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Solutions: Music streaming services offer plenty for free

Do you have a recommendation for any of the music streaming services?

I'm certainly not an expert on music streaming, but I've had reason to look into this for myself lately, and I was surprised to find some relatively recent changes in what they have to offer. Most music streaming service websites provide a library of approximately 20 million songs, and almost all of them are available for listening for nothing more than creating a free login. There are very few "free lunches" to be had these days, but this comes very close to being one. At the free level, you will have to listen through very infrequent brief commercials (mostly a few seconds of ads from other artists). The pay-for versions (about $10 a month) eliminate commercials and also include download privileges. But if all you want to do is listen, it is free. Almost every artist, album, song from the last 70+ years is available. Microsoft (xmusic.com) and Spotify (spotify.com) are two of the largest providers, but there are others entering the mix like Sony (sonyentertainmentnetwork.com). Microsoft's site is integrated seamlessly with the Windows 8 music app and works pretty well, but can be a little clumsy when navigating. Spotify's interface is a more traditional interface and can be navigated a little more easily. No need to download any programs; the Web versions work just fine. But here's what gave these services added value for me: For my last Windows 8 laptop, I spent the extra $20 and got the optional Bluetooth network adapter. This allowed me to steam music from my PC inside the house to a wireless Bluetooth speaker out by my pool. Connecting to a Bluetooth speaker is easy, and they can be found from $30 on up to rattling-neighbor's-window power.

I have an HP purchased in 2008 using Vista that continually freezes. Often a message pops up saying that a problem was incurred due to a "long running script" and an "x" comes up for me to click to "stop script." Is there any way that I can get rid of this "script"? Also, when typing an email with nothing else open, I get a message stating "high CPU usage by Internet Explorer." What could be causing that?

It's possible that your 5-year-old hardware is having problems handling some of the more complicated graphics on certain websites. The "long running script" is a script on the website (not your PC), and the "high CPU usage" message may be due to an older video/graphics card or driver. Within Internet Explorer, click Tools, Internet Options, Advanced tab, then find Accelerated graphics section. If the "Use software rendering" option is checked, see if you can uncheck it. If your video card doesn't support GPU, rendering it will be grayed out. In that case you can check to make sure you have the latest video device driver for your particular video/graphics card. If nothing works, try running Internet Explorer in no-addon mode by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Internet Explorer (No Add-ons). If that solves the issue, try disabling some of your Internet Explorer Add-ons.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Music streaming services offer plenty for free 07/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 8:57pm]
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