Google Traffic isn’t the official name for it, but I think it should be. Head over to Google Maps find a major city and then click the traffic button in the upper right corner. All of the major routes through the city will be color coded according to how quickly traffic is moving. You also have the option of looking at how traffic will be at a different time of the day. Click on “change” next to “Live Traffic” and adjust the slider to the time of day that you’ll be traveling. Traffic is also figured into driving directions. You’ll now see an estimated time for your directions, and a new up to … in traffic estimate. From what I can tell the real-time data seems to be rather accurate. Except that by the time your on the road for 15 minutes, everything could have changed.

Audible is the internet re-incarnation of books on tape. They have over 50,000 books to choose from. Once you’ve selected your book, you download it and sync it to nearly any portable audio player, or one of thousands of PDAs, smart phones, GPS and other devices that support Audible. Books typically run about $10 to $25 and you can usually get your first one or two for free if you do a quick search for a coupon code. They also offer a subscription plan where books cost around $10-$12 depending on the plan. Even with a subscription, once you buy the book, it’s yours to keep, even if you cancel the subscription. Between audio books and podcasts I always have something to listen to during my commute. Some of my recent reads include:

Google Reader is a great way to aggregate all of your RSS feeds and view them from anywhere. I use it in combination with Yahoo Pipes (see yesterday’s post) to keep tabs on news, tech and some of my favorite comics. There’s also a mobile interface for Google reader for your phone. The two keep in perfect sync, so you never end up reading the same things twice. I also find the add star feature especially useful from my phone. For example, I usually browse my feeds during lunch, and mark several as starred that I don’t need to read immediately. Then when I get home in the evening I’ll pull up the starred items on either my phone or desktop and read them from there.

Yahoo Pipes can take some getting used to. The slogan for it is “Rewire the web.” What it allows you to do is work with RSS feeds to combine or filter them to create your own custom feeds. Instead of having to write your own program in PHP, or something similar, to do this, Yahoo provides you with a nice graphical interface where you literally “wire” blocks together to combine feeds, add filters, and make other modifications that help you create your own custom feed. I use it in combination with Google Reader to read some of the local newspapers. Here are a few of my pipes:

Pandora is your own personalized internet radio station. Once you sign up, you start by telling Pandora about one artist that you like. It then uses data collected as part of the Music Genome Project to find other music you might like. It then begins playing music. As each song comes up you have the option to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. Pandora then uses this feedback to refine your playlist. Even better, Pandora now supports several mobile phones. You can see if they support yours at here.