Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Combo.fm improves your listening experience on last.fm

Nearly a year ago I wrote about the radio query language and wrote a Java application called Combo.fm as a proof of concept.
Naturally, at least as far as I'm concerned, proof of concept projects are not maintained very well and buggy and the Java application was no exception. It just had some major backdraws regarding usablitly, portability and layout which made it a no-fun project.

So about two weeks ago I got the idea to re-write the whole thing from scratch using pure HTML, CSS 3, and JavasScript. I did some investigations and as I am a curious guy I tried some new stuff like jQuery, Felix Brun's Javascript Last.fm API and the 960 grid system. They are both awesome in and of themselves, but in combination they can create a quite nice look and feel.
The result was overwhelming and the project drastically improved my Javascript and CSS knowledge. No wonder Google lets their employees spend 20% of their working time on own projects - at this point they are doing something right.

The new Combo.fm
Enough talking, just see yourself:

I added last.fm's new mix radio and also the friends radio. Using cutting edge HTML 5, Combo.fm should work with all major browsers like Google Chrome, Mozialla Firefox and reqkonq.
As I am a person with lots of ideas, the current version is, lets say: A tiny step for me, but a huge one for the last.fm community. And now replace "step" with "beer" ;)

Its current features include:

  • Listen to similar artists, tags, your library, mix radio, recommendations, neighbours and the friends radio
  • Combine stations as you like by connecting them with and, or and not
  • Mainstream-ness: Set how much mainstream your music should be
  • Set song repetition rate on a per-hour basis
  • Enable or disable discovery mode
- Sharing stations over social networks like Twitter and (maybe) Facebook
- Shout your station urls - directly from Combo.fm
- Far in the future: Last.fm player on Combo.fm which displays Combo.fm station's name properly#

Notice: Combined radio stations are still in beta stage. There might be bugs and trouble and I personally ask not to abuse it. Thank you :)

This project needs your support!

Currently the problem is that especially the new Combo.fm is largely unknown. So:
Link it! Tweet it! Like it! Share it! Put in your forums signature! Join the project! 
Spread the word! 
The Last.fm messias has arrived and it has great news to say: You can combine Last.fm's radio stations, in any order and as many as you like!

Special Thanks
To the Last.fm guys. You are doing good and reasonable work! Go on with that!
To all the last.fm moderators who tested Combo.fm and reported bugs.
Skiye for the discussions, chats and testing until the late morning.

Thank you
for using Combo.fm! It means very much to me :)

Tobias Brennecke
The creator of Combo.fm

P.S.: Can I have spam, bacon eggs and spam, but without the spam in it?


Noah Duke said...

Thank you so much for this latest update! I have been with Last.FM since 2005 but over the last year I've felt like they've taken away so much of what made it great. I found the listening experience has suffered. This tool has allowed me to tune in a station that is perfect for my mood at any given moment. If it weren't for Combo.FM I probably would have left Last.FM by now. I'll probably stick around a bit longer!

Skiye said...

awesome work as always good sir, keep it up! thanks for the honorable mention!!! *blushes* haha. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting! I noticed that clicking Your Neighbours brings up a box labeled Friends Radio of [me]. Is that supposed to bring that up as opposed to the one based on your Neighbours?

Also, is there any chance of being able to add other user's personal radios (library or any others) as an option? I'll admit that the first time I tried to use this I tried ANDing two of my friends radio stations together thinking that I'd get just songs that were in both of their libraries before realizing that Friends Radio (which I'd forgotten had existed) doesn't do what I meant (I noticed that when a song played that isn't listed as being in the library of one of the users I had used as a seed; I was confused because the official Last.fm client just presents the list of friends, but when you click on one it plays that friend's library station).

Ben said...

loved you back with that original buggy combo fm, love you even more with the great new version! now im just trying to find a playlist generator like playlistify.org that can accept the combo.fm url, generate a playlist that i can give to spotify (need that offline caching for the subway!)

Robin said...

using this to mix my library, and it is really awesome. i noticed i can't use this on my iphone, i'm assuming because it was built with flash. are there any workarounds?