Music in the free world

hot tip 1 RealJukebox can change its face with skins. Make sure your Net connection is live, and then choose View-Skins-Get Skins.

hot tips Don't lose RealJukebox in the shuffle of open windows. First, shrink it with View-Skin Mode, then right-click anywhere in the now-miniature RealJukebox display, and select View-Always on Top.

hot tip 3 By default, RealJukebox sticks all music files into the C:\My Music folder it creates during installation. If you want to store them elsewhere, choose Options-Preferences, click the File Storage tab, and specify a different drive or folder in the "Recorded Music: File Location" field.

hot tip 4 Make a playlist. One of RealJukebox's neatest tricks is organising MP3 files into custom playlists. Think of this as mixing your own CD without actually burning a disc. There are several ways to add tracks to a playlist, but the simplest is to drag and drop. Click Music Library at the left of the RealJukebox display, right-click Playlist, and select New Playlist. Name the play-list. Click Album and then click one of the CDs you've recorded in the right-hand pane. Use -click and -click to select multiple tracks. Then drag and drop your selections onto the playlist.

hot tip 5 Hate a tune that RealJukebox downloaded? Get rid of it by right-clicking the tune and selecting Delete. In the ensuing dialogue box, make sure you check the "Also delete file(s) from hard drive" box before clicking the Delete button.

hot tip 6 Sometimes, downloaded tunes sport cryptic titles like k5146_1237_2_9.mp3. Rename a track within RealJukebox by right-clicking it and choosing Rename Track. Type in the new name and press Enter.

hot tip 7 Make sure you close all open applications before you click the Run Test button to see if RealJukebox can digitally extract data from the CD. High processor and memory loads can fool RealJukebox into thinking it must record in analog.

hot tip 8 To decrease the chance of pops or skips in your ripped recordings, close all applications and documents so that RealJukebox is the only open app while it records.

hot tip 9 To cram a Rio (or other player) with as much music as possible, highlight the portable player in RealJukebox and click the Configure button. Check "Always convert to" in the "When to convert:" section, and then choose "MP3 56 Kbps" or "MP3 64 Kbps" from the Quality list. Click OK. Now, any track you tell RealJukebox to move to the Rio is first downgraded in quality level, saving space.

hot tip 10 Need some new tunes to keep you awake through that all-nighter at the office? If you buy a CD from one of My.MP3.com's partners - www.junglejeff.com or www.duffelbag.com - the tracks are ready to stream to your PC as soon as your credit card is authorised. The sellers still ship a physical CD, of course.

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