Music

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 Dropbox.com.

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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30 Second Tips - Buy A Song With iTunes (iOS)

This is the 45th post in a series called 30 Second Tips. My goal is to show you how to do some neat stuff in 30 seconds or less!

Did you know that you can purchase a song as easily as downloading an app from the App Store?

To get started tap on the iTunes app.

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Tap on Music

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To find a specific song, tap on Search Store in the upper right.

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Type in the name of the song, artist, or album. As you type it will start to show Results. Tap on the Result you are looking for.

Down Under by Men At Work is one of Mike's all time favorite songs.

Down Under by Men At Work is one of Mike's all time favorite songs.

If you would like to listen to a 90 second preview of the song before purchasing it you can tap on the album artwork to the left of the song on the search screen.

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The preview will appear in the upper right corner of the app.

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To purchase the song you tap on the price (songs are either $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29)

You can tap on the price in either spot.

You can tap on the price in either spot.

Tap on the green Buy Song button.

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You will be prompted to enter in your AppleID password. This is the same password you use to download apps.

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The song will take a couple minutes to download depending on your on your internet connection. Once downloaded, you can listen to the song by going back to your Home Screen and tapping on the Music app.

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Find the song that you just downloaded and tap on it to listen to it in its entirety.

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30 Second Tips - Free iTunes Music

This is the 29th post in a series called 30 Second Tips. My goal is to show you how to do some neat stuff in 30 seconds or less!

Did you know that Apple releases a free song every week? They have been doing this for many years now and it's a great way to discover new artists!

To download the free Single of the Week navigate to the iTunes store on your computer or iOS device. I am going to demonstrate on the iPad.

Open up the iTunes app.

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Tap on Music and then tap on the Single of the Week.

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Tap on FREE.

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Tap on GET SINGLE.

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Type in your iTunes password.

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Apple will sometimes release more than one free song in a given week. To see all free songs tap on Music, scroll down to the bottom and tap on Free on iTunes.

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If you know someone that needs help getting the most out of technology please pass my name along! I really appreciate it!