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for you and me

TimHoke is a long-time Alamo PC volunteer, past president, programs VPand is current the editor of the Deals column. He has an eclectic tastein music.

There are only a few things in this life that really irritate me. One is people who donít see the light turn green in time for me to get through the intersection without having to sit a second time at a red light. Another is going to the store to purchase a special deal only to find that it is sold out (Best Buy is on my personal bad list these days). A third irritation is buying a music CD that has only one song that I like and 10 that I donít care for. 

Well, letís hear one for the Internet, for it has alleviated my last irritation. I can now purchase only the songs I want, download them, and put them on my hard drive or a CD (when I get a CD-RW, that is). Some of you have known about this for quite awhile, but I just discovered MP3 a few weeks ago. It is cooler than cool and slicker than slick. If you would like to learn how to get free music, or your choice of songs for about ninety-nine cents a piece, read on. 

First you need Internet access, but you probably already figured out that one. Second, you will need to go up on the Internet somewhere that offers MP3 files. Just type MP3 into a search engine and you will have quite an assortment of places to choose from.  However, if you want to jump right in, go to <www.mp3.com> and you will find what you need to get started. 

Before you begin downloading music, youíll need a music player. I downloaded RealPlayer and RealJukebox. Youíll need both (and they have free versions), so download RealPlayer first. If your version of RealPlayer already has RealJukebox youíll be ready to go, but if not, youíll need to download RealJukebox next. Once you have RealPlayer on your hard drive, install it and youíll know whether RealJukebox is included. At any rate, be sure to install RealPlayer first. I installed RealJukebox without RealPlayer and it didnít work. So I had to uninstall and start over. 

Once RealPlayer and RealJukebox are installed, you are ready to download some nifty MP3 files. If you are at the MP3.com address, you will find an assortment of music that ranges from Blues to Hip Hop/Rap (whatever that is). Actually, you can also choose from Alternative, Books and Spoken, Childrenís Music, Classical, Comedy, Country, Easy Listening, Electronic, Jazz, Latin, Metal, Pop and Rock, Urban/R&B, and World/Folk. 

I chose Classical, not because I am a highbrow, but because it is good to study by and there is a ton of free classical music out there. I downloaded a lot of Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart (my personal favorite). Each musical piece automatically went into a folder connected to RealJukebox so that it was automatically accessible when I brought up RealJukebox. This is fantastic! My only complaint is that it takes so long to download these files on my 56K modem connection, but I could opt for Road Runner or DSL and it would download lickety-split. 

So now that I have downloaded about two hours of good music, I now go to my office every morning, fire up my computer and click on RealJukebox. Up comes my assortment of music so that I can go about my business with my very own choice of music in the background.

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