp, MileHighTechGuy (Golden, CO), jeffkemp.org.

For more info:

Jeff Kemp’s website:  https://jeffkemp.org

Email Jeff, MileHighTechGuy: jeff@milehightechguy.com


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