I will be happy to tell you what I can.
1) Um…sort of. It just takes longer, especially if you have a 56K like I do.
2) My Gateway EV700 came with the capabilities already built in. I believe you could buy a CD burner/writer…Someone else can describe this a bit better.
3-4) I used to use Napster but all their legal problems made me nervous, so I dumped all the files and severed all ties. Now I use Audiogalaxy, at www.audiogalaxy.com. You create a user name and password, download their satellite (program that allows you to send and receive music files via their site), and start searching for songs. the trick is to spell them wrong, or spell the bands’ name wrong, or watch for the first line of the song used in place of a title. This is to get around the copyrights. Then you click on “get most popular version” and wait for the download to complete. It often takes me 20-40 minutes to get one song, so I just request two or three at a time. It does slow everything down for me, though, so I don’t do it until I’m finished with all other surfing…except Doping, of course. Audiogalaxy is free.
I log out when the song has been received. Then I search for it in my hard drive by entering part or all of the title or artist’s name. It will appear as a file and if you already have a default player, like Real Player, Windows Media, or (in my case) Musicmatch, it should start playing. You can save up a whole playlist/virtual jukebox that way. I’ve got several such lists now. I have also burned the songs onto blank CDRs (recordables) using my Easy CD Creator (came pre-installed on my system).
I just create a file for them within it, name it, drag and drop their icons into it, save it, and when it’s full (18 to 20 songs) I put a blank CD in the drive, click on Record, and it takes just five minutes. I cannot play them in my old CD boombox because it cannot read them, but they play just fine in computer drives.
Well, that was long-winded of me…but I hope it has helped.
P.S. You can also put your regular commercial CDs into your drive, and if you have something similar to the Easy CD creator, you can convert a desired song to a .WAV file and make it part of your collection of songs to be saved, playlisted, or burned later.
There is a pretty good book that I got from Garageband when they were still up and running called The MP3 and Internet Audio Handbook . It is by Bruce Fries and Gary Fries. Good info.