Shaking loose the bounds of archived media, let's take a look at the wide variety of live media out on the internet. To keep things manageable, we'll focus on live audio streams; the number of live video streams (from the Times Square webcam to the NFL) is truly overwhelming.
Traditional radio stations (such as NPR, WFNX, and WMJX over there) are increasingly providing access to their broadcasts online, though some do require you to register to to listen.
Radio Paradise is one of the giants of internet-only radio. Using just about any media player you have on your computer, you can listen to commercial-free, listener-supported alternative music radio. While you're listening, you can browse through a playlist of current and prior tracks, discussion forums and additional information about featured artists.
Moving from 1.0 to 2.0 streaming media, Pandora is a free online service powered by The Music Genome Project. First, you create a free account and 'seed' a radio station with music you like. As your station plays, Pandora will begin adding other music related to what you chose. You can give each song a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, move it to a more appropriate station, or find out why Pandora suggested the song. Over time, you can fine-tune your own stations and add to the data of the Genome Project.
Magnatune takes yet another tack by providing access to the music of independent artists around the world. You can either listen on a song-by-song basis, or play through a genre mix. Here's the World Music mix, just for Nancy V.
Last FM works on a related principle, and expands it to include video. From the Music or Videos tabs, you can browse popular hits or search for a specific artist or song. The Radio tab works like Pandora, creating a station for you based on an artist you request.
Seeqpod goes one step even further by including podcasts, Flash animation, slideshows, lectures, images and all sorts of playable media in their results. It really does give you pieces from the whole media pie:
Yup, you guessed it: choose one of the sites above, poke around a bit and report back on what you find. If you're already familiar with one of these services, please pick one that you haven't worked with before to explore.
To Go the Extra Mile, choose one of the more tradtional live audio sources (RadioParadise or an NPR affiliate) and one of the more social services and contrast the experience of listening to each of them. What do you like or dislike about each style; how engaged are you; what do you think of the songs you're listening to?
Housekeeping Note: I will be away from my computer from Thursday through Sunday of this coming week (11/20 - 11/23). I'll be checking email, but my response time may lag a bit. For those of you still looking to complete Thing 20, I promise to be online as much as possible once I return.
Now, just as the final leg of the Marathon is down an easy stretch of Boylston Street, so too shall this run through 2.0 wind down to the finish line. Our last set of Things will be another week of fun and games, starting with Thing 24: Itty Bitty Blogging. Keep on jogging, folks -- we're almost there!