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:
- Download the Firefox add-on from the Mozilla website
- Go to the home page of your favorite web application (e.g., Pandora.com)
- Under Tools, select "Convert this page to an application
- 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.
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