The Internet can be a pretty cool place to waste some time, but would you believe that there are things on the Internet that could be considered useful or – dare i say – productive? Haha, me neither. But anyway, here’s some cool web services and/or communities that I think are pretty neat.
Last.fm – http://www.last.fm
If you’re like me, then you like data. If it was possible to keep track of EVERYTHING and view it later in some sort of graph, I would totally sign up. Imagine being able to look back and see how many cups of coffee you’ve ever drank or how much time you’ve spent thinking about dinosaurs. You could even cross reference those data streams to get an accurate representation of your coffee induced dinosaur fantasies. But until someone invents that horribly invasive, Big Brother-esque tracking device, we’ll have to settle for things like Last.fm.
Last.fm is a free web service that keeps track of what music you listen to and recommends music according to your tastes. Each “listen” of a track is called a “scrobble”, and at least half of the track must be listened to before the track is considered scrobbled. Once you’ve used it for a while, you can then see stuff like your most-listened-to artists and songs over different periods of time. Here’s an example from my account:
Last.fm also compares your musical tastes to your friends’ and gives you a musical compatibility score:
If any of this peaks your interest you can start scrobbling right now by installing the Last.fm Scrobbler, a small piece of software that runs in the background and scrobbles what you listen to in iTunes, Winamp or any other respectable audio player.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what Last.fm has to offer in this article. If you take a look at my profile and click around a bit you can find detailed band information, related upcoming events, user groups, and a bunch of other stuff.
Last.fm also offers a service called Last.fm Radio which lets you listen to music from your browser, but this service costs $3/month. However, this is a perfect segue into the next item on my list…
Grooveshark – http://www.grooveshark.com
Grooveshark is basically a media player in your browser that has lots and lots of music available for free. Although it might not have every song you’re looking for, it does have an impressive library. I find it useful if I’m away from my music library at home or the office and need to get some music going. And it’s even free in Canada! Crazy, right? You have to pay in order for it to work with Last.fm however, so Grooveshark and I have a problem.
Grooveshark makes sending music to your friends easier. If I want someone to hear a song I can just give them a link (http://tinysong.com/m6iC) or post it on Twitter instead of sending them a 10MB mp3.
Speaking of easily sharing music…
Blip.fm – http://www.blip.fm
Blip.fm describes itself as “Internet radio made social”. Type the name of the song you want to share and Blip.fm will search various sources for your song so you can “blip” that song into your stream. Every user or “DJ” has their own stream of music that anyone can listen to. Here’s mine. Blip.fm is also useful for sharing songs on Twitter, and you can set it up to scrobble to your Last.fm account.
Not into music? First of all: what? Second of all, I hope you like books.
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com
Goodreads is a social network for people who like to read books. Users can display books that they’re reading, have read, or want to read. Users can also post reviews of books they’ve read for everyone to read. As you can see, I like to read about dragons and stuff.
Readernaut – http://www.readernaut.com
A simplified alternative to share what books you’ve been reading with your friends.
Readin’ stuff too much work? I bet you like yourself some video games…
Playfire – http://www.playfire.com
If you’ve played video games in the last 4 years or so you’ve probably heard of achievements. Seems like every system or service to play video games out there has some sort of achievement system in place, and Playfire is a great way to compile all that data into one place. On your Playfire profile, you can see all your Xbox and Steam achievements as well as your PS3 trophies. Playfire also keeps track of what games you’ve been playing recently.
Well there you have it. Hopefully something here peaked your interest and makes your Interneting experience that much better.