Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I don't care much for technology.

People who know me will find that an odd statement; after all, I spent the last 20 or so years of my career in education focusing on technology. I really don't know how that happened, and it didn't always happen willingly.

When technology first began creeping its way into classrooms, I was excited about what it could do for learning -- and I still am. I just never wanted to be the one responsible for delivering technology to the classroom -- I wanted to be the one using it in the classroom.

I still appreciate those things technology can help with. I love email and surfing the web for information. I enjoy maintaining this blog. And I find conducting my personal business online to be fast and efficient.

But I'm not a techno geek. I don't keep up with the latest gadgets, for example. I don't use Twitter, and I've never created a Facebook account. My cell phone is just a cell phone, nothing more. I don't text or surf the web from my phone.

But something I've found lately that I do enjoy regarding technology is Pandora Internet radio. Let me tell you about it.

When we moved into our new home, we bought a Samsung Blu-Ray disc player along with a Yamaha receiver. Among other things, this combination of gadgets allows us to receive Netflix ($7.99 per month for unlimited movies) and Pandora. You can also pick up Pandora on your computer, which is where I listen to it most of the time.

You will need to go to to create an account. You then create "stations". These stations can be individual artists, groups, or even genres. On my list of stations, for example, I have the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Folk Rock. I also added the Rat Pack recently to get the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Once a station is created, Pandora will then play music by that artist/those artists as well as any music it perceives to be related. For example, with my Jackson Browne station, I also hear quite a bit of Dan Fogelberg and James Taylor. As songs are played, you can tell Pandora if you like that artist or dislike that artist. By doing so, you can help Pandora focus on what you hope to hear.

When we installed our system, we put speakers on our patio. Now that the weather is almost ideal in San Angelo, we spend a great deal of time on our back patio listening to our favorite music. We often hear versions of songs we've never heard before. Yesterday, for example, we heard a live version of the Mamas and Papas' California Dreaming that we had never heard before.

If you've not used Pandora before and you love music, I highly recommend you give it a try. I do not think you'll be disappointed.

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