How to run Pandora as a menubar item and play wirelessly on Mac
I recently had a discussion with @johnderosa on Twitter about a good Pandora setup that doesn’t require keeping a browser tab open all the time. So I thought I’d whip up a quick explanation of my setup.
The key to all this is a free mac app called Fluid:
Fluid let’s you create “Site Specific Browsers”. Which creates a “desktop” application out of your favorite web apps. Basically, it’s just a browser that runs as it’s own process and opens your favorite web application without showing you the toolbars and other nonsense that most browsers have. When you first run fluid you just see this dialog:
You just enter the url of the site you want, in our case http://www.pandora.com and you’re off to the races. Now you’ve got a new “Pandora” app in your applications folder. Go ahead and fire it up and you’ll see Pandora running in it’s own very stripped down browser window. Next, just select “Convert to MenuExtra SSB” from the application menu:
Now you’ve got a Pandora logo in your menu bar. Your Pandora app now runs independent of any other browser on your system and you can access it anytime just by clicking the icon in your menu. How sweet it that!
To take it to the next step you can now combine your Pandora app with AirFoil ($25) and your Apple Airport Express and you can play Pandora through your home stereo without any wires:
There’s lot of other great uses for Fluid. A few examples would be Gmail, Facebook, online developer docs, or any site that you access often can be really convenient to have as a separate app instead of having to hunt through your tabs to find it. Chrome for Windows already has the ability to create SSB’s, look for “Create Application Shortcut” in the page menu, it’s a greyed out menu item on the current Mac version, so it should be on the way for the Mac version too. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this type of stuff in the next few years as the line between desktop and web apps continues to blur.