June 23, 2008

Stuff to Download: Windows Edition Part 1?

Here are some great applications that'll guarantee your piece of mind and convenience- and they're free! (Download links are obviously on the program names.)

Avast! Antivirus (TOP PICK)
Avast! Antivirus has the power of the other anti-virus applications you'll commonly pay for. When I reformatted just recently, this one was the first program I downloaded even before Mozilla Firefox or whatever.

Plus, you can personalize this thing with "skins" that are downloadable from the site- and it won't even slow your computer down.

ZoneAlarm Firewall
OK, I know firewalls are very much annoying all the time, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and ZoneAlarm's Firewall provides what you pay normally for free.

Have you a program that you didn't install but magically appeared? Well that's what a firewall is for.

AVG Anti-Virus
Although in my opinion, AVG Anti-Virus is very slow especially during updates (which are daily), it's the thing that everyone downloads- at least, that's according to Download.com.

Besides, two heads are better than one, so you can download both Avast! and AVG for better protection- and a second opinion.

Hijack This!
Not advised for uber-n00bs, Hijack This! is Trend Micro's answer to anti-spyware problems, and it has proven effective for several people. Plus, it's only a quick 800KB download, and it installs without a hitch.

The problem with this, however, is that Hijack This! also lists some safe applications so it'll be very confusing to pick which is dangerous and which is not.

People say it's effective, lightweight and zippy! So if you've got a real pro in the house, Hijack This! will be the answer to your spyware problems.CAPTION: n00bs beware.

But maybe in another edition, I will list a better suited anti-spyware app.

Entertainment and Media
VLC Media Player (TOP PICK)
It can play any video format from A-Z, from the 90's to 2008, licensed or independent, the works: in short, it's the only player you'll ever need. You can even stream stuff from here, and convert one video to another. Plus, its code is open to anyone to modify so there'll be a lot of updates.

Awkward (multiple) Open commands will confuse however, but if you learn about it, you're home free.
Windows Media Player 11
Forget 10, go 11. It's probably the best Windows Media Player version made in years, but you have to have a genuine check before download, and that's the thing that sucks about it.

QuickTime is a good media player that can play almost anything except Windows media files and MPEG2. You can stream some great quality trailers from Apple trailers, or get some crystal quality HD from that website. It slowly opens though, and some features like Full Screen are premium features- which means you have to pay just for that, and other semi-useful tools you can normally find for free in VLC.

QuickTime 7.1 makes streaming media a significantly better experience however, because it has less stuttering and smoother playback all the way for those watching Steve Jobs' keynotes on-demand.

It's bloated, really bloated, so it is a pain to download. Plus, it loads slow as a slug. At least in Windows anyway.

Those things do not stop it, however, from being the number 1 jukebox for both Windows and Mac, and that's because it's the only program officially able to connect and synchronize with iPod/s and iPhone/s. Other than that, it has a decently fast audio ripper and converter, and you can view your music in its graphically stunning Cover Flow mode.

Although it is disputed to have viruses because of its auto-update feature, SUPER Video Converter is a free program that's really good when it works. Yeah, its website looks very suspicious, and downloading it is hell, but when you get it, it really works.

Only thing is that your computer has to do absolutely NOTHING ELSE if you want it to work 100% guaranteed, and chances are you won't want that.

When you say "DVD to iPod, PSP, iPhone, etc. etc. etc.", I say "Handbrake". It does what you want: rip DVDs into PSP, iPod, iPhone-compatible movies. You only have to see the length of the "titles" to get it right. Other than that, you can queue several videos for conversion if the DVD contains episodes of your favorite series, and more.

Miro is a video organization program that can search, download and convert files from YouTube, Metacafe, Google Video, and lots more. Plus, you can watch and subscribe channels, probably through Media RSS, as well as download movie torrents.

PicLens for Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox (TOP PICK)

PicLens is simply the best, most immersive media exploring experience in the net. Simply click the table columns icon on the top-right side of your browser (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) or the Play button when you search Google Images or something like that.

CAPTION: Surf through its beautiful 3D walls while searching for that YouTube video, all in this small sized plug-in.

What it presents is a beatiful 3D wall that will have you screaming: "THIS IS FREE?!". Yes, it's that good.

LimeWire is still the most popular P2P downloading application in the universe as it delivers almost anything you search. Yes, there are a lot of viruses and fake adware, but if you've got a great sense of intuition, you'll probably find more or less what you're looking for be it music, movies, applications, documents or pictures.

uTorrent (TOP PICK)

Actually, "micro-Torrent" is probably the right way of pronouncing it, and it's probably because the download size of the app is actually really small, and it definitely loads without a hitch.
If you want to download torrents, uTorrent is the best, most user-friendly way to do it.

GetRight (TOP PICK)
GetRight is great shareware that's not as irritating as, say, iGetter. You can go on downloading whatever you want forever without having to pay for the price of nag screens basically. I don't need acceleration, I couldn't care less, and that's because I can just pause, play and state the time of shutdown whenever my download finishes.

Computer Management
CoreTemp is very much a lightweight program that enables you to see whether your processors are overheating. It only works with dual-core Intel processors however, and that sucks for the rest of us.

Mozilla Firefox 3
It's faster, better, and ACID2 compliant. It's the new Firefox 3!

But OK, there are no "killer features" included in this point zero release, but the awesome bar is very much a welcome addition to its great features. Include that with extensive customizability, and you can have all that you need in one browser... although when I say faster, it means faster than Internet Explorer 7. IE 8 does not work at all.

Flock (TOP PICK)
Flock is a rising star in the browser race, and it's a social junkie's dream come true. Got a FaceBook account? Then log in and check on your friends from the browser. Got a YouTube account? Then see what your friends recently uploaded, and favorited in its cool Media Stream toolbar.

How about photos? Well, your photos can be uploaded to your Flickr or Photobucket account using the built-in multi-photo uploader. Offline blog editing and easier photo management? Of course. And you can publish them to your Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, or practically any blog.

Oh, and did I mention it's also based from Firefox? That means it's safe, powerful, and speedy all at the same time.

Safari 3.1
When it comes to speed, Safari can't be beat. When Firefox crawls, Safari is the browser I turn to, and it helps me get work done in a short time.

Oh, and it's probably the browser that opens fastest, at least for me.

Also, it's standards-compliant, so there will be no broken parts of pages here and there, and you can even resize text fields!

SnapBack is also an underused feature meant for jumping back to that search results page whenever you wander to far from it, and you don't want to have to click Back millions of times.

Compatibility issues stem from various websites like Yahoo! Mail though. But the Mac version is ironically supported.

In addition, its look may get boring after some time, and no, Safari doesn't offer official ways on how to change your browser's look.

If you're downloading Safari, download Inquisitor for Safari
Like Flock, Inquisitor's search add-on for Safari gives you instant results and intelligent suggestions.

Opera is the most underappreciated underdog of the FireFox-Internet Explorer browser wars, and that's because it offers some great, innovative features to the table like Speed Dial which assigns a webpage to a number like a real phone, built-in torrent downloading, and mouse gestures. It also has great versions on mobile phones and Wii console (Internet Channel).

I'll probably end the download suggestions up to here. If I forget something, then I'll just put it on Part 2. But anyway, all of these apps are must-downloads, and as for the browsers, you'll probably want to check all of them out before settling into one browser.

But on a side note, here's a milestone:

I've successfully downloaded my first movie torrent. And the movie? Superbad. I don't know, I'm just curious. It is a Judd Apatow to be honest.

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