firewing1's blog

Favourite Freeware Apps for Windows

Well, as usual, it's been a while... I'll start by saying happy new year! Better late than never I guess ;)

Anyways, ever since I started developing fwbackups for Windows I've had to use it a lot more often than I used to. Here's a list of some (free) Windows apps I've found to be very useful:

  • iTunes: As much trouble as I've had in the past with Apple products, I've yet to see a better media player that's as easy to use, configure and has equivalent features. The only thing I wish is that I could import with lame directly from iTunes.
    • iTunes Lyrics Importer searches lyricswiki.org for song lyrics and automatically updates your iTunes library
    • iTunes Library Updater (iTLU) makes it a breeze to manage your library when it comes to updating track info, adding new songs or removing the dead links in your library.
  • Notepad++: One of the best text editors I've seen when it comes to programming or just general-purpose text. Of course, nothing beats good old GEdit though ;)
  • MediaCoder is a free audio and video transcoder. It supports almost any format you can imagine, has a nice interface, huge amount of features, and even some presets for various devices like the PSP or iPod.
  • WinSCP for all your secure file copying needs.
  • PuTTY for all your SSH needs.
  • 7-zip: Finally, open bz2 archives and a whole lot more without any annoying "trial" and "upgrade now" messages!

All these programs are free to download & use, and most are open source. Enjoy!

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iPod touch

I have to say, I'm impressed. I'm typing this from an iPod while listening to citizen cope... You can even type with two fingers! ;)

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obsethryl's lab

I came accross obsethryl's lab the other day. It's the website of Freenode's #labchat IRC channel where you can talk about GNU/Linux, software mediated automation, development on opensource platforms, automation, and anything concerning else cross-platform FOSS software. Besides being a great idea the site looks really neat! (read: resize your window and watch the background Wink)

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Join the team

Because of time constrains, it's getting tougher to upkeep every one of my open source projects - If you'd like to help out developing one of them, please let me know.

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Web coding tutorial

I realized that I had made this web coding tutorial a while ago but forgot to publish it officially... It covers some common HTML skills and tags (including tables and frames) and introduces some basic CSS.

It's still not complete, but I promise I'll get a new revision online soon. Enjoy!

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Werewolf

Fedora 8 (Werewolf) is here! I've been using it as my primary OS since Test 2 came out, and it's been rock stable ever since RC2 in my case (though I heard there may have been a few bug in NetworkManager concerning certain types of wireless networks; That will be fixed in a zero-day update). Be sure to check out Werewolf's downloads and the release notes, as well as the updated collection of Fedora 8 howtos!

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I'm tired of this (rev3)

Apple has been in my good books for a long time because as their computers have no problems. Nearly no viruses, popups or adware at all. No additional software needed. Their computers 'just worked', right out of the box. I'm seeing more and more things in Apple that I don't like, things that I stopped using Microsoft's products for. Apple's products work wonderfully, but in many cases only with other Apple-based products. iPhone. iPod. iLife. iMac. And even then I find they don't work that well all the time.

A perfect example is recently when I was creating a slideshow using music purchased from iTunes. The iTunes Plus tracks worked flawlessly - Drag & drop, that was it. I'm happy Steve Jobs supports it and I really hope the industry moves DRM free... But I'm getting off track. I try the regular iTunes tracks (DRM encumbered) and turns out they refused to be added to the iMovie slideshow claiming the computer wasn't authorized. I entered my password, authorizing from iMovie which didn't work so then from iTunes too. I even deauthorized and reauthorized the Macbook in iTunes to make sure. Then I tried playing the tracks in iTunes - It worked. I switched to iMovie and what d'ya you know, same results. In the end I burnt all the songs to two CDs and then ripped them. Another two hours of my time wasted. Apple's FairPlay doesn't seem too fair at all - I couldn't use it on the very same computer I had purchased the songs from, and forget even trying to play them on another computer. I don't even know if you can put songs purchased from iTunes onto non-iPod players without having to break the DRM first (which is illegal in the US).

This time, Apple has added encrypted firmware and hashes in the database which makes it near impossible to use a new iPod with 3rd party tools (see the article I posted at the beginning of this entry). To make it worse, the encrypted firmware makes you unable to run Linux (aka Rockbox) on it to workaround the database issue. One could say otherwise, but I don't see the advantage of encrypted firmware or hashes in the database to users... What do the 3rd party tools change from Apple point of view? Users have still purchased their iPods, and whether people update iPods from iTunes or GtkPod doesn't make a difference to Apple whatsoever.

Considering one can't use an iPod with Linux anymore, I'll have to use iTunes from Windows or Mac OS X. And considering what happened the last time I used iTunes, I won't be buying the new iPod everyone's talking about either.

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Accellerated screen capture

I've been on the lookout for an accellerated screen capture on Linux for a while but to no avail... If you know of an accellerated screen capture application (eg one I could use to capture Compiz effects smoothly @ 20fps) please let me know.

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DBA

DBA: Drivers before Activation.

I'll have to remember that next time I install XP, as after installing the Intel and JMicron RAID/SATA controller drivers Windows thought I had "major hardware changes" and required me to reactivate my machine... At which point it said I had reached the maximum number of activations (which really was only one, half an hour before, to be precise) so I had to call Microsoft to get that sorted out.

I wish I could opt out of all this genuine activation.

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Something new every day...

This one's my fault for skipping through the Python docs, but I recently found __getattr__ which is incredibly useful. One of those nifty features I missed from PHP when programming Python was the $$name variables, where I could name a variable based on the content of another or retrieve variables from the string (name) stored in another variable. __getattr__ does just this, and even better - You can call functions or methods with it too!

So here's my tip of the day: Both Python and __getattr__ are awesome Laughing

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