That problem is now solved with a great little program called Vibe Streamer. Essentially, Vibe Streamer turns your computer into a server, so that you can stream your music over the internet. Even better, the program is completely free.
The setup for the program is a snap. I had it running in less than 5 minutes. And don't worry if you're not very technical minded. The instructions on the site are really clear and really, there's not much to fiddle with once you install it. All you do is pick which folders on your hard drive to share and set up a user account. Then you're all set. After that, as long as your host computer is on and Vibe Streamer is running, you can access your music at any computer simply by connecting to your server with any browser. The URL to your server is the IP of your host computer followed by the port number, for example: http://192.168.0.1:8081/ (192.168.0.1 is the IP and 8081 is the port). You enter your username and password from the user account you set up before and voila, your streaming your own music.
The program is fairly new, so it's missing some features and has some minor bugs, but the developer has a great Support forum going for the program, where you can get help and see the features planned for future versions. You can even request features on the Support forum.
Technically, Vibe Streamer is meant to only stream your own music files, not share them, so as to remain fully legal. But let's say you're listening to your music from a friend's house and they say, "Hey, I really like that song, can I have it?" Well, I've figured out a little hack so you can download songs from your Vibe Streamer server (shh, don't tell).
While connected to your server, right click on a file name in the files list on the right hand side. Choose properties from the context menu. You should see the partial path to the file, for example, My Music/Aerosmith/Aerosmith- Janies Got a Gun.mp3. Copy this and paste it in your browser's URL field after the URL for your server for example: http://192.168.0.1:8081/My Music/Aerosmith/Aerosmith- Janies Got a Gun.mp3. Now you need to add one more thing. Before /My Music add /virtual. You now have the direct path to your file. Hit go on your address bar and depending on your browser settings, one of two things will happen, your browser will either ask you if you want to download the file and where or the mp3 will start playing automatically. If it plays, simply go to your browser's file menu and click Save Page As. Since the only thing on your "page" is an mp3 file, that's what will be saved.
There's also a way to share files other than mp3s, but this post is already too long so I'll let you figure that one out on your own. Although if you do get Vibe Streamer running and want to know how to do it, email me and I'll help you out.
Categories: Software, Music, How-To