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Streaming music from the cloud for free with Google Music

Updated November 20, 2020

Note: In October 2020, Google shut down the Google Play Music service and recommended users transfer their accounts to YouTube Music. All of the links in this article have been changed to YouTube Music.

Google recently introduced a new music service into its catalog of products called Google Music. With Google Music, you can store all of your music to your account on Google's servers and stream it back to your favorite device. Google Music gives you space for 20,000 songs, which roughly comes out to around 100 gigabytes of storage for free!

My library on the Google Music website
My library on the Google Music website

You can access your music from any browser with an internet connection, or you can use the Google Music Android app. There are two ways of getting songs into Google Music. You can download free music or purchase music from the Android Market. Or you can use the Music Manager program from Google to download / upload music to / from your computer. A few of the cool features are Auto Playlists (any song you have Thumbs up'd), Instant Mixes (a quick mix of 25 songs), and Playlists. And with free / purchased music, you can share a listen with your circles on Google+.

The Google Music Manager interface
The Google Music Manager interface

Music Manager is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. There is one restriction on types of music files; only MP3 format is allowed to be uploaded. And you will need to have the latest version of Flash for the Google Music website. Here's a quote from the website:

Google Music stores all of your music online so that you can save space on your computers and mobile devices and easily access your collection from anywhere you want to listen.

Use Google Music to browse and search your library, easily create playlists, rate your favorite songs, edit song information, and more. Since your music collection is online, you don’t need to worry about syncing these changes across your devices.

Storage

  • Android Market purchases - Free and purchased music is automatically saved to your Google Music library and does not count towards your storage limit.
  • Your personal collection - You can add up to 20,000 songs to Google Music from your PC, Mac, or Linux computer, free of charge. All you need to do is download a simple desktop application called Music Manager to the computer where you keep your music. Music Manager can upload your iTunes and Windows Media Player library, playlists, playcounts, ratings, and more.

For more information on Google Music, follow the links below:

YouTube Music

Learn to build and deploy Android apps with the Google App Inventor book

Do you want to build an Android app and don't know where to start? Are you overwhelmed by all of the information on Google App Inventor? Then look no further than the Google App Inventor book by Ralph Roberts and Packt Publishing Ltd.

Cover page for the Google App Inventor book
Cover page for the Google App Inventor book

This book makes it easy to install Google App Inventor on Mac, GNU/Linux, and Windows to packaging apps for the Android Marketplace. Ralph's step-by-step, hands-on approach to teaching is both entertaining and informative.

An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book
An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book

The Google App Inventor book covers in-depth blocks, components, and the concepts behind them. The writing is concise and straightforward with learning aids like 'What just happened' and 'Pop quiz'. I found the 'Have a go here' sample projects outlined in the book to very educational and fun. Ralph also includes a free six-button template as a bonus. Here is an excerpt from the book itself:

As to prior knowledge and programming experience needed in creating apps and publishing them to places such as the Android market, you need practically none! This is the truly beautiful part of AI: its visual interface allows anyone from elementary school kids to us older people to make apps from the beginning without special knowledge.

Google App Inventor by Ralph Roberts is available in both print and e-book format from Packt Publishing Ltd. For more information, follow the links below:

Google App Inventor Book
Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book and eBook Store

Run another OS on top of your existing OS for free with Oracle VirtualBox

Have you ever wanted or needed to run a different operating system than what you currently have installed on your computer? Maybe you want to run an old Windows 95 game, or maybe try out Linux and don't have another computer to do it. Then a VirtualBox may be the answer.

Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 8 running inside of VirtualBox
Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 8 running inside of VirtualBox

One of my favorite things to do is trying out new software (Android-x86, Windows 8). I have used VM's (virtual machines) for many years now to do just that and have found VirtualBox to be the one I use the most often.

Windows 7 with multiple monitors running inside of VirtualBox
Windows 7 with multiple monitors running inside of VirtualBox

With its flexibility in configuration, multiple monitor support, and support for 64-bit virtual machines (only on 64-bit host operating systems), it's my choice for VM. And did I mention that's it's free? Here's a quote from the VirtualBox website:

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. See "About VirtualBox" for an introduction.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD.

VirtualBox is being actively developed with frequent releases and has an ever growing list of features, supported guest operating systems and platforms it runs on. VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company: everyone is encouraged to contribute while Oracle ensures the product always meets professional quality criteria.

For more information on Oracle VirtualBox, follow the link below:

Oracle VirtualBox

Run Android OS on your netbook, laptop or personal computer with Android-x86

With all of the talk nowadays about moving from personal computers to smartphones and tablets, I wondered if I could have the best of both worlds. I wanted to know is if I could run a version of the Android OS on my netbook. Having set up both multi-boot computers and virtual machines, I thought that it might be possible. And with the Android-x86 Project, it is.

Android-x86 opening screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 opening screen running inside of an Oracle VirtualBox

The Android-x86 Project is an Apache open-source project working on porting the Android operating system to the x86 hardware architecture. It's the same hardware architecture that is in almost all netbooks/laptops and personal computers. They have a couple of different builds for different systems (32-bit, 64-bit, and UEFI), mainly netbooks, laptops, and tablets.

Android-x86 main screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 main screen running inside of an Oracle VirtualBox

Android-x86 can be run from a cd, installed into a virtual machine like Oracle's VirtualBox, a USB drive, or your computer's hard drive as the primary operating system. You can even set it up to multi-boot with Windows. Here's a quote from the Android-x86 website:

This is a project to port Android open-source project to x86 platform, formerly known as "patch hosting for android x86 support". The original plan is to host different patches for android x86 support from the open-source community. A few months after we created the project, we found out that we could do much more than just hosting patches. So we decide to create our code base to provide support on different x86 platforms, and set up a git server to host it.

For more information on the Android-x86 Project, follow the links below:

Android-x86 Project - Run Android on Your PC

Disable Windows hibernation and free up disk space

If you're a hardcore computer user like me, you have your system running 24/7—no screen saver or power saver options (I turn off the monitors when not in use). I need to be able to walk into my office and have it ready to go. So when I noticed that my version of Windows 7 still had the Hiberfil.sys file and I am not using hibernation, it was time to remove this file and regain that hard drive space back (in my case, 8 Gb)

The Hiberfil.sys is a hidden system file located in the drive's root folder where Windows is installed. The Windows Kernel Power Manager creates this file when you install Windows. This file's size is approximately equal to how much Random Access Memory (RAM) is installed on the computer.

The computer uses the Hiberfil.sys file to store a copy of the system memory on the hard disk when hibernation is turned on. If this file is not present, the computer cannot go into hibernation.

To delete the Hiberfil.sys file and make hibernation unavailable, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. If User Account Control prompts you, click Continue.
    Disable Windows Hibernation at the Command Prompt
  4. At the Command Prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window.

To recreate the Hiberfil.sys file and make hibernation available, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. If User Account Control prompts you, click Continue.
    Renable Windows Hibernation at the Command Prompt
  4. At the Command Prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate on and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window.

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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