I soooo don’t have time to be updating this blog…the conference work has me way behind on my regular grading, but I’m in the home stretch on that…most of the conference work will be finished by April 21.
Since music is one of my passions, I thought I’d tell you about a couple of on-line services that I’ve begun using – both free but with paid subscription options.
Pandora (www.pandora.com) is a great site that allows you to specify a favorite artist or track, and then creates an on-line “radio” station that plays music that sounds similar to the style of the music you picked. With the free subscription, you can create up to 100 custom channels. This is great when you just want some music playing in the background that is pleasing to you. It’s a great way to discover new artists that I haven’t heard of. If you want to buy the music you are hearing, they provide you with links to purchase the music from Amazon.com or iTunes.
So what if you want to listen to a specific track, not just music in a style similar to one you specify? This is where Rhapsody.com (www.rhapsody.com) comes in. With Rhapsody’s free subscription, you can listen to a number of music channels that are not customizable like the ones in Pandora, but the real benefit is that you can listen to 25 specific tracks per month for free. And for $14.99/month (less than the price of a CD per month), you can do as I recently did and sign up for Rhapsody To Go, which allows you unlimited plays, and allows you unlimited downloads to your computer and/or supported portable media player – all legal! Of course, you are limited to the number of computers you can download to, and you cannot burn CDs with these downloaded tracks, but the ability to load up my MP3 player with any music I want and take it with me wherever I go is great! And if I do decide I want to burn a CD, most albums can be purchased for $8.99, or $0.89 per track.
I discovered also that the Ferndale Public Library was able to give me access to NetLibrary (www.netlibrary.com) and access to over 2,000 eAudiobooks that can be checked out for 3 weeks at a time. These, too can be loaded onto a portable player and listened to away from the computer…I even got a cable to plug my player into the car radio, so I can listen to audio books on a long drive.
Just a word of caution…neither the Rhapsody or NetLibrary loans will work with the iPod, due to the way they do the licensing. Not to worry, though, you can get a compatible player for under $100. Just make sure you check the compatibility requirements. I took a little risk by purchasing a Creative Zen 8GB, which is a little quirky with the Rhapsody software, but I’ve been able to get it to work just fine.
So now that we are in the 3rd Week of Exercises in our CLC process, and with Holy Week coming up, I’ve downloaded St. Matthew’s Passion by J.S. Bach to provide an appropriately somber backdrop for my quiet times of prayer and meditation these days.