WE'RE LIVING IN the Internet Age, so what good is a music collection that remains trapped in your home PC? Your songs should be able to go wherever you go, be it the office, a friend's home, an airport lounge, or even the backseat of a taxi. Fortunately, liberating your song library is easier than you might think: You can stream it from your PC or the Web to just about anyplace else. Better still, unlike a new iPod, streaming won't cost you a cent.
Orb is a free service that turns,your PC into a media server, stream,ing songs, video, photos, and 1V to almost any Web-connected device. So you can tap into
your media from your laptop, Palm Centro, Nintendo Wii, or iPhone-to name just a few supported gadgets. The Orb software requires Windows XP or later and a broadband Internet connection. Once Orb is installed, configure it to monitor your media folders. The software will also help you sign up for a free Orb account.
You'll need to leave your host PC on at all times. If it goes into power-saving sleep mode, no problem: Orb can transmit a wake-up command. (You may need to tweak the BIOS or ethernetadapter settings to enable the Wake on LAN option.) To listen to your tunes, fire up a Web browser on a PC, smart phone, game console, or whatever, and then head over to mycastorb.com. The Orb interface varies depending on the device you use to access it; a PC affords the richest experience.
Click Audio-Random if you just want to shuffie-play your song library, or click the OpcnApplication button and then Audio for a familiar media-player interface.
Orb is by no means the only option for streaming music from your PC; others include JukeFly, Squeeze Center, and Vibe Streamer. Like Orb, these services cost nothing to use, but they stream only audio-with no video or photo support and their support for mobile with a Web browser, including the iPhone, can give you access to your Orb media library. devices is limited (or nonexistent). In the end, Orb is a snap to set up and use, makČing it the obvious choice if you want anytime, anywh.ere access to your tunes.