Ask The Nice Guy - Dropbox, E-Readers, and Downloading Free Music

This is the 7th post in a series called Ask The Nice Guy. In this series I will attempt to provide answers to the various questions I get asked throughout the week.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in this blog post, boiled down to five word (or less) summaries.

  1. Benefits of Dropbox
  2. Best E-Reader
  3. Downloading Free Music

Question 1: Benefits of Dropbox?

My family is asking me what are the benefit of using Dropbox?

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.

You can learn more about Dropbox by taking this tour on their website.

I make extensive use of Dropbox in my life life. I have all my important files saved in Dropbox which makes them accessible on any device. Having the important files saved in Dropbox gives me some peace of mind knowing that if something happened to my computer I would still be able to access those files by visiting

The real magic with Dropbox in its ability to sync your files across devices. I can make a change to a text document on my MacBook Air and have the file synced to my other devices within seconds.

Question 2: Best Gadget For Reading Books?

I am pondering which gadget would be a good book reader for me. I read mostly non-fiction books, usually from the public library (my impression is that the library doesn’t have a big selection of books for e-reading). Anyway, I read in bright light outdoors and when it’s darker inside. Not knowing any pros, cons, or specs, I am leaning towards the iPad mini as I have an iPhone and MacBook Pro and am a big Apple fan. I assume the iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle or Nook?

Based on the fact that you identified yourself as someone who reads in bright light outdoors and when it is darker inside, I would have to recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. It is a dedicated e-reader that you can easily read in the bright sun (I have read numerous books on my Kindle while lying out in the sun on top of a cruise ship) and read in a dark room with the built in light.

The iPad mini has much more app capability than the Kindle Paperwhite but it will not offer a good reading experience in the bright sun. I was out for a walk today and tried to check the temperature on my iPhone and I could not see the screen at all due to all of the glare! On the cruise my wife and I went on, she left her iPad mini at home and just brought her Kindle.

The cost of the Kindle Paperwhite is much lower than the least expensive iPad mini which gives you additional money to buy books!

The public library does have a selection of books to check out, but it is not comprehensive. Many titles are not available and the ones that are available often have a wait list to check them out. There are plenty of free books available on the Kindle Store that are worth checking out. I have found that the price of an e-book is considerably less than a traditional book and the amount of enjoyment gained from a good book is well worth the cost.

Question 3: Using Limewire or Frostwire?

My high school son was telling me the other day that I could download music for free from a program called Frostwire. Is this safe?

I wouldn't recommend it. Frostwire and Limewire are file sharing programs that allow people to "share" music via the internet with other people. There are numerous reasons why this is a bad idea.

The first reason that it is a bad idea is because you aren't quite sure what you are actually downloading. Just because it says that it is the latest single from Bruno Mars does not mean it is even a song. It could be a virus, spyware, or malware. If it is legitimately a song it may not be a very high quality version.

The second reason that it is a bad idea is because if you are caught downloading music, movies, or television shows from a file sharing program, you could be fined or sent to prison.

According to Lisa Vaas:

The first jury trial for a file-sharing suit brought by the major record labels has resulted in a $222,000 fine for a Minnesota woman accused of downloading and distributing more than 1,700 songs on the file-sharing site KaZaA.

I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket to pay a hefty fine for illegally downloading music.

The third reason that it is a bad idea is because the people that make the media that we all enjoy deserve to get paid for their work. If you don't want to pay money for a song, there are numerous ways to listen to it for free that are legal. You can use:

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