Last week's post about Living with Windows XP generated a virtual storm of comments. Most readers echoed my own personal notion of sticking with XP for the near future instead of upgrading to Windows Vista.
It's not surprising that a discussion about operating systems can arouse empassioned responses. After all, it's the most essential software many of us run. The only other current candidate for king of software apps is the mighty Web browser.
I've been thinking about browsers lately, as well as my allegiance to Mozilla Firefox as my personal surfing weapon of choice. With the amount of customization and third-party add-ons, the open-source browser is extremely tough to beat.… Read more
The new beta version of the classic streaming-media app RealPlayer lets users record both audio and video streams to their hard drives. In this Quick Tips video from CNET TV, Tom Merritt shows you how it's done.
Adobe Systems intends to add support for a video compression standard that will bring high-definition video to Flash-based streaming content on the Web.
The company on Tuesday announced the release of a beta version of its Flash Player, code-named Moviestar, that adds support for H.264, the video compression portion of the MPEG 4 standard.
The updated Flash Player also will be able to take advantage of hardware acceleration in most PCs' graphics cards and is optimized for dual-core processors, said Mark Randall, chief strategist for dynamic media at Adobe. It will support HE-AAC version 2, a more efficient audio compression standard that is also part of MPEG 4.
The new features will be made available in the fall as part of an update to Flash Player 9.
Support for the H.264 standard will lead to more Web video content being available in high definition, Randall said. He said Adobe chose to support the standard now because it is being adopted more by content producers and media distributors like cable companies. It also used in DVD formats Blu-Ray and Hi-DVD.… Read more
Sometimes less really is more, and software that does a single task well is better than a feature-rich app that bogs down performance, clogs system memory, or over-reaches its abilities. Here are seven programs that were built to do a specific job, and succeed. These downloads may not have all the fixin's, but they taste great all the same.
UPDATED: We asked for your favorite picks and you responded. Here are five fresh one-trick ponies of the software world that you just love to bits.
MediaCell Video Converter This multiformat video converter makes the list thanks to a three-part, one-pane interface from which you browse for the video file, select the mobile device you'll be watching it on, and click the large, bubbly "convert" button. No need to concern yourself with file formats, bit rates, and sound quality. While users certainly can tweak the volume and settings themselves in the app's "output" section, MediaCell Video Converter's preset optimizations per device make it unnecessary for most.… Read more
LogMeIn. GoToMyPC. Radmin. CrossLoop. MyIVO. Envision, if you will, a fierce battle waged by these multiple armies, a mad melee of digital pikes, longbows, broadswords, dotanuki and, oh, an anachronistic Sherman tank for fun, and you've got a very vivid imagination.
It's also not a bad metaphor for the remote access wars, which are currently roiling in a frothy boil. LogMeIn Ignition is upping their ante. It's a nifty little self-contained program that you install on your desktop, then copy the EXE onto a portable device such as an iPod, flash drive or a BlackBerry. Connect that device to any PC, double-click on Ignition and you've got instant access to any of the machines saved in your LogMeIn account.
When Power Downloader recently realized his backup system was beginning to grow cluttered, he knew he needed to take action. As someone who routinely backs up case files and secret documents to separate drives for safe keeping, the first area Power decided to clean up was where there might be duplicates or outdated files. The only problem was, with so many versions of similar files on several drives, he wasn't sure what to keep and what to delete.… Read more
I've often said no matter how good a piece of software is, there's someone out there who can make it better. Sometimes a third-party add-on can be so simple that I can't figure out why the developer didn't think of it in the original program. Then, of course, I wonder why I didn't think of it myself. As the great inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Well, here's to an idea for which I should have donned the proverbial overalls.… Read more