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Monday, December 29, 2008

Activate WIndows Vista

A simple trick that let's you use Vista infinitely..

Registry Instructions for SkipRearm

  1. Preliminary experiment, check the activation expiry date with the command: slmgr -xpr
  2. Launch Regedit. Click the Start Orb and write regedit and click on it.
  3. Navigate to this path:
    ** HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE \Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL
  4. Double-click SkipRearm and change the value to 1.
  5. Note: this registry hack does not make any sense on a machine which has already been activated!
  6. Now remember to run the 30 day extension command: slmgr -rearm
  7. Restart the machine. After it reboots, run slmgr -xpr and check the expiry date.
  8. Check the registry setting SkipRearm, slmgr resets the value to zero.

Screen Shot of SkipRearm

Vista Activation Hack - SkipRearm

Friday, December 19, 2008

Samsung's next to adopt Google's Android


Iphone was the talk of the last year, but undoubtedly the year 2009 is destined to be the year of The Android. With Samsung just announcing its next smart phones to have Android. Samsung's smart phone is supposed to be a touch-screen phone much similar to its smart phone - Omnia and Instinct. The phone is going to be a full touchscreen with a few buttons only. We could only wait and watch for the next generation of Google phones.

Monitor your workers with Net Monitor for Employees 3.1.3


Net Monitor for Employees is a program that allows a 'view' of a computer monitor of a remote computer, which is connected to the network. This way you can observe what your employees are doing.Net Monitor for Employees is a tool that lets you observe what your employees are doing in real time.



Download here


Here are some key features of "Net Monitor for Employees":

· Displaying a live picture of a remote computer.
· More remote screens can be displayed in a table.
· A remote screen can be zoomed to an actual size.
· The name of the connected user is displayed.
· When lower bandwidth is required, the refresh interval can be enlarged.
· Automatic connection to a remote computer is optional.
· Settings for the agent are encrypted and password protected.
· Connection to a remote computer is password protected.
· Access to monitoring the console is password protected. If more users use the same computer, different profiles and access passwords can be set.
· More monitoring consoles can be connected to the same remote computer - you can monitor your employees from different locations.
· Agent can run as an NT service (for Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003).
· Agent can run as a process (Windows 95, 98, Me).
· Fast user switching is supported (Windows XP).
· Multi-session environment (Terminal Services) is supported
· Installation and use of the application is very easy since all of the functions can be accessed with a few mouse clicks.
· You have complete control over what remote users are doing.
· Unlike other similar applications, this application provides you with a live picture of the remote computer screens.
· The remote computers? screens are represented in the table with a customizable number of rows as thumbnails.
· Unlike other similar applications, this application can be configured to work in a multi-session environment like Terminal Services, and fast user switching on Windows XP.
· Using this application, you can always see which user is actually logged on to the remote computer.

Requirements:

· P2 - 600Mhz
· 128Mb Ram

Limitations:

· 31 days trial
· Registration dialog

Make your own DirectX 9 games with Construct 0.97.7

Construct is an easy to use development software for both DirectX 9-based games and applications. It includes an event based system for defining how the game or application will behave, in a visual, human-readable way. Optionally, you can also use Python scripting to code your creations. Features include pixel shader effects, physics engine, layering, debugger, 50+ plugins, motion blur and 3D lighting effects.

Construct 0.97.7

Download Now (12.22MB)

Winoptimizer6 - Optimising windows taken to a new level


Ashampoo's Winoptimizer is certainly one of the best software we have ever seen, packed with a huge stock of utilities that let you do a lot more with your windows. The latest sixth version saw its release this Wednesday on Download.com. Read the full review.



What's new
AntiSpy module: This tool claims to "deactivate potential spy functions." Upon closer inspection, the module really goes after apps and services that send data back to Microsoft. That's ideal for privacy nuts, but sensationalistic if that kind of app behavior doesn't bother you. Either way, you'll be able to manually or automatically configure settings, or can ignore them completely.

Favorites tab: The freshly added tab monitors your five most-used modules alongside a list of statistics tracking your use of the program.

Context Menu Manager: A negligible addition, it nevertheless gives you control over the contents of the context menu, which you see whenever you click the right mouse key.

What's different
Disk Defrag: This updated version of the disk defragmenter runs in the background while your computer idles, and also runs on boot-up to speed Windows' loading time.

Registry Optimizer and Drive Cleaner: Both have received beefier options and back-end algorithm work to speed up the scanning process.

What's coming
One-Click optimizer: The first version 6 update will add a scheduler to the one-click function, where you'll be able to trigger shutdown after the schedule cleanup.

What's wrong
Our biggest gripe is semantic: that the AntiSpy module is misleading--it is not an antispyware tool.

We also recommend reviewing the app's recommendations before accepting them. We wanted to keep several "unnecessary" items around that WinOptimizer was ready to yank.

The verdict
Even if you're not already using WinOptimizer, you'll want to test this generous trial (40 days with registration) for its efficacy and its ability to quickly get you access to deeper Windows settings.

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 6

Download Now (15.26MB)

Twit me ..Follow Haknit on twitter...


Haknit now on twitter, follow us there all posts' published there, also i keep twitting about content that is really interesting but isnt dat good for blogging.
Follow us right now on twitter..

Haknit's back with a bang..

I really regret not blogging from lat few days...it was due to busy schedule and college studies .. Hey i am just 18 i need to do a lot more stuff than just blogging... But now i promise contionous posts... and really nice posts..for sure...
Love you all ...........

Thursday, December 11, 2008

musicovery - The interactive web radio


Musicovery releases a new feature to its webradio : the «alternative versions» of a song. Around a song of a playlist are displayed alternative versions (live version, acoustic version, remixes, samples or interpretation by other artists). As much as possible the original version or the one deemed as the reference will be proposed.

Essential 5 utililties that your computer must have

Its a list of the 5 most essential utilities that must be present in your PC.

nCleaner - advanced system and application cleaner
Every computer needs care, and care starts with maintenance and cleanup.
Good stuff on nCleaner: Junk finder, Reg Cleaner, Free Space Shredder, Tweak manager, Startup manager and few more.

Note: because nCleaner is an advanced system app, you shouldn’t use it unless you know what you are doing. As an alternative, use cCleaner.

DriverMax - detects, downloads and installs the latest version of your computer’s drivers.
It also backs up all drivers and lets you restore them.

SmartDefrag - Defragmentation is a very important process in keeping your hard drive’s performance at maximum and bring its files together.
SmartDefrag will diagnose and optimize your machine’s hard drive while running quietly in the background.
As a prevention, this defrag app will pause itself down if the CPU raises over 40% .

Lingoes - the little sister of Babylon is a dictionary and translation freeware.
So what’s so special about this app that makes it a “must have” tool?
With Lingoes you can:

Findsound - A search engine to find sounds

Just found this cool service that lets you search any sorts of sound. Below is a partial list. Click on any link below to perform a search, or enter one or more words in the search box above and then click on the Search button.



Animals alligator, baboon, bat, bear, bobcat, buffalo, bullfrog, camel, cat, cheetah, chimpanzee, chinchilla, chipmunk, cougar, cow, coyote, crocodile, deer, dinosaur, dog, dolphin, donkey, elephant, elk, ferret, fox, frog, gibbon, goat, gorilla, grizzly bear, guinea pig, hippo, horse, hyena, jaguar, kitten, lamb, lemur, leopard, lion, llama, marmot, monkey, moose, mouse, orca, panda, panther, pig, polar bear, prairie dog, puppy, rabbit, raccoon, rat, rattlesnake, rhinoceros, rodent, sea lion, seal, sheep, snake, squirrel, sugar glider, tiger, toad, whale, wolf, zebra

Birds blackbird, blue jay, bluebird, bobwhite, budgie, bunting, canary, cardinal, catbird, chick, chickadee, chicken, coot, cowbird, crane, crow, dove, duck, eagle, egret, falcon, finch, flamingo, flicker, flycatcher, goldfinch, goose, grackle, grebe, grosbeak, grouse, gull, hawk, heron, hummingbird, jay, junco, kestrel, killdeer, kingbird, kingfisher, kinglet, kiskadee, kookaburra, lark, laughingthrush, loon, macaw, magpie, mallard, martin, meadowlark, mockingbird, nightingale, nuthatch, oriole, osprey, ovenbird, owl, parrot, parula, peacock, pelican, pheasant, phoebe, pigeon, pipit, quail, raven, redstart, robin, rooster, sandpiper, sapsucker, seagull, shrike, siskin, skua, skylark, snipe, sparrow, starling, swallow, swan, swift, tailorbird, tanager, tern, thrasher, thrush, towhee, turkey, vireo, vulture, warbler, waterthrush, waxwing, whipbird, whippoorwill, woodpecker, wren, yellowthroat, yuhina

Holidays Christmas sleigh bells; Halloween creak, creature, evil laugh, ghost, howl, monster, scream, witch; Independence firecrackers, fireworks; New Year's balloon, party horn, pop cork; Thanksgiving turkey

Household aerosol, beer, blender, blinds, boiling, bottle, bubbles, can, chair, clock, cloth, coffee, cork, crystal, cuckoo clock, dishes, door, door bell, door knob, door slam, drain, drawer, drip, dryer, egg, fan, gate, ice cubes, kettle, keys, latch, lighter, lock, match, oven, phone, pot, pour liquid, radio, razor, scissors, shower, soda, spray, straw, switch, tape, timer, toaster, toilet, toothbrush, toy, trash, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, window, wine, zipper

Insects bee, cicada, cricket, insects, katydid, mosquito, wasp

Mayhem arrow, artillery, attack, battle, bomb, bullet, broken glass, cannon, chains, crash, explosion, fight, fireball, grenade, gun, knife, laser, machine gun, missile, mortar, musket, phaser, pistol, punch, reload, ricochet, rifle, rocket, shock, shot, shotgun, silencer, slap, sword, torpedo, whip

Miscellaneous ambiance, bang, beep, blip, bloop, boing, boop, button, buzz, cartoon noises, chirp, clang, clank, clap, click, clink, crack, creak, crunch, cut, ding, Doppler, drop, electricity, fall, fanfare, flap, growl, hiss, howl, hum, knock, leak, metal, Morse code, noise, pop, rattle, ring, rip, roar, robot, rustle, scrape, scratch, screech, shuffle, sizzle, skid, snap, snip, sparks, splash, splat, spring, squeak, squeal, squish, static, steam, stone, swing, tap, tear, thud, tick, tink, underwater, warble, whine, whoosh, wood

Musical Instruments accordion, agogo, banjo, bass, bass drum, bassoon, bongos, brass, bugle, cabasa, castanets, cello, clarinet, claves, congas, cowbell, cuica, cymbal, didgeridoo, disc scratch, djembe, doundoun, drum loop, drum rimshot, drum roll, drum solo, drumsticks, flute, gong, guiro, guitar, harmonica, harp, harpsichord, high hat, kenkeni, maracas, marimba, metronome, oboe, orchestra, organ, percussion, piano, sangban, saxophone, shaker, sitar, snare drum, strings, synthesizer, tabla, tambourine, timbales, tom tom, triangle, trombone, trumpet, tuning fork, tympani, vibraphone, violin, woodblock, xylophone

Nature cave, earthquake, fire, forest, geyser, jungle, lava, lightning, ocean, rain, storm, stream, surf, swamp, thunder, tornado, water, waterfall, wind

Noisemakers alarm, alert, beeper, bell, buzzer, chime, foghorn, horn, siren, slide whistle, sonar, whistle, wind chimes

Office briefcase, cash register, coins, computer keyboard, computer printer, desk bell, elevator, fax, modem, mouse click, pager, paper, pencil sharpener, phone, projector, stapler, teletype, typewriter

People applause, baby, belch, bite, blow nose, boo, breath, burp, cheer, chew, child, chomp, cough, crowd, cry, drink, eat, fart, footsteps, gargle, gasp, giggle, groan, grunt, gulp, heartbeat, hiccup, kiss, laugh, man, march, moan, scream, shiver, sigh, slurp, sneeze, sniff, snore, spit, vomit, woman, write, yawn, yell

Sports and Recreation arcade, ball, baseball, basketball, billiards, bowling, boxing, camera, cards, dice, fishing, golf, karate, Pac-Man, pinball, ping pong, roller coaster, roulette, scuba, slot machine, tap dance, tennis

Tools axe, broom, chain saw, construction, drill, factory, Geiger counter, generator, grinder, hammer, jackhammer, ladder, lawnmower, machinery, nail, planer, pump, ratchet, saw, shovel, torch, turbine, wrench

TV and Movies Tim Allen, Beavis and Butthead, Bewitched, Bionic Man, Daffy Duck, Flintstones, Elmer Fudd, Godzilla, Jetsons, Jurassic Park, Psycho, Monty Python, Roadrunner, Scooby Doo, Simpsons, Star Trek, Star Wars, Tarzan, Taz, Three Stooges, Tigger, Ace Ventura, Woody Woodpecker, Xena

Vehicles airplane, ambulance, bicycle, boat, brakes, bus, car, car door, collision, dragster, engine, Ferrari, ferry, flyby, helicopter, Jeep, jet, motor, motorcycle, police car, Porsche, race car, ship, spaceship, submarine, subway, tank, tires, tractor, traffic, train, trolley, truck, windshield

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Social bookmark button widget for your blog.

Make it easier for users to write about your post, socialize them or bookmark them. Use this service called Social . Having a social bookmarking button for your blog can help you gain more exposure to your site if reeaders finds your article interesting and shares it with his or her friends on social bookmarking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx, etc.
social3
Powered by BuildingSocialEquity, Let'sGetSocial is a social bookmarking tool which provides 3 different types of button widgets. Two of them have similar features, the only difference is the design of the button. The other one is a "Connect with Me" widget which you can add over 40 personal social profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. to your website. This lets your loyal readers socialize and interact with you on popular social platforms.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Linux kernel 2.6 on Iphone

The first incident for a Linux on an Iphone. The iphone-dev team has created a new bootloader called OpeniBoot. The bootloader lets you boot into a Linux console, which you can talk to over a USB serial device. They’ve got busybox working, but there is no touchscreen support yet. The instructions are not that difficult and include how to back up your settings. It works on first and second gen iPhones and first gen iPod Touch. This is a very early port, but the future is wide open… Android iPhone?
See the embedded video..


iPhone Linux Demonstration Video from planetbeing on Vimeo.

The latest mobiles yet to be launched

A preview of the latest high-end phones from the top leading mobile companies. This review includes videos featuring these phones
  • N97 from Nokia
  • E63 from Nokia
  • Samsung Omnia i910
  • HTC fuze
  • Blackberry Storm












Software for your Ipod

All sorts of free software to fulfill all your Ipod need, like syncing without itunes, backing up Ipod music, and much more. These mainly are result of lack of features in itunes which sometime make us feel so lame as addition of songs and stuff in an ipod is still so lame. Also once songs are gone from your itunes library and if you sync your Ipod all stuff will be deleted. So here are the solutions to your problems.





itunes

The official sofware for managing the ipod from apple. Good updates and the most safest to use as originally backed by updates from Apple itself.

Organize and browse your entire digital collection. Shop for music and more, 24/7. And enjoy it anywhere with iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV.

iTunes 8 Download







MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter

Convert MP3 audiobooks to iPod audio books file format.Use your iPod's Audiobook Features.Combine multible MP3 files into a single file for seamless listening.Easy to use. Free. Open Source.
Screenshot

Xilisoft iPod Video Converter 5.1.2.0822

Download Now (14.25MB)

Xilisoft iPod Video Converter is a powerful iPod conversion tool, easy to use. It can easily and rapidly convert popular video formats like AVI, MPEG, WMV, MOV, MP4, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB, 3GP to iPod/iPod Touch/iPhone video with the perfect output quality.



iPod to Computer Transfer 4.6

Download Now (2.24MB)
Tested spyware free




iPod to Computer Transfer automatically transfers your iPod music/video/playlist/photos back to PC and iTunes. Sometimes when you reinstall your system or you just want to copy music from iPod to you PC, or backup all you music from iPod to a new computer, you need iPod to Computer Transfer.







Vpod



vPod is a program for transferring music to your iPod from Windows. It presents a unified view of all of your music and lets you see what is and what is not already on your iPod. I think that it’s a much more intuitive interface for managing what is available on your iPod than the existing solutions.vPod is free software. It is licensed under the Free BSD license so that as many people as possible



Ipod software for Linux- gtkpod




gtkpod—Cross-platform iPod interface with a smart playlist editor
gtkpod—Cross-platform iPod interface with a smart playlist editor

gtkpod is a cross-platform interface for the iPod, with support for all iPods through the 5G and iTunes mobile phones. It features a smart playlist editor.

MediaWidget Easy iPod Transfer 4.0.16

Download Now (2.23MB)
MediaWidget can help you transfer your iPod content back onto your PC. MediaWidget is an easy to use iPod transfer utility designed to help you get your iPod contents off of any iPod and back into iTunes.

iDump 27

Download Now (799.14K)


This program will allow you copy your songs from your iPod to a PC, iDump does come wrapped in installer but you can simply drop the .exe in the root directory on your iPod and run it from there





iPod Access for Windows 4.2.5

Download Now (2.86MB)

iPod Access for Windows is an iPod/iPhone music and video transfer application for the PC. With iPod Access you have instant access to all the songs on your iPod or iPhone.




Friday, November 28, 2008

Search for large and good quality images

Use Google and Yahoo search to get the best wallpapers of your desired size.
For images larger than 1024X768 resolution.
I never knew that some images could be so detailed and of so good quality.
See the simple tutorial..

Go to Google.com
Click on images Tab
type the name of the name of person or thing you want pics of.
click enter.
Now to see the best quality images click on the drop down menu saying
Showing- and select Extra large

Same trick works in yahoo
Go to image tab in yahoo and select..
Wallpaper for searching images of size - 1024 X 768..
or larger.

Full codec package for Vista

This intelligent codec software package has all the codecs you will ever need on you Vista machine. Codecs have been a problem for most users at one time or another. This is because there has never been an 'out of the box' working solution that the average computer user could install and just have everything work properly from the beginning.

The installer will automatically remove most other popular codec releases from your computer before installing this concise yet comprehensive package. You won't need to make any adjustments or tweaks to enjoy your media content immediately. Windows Media Player and Vista's Media Center will instantly recognize all your files as playable.

Download here


Source- Softpedia

New Yahoo messenger

Yahoo! Messenger - Instant messaging allows you to quickly exchange messages with your online friends. Unlike e-mail, instant messages appear as soon they`re sent. By downloading the Yahoo! Messenger application to your computer, you can send instant messages to other people from around the globe, send them files or have a voice conference. Download the latest version.


Other features include voice chat, file transfer, mail and stock quote alerts, sports scores, news, and much more.

NOTE: The Yahoo! Messenger Vista Preview works only on Vista OS.

This download is marked as adware because it displays advertisement banners or other type of commercials while running.

Here are some key features of "Yahoo! Messenger":

· Photo Sharing
· Drag-and-drop photos into your IM windows and talk about them like you're there.

· LAUNCHcast Radio
· Make your own radio station and listen to music you like!

· Yahoo! Games
· Challenge your friends to classic Yahoo! Games in the IM window.

· IMVironments
· Use interactive themed backgrounds in your IMs.

· Find, Add, Share Friends
· Easily get connected with the people who matter most.

· Yahoo! Search
· Search from your IM window, and get results both you and your friend can see.

· File Transfer
· Drag-and-drop files for real-time sharing and instant notification that they've been received.

· Address Book
· Synchronize all your contact information.

· Stealth Settings
· Make yourself appear online to some and offline to others.

· Audibles
· Let these animated characters say it out loud for you!

· Emoticons
· Express your feelings with these animated smiling faces.

· Yahoo! Avatars
· Represent yourself with a stylized graphical image.

· Display Images
· Select an image to represent yourself to your friends.

· Skins
· Select new visual designs or disable them altogether.

· Voice
· Make free worldwide PC-to-PC calls and enjoy great sound quality and voice mail.

· Take Yahoo! with You
· Stay connected to Yahoo! Messenger on your mobile phone.

· Webcam
· Share live video with friends and family around the world.

· Conference
· Exchange text messages with multiple people in one IM.

Reasons why this program is marked as adware:

· ADWARE INCLUDED - you can, however, UNCHECK that ADWARE at installation!
· � Yahoo Toolbar
· � The Software is trying to change your Home Page and your Default Search Engine
· � Displays advertisement banners

New wallpaper for each startup

See a new wallpaper each time you start you computer. Wallpaper Changer is a wallpaper manager that can change your background images on every startup, once a day or at regular intervals. You have the possibility to create, store or reload your collection of favorite wallpapers.
Download here

Perfect starter kit for new PCs

Cnet just composed a started kit full of free software that would help you do all your essential tasks fruitfully.
CNET Download.com has compiled a brand-new Windows Starter Kit, complete with all that your freeware-coveting heart could ever desire. This year we bring you a Web Browser, an E-mail Client, Office and Productivity tools, Image Editors, Music and Video Jukeboxes, File Compression, a PDF Reader, Chatware, a Torrent Client, and seven must-have Utilities. And you don't even have to stress about whether that shiny wrapping paper is recyclable.

Check the full list...


Where's the antivirus apps? If you're looking for programs to make your PC more secure, check out our overhauled-for-2008 Security Starter Kit.

Web Browser

Mozilla Firefox made tabbed browsing mainstream and redefined the browser wars, but that's not why you should use it. Replete with ways to customize through add-ons make it supremely powerful, and now specialized versions like Flock take that further, but that's not why you need it, either. A JavaScript debugger is standard, and Firefox displays the page-source code in a new window, using indents and color-coded tags like an HTML editor. Again, not enough--on its own.

The built-in pop-up blocker, antiphishing protections, and enhanced extension security aren't enough reason for using Firefox. Add them all together, though, and you get a full-featured browser with an infinite level of customization.

E-mail Client

Mozilla Thunderbird combines smart browsing with sharp innovations aimed at both Web mail clients and industry standards like Microsoft Outlook. Basics like junk mail filters, HTML support, multiple identities, and POP, IMAP, and Microsoft Exchange server support load fast and are bolstered by S/MMIE, digital signing, message encryption, and a phishing detector. Interface tweaks maximize message viewing, a necessity in an e-mail reader.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Back and forward browser-style buttons, customizable tags, and colors make it a cinch to keep things organized, even across folders. Gmail support is as simple as entering your e-mail and password, searches can be saved, and Thunderbird supports extensions like Firefox, allowing for serious enhancement tweaks.

Office and Productivity

A credible rival to MS Office, OpenOffice.org includes powerful applications for making text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, databases, and HTML and XML documents. It handles complex equations and multipart documents as easily as simple letters and faxes.

Even advanced Office users will find the templates, collaborative features, macros, and programming language familiar. Extensible and open source, it lets you both import and save documents in formats as diverse as MS Office formats, PDF, HTML, WordPerfect, XML, and others. However, the default is to save files in the open-standard Oasis OpenDocument XML format for maximum compatibility with other applications.

Multilingual and cross-platform, OpenOffice.org is a compelling option for anyone in search of an alternative office suite.

If OpenOffice is too much, AbiWord, gives you just the word processor without the entire suite. It has a quick learning curve with an interface similar to those in Word and WordPerfect.

All the basics are here, including highlight, notation, and a bevy of common formatting tools. Although we did miss a grammar-checker, AbiWord has a multilingual spell-checker. A huge plus is the ability to open and save Microsoft Word documents, though the program also has its own proprietary file format. You can download plug-ins at the publisher's site to import and export a wide variety of other formats, including OpenDocument.

Image Editors

The volunteer developers of The GIMP have developed a polished, user-friendly, and open-source image editor. Although the separated palette windows may disturb users who prefer traditional layouts, your comfort level should grow as you discover how pain-free the program is.

The GIMP

Comparable with Photoshop, GIMP's features include channels, layers and masks, filters and effects, tabbed palettes, editable text tools, color operations such as levels, scalable brushes, revised selection tools, full-screen editing, printing, red-eye removal, perspective clone, lens distortion, and more. It even has regex-based pattern matching for power users, but it also might be much more powerful than what you need. We've recommended a more basic image editor below.

If all you want is a quick image retouch, The GIMP is overkill. Paint.NET, on the other hand, is an open-source editor with all the essentials, including tools to crop, rotate, resize images, adjust colors, and create collages. It supports common image formats but not high-resolution RAW files.

There are enough basic and intermediate effects and features to keep image-tweakers happy, though the red-eye removal tool is notably weak so those images may require manual attention. The pleasing interface boasts semitransparent windows for ease of use. Unlike most free image editors, Paint.NET supports layers and has an actions manager.

Music and Video Jukeboxes

The most recent WinAmp updates have made it competitive again. It now features strong device support, including iPod synchronization, AAC encoding, CD burning, and a robust file-management system. There's an optional new interface layout that joins the separate windows, podcast support, you can edit device synchronization while in progress, and a built-in browser for media discovery. We liked that clicking on an artist's name will get you related headlines and Web sites in a separate pane.

Unfortunately, MP3 encoding and full-speed CD burning requires the Pro version. Album art support is spotty, and there are occasional stability issues during video playback. WinAmp 5.5 is no iTunes killer, but it is a strong alternative and should be of interest to those looking for something with more meat on its bones.

Aiming to redefine how people manage and watch their videos, open-source Miro deserves its praise. It can subscribe to and play back video podcasts while comprehensively managing your saved videos. When you launch the app, a left sidebar hosts a folder tree for managing your videos. The central pane does double duty for viewing videos and searching for new ones. The bottom hosts a search box for parsing through YouTube and other sites, a video control panel, and volume control.

Miro

Features include full torrent support, so you can download and view torrents in the same app, folder watching to manage only the hard-drive folders you specify for new videos, resumable playback, topic-based channel surfing, video sharing, hosting, and vodcast creation assistance.

VLC Media Player offers a one-stop solution for the file-format problem. The program supports playback of every major and most minor file types, and can stream media. Because of its open-source foundation, it evolves quickly, with new features and fixes released frequently.

Though the interface varies from platform to platform, the Windows version is sparse. Skinning it perks things up, but also seems to cause unpredictable behavior. Beyond drag'n'drop, the basic task of opening a file is far more confusing than it should be. Overall, though, VLC Media Player is a must-have application for its ability to open just about any type of video file you throw at it.

File Compression

7-Zip unpacks most archive formats, including ZIP, TAR, GZ, RAR, and its own 7z format. It can create TAR and GZ archives, which are commonly used on Unix and Linux systems. In our tests, 7z archives were up to 40 percent smaller then their ZIP equivalents, although compression did take longer. Advanced options include the ability to create solid and self-extracting archives, and to adjust the compression level and password protection. The program also has a command line module.

Though the main interface is overly simple, it's easy to use and self-explanatory. The context menu options indicate that 7-Zip should be taken seriously.

PDF Reader

Foxit Reader is everything that Adobe Reader isn't: lightweight, effective, and streamlined. Foxit's main purpose is to read PDFs, but it also has annotation tools. The interface mimics Adobe's, so you won't have to change your reading habits. Text readability is nearly the same, and the 1.6MB Foxit starts surprisingly fast compared with Adobe. It's a nice touch that it opens PDFs from the Internet in their own Foxit window, instead of sucking resources from within the browser.

Foxit PDF Reader

It's incredibly irritating that URL hyperlinks were unclickable, and that some features were blocked in the evaluation copy.

Chat

If you've need to use Yahoo, MSN, AIM, and Google, at the same time from the same window, Pidgin is the chatty bird for you. Like other third-party IM clients, this open-source messenger accesses multiple IM networks, including MySpaceIM, as well as lesser-known protocols such as Jabber and Gadu-Gadu.

The IM features are unimpeachable: smileys, file transfers, and multiperson chats. The Buddy Pounce feature automatically performs certain actions when a contact signs on or off. Pidgin gets lots of intangibles right: logging and time-stamping, for instance, are well-executed. Twenty-two plug-ins come prepackaged, but there are still some bugs. Still, Pidgin remains a highly recommended text-only messaging app.

Pidgin doesn't do video chat, but Camfrog does. Its chat rooms feature everything from music lessons to sign language to non-English chatting, and integrating video, audio, and text components are a great leap forward for since a Webcam is not a requirement. Be warned, though: There are X-rated chat rooms--this is not a program that kids should use without supervision.

Camfrog

You can create your own password-protected chat room, and the Contacts list has a section for favorite rooms and one-click contact adding, user searching, and profile management. Despite several toolbars it tries to foist on you during installation, if you're looking for a well-trafficked video chat program that serves a diverse community, CamFrog is cool place to land.

Torrent Client

What computer would be ready for the broadband age without a dedicated torrent client? Miro supports torrents, but if all you want is a torrent, it can be a bit much. uTorrent is so light on resources and memory that it's small enough to run off an old USB key. uTorrent's clean button interface makes it easy to pause downloading.

Finding torrents can be hard, but included are both a torrent search bar and an RSS feed manager that will automatically download files as they publish. Adding, starting, pausing, and listing torrents takes merely a click or two each. A speed guide tests ports and adjusts system settings for optimal performance. uTorrent isn't feature-heavy, but has enough to make it the torrent program of choice for novices, intermediate, and advanced users.

Utilities

Auslogics Disk Defrag couldn't be any easier for rejoining disparate hard-drive bits. Choose a hard drive from a pull-down menu, and Disk Defrag displays the size, space used, free space, and a pie chart. One click starts the program, with a sector map showing how much is fragmented, allocated, or free. As it churns, defragged sectors are displayed in blue.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Even on older XP systems the program is fast. A handy report is prepared after each session: the total files and folders defragged, and Detail lists the defrag outcome for each file. We only wish a final sector map was included in the report.

A lack of visual polish doesn't hurt this utility that replaces the cumbersome Windows Task Manager by showing running processes in an intuitive tree format. Process Explorer makes the job a lot easier by including program icons and other data, such as description, image, and processor time.

It also can identify the process for a given application window or look up a process name in Google--a handy way to spot spyware. Additional features offer detailed information on performance, DLLs, threads, handles, TCP/IP connections, security settings, and environments. Process Explorer is one of the best we've seen.

WinDirStat identifies how much disk space you're using. Based on Linux's KDirStat, it shows you an informative visual HD usage display. It can also analyze external devices. The initial WinDirStat scan may take quite a while, so be prepared to grab a cup of coffee.

WinDirStat

When you return, you'll see your files displayed by colors according to file type. By default, the order is blue, red, green, but the Options menu can change these settings. It's also loaded with features for managing files. It's one of those apps that you didn't know you needed until you started using it, but once installed it's hard to imagine life without it.

A hectic interface can't stop the power of NoteTab Light. This replacement for Windows' built-in Notepad jumps in with Web browser-style tabs for managing different projects simultaneously, and it can automatically replace the tool it's based on.

However, there's much more to it. A list of commands on the left, called Clips, do anything from inserting bits of text to generating code. Libraries of clips appear as tabs at the bottom of the screen. The FTP library, for example, lets you create server profiles, connect, upload and download files, and issue various commands. The publisher's site offers many user-created libraries, or you can make your own.

Launchy lets you open nearly any program, file, folder, or Web site on your system with just a few keystrokes. It lives in the background, and a quick hot-key combo calls up the small, skinnable Launchy box.

Launchy

Enter the first few letters of a file or program, and Launchy automatically displays the rest of the name. Simply press Enter to open or launch it. If the name displayed isn't what you want, wait a few seconds and the tool displays a drop-down list of other likely candidates. The tool is easily configurable, and it also looks at your default browser's Favorites file.

RAMBooster helps alleviate the RAM jam suffered by most users. Small and effective, installation is quick. Use program defaults, or modify through Edit/Preferences how much RAM you'd like it to free up and at which point of resource consumption. RAMBooster keeps track of RAM usage and scrub your RAM free of flotsam left behind by closed windows and background programs.

The tray icon indicates status: red and black if you're fine, escalating to yellow as free memory falls. Mouse over the icon to see exactly how much free RAM you have. You can also clean your RAM manually via the context menu or the full interface.

Although it lacks a few of the bells and whistles found in other cleaning applications, CCleaner offers more than enough to make it worthy. The logically-designed interface makes it easy to wipe away your tracks from browsing, various Windows system areas, and some third-party applications.

CCleaner doesn't support a large number of extraneous programs, but it can erase traces from such popular programs as Spybot and WinZip. Also missing is a secure file shredder, but it does supply a Registry-cleaning utility that quickly scans for invalid entries before removing them. The app can back up your Registry before altering it, and also uninstall any program on your machine.


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