Saturday, June 7, 2014

Free Online College Courses

I'm pretty sure I've heard this before, but I'd forgotten. Did you know that MIT offers virtually ALL of their course materials online for FREE?

I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I started with this list of courses and started browsing.  There are some very interesting things there.  I'm posting this here primarily for me, so I'll remember this time.  I know there's something I'll enjoy learning.

If you're interested in learning something new, or taking a refresher on something you've already learned, be sure to check it out.

Another source for free online courses - .
I'm checking them all out!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Free Legal Music Downloads

Have you discovered Noisetrade yet?  It's a great site for discovering new artists and new music.  There are thousands of albums available from artists who would love to meet you, and love for you to give them a listen.  And all of the content is FREE.

When you find something that sounds interesting - you can listen to the music on the page and get some information about the artist - just enter your email address, country, and postal code, and they'll email you a link to download the music.  That's all you have to do.  Then simply unzip the file you download and enjoy your new music.  If you enjoy it, consider leaving a tip to support the artist and spreading the word through twitter and/or facebook.

 You can even embed some music on your website or blog to share with your friends.

I've downloaded several albums, but I don't really listen to music that much, so I haven't even listened all the way through some of them.  Unfortunately the option to listen to or sample the music before downloading has stopped working in my browser, probably some plug-in that needs updated.  So, I've downloaded some based on the embedded video on the page.  Thankfully that still works, and if I like the sound of the song in the video, I'll download the whole thing just so I can hear the rest.  And then I don't always do it, but  I know there are people who listen to music all the time, so this is a great site for getting some new music - and then being able to support the artists as you choose.  You'll also get emails from them once in a while, so you can keep up with the artists you discover, know when they're releasing new music, performing in your area, etc. 

Also available on Noisetrade - free ebooks.
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Coolest Music Ever

One of my facebook friends linked to this today.  It's a group of Siberian percussionists making music using the ice on frozen Lake Baikal.

Isn't that amazing?  Who knew ice could be such an awesome musical instrument?

And if this isn't real (see related articles), I still applaud the creativity it took to put this video together.
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Warning: If You Use 4Shared, Your Files are NOT Private

I signed up for a service called 4shared a while back.  They gave me some free online storage, and I thought it would be a good way to back up some of my files.  They also make it fairly easy to share files with other people.  I used it a couple times when my daughter used my camera to take pictures of apartments she was thinking of renting.  It was an easy way to share the pictures with her once I got them off the camera.

I also uploaded some of my music, probably 5 or 6 CDs - so I could listen to the music from other locations if I needed or wanted to. 4shared has tools to play, share, and even embed music files, so I could even use some music in my blog posts if I wanted to.

That's kind of fun, I guess.  The problem is - I've realized that the files I've uploaded to 4shared are not private at all, and I don't mean the files that I've actually shared, like the pictures I shared with my daughter.  I mean any and all of my files.  How did I realize this?  I started getting emails from 4shared telling me that some of my files were infringing on someone else's copyright.  And then I noticed that people were commenting on my files - files they never should have been able to see in the first place.  What??

The 4shared site says, "If you don't want your file to be seen by everyone, you should share your link confidentially, with certain people only. As the link is generated securely, it is absolutely impossible to access the file."  Which, I guess, would apply to shared files, but what about files that haven't been shared?  Apparently just having them in my account means that they're fair game to anyone - unless I choose to put a password on each and every folder or file, above and beyond the sign in and password that I already use to sign into the site.  (because it's only "absolutely impossible" to access the shared files with securely generated links)

Protect your shared folder with password:

You can protect your shared folder from unauthorized access by setting a password on it. To set a password for a folder, please log into your account, open a folder and right-click on the folder name in the directory tree on the left. Select the "Sharing and Security" command. You will be taken to the page where you need to select the "Share this folder" option and tick "Add password" in the "Link and Security" section. Type a chosen password in the "Password" and "Confirm password" fields. Note that both fields are case sensitive, so you should type absolutely the same password twice. Click on the "Save changes" button to complete setting the password.
Now, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that, unless I choose to share my files, those files should not be visible to anyone else.  Apparently, with 4shared, they are visible to everyone else, unless I choose to add a password.  And about that copyright infringement - if uploading music files, for my own personal enjoyment, is not acceptable, then those tools to play and embed those same music files should not be offered.  Should they?

Never mind, I'll just use Google Play to back up and enjoy my music online and from anywhere, and I'll back-up my files to Copy from now on - where I can share with just the people I choose and not the whole entire world.  (Feel free to use my link to sign up for Copy yourself.  We'll both even get additional free storage)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Easily and Accurately Identify the Tracks in Your Music Library

 --This post brought to you by Music Tag --

Do you have a huge music collection?  How organized is it?  If you're like most of us, you have multiple tracks listed as Unknown Album or Unknown Artist, and the only way to know what the songs are is to play them.  For instance, I ripped one of my son's CDs last week so I could listen to it on my MP3 player.  It was a CD he had burned, combining both a CD and an EP he had by the same artist - because there was room on the CD, so why waste it.  The problem was, when I ripped it, none of the tracks had any info, except track number of that particular CD.  I had to look up the track listings of the CD and the EP and manually edit all of the info.

Well, there's a better way.  Use Music Tag to automatically download missing track info and cover art for your entire music collection.  Unlike other music databases that I've used before, Music Tag can recognize over 35 Million individual songs - not just complete CDs.  How does it work?  Music Tag uses an advanced digital fingerprinting technology to accurately identify the tracks in your music library and proceeds to download all the missing track info, such as Title, Artist, Album and Cover Art.  I'm not sure exactly what that means, but they say that it is extremely accurate and that it has correctly identified the song in every single test performed.

Music Tag is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and requires an active internet connection to download missing track data.  You can download a free trial right now, and if you like it, it's only $19.99 and comes with free updates.

With this handy tool, there are no more excuses for unorganized, unnamed music files.