Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sound: Exercise 24

For all my "Next Gen" assignments, I will list the questions and then my answers. In this and future posts, I may add commentary beyond the questions towards the end of the Exercises.

1. Look at the different types of pay sites, comparing features and prices. Napster: $12.95 a month and up. iTunes: 99 cents per song. Yahoo!: $5.99 or $8.99 a month. Rhapsody: $12.99 a month. Amazon: usually 99 cents per song. For my purposes as a new iPod user, I'll stick with iTunes.

2. Download a song to your computer and transfer it to your branch MP3 player (or your MP3 player) from one of the free sites, which don't require software installation. I downloaded "Beautiful Dreamer" from Download.com and moved to an MP3 player at the library. I found it to be more difficult than using iTunes, so I asked for help from another (younger) staff member more experienced in downloading music.

3. See if your favorite radio station offers listening through their website. Yes, our local Houston NPR station, KUHF has an online link to live radio. I also enjoyed sampling radio stations around the world using Live-Radio.net as a starting point. I briefly sampled KNBA, Native Radio Online from Anchorage, Alaska and other stations from California and Wyoming. I even tried Chinese radio, but for the most part could not negotiate the Chinese language links. A library customer stopped by my office while I was doing this part of the exercise and recommended public radio CKUA from Edmunton, Canada. She said she listens to it all day from her computer. I've got to stop thinking of radio as local when global radio is (click, click) just around the cyber corner.

As I downloaded some songs to my iPod recently, I found myself wondering how many times I've purchased the same songs by Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Leonard Cohen in all their burgeoning formats. First as phonograph records (visions of sitting on the floor in my college dorm room with a gang of girls, all of us listening to a phonograph player); then cassette tapes and compact discs. Now the MP3 format. How many times do I have to buy the same song to own it once and for all? I could/should start transferring music I own on CD to the computer and onto the iPod, but oh how much easier it is to point and click in the iTunes store!

Photo by KAO: from Shattered Blue series

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