This is one box you will want to open. Pandora.com is a free internet radio site. A spin-off of the Music Genome Project, whatever that is, Pandora allows you to create up to 100 personalized radio stations by choosing a particular song or artist as that stations “guide.” That station will then play music similar to the “guide” you picked. For instance, I picked The Beatles for one of my stations. That station will play, in addition to The Beatles, other songs or artists that are Beatle-ish (The Raspberries, The Hollies, early Who, The Zombies, British Invasion-type stuff). There are a few other options for fine-tuning your stations like choosing “I Like It” or “I Don’t Like It” on a particular song. When you have created multiple stations you can do a “Quick Mix” which will shuffle songs from all your stations.
Technically, this service seems to take up less bandwidth, both CPU and Internet, then other similar services I have used in the past. The player is a Flash-type dealy on the main Pandora page, so there’s no software to download. You can open the player in it’s own window if you want too. The sound quality is actually quite good. I’m running it right now on my ancient work computer, or as I like to call it El Crapitan, and I havn’t had any buffering problems or slowdowns when trying to run or open other applications. I’ve only been messing around with it for a little while, so I’m not sure how often songs will repeat or how extensive their playlists are. I’m sure it’s got it’s blemishes, but so far I’m pretty impressed. Check it out.