Featured Freeware: Orb

Orb melds module-based personal portals with your hard drive's media content and lets you stream it to almost any Internet-connected handheld device.

This is not a flashback to the chart-defying tricks of ambient house music progenitors The Orb, although if you have their music you can use this Orb to play it anywhere. No, this Orb melds module-based personal portals with your hard drive's media content and lets you stream it to almost any Internet-connected handheld device, including iPhones.

The setup will probably be challenging to users who aren't familiar with how to open ports, but, fortunately, there's plenty of help in Orb's user forums. Once you're good to go, the program launches in your browser and you can choose whether you want your video module to be front and center, how wide your music module should be, and if you really need yet another weather widget. Uploading your media files is a time-consuming and tedious process that could be greatly improved upon. After that, you can "MyCast" them, which is Orb's name for webcasting. If your home PC has coaxial access, you can stream television, as well as photos, video files, and music.

By circumventing the need to reload media files on a second machine and having the handheld connection, Orb seems pretty nifty. The system requirements, though, are stringent, and the upload process is slow-going, making this a useful product with room for improvement.

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