Yahoo! LAUNCHcast Radio:
Cut & Paste’s Faithful Companion

by Jeff Lewis

I spend a lot of time cutting and pasting. Highlight, Ctrl + X, Ctrl + V. Highlight, Ctrl + X, Ctrl + V. Over and over until my pinkie finger weakens and I’m forced to switch to the more ergonomically sound two-handed cut and paste. During the day, I get paid to cut & paste; sometimes lines of computer code get Ctrl + X’d from the Notepad and Ctrl + V’d into a layout program. Other times, it is database tables that move from one place to another, or perhaps a poorly placed paragraph on internet banking. Often, I Ctrl + C instead of Ctrl + X, but the Ctrl + V always follows. Over and over again.

Recently I’ve been spending most of my spare hours working on the new design of the Babblog website, which unfortunately called for additional cutting & pasting late into the night. Highlight, Ctrl + X, Ctrl +Y. My salvation during this process was the preposterously capitalized Yahoo! LAUNCHcast Radio, an online radio station that plays personalized lists based on your listening preferences.

The secret to endurance cutting & pasting is a mix of 65% funky music, 15% rock, 10% jazz and 5% Patsy Cline (just to “keep it real”). The funk/hip-hop gets me in a groove: Ctrl on the one, X it on the downbeat, mouse over on three and four. Crtl on the one, V it on the downbeat, grab my next bit of text, on and on until the break of dawn. The rock breaks it up a bit, so that I sit up and bop around white-guy style and get out of my lowdown V+boy slouch. The jazz gets me analytical, keeps it from getting too mindless. The Patsy Cline grounds me, letting me know that even if I’m on my 700th Ctrl + V, things could be worse; at least I’m not falling to pieces over some cheatin’ heart.

When you sign up, Yahoo! LAUNCHcast Radio initially presents you with a list of recording artists and musical genres that you rate between zero and four stars. When you play the radio station, YLR randomly selects music that you’ve ranked, or compatible music that subscribers who share your taste in music have ranked highly. Because it is a computer algorithm, these selections often can be capricious, so I’d like to share a few of my rankings and the results that followed.

Otis Redding **** – One of the all-time great soul singers, Otis died tragically at age 24. Apparently, the creator of the YLR algorithm was Otis’s biggest fan because despite Otis’s relatively small body of work, I can count on no less than one song per hour. Also, without exception, an Otis Redding song plays within the first three after launching YLR. I can’t reduce Otis to a mere three stars, though. That would be just plain wrong.

Outkast ****, The Cure *** – There’s a little hitch in YLR’s giddyup that I haven’t mentioned yet. The play list isn’t as complete as I’d like, so I get a lot of Cure rarities from 1977, which by the way, are a lot better than I’d expect, except for the song that sounds like it was recorded in someone’s pants. As for Outkast, YLR apparently doesn’t play them, but I do get a lot of songs “recommended by fans of Outkast.” Unfortunately, this usually means Jay-Z.

Eric B. ****, Rakim ****, Eric B. & Rakim **** - I will accept the argument that there is better music out there, but there is no better cut & paste music (Mix Master Mike, EPMD, Jurassic 5 and of course Public Enemy are close contenders). The fact that YLR has the entire Eric B. & Rakim catalogue, plus all of their solo projects, is reason enough to use the service.

Patsy Cline **** - YLR has plenty of Patsy, so I easily get my 5%. The danger: “Fans of Patsy Cline recommend Toby Keith.” No! No! No! NO! NO!

Holidae Inn **** - I have to admit to giving this Chingy song full marks—just can’t get enough of Snoop’s chorus—it’s always a highlight of my C & P sessions.

Fela Kuti **** - Fela was the African James Brown, a revolutionary Nigerian iconoclast and a master of the thirty-minute-long song. That’s a lot of Ctrl + V’s.

Dio **** - If you’ve read my previous work, you likely have picked up on my curious fascination with Ronnie James Dio. FLR doesn’t serve up too much Dio, but when it does, ROCK N’ ROLL! As a bonus, the fans of Dio recommended Def Leppard so I got a little, “Fa-Fa-Fa-Foolin. Fa-Fa-Fa-Foolin!” Nice.

Well, I gotta go because I have more work to do.
Highlight, Ctrl + X, Ctrl + V.

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Copyright © 2005 by Jeff Lewis