Free tunes for the season, and other baubles

John Gushue
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Every year, we make a stocking stuffer for friends and family that involves a CD and a bunch of Christmas songs. The younger set, I’m sure, probably wonder why we use such a dinosaur of a method for storing music (I can’t quite make the leap to giving people a USB drive), but the older ones seem to enjoy the tradition.

A theme of this week’s column involves giving and the spirit of the season, and the first stop indeed is a place where I found a tune last year that wound up on this year’s CD.

Paste Holiday Sampler 2013

Paste magazine is a fine read, particularly if you’re a music fan whose tastes go beyond the Top 40 charts. Each year, Paste’s website offers an album as a Christmas present to its audience … and it’s free. This year’s sampler was posted earlier this week, and offers the typically eclectic mix, of artists you know (Otis Redding) to goodies you were hoping you’d discover. You have to register by email to download, but the whole process takes no time. And did I mention it’s free?

Rolling Stone: Daily Download

For a magazine that’s getting close to 50, Rolling Stone has been able to stay current. Whether you like the musicians they emphasize depends, I guess, on your taste. Check this page each day for a tune you can download for free.

NFB Advent Calendar

This one isn’t free, but it’s close! For 99 cents, you can download this app from the National Film Board. Like a proper Advent calendar, there’s a new treat each day, and in this case, they’re films from the NFB’s wondrous vaults. Day 1’s choice, for instance, was “The Cat Came Back,” which made me feel a whole lot younger.

Hubble Advent Calendar

In the same vein, get ready for a daily joy from the Hubble space telescope. The Atlantic’s website will be unveiling a new stunner each day through to Christmas; star of wonder, indeed!

Christmas Countdown Widget

If you use the popular WordPress publishing platform, think about this plug-in to generate a wee bit of holiday excitement: a countdown button that lays out the road to Dec. 25.

All Things D

The D in this case is Digital, and to some the site is still known as All Things Digital: a roundup (or aggregator, if you’re a notch more techie in your talk) of news, business reports, industry gossip, etc., about hardware, mobile, telecom, social media and anything relevant in our digital lives. A go-to place to keep abreast of the never-ending changes around us, particularly on the companies, platforms and services competing for our attention and favour.

Get Rich Slowly

Getting rich instantly is fun and exciting, but a total fantasy; getting rich slowly, by comparison, must seem rather dull … but, if you stick with it, far more likely than, say, winning the lottery. This blog is neither saucy nor provocative, but let’s consider its plain-Jane approach to things as a blessing.

You’ll find tips on making a dollar stretch farther (a penny saved is a penny earned, after all), how to be a savvier consumer and points to consider about your personal financial security.

Yes, it’s not thrilling, but you’re bound to thank yourself later.

Organizations: Rolling Stone, DLUEcfPaste magazine, National Film Board

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