Ryan Schuetzler

Researcher and techie extraordinaire

Free Pandora Desktop With Mozilla Prism

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So, I would say I’m kind of obsessive about which programs I keep running on my computer. When I started using Pandora Radio at work last week, I got kinda frustrated that I always had to keep one window of Firefox open. Always. I would often accidentally close the window just because that’s what I do.

Naturally, the first thing I did was look for a Pandora desktop application. I’m not fortunate enough to have an iPhone or fancy smartphone that has a Pandora application I can run. Pandora has a desktop application, but it is only available for $36/year with their Pandora One service. I considered it, but I don’t know if I’ll use the service after this summer, so I wasn’t ready to shell out money for it.

Then I discovered Mozilla Prism. Prism is a Firefox add-on that allows you to take any web application (or any website, really) and kind of convert it into a desktop application. You can create a shortcut for the start menu or desktop, and even minimize the window to the Windows system tray (my favorite feature).

So here’s how you do it:

  1. Download the Firefox add-on from the Mozilla website
  2. Go to the home page of your favorite web application (e.g., Pandora.com)
  3. Under Tools, select “Convert this page to an application
  4. Select the options you want, and there you have it.

I’ve only been using it for a day now, but it’s been great. I can minimize it to the system tray and not have a single window of Firefox showing in my taskbar. For a computer neat freak like me, it’s amazing.

Update (6/28/09)!

I have since discovered a few simpler options for my problem. First I found Open Pandora, which is an open source desktop solution doing the exact same thing I did with Prism. Also, I am running Windows 7, and I found out that Pandora offers a free Flash sidebar gadget.

Of the three I definitely prefer the sidebar gadget. You have to be running the 32-bit sidebar since Flash isn’t available in 64-bit yet, but that’s a quick fix (if it’s a problem at all. Here’s one way to do it for you Vista-ites.). Between Open Pandora & Prism, there really isn’t much of a difference. Open Pandora is easier since you just have to download one application and you’ve got it, but Prism is cooler because it can also be used for other things. YMMV