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RAIN 7/16: Transform a netbook into a Net radio jukebox

Posted on: 07/16/2009


Though the original purpose of netbooks — those ultra-portable web-connected notebook computers quickly gaining in popularity (RAIN coverage here) — was primarily utilitarian (handle email, light web browsing and word processing), there’s lots of fun to be had, too. “How about converting your tiny machine into a device that can continuously stream music from the Internet…and then play that stream through the speakers on your music system?” LiveMint.com has published a 3-step guide on how to do so (here). They recommend using Last.fm for your streaming radio needs, if only because it can play radio to remote speakers using Apple’s AirPort Express Wi-Fi routers thanks to an iTunes plug-in.

Netbooks and Internet radio are a perfect combination. Because netbooks are built light, they usually don’t have much hard drive space, leaving little room for a music collection. Additionally, since netbooks are meant to be connected to the Internet whenever possible (“net” is right there in the name) and often come with built-in connections to cellular networks, webcasts and online radio are never far away.


CBS announced Tuesday that Boston’s WBCN 104.1 will become an online-only station on August 13 as part of a format shake-up. The rock station, which began broadcasting in 1968, will be replaced by WBMX, CBS’ “Hot AC” station, which moves to 104.1 from the 98.5 frequency. CBS’ new (and Boston’s first) sports-talk FM station “The Sports Hub” takes over the 98.5 spot. For more, check out USA Today’s coverage here.


The Conclave, the largest radio conference in the Midwest, begins today in Minneapolis and runs through Saturday. A number of panels are scheduled during the conference which may perk the interest of webcasters and new media radio professionals: today at 3pm, DotFM will present a panel on radio and social networking, titled, “Social Media and Increasing Your Station’s ‘Signal Strength.’” On Friday, Jacobs Media will present their findings from their Tech Survey 5 at 10am.

Another panel on social media, “Twit My Face,” will be held at 11am, followed by “Going Mobile: When Radio Isn’t On The Radio” at 1:30pm sponsored by Triton Digital. Saturday’s panels include “Airchecking Your Website,” scheduled for 10am. You can find a complete schedule of events for The Conclave here.


Ever wonder how sites like Last.fm, Slacker or Pandora can build an entire radio stream around just about any artist you throw at them? The Music Machinery blog shows off one way to create random artist-based playlists, using just 10 lines of code and the Echo Nest API to do so. Though not the way Pandora or Last.fm create their streams, it’s nonetheless an interesting look at the programming nuts and bolts behind one way of randomly generating artist-centric playlists. Check it out here.

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Sep. 12 SF Music Tech Summit: San Francisco, CA
Sep. 13 RAIN Summit Chicago @ NAB/RAB RadioShow: Chicago, IL
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