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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Google Desktop Loves My Trash

I have written before, both here and in AECnews.com, about Google Desktop. I use it daily, and appreciate how fast I can find documents with it. But I am also rather frustrated by it. As it indexes my hard drive, it records and remembers all the spam that comes in, and all the email messages I delete. Many items in a Google Desktop search have “Deleted Items” as their source location—and that source location is deleted daily when I close Outlook. In effect, the search results are full of stuff that does not reside on my computer, and is of no value to me.

Google provides instructions on how to remove specific entries from a listing of search results. But this smacks of having to take the garbage out twice. Google also provides instructions on how to prevent the desktop search engine from examining specific folders on the computer’s hard drive. But individual files in Outlook do not correspond to any specific file folder on the hard drive. (If I’m wrong, somebody, please tell me!)

If any Google API programmer out there has found a way to prevent Google Desktop Search from searching spam folders and deleted files in Microsoft Outlook, please come forward!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pandora, Your Personal Internet DJ

Pandora, a new Internet streaming music service with a novel twist, launched earlier this week. To use the service, you type in the name of an artist/group or song that you like. Pandora then searches through its database to compile a list of songs from other artists/groups that it thinks you will also like.

The work of Pandora is an extention of the Music Genome Project, which for the past five years has sought to catalog the essense of music at the most fundamental level. The group behind MGP has listed to more than 10,000 songs, analyzing the musical qualities of each.

Pandora and the Music Genome Project remind me of an idea I've had for years, but never pursued, something I call "One Sound." I want to start with a famous bit of classical music, like the finale of a Beethoven Symphony, and end with a "classical" rap song (since I know NOTHING about rap, I would have to defer to others to pick the tune). The goal of One Sound would be to select songs that sound "just like the previous one" on the list. The end goal would be a list of songs, that when listened to in order, each would sound similar to the previous one, but the genres slowly drift from one to another, until you reach the last song on the list.

To make it more interesting, perhaps there should be more than a beginning and an ending song. Maybe we could stick Willie Nelson doing "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" and The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" somewhere in the middle.

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