Monday, March 30, 2009

Legal free music on the internet

Many people know that they can get free music from the internet. However, not many people know how to get free music from the internet LEGALLY. There are many ways to do this, you just need to pick the method(s) that are most comfortable to you and suitable for your listening needs.
  1. Spiralfrog - Spiralfrog is a website powered purely by the advertisements they place on the website. And believe me, there are tons of ads placed on the site. They also require you to use a downloader program built specifically for Spiralfrog to download their music. Spiralfrog does allow you to download music and listen to it on your computer, however, burning it to a CD is against the rules.
  2. Pandora - Pandora is an internet 'radio' streaming site. This means you will never be able to download the music, but you can listen to everything free of charge. Pandora works by allowing you to enter an artist or song, and then it will select songs 'similar' to it through it's experimental music matching algorithm. This becomes your 'station' which can be shared with others or listened to again by yourself. Pandora will learn what you like to hear over time. You can skip a limited number of songs on the radio listings. Also, at anytime you can give a song a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Pandora adjusts the station in reaction to these actions.
  3. Last.FM - Last.FM is also an internet radio site. Stations are not as adjustable as Pandora, similar to real life radio stations. However, there are a large variety of stations so it is likely you will find something you like. Many music videos and songs can be played independently from the 'radio' on this website as well.
  4. AOL Music - AOL Music has a large selection of videos, songs and music news. Unlike most websites, these songs can be played on demand and for free with limited interruption from advertisements. AOL tends to cover a lot of artists, but not many songs from each artist.
  5. MySpace Music - Much like AOL Music, MySpace Music has a large variety of songs, probably more than any other free music website. However, the music archives are almost completely non navigable. MySpace also includes alot of low quality recordings and rips of songs.
Now you can listen to music legally without breaking your wallet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Selecting the right computer for you

Computers constantly become obsolete. One day, you may find yourself working on a machine that is not up to your standards. Maybe you don't even own a computer at all. Choosing a computer that fits your needs and is affordable at the same time can be quite a head-scratcher. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before making the final decision.

What will the computer be used for?
You will never find a computer that does everything extremely well without breaking your wallet. Identifying how the computer will be used can help you choose what features your computer will need. For example, a computer meant for word processing, basic internet browsing and e-mailing will not need all the extra bells-and-whistles that a media based computer would need. Aim to buy only what you will use, not what looks "nice" or sounds like it would be "cool".

What Operating system should I use?
For most people, Windows Vista or Windows XP will be the OS of choice. For low-budget buyers, a Linux distro may make the most sense. For people that like a more intuitive GUI and are new to computers, having Mac as your operating system would probably be the best for you.''

How future-proof is the computer?
As mentioned before, computers become outdated fast. Expect nothing to be top-of-the-line for more than a few months. If a computer just barely fits your needs now, how will it perform a year from now? What about two years? For myself, I choose systems that will last me for a few years (2-3 years). Most machines are upgradable and small upgrades over time can increase the longevity of your computer.

Is this a good price for what I am getting?
The rule of thumb in most situations is that systems $700 and under are worth the price. Once you start getting above $700 dollars ($850 if bundled with other stuff, such as a monitor), it may be cheaper to build the machine yourself (or pay someone else to build it). You also need to factor in the risk. You can make mistakes or wind up buying incompatible parts for your computer. Also, expect little to no support from companies when building your own machine. For the average user, anything around the $600 dollar area should be enough.

Make sure you shop around before you make your final decision. Computers cost a nice chunk of change and in most cases are non-returnable.