As Vehicle Technology Teeters on the Boring Side, Cell Phones and Computers Can Rock Your Ride!

While probably not a common selection, the first artist I entered into Pandora on my Droid was Neil Young.  I actually was not thrilled with Neil’s music the first time that I heard him years ago. Like many things in life he is an acquired taste that I gained along with a whole slew of amazing memories when I was 18 years old. This was back when technology in vehicles had more to do with going faster than with saving gas or finding a really cool restaurant.

Today’s vehicle technology centers on safety and fuel economy and is boring to many consumers. To keep things exciting the auto makers are making it easier for us to integrate “outside” mobile and computing technology.  Most new cars come with easy ways to plug in everything from mobile phones to computers.  Having upgraded my ten year old cell phone to a HTC Droid last year it is now time to try out some new technology and see how it works in my little car.  Let’s try some music!

Pandora is a really fun on-line music application that takes the music you like and selects similar artists, both old and new, and plays them on your cell phone or computer. It finds old songs and also helps you discover new artists, even garage bands. Pandora’s team analyzes and assigns “genes” that identify characteristics in individual songs. It is not about bands, images or types of listeners.  Instead they are trying to get to the soul of a song, what really makes you love a particular song.  All this was started by The Music Genome Project and Pandora is a way to bring it into your life. Plus, it is free.  Granted there are ads to deal with that can be avoided for just $36 a year. And, it even integrates with the blue tooth in your car.

So, I hop in the Smart car and away we go . . . “Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you . . .”  So far so good, a program that plays one of my favorite artists on demand. Then . . . right behind Neil comes Bob Seger. Great choice Pandora, I am sold on your awesomeness and we have only been playing together for a few minutes.

After driving for a while, I am back at the shop and anxious to share my excitement so I pick up my phone to text Todd and tell him what he is missing out on. Well, no chance of that happening as Pandora has my Droid so tied up that nothing else will work.  Darn it, music or communications?

Well, since you shouldn’t be texting (or talking for that matter) in your car it is still a great choice for plug and play music while driving.  It is a great hands free way to listen and be surprised by the next song you hear. Just save your voting for times that you are not driving and ignore the thumbs up or down options while you drive. Pandora will keep picking your tunes and it really does a remarkable job.

Kudos to the car manufacturers for integrating music on my cell phone as an easy plug in for my car.  It is a whole lot more fun than the traction control or anti-lock brake system, but I am still holding out for an oversized cam or maybe a Hayabusa engine for the Smart!

Happy Driving,

That Car Lady

Lynn Beckwith


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