**This is the neatest thing  DEC 13 1999

**This is the neatest thing I've seen in quite a while**. Launch.com's new LaunchCAST feature lets you set up your own radio station to listen to over the Web. You can grab songs for your playlist from real-life radio station playlists, from other LaunchCAST DJs, or by rating the songs as they are played. As you rate songs or choose DJs & radio stations that you "trust", the player learns from that and starts pushing you music that you are likely to enjoy.

The amount of customization possible on the site is amazing. You can rate any song, album, or artist on a scale of 0 to 100...the higher the rating, the more it gets played on your station. Most of the rating is done using thousands of little Flash movies: you rate a song and the rating is sent to the server without refreshing the page. The player is done mostly in Flash as well. Great concept and great execution. Someone over there knows what they are doing.

One last thing about LaunchCAST: anyone can listen to anyone else's station. If you have Flash and Microsoft Media Player (both required), you can listen to my LaunchCAST station. I spent quite a bit of time tailoring the playlist to include lots of electonica and not much else. You'll hear Bjork, Fatboy Slim, mu-ziq, and The Chemical Brothers for the most part, but since it's not completely within my control, it will also throw in some Linda Ronstaht. If you like Linda, fine. If you don't, just hit that "x" button on the player and you'll never hear that song again.

Now...if I could only put all that on my Palm V....


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