Tag Archives: Pandora’s box

Pandora’s gift box

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. By some accounts, Pandora is “she who sends up gifts.”

We all know about Pandora’s box which, after some reading, I learned was actually a jar. No matter; it’s ancient mythology. But I’ve discovered a modern-day Pandora who also sends up some mighty nice gifts.

You may already know her. As a slow-to-moderate adopter of modern technology, it took me a while to get around to putting Pandora on my iPhone, but what a gift she has been. How she works just boggles my mind.

For those who aren’t familiar, Pandora Radio is an Internet music service associated with something called the Music Genome Project. Now I don’t know a lot about music and even less about genetics.

All I know is that Pandora knows what music I like or dislike and why. And it’s free.

This first got my attention when a friend described Pandora as her soul mate, which I interpreted as someone who knew her better and at a deeper, perhaps more cosmic, level than anyone. I was intrigued.

Pandora gets to know me by playing a song and asking me for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Each of my thumb votes increases Pandora’s understanding of me and my musical tastes, but at a level even I may not know.

Naturally, this understanding is based on mathematical algorithms. It’s all mathematical algorithms these days.

I like to think that, like the Human Genome, the Music Genome has a human element; thus, its genetic approach. As soon as I give a song a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, Pandora considers more than 400 different musical attributes to select the next song. These 400 attributes are combined into some 2,000 traits, including rhythm syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies and instrumental proficiency.

I’ve barely unwrapped Pandora’s box, having had her for only 48 hours. She hasn’t yet achieved soul mate status after such a short time, but I have faith we’ll bond. She and her Acoustic Blues selections got me through a particularly grueling time Sunday evening. This is promising.

I had hoped my husband would share my enthusiasm. Last night, as I was reading more about the application online, he walked by my office. I shouted, “Hey, did you know we can stream Pandora through the Blu-ray?” 

He just looked at me as if I had asked, “ξέρατε ότι μπορούμε να ρεύσουμε Pandora μέσω της blu-ακτίνας μας?”

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