Friday, June 19, 2009

Pandora One

This morning I purchased a one year membership in Pandora One. Kind of an early Father's Day gift to myself, and a small investment in my mental health.

When I am in one of my black moods, music is one of the few things that can consistently lift me up. Sometimes the songs on my iPod can do that, but on the really bad days, it takes something fresh and different to engage me.

Pandora is great for listening to music similar to artists or songs I already like or to explore a particular musical direction. The sound quality is much better than the free version, and there are no ads. I especially like the fact that you can run it in its own app not only in the browser.

My workplace uses Microsoft Outlook 2003 for email with Word 2003 as the default editor. When I open a link in an email, Word prefers to hijack an open browser window. It especially seems to like to hijack my Pandora browser when I am really enjoying a song. Of course, reloading the Pandora page does not take you back to the same song. Yes, that sound you hear is me screaming. "Noooo!!!!!" No need to worry about that any more though.

If only Pandora could figure out how to deliver content from independent music sites like CDBaby and Magnatune, my musical universe would be complete.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recovery Acts includes I-405 improvements

This morning I read through a report called 100 Days 100 Projects posted by the White House last week detailing some of the projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

I found this one especially interesting.
78. Construction started at the end of March on an important highway project in Bellevue, Washington. Supported partially by $30 million in Recovery Act funding, this project will construct new multi-level “braided” ramps to separate vehicles entering and exiting northbound I-405 between NE 8th Street and SR 520 in Bellevue. The new improvements will improve safety and reduce congestion on I-405 in an area that experiences up to eight hours of traffic congestion a day.

I've driven that stretch of I-405 N many times, and this improvement is long overdue. The current "interweave" design cannot handle even moderate traffic flows. The new design should solve that problem. WSDOT has details on the project here.