Well I guess it was just a matter of time before Pandora started blocking people outside the US instead of just simply counting on people’s honesty to provide their true zip-code and not just a random US one to fake their way in.
Dear Pandora Visitor,
We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.
We believe that you are in Japan (your IP address appears to be 121.xxx.xxx.xxx). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s really too bad, because it’s simply a brilliant service – I wish they would speed up the licensing agreement proceedings in different parts of the world, but even then, I guess Japan will be very very late. I mean, even Last.fm in Japan blocks the radio function (although using the English client and English homepage in Japan works fine). Anyway, I just signed up for Last FM and it looks pretty darn good. I tried it for a few days a year ago or so, but didn’t like, but now the user base seems to be much bigger and the features of the site and the standalone player have been improved greatly!
OK, so I’m an Internet geek, so sue me, but I rolled on the floor laughing when I read this story:
Cory Doctorow visits a Radio Shack
CORY DOCTOROW: And I have a background wallpaper skin of the Ontario subway system with all the stop names cleverly rearranged to spell out the names of the characters from “Harry Potter”.
Not funny at all if you’re not already an avid Boing Boing reader. (Via Waxy.org, the king of links.)
By the way, if you’re totally clueless on who this Cory Doctorow person is, you can read up a bit on him here
If you notice something different about the layout today, that is because I am currently experimenting with what to put in the right sidebar. I am tired of the one-line movie reviews (it doesn’t generate any value-add to my readers, and I am too lazy to update it in a timely manner).
First I added the Technorati Favorites widget, displaying the latest three posts from blogs that I have tagged as my favorites on Technorati. After putting in the sidebar though, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of customization. My sidebar bar is 200 pixels wide, and that the Technorati favorites block barely fits in it. Further, the colors and layout of it really doesn’t appeal to me.
So for now
Secondly, I made a Flickr badge displaying photos tagged with ‘Japan’. It looks kind of nice, don’t you think?I took away the Flickr badge because it was unreliable for some reason – often not displaying any pictures at all, so the Technorati Widget is back until further notice….
Then there is this list of things to put in your sidebar over at Listible.com to consider as well.
I’m a bit lost here. I need to put something really cool there but I don’t really know what. I will have to retreat into my Web 2.0-approved home and think really hard. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
I’d like to present to you my latest side project; the new home page of the Scandinavian Cup golf tournament. Those of you who have seen the old one (still active at http://scancup.groth.hm) will see that it’s a dramatic change, and for the better I hope. Here’s a screenshot if you’re too lazy (or have no interest in it):
The short, not-so-technical explanation is that I based the new homepage on WordPress 2, making it very easy to update with news and articles. As I am somewhat of an HTML-dork I’d like to toot my own horn and explain the technical goodness of it too, I warn you: if you do not know what “wordpress” or “css” is, then stop reading now!
I warned you, I shall now dive into the technical details of the homepage… First of all, I set out to make the homepage using WordPress as sort of an experiment, to see how well you could utilize WordPress as a CMS – my conclusion is very well! The structure of the site is pretty much non-bloggy, but more classical news-site style. Nowhere will you see posts lined up after one another in chronological order – all the loops have been altered to act as sort of archives or lists of articles. The main page contains two loops showing the two main categories of posts: news and results. I have categorized all posts by type of post (news, results, etc.) and by which tournament it relates to (it’s a biyearly tournament). The backbone of the results pages are pretty much the same as the earlier page, i.e. it imports an .csv file of results and displays it in a table format. Fairly easy to just export the tournament results to .csv and upload.
It took me a few months to create it, mainly because I’m busy at work and lazy, but also because I was struggling with the CSS design. I changed between many different designs throughout the design period, and finally settled on the current one, which is slightly “Web 2.0” styled, although I hate to fall for design trends like that. Basically, I opted for Arial mainly (it’s a clean font, good for news/blogs I think) instead of Trebuchet or Verdana as I had dabbled with before. The color scheme is so-so, I must admit. I wanted it greenish to reflect the golf-theme, but I can’t say I am completely happy with the result. I consider the design of the site as work-in-progress. If anyone has any design ideas, feel free to contact me about it – I am not professional web designer so I find myself lacking that “magical touch” to make a site look perfect.
Well, I fell for the hype, I added tags to the site – or rather, the usability of the site will hopefully increase by introducing them. I didn’t want to litter the site with lots of categories, especially for subjects I might not write so much about. Further, there might be some posts which are totally off-subject too. Just putting them into the “General” Category and relying on the keywords that might be in the actual text, it will be pretty hard for people to find the post through search engines etc.
For this purpose, I installed Ultimate Tag Warrior by Christine Davis which this far seems to be doing an OK job. Next task is for me tol add tags to all archived posts, which I will do when I have some spare time.
[EDIT] Ok, call me a hypocrite if you want (see my old post about tags in cloud format) but I added a tag archive displaying the tags in, you knew it, cloud format. It’s just that there isn’t a better format that I can think of right now. Sure you can have a plain old list, but it wouldn’t be as interested. Reach the tag archive here: http://lostinjapan.groth.hm/taglist/