Vail Tech: Music moves even without iPod
Vail, CO Colorado
A few weeks ago my trusty iPod finally gave out on me after years of use and abuse. While it was a sad day when I could no longer coax it into booting up without giving me the dreaded “sad Mac” face, I decided not to fork over the money to try and have it repaired, and began searching for a replacement.
I considered buying one of the new iterations of the iPod or another mp3 player, but I also began exploring less expensive options. I thought about putting some music on my iPhone, but with only a 16GB capacity, it wasn’t a practical way to store all my tunes.
Then, on a recommendation from a friend, I discovered Simplify Media. While it’s not a physical replacement for my iPod, it does handle most of my music-listening requirements; being able to have the music from my home computer with me in the car, at the office and when I travel.
Simplify Media is a free, music- and photo-streaming application that allows you to listen, view and share media from your computer over the Internet.
The first step to getting started is to download the Simplify Media application to your base computer. You can do this by going to simplifymedia.com and clicking on the download link. The application is free and versions are available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu operating systems.
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The first time you launch the application it will prompt you to create an account by choosing a screen name and password. You’ll need this account information later to connect from other computers or mobile devices.
After your account is created, you’ll pick a name for the computer you’re using (e.g., home), choose where the media is located that you’d like to share, and you’re ready to go. You can choose to share all of your music and photos, or just specific folders, playlists or albums.
If you’re looking to share media between your own computers, you’ll simply need to download and install SimplifyMedia on each of the computers you want to share, and sign into each with the same screen name and password that you chose above.
Now, let’s say you have a friend with a killer music collection and you’d like to be able to listen to their music on your computer. No problem (if they agree). All you’ll need is to have them download and install the program on their computer and sign up for a unique screen name and password. Then it’s as easy as getting their screenname and inviting them to connect. Simplify Media allows you to connect with up to 30 friends.
To listen to your shared music libraries, launch your preferred music software (Simplify works with iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player 11, Front Row and Rhythmbox) and you should see the remote libraries appear right in these programs. It’s important to note that both the computer hosting the files and the computer playing the files will need to be on and have the Simplify Media application running in order for this to work.
If you are sharing photos, you can view these either through the Photo Viewer located in the main SimplifyMedia menu, on a Mac in iPhoto or through the Simplify virtual local drive in Windows Explorer.
Finally, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can also stream media from your home and friends’ computers to your mobile phone. To do so you’ll need to buy either the Simplify Music 2 app ($5.99) for music sharing, the Simplify Photo app ($2.99), or both from the Apple app store.
While Simplify Media is not an exact replacement for my defunct iPod, I’m now still able to listen to my home computer music from my office computer, my laptop when I travel (as long as I have internet access) and now on my iPhone anywhere that I have a data signal. Plus, now there’s one less device that I have to carry around.
Jessie Williams is the owner of Second October Media, http://www.secondoctober.com, a Web development and graphic design firm in Edwards. Have a tech question you’d like answered? E-mail her at email@example.com.