Tuesday 22 November 2011

NPR's Infinite Player

You know how every so often something comes along, and you're like, YES! That is exactly what I've been looking for?

Today I am LOVING NPR's experimental web app Infinite Player. There's a great explanation of the app on the Nieman Labs site. Basically, it presents a random mix of NPR pieces, designed bring that serendipity of just switching on the radio & listening to what it gives you to the web. It's a contrast to seeking out and listening to podcasts ('intentional listening'): every piece I've heard so far has been under five minutes long, so there's no annoyance if you zone out for a moment, or tune in a bit late; you're not overly invested, so you can move on.

At the moment, all you can do on the app is play, pause, refresh and igive an item a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate your interest and teach the app about your tastes. It's brilliantly simple, and it was chucked out there in a sprint and a half.

One of the first stories Infinite Player threw up for me was about a guy who used 'Moneyball' style data analysis to win at Jeopardy. In half an hour I've heard about electric cars, cheese making, shortages in ADHD medication, something doomy about Obama and the economy, and criticisms of the latest Honda Civic. It's been joyous.

Of course, I've gone straight into feature bloat. I want other stations and other podcasts in there. I want a link so I can tweet and email stories to people. But wow - three weeks for this level of delight. That's all kinds of awesome.

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