Friday, October 10, 2014

Moving a Music Library to Linux

J. D. BIERSDORFER/The New York Times

Q. If I back up my files from Windows XP and install Linux on the PC instead, will I still be able to play all the music I ripped from my CD collection?

A. Several media players are available for the Linux operating system, so you should not have any trouble finding a program to play the music files salvaged from your old Windows XP machine, which is now unsupported by Microsoft. Many programs cannot play tracks with copy restrictions built in, but if you converted the songs to unprotected MP3 files or another unrestricted format, they should play fine on a Linux system.

Some of the more user-friendly Linux distributions come with music programs; recent versions of Ubuntu Linux, for instance, have included theRhythmbox music player. Through Linux software repositories and sites, you can find other music players like Clementine, Banshee or Exaile to try as well. The versatile VLC Media Player can play video as well as audio files in many formats.

Depending on the Linux distribution and player software you choose, you may get prompted to download extra software or plug-ins to play certain file formats, MP3 included. Once you get your program of choice configured, however, it should work much like a media player on a Windows machine. Many Linux music programs also let you play audio CDs and podcasts, stream Internet radio and even manage your collection on a portable device.

Easier Reading in Google Maps

Q. Is there any way to make the text bigger in Google Maps on the computer?

A. You can increase the size of the text on a Google map in a couple of ways. For one, the same keyboard shortcut used by most browsers for increasing the size of the text and images within the window also works in Google Maps. With a map open on screen, keep pressing the Control and + (plus) keys on a Windows keyboard until you have enlarged a static portion of the map to your satisfaction; Mac users should press the Command and + (plus) keys.

To gradually decrease the size of the image within the browser, press the Control/Command and the – (minus) keys, or press Control/Command and the 0 (zero) keys to return to the default size.

As another approach, you can make things more readable on the map by clicking the zoom buttons (also labeled + and -) on the right side of the Google Maps window to come in for a closer, more detailed view of the area. As you zoom in closer, you also see additional aspects of the selected area (like buildings and landmarks), along with easier-to-see map text and specific street names. If you are using a mouse with a scroll wheel, you can zoom in and out of the map by moving the wheel.

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