How to get unlimited free holiday music on your phone or tablet

Warm fire, check. Good company and good cheer, check. Now all you need is some good holiday music, which you can get in virtually unlimited quantities on your smartphone or tablet. And it won't cost you anything extra.

With the exception of iTunes Radio, which is available only for iOS devices, most of the services listed below are available for most mobile platforms.

iTunes Radio

Surprisingly, Apple's new streaming service has only one holiday-themed Featured Station, at least for the moment: the very good Rockin' Holiday. And if you search for "holidays," you get only a … Read more

The Wrecking Crew: The best-selling band you've never heard of

I'm a big fan of music documentaries, but "The Wrecking Crew: The Untold Story of Rock & Roll Heroes" is easily the best I've seen in years. The band was made up of LA studio pros who would show up for a 3- or 4-hour session, and produce hit after hit. Their biggest successes came in the 1960s and 1970s, and for six consecutive years starting in 1966 the Wrecking Crew played on the Grammy Award-winning "Record of the Year." The band worked all the time, with Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach … Read more

Waving goodbye to Winamp, paying respects to Nullsoft

If you downloaded a song in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you most likely did it with Winamp. This week, the world said goodbye to the legendary media player with plenty of nostalgia, but for me, Winamp's death means the end of a very personal era. Here are some of my memories of working at Nullsoft, the company that created it.

When I first started there in 2001, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. America Online had just bought the company, and Nullsoft employees weren't thrilled with the prospect of being told what to do by a large company with a lot of rules. Many of us were young and full of "piss off" energy.

Nullsoft's story started way before I arrived. In 1996, Winamp -- short for "Windows Amplifier" -- was created and released by computer programmer Justin Frankel. He went on to start his company Nullsoft (a parody of Microsoft's name) a year later. … Read more

How to deauthorize Amazon Cloud Player devices

Amazon Cloud Player can stream and download your music library to as many as 10 PCs and mobile devices, which for some users is more than enough. But if you're a tech junkie and/or you share that library with family members, you might be surprised how quickly you hit that limit.

Indeed, if you own a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, a Roku box, and a late-model Ford (seriously), you might already be halfway to your device cap. For me it was a case of older devices I was no longer using, but had forgotten were still connected … Read more

Review: WavePad Sound Editor Free offers cool features and effects

WavePad Sound Editor Free lets you do a lot to your music files, but it has some hang-ups that make it a little annoying to use. Many of the features you'd want from the program are locked away in other programs that the app suggests you download. Still, what's inside of this program is worth using if you need to edit your audio files.

WavePad Sound Editor Free is part of a suite of audio- and video-editing apps that help you polish your media files. The program will advertise all of those other programs while you're using … Read more

Auris Skye adds AirPlay and DLNA to 30-pin speaker docks (hands-on)

If you've been vested in the iDevice ecosystem for a while, you probably own a speaker dock that has a 30-pin connector -- one that is now incompatible with your current-generation iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Those newfangled Lightning ports make docking out of the question.

So, what happens to that perfectly good speaker? Craigslist? Garage sale? Landfill?! (Horrors.) If it's a higher-end speaker that you want to keep using, consider giving it a wireless makeover. The Auris Skye is a small receiver that endows 30-pin speaker docks with AirPlay, DLNA, and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities.

If that sounds … Read more

Get a GoGroove FlexSmart X3 Bluetooth FM transmitter for $39.99 shipped

To me there's nothing sadder than a car that lacks Bluetooth. Well, OK, there are lots of things sadder, but for anyone who drives and owns a smartphone, it's definitely a bummer.

Because without Bluetooth to link the phone to the car stereo, how does one listen to one's playlists? One's podcasts? How does one conduct a hands-free call? One does not! This is how sad that makes me.

Fortunately, you don't have to throw out your car and buy a new one. All you need is an FM transmitter that can act as the … Read more

Interactive Dylan video takes surreal roll through TV land

Almost 50 years after Bob Dylan released "Like a Rolling Stone" as a single, the song is finally getting an official music video. And as one might imagine from a song about alienation and aimlessness, it features a cartoon cat and the host of "The Price of Right."

The vid, which went live on Bob Dylan's official Web site Tuesday, employs interactive technology to let viewers flip though 16 faux TV channels in real time. The channels feature snippets from real shows -- ESPN sports updates and History Network programs, for example -- alongside others that mimic reality TV shows like "The Bachelor." All the while, recognizable TV personalities such as Drew Carey, comedian Marc Maron, and the cast of "Pawn Stars" mouth the words to the classic song. … Read more

Leonardo da Vinci piano hybrid heard after 500 years

Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci loved to rock.

An unusual musical instrument that combines keyboard and cellos has seen the light of day some 500 years after the Renaissance superman conceived it.

Leonardo's viola organista has come to life through the passion of Polish pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki, who has played a lavishly designed version of it in concert. … Read more

Seven tips for Google's Play Music on iOS

As of last week, iOS users can now take advantage of Google's Play Music service. The service lets you upload music you already own, create random playlists, and use Google's All Access Internet radio service.

The iOS app has some limitations, however, and does require some workarounds in certain instances to accomplish what should be simple tasks.

Here are seven tips to help you with your first experience with Google Play Music on iOS, especially if you've never used the service before.

Set up your account

The first thing you'll need to do, even before downloading … Read more