Free Software reviews


VLC Media Player 0.86b Test 1

The VideoLan team has upped a first test version of VLC Media Player 0.86b which happens to be my favorite media player. The new version fixes some crashes, adds VP31 decoding to Windows platforms and Direct3D Video Output modifications for Vista compatibility. You can download this version right from the VideoLan ftp site; Simply select the version for your operating system (Win,Mac,Linux) and install it. I had no problems using the new version. If you experience crashes you might want to try this new version out.

object fix zip

Zip File Recovery with Object Fix Zip

It happened to me more than once that I was not able to unpack a zipped archive and recover the files within because the zip file was broken. Reasons for this can be numerous: Read errors, scratches on CDs or a system crash. Object Fix Zip is a zip tool that tries to repair corrupt and partially damaged zip files. It is possible to extract files from zip archives that have CRC errors or have only been partially downloaded. The free software creates a new zip archive while trying to recover the contents of the damaged zip archive.

Apple Ipod Video Converter

The initial release of Apples Ipod Video Player seems to have encouraged hundreds of software developers to create a software that would convert video files into the format that the ipod video player is compatible with. I was using Super for that purpose for a long time which is a great converter, probably the best that is currently available for free. Super has the disadvantage that new users might be overwhelmed with all the options and I was looking for a easier solution to convert videos into a format that the ipod video player would be able to play

Karaoke Software for your Computer

Karaoke and Karaoke software is becoming more and more popular since Sony decided to release the first Singstar Playstation 2 Karaoke game. Even friends who never heard of the Playstation 2 before were fascinated by those Karaoke games and some even bought a Playstation 2 only for those games. In case you did not know, Karaoke means that someone sings the song while only the instruments play in the background. This is tremendous fun especially in conjunction with cold beer.

nzb leecher

NZB Leecher

Newsgroup indexing sites such as and make it easier to search for files that have been posted to the Usenet by allowing searches in all groups. If you are familiar with the Usenet you might know that you can only search one group at a time which does not help much if you do not know if the file(s) that you are looking for have been posted in that group.

Copy all songs from an iPod

You can use iTunes to copy to your iPod but not to copy them back to your hard drive. I don't know if this has been intentional to please the Music Industry but I doubt it was just an error that could not be corrected in later revisions of iTunes. You have to look elsewhere if you want to copy songs from the iPod to a hard drive again, lucky for us tools that can do this exist and are free to download and use.

Capture an image and convert it to text

I was not really sure how to name the title of this article. Jocr is a freeware that makes it possible to capture to capture a set region, a window or a full screen image in Windows and use character recognition to write the text of the image into a notepad file. The only prerequisite as far as I can tell is - unfortunately - a copy of Microsoft Office 2003 or newer with Microsoft Office Document Imaging installed which you can find under the Office Tools tab of the installation CD. The language that you are using has to be supported by Microsoft Office Document Imaging, about 20 are supported next to English of course.

3D Desktop for Windows XP

Most versions of Windows Vista ship with Windows Aero which offers a function called Windows Flip 3D which makes it possible to organize and use Windows in a 3D environment. The main advantage of this method is that it is possible to display more content on the same amount of desktop space which makes it much easier to keep an overview over all windows that are currently open and not minimized.

picard music tagger

Semi-Automatic MP3 Tagger

Music collections are usually a big pile of messy filenames and folders that have artist, album and song names mixed up. Some files do have mp3 tags, some don't and it would take a long time to go through your music collection manually and edit the mp3 tags. I literally tried and tested a dozen mp3 tagger before I came up with the best solution that would be the most precise and at the same time most automatic way of tagging my mp3 files.

Free Ipod Video Converter

The Free Ipod Video converter is a very easy and reliable program to batch convert videos into a format that all video iPods can play. The process of adding files is always the same. You add files by selecting them from your hard drive, the free iPod video converter will display information about the file first and let you choose some settings in the next window. You may change the output filename and the video and audio quality.

universal extractor

Universal Extractor review

If you ever wanted to have a free software that would be able to handle all the different zip formats then you might want to take a look at the open source program called Universal Extractor. Universal Extractor can only be used to extract archives handling this task excellently. It supports a multitude of zip formats including the following popular ones: 7-zip archive, ace archive, arj, gzip, rar, tar and zip archives.

Alternatives to uTorrent

There has been a lot of controversy about the recent acquisition of uTorrent by Bram Cohen, the creator of the Bittorent protocol. Most users seem to be disturbed about the partnership between Bittorrent and the MPAA which started in fall 2005 with the agreement that illegal searches would be removed from its own Bittorrent search engine. The fear that the cooperation will affect the development of the popular uTorrent client seems to grow with every passing day.

windows vista codec pack

Windows Vista Codec Pack

I'm normally not a friend of codec packs because they tend to install many codecs that are not needed on most systems and could pose compatibility problems with codecs already installed on the system. Windows Vista on the other hand misses some essential codecs that can be quite easily added with the Vista Codec Package which can be customized during installation. That is right, unlike other codec packages you can select to install all or only some of the codecs offered.

VirtualBox a Vmware alternative

You all know that you can run virtual operating systems using vmware. VirtualBox is a free open source alternative to vmware which currently runs on 32-bit versions of Windows and Linux and supports the following guest systems: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Linux 2.4 / 2.6, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista.

Add Codecs to Windows Vista Media Center

If you use the Windows Vista Media Center you might have noticed that playback for various formats is not supported by default. You can't playback divx, xvid or h.264 movies or play mp3 or aac files by default which is really annoying if you want or have to use the media center.

Replace iTunes with Floola

Floola is a multi-platform freeware replacement for iTunes which adds some much needed features that iTunes does not offer. Before you can use Floola you need to prepare your iPod and enable it to work as a portable hard drive. A good walkthrough of the different steps can be found at the official Apple website. When that is done you need to configure iTunes to manages songs and playlists manually.

hide files in pictures

Hide Files in Pictures

I never was a great fan of programs that would hide files or information but I can see that some people might find this kind of tools useful. I can think of several reasons why someone would want to hide files in pictures; maybe it is because a file needs to be sent by email and no one that would intercept the email would find the file or a way to bypass a filter easily.

Open Source Video Editing with Jahshaka

Not many free or open source video editing software suits exist and many people rely on commercial programs like Adobe Premiere to transfer videos from a camcorder for instance and edit / convert the video. Jahshaka is a open source video editing program that offers its users a huge functionality that can almost be compared to those commercial programs.