Monday, March 13, 2006

Quintessential Player

I think that most of you are using your computers to listen to music, now it is very convenient to use mp3 format, of course the audio cd is still popular, but I think with time people will use them less and less, because the market now is full of mp3 players.. Well, you use WinAmp or even worse WMP (Windows Media Player) don't you ? but I really would recommend you to change your player, but personally I don't have anything against WinAmp, but thinking wisely it needs a lot of changes to make, for the performance of this software, the usage of resources and the speed is to big and of course making it more comfortable. That is why I think you need to look at Quintessential Player, else known as QCD.

Quintessential Player is fully skin-able audio player for your desktop, which is using plug-in architecture to make it as simple as possible, but with full of features. You can use the minimal installation or choose a lot of add-ons such as variety of visual effects, library functions, DSP filters, language packs and other plug-ins to make this player more advanced. Quintessential Player is able to play different audio formats: MP3, MP3 Pro, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and even Windows Media. Furthermore, it supports CD ripping, MP3 encoding, CDDB integration and cross-fading. Also Quintessential lets you to listen streaming audio from broadcasting services like Shoutcast and Icecast.

Other players might bring more of your attention, but it would be very hard to beat Quintessential Player for them, its efficiency, stability and flexibility. Very customizable and is made to work with almost all plug-ins. I would like to remind that this application is totally free, but closed code, that is why it beats all the other players. Stylish and fast, very comfortable interface, which you just like after some seconds.. it is more resource friendly and has more features than WinAmp. QCD has a large selection of different skins, which you can use without opening your browser and downloading them, due to it has an integrated skin browser where you can manage your player skins, amazing, isn't it ? The User Interface and menus are not confusing at all, it is very easy to understand everything, you will quickly get used to it, but I know that changing software sometimes is hard, but you will just need to get used after a while and I know you won't want to use anything else again.

Even though QCD isn't updated for quite a while now, it works well with Windows OS, there is no reason to update it, because the developers are working on QMP (Quintessential Media Player) which can do much more, I tried it and I really liked it, it has more of everything I told above, but as only beta version is available, it is not so stable to use it frequently. Sometimes when I am listening to music it quits/freezes.. But I think I will wait with patience until the full stable version of QMP arrives. I encourage you to not get scared of the default skin when you install the player, because there are plenty of them online - easily you can change them. I would like to add, that for your convenience, the usage is really comfortable and much better than WinAmp's, it even has a tray icon through which you can control your music, I don't know, but never listening to music and controling it wasn't so marvelous.

More about Quintessential at their website.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

7-zip File Manager

Often you are needing to archive a lot of files to archives, usually you are using the simple and quite old ZIP format or the quite popular RAR, which is quite slow comparing to the compression ratio. And the software you need to use is not for free and usually cost a lot of money which is not worth your money. 7 Zip File Manager is a free open-source application which supports most of the, almost every format available, but what I miss, is support for LHA and LZX formats, which I need to use quite often. So forget about WinZip, WinRar and others..

7-Zip main features: High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression. As I mentioned 7-Zip is free software distributed under the GNU LGPL. The supported formats for packing and unpacking are 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR, and it only unpacks RAR, CAB, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM and DEB. For Zip and GZip formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10% better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip. Currently there is no way to use unACE, because the authors written dll unace.dll works badly and it requires a powerful wrapper to be written, also in the future this application is planning to support ISO format, because now there are a lot of problems with this format, often we use the expensive Nero or the Windows default ISO burner, which burn your compact disks, that it only works on your own computer. Very comfortable and powerful UI (User Interface) and more.. 7-Zip is stable with the Operating Systems Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP and is ported to Linux and FreeBSD too.

To use archives is really good, especially now, when computers are so advanced, in the past I remember I also needed to compress different files, using XPK or PP format, that files would take less space in the floppy disk, now that might sound funny though.. It is very convenient to compress the files, which you rarely used, because it is better for the hard disk - one bigger file is better than lots of small files, especially when stupid Windows OS is reading all the files from inside while browsing. You can archive the files with a password too, so you will have the access to it and no one else. TAR format is really great, it stores all the files into one archive and does not compress them, this is very fast, I personally stored all my installers into one big 2 GB file and when I need something I just open the file like a list with the manager and browse it, copy the file I need and thats all, very fast and comfortable and just because of 7-Zip. Of course, there exist much more similar programs, but this in my opinion is one of the best, but if you still would like to pack using RAR, you will have to use something additionally, but I don't see the point to do it.

More about 7-Zip File Manager


Gaim is a multi-protocol Instant Messenger Client, it supports most of the most popular protocols, such as MSN, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Jabber and of course IRC, but I would nor recommend you to use Gaim as an IRC client, due to it is not so comfortable to use it for this purpose. Furthermore, other protocols, less popular in the world: Gadu-Gadu, SILC, GroupWise and the Zephyr network. Moreover, Gaim works on most operating systems, but mainly it is used on Linux, BSD, MacOS X, but it also works great for Windows, you just need an GTK engine installed on your system. It is quite stable, you just need to know how to use it after a while, to use it as you want, there are plenty of plugins and themes written for it.

Aren't you fed up having lots of different software, which are used to connect to different protocols, that to chat with your friends or etc. ? Gaim can connect to all those protocols at one time, so you can talk on MSN and AIM without needing to load another software and use more memory, isn't this just so convenient ? I think a lot of whom were dreaming about this in the past, and so the dream came true. Eventually, this has some difficulties, different protocols has different features, but Gaim did that you could use all of the features, which other applications are offering and even until now the application is under further development to improve it. You can send files, use away messages, but there are some unique things such as notifies, sounds and much more.. it is just hard to list them. Gaim perfectly works in your tray bar, you can work with your computer, be online without the opened windows and configure everything the way you need. It is best if you have already some knowledge how to register on different IM protocols.

I am using Gaim for a quite long time now, though it was my first and last real IM client, I fully am satisfied with what it offers, what is the best, that it isn't as bad as other programs, and is a free application, open source. I know that there are beta versions, with more features and abilities, I tried - the old version is capable of doing everything I need, but oh well, we will look what will happen in the near future.

You can get Gaim from their Project Site.