Free Music and Videos?

Every month we have to reload computers with all of their software (a time consuming and expensive operation) due to viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs (“malware”) that have infected computers through "free music" and “free videos” which often come through programs called peer-to-peer file sharing programs.  "Limewire" is one of the most popular.  Even if you have a good anti-virus program, loading a file sharing program on your computer is like locking your front door and then leaving your back door wide open.  if you find that someone in your household has more music or videos than their budget would allow, check for file-sharing software like Limewire, Bearshare, Bittorrent, Azureus, The Pirate Bay, Frostfire, and others.

Music belongs to all who are responsible for creating it:  lyricists, composers, publishers, arrangers, musicians, etc.  They hold the right to make copies of the music and violating their copyright may subject you to as much as a $5,000 judgment per song.  The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has further information on its website which I highly recommend reading. 

In addition, to the legal problem, the “free” songs acquired this way may contain viruses and other malware that will require reloading your computer.  One study showed that approximately 30% of randomly downloaded songs from Limewire contained malware.  Some of this malware can copy your files and send them to an unknown location.  Do you really want to take that chance?

So what should you do?  If art and honesty are important to you, use legitimate pay-for-use websites to acquire music and videos.  Some of these are Amazon, Lala, Itunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Emusic.  All of these except Itunes allow you to legally download songs which will play on any music player.  Lala lets you listen to an entire song or album once for free so you can determine if you like it.  I use Amazon and Lala.  You can check out any of these websites without paying a cent.  Most songs will be in the $1 range, some higher, most lower.  If you are paying pennies per song, you are not using a legitimate website and the artists are receiving no money. 

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Wifi Do’s and Don’ts


  1. When using public Wi-Fi (McDonalds, Panera, Easton, airports, etc.) do not sit with your back to other people.  They can look over your shoulder and watch what you enter on your computer.  Sit with your back to the wall or in an area with a lot of open space around you and always be aware of movement around you.
  2. Always have a good firewall on your computer and, if asked by a program on your computer, keep the computer in the Public or Internet Zone.  Also, make sure that your internet security product is up-to-date, and yes I still recommend Norton 360.
  3. Use a different browser on your computer for public areas. This can keep any malicious software from accessing information stored by your normal browser.  For example if you usually use Internet Explorer, use Firefox.  If you usually use Firefox, use Google Chrome.
  4. Shut down your computer completely when leaving.  This keeps some malicious software from infecting home or work networks when you connect again.
  5. And for your home Wi-Fi, I recommend Linksys products because even if you install them yourself, they step you through what needs to be done for a secure home network.  I have found other brands to be unsecure after a user install. 

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Amazon Kindle Review

I took the plunge and am using a Kindle.  Why the Kindle over other ebook readers?  Because I don’t always read mainstream books and Kindle booksAmazon has the greatest number of books in ebook format.  I chose the DX model rather than the smaller less-expensive version.  Why?  Because I anticipate using it frequently and it means less space used by keyboard and more by the reading material and size was not an issue to me since I rarely use a purse.  Using it for about two weeks, I know that battery life is about 2 weeks as claimed, with wireless turned off.  I have found that I am underlining and marking pages more than I ever did in a paper book.  (Maybe because I know I’m not going to pass the book on to someone else.)  The Kindle is easy to use.  Even the non-geek among us can use it to read.  I like that it saves where I left off reading and lets me switch from book to book.  I don’t like that some diagrams don’t display properly—either something’s missing or they are too difficult to read.  Admittedly the one I sampled (yes, you can sample books before buying) have been from older books.  Perhaps they will be updated to allow the diagram to be enlarged.  Some in newer books can be enlarged.  I like how easy it is to delete books.  I thought it was heavy to hold in bed until I started reading a paper book. The paper book with light was weighing too heavily on my hand also.  The light I am using is the Mighty Bright and it lights well and evenly both on books and the Kindle.  My main reason for getting the Kindle?  I have clients using it and I needed to know it inside and out so I could answer questions.  Of course, I also find it reducing the plethora of paperbacks that end up all around the house!

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