Archive for the ‘Self Service’ category

One Media Player to Rule Them All

March 20, 2007

Even after adding all the codecs you can find to Quicktime, there still might be some media files you still have trouble playing on your Mac. It is always a good idea to have a backup media player. VLC media player is a FREE media player that can also stream media to other computers.

VLC media player is a free cross-platform media player. It supports a large number of multimedia formats, without the need for additional codecs. It can also be used as a streaming server, with extended features (video on demand, on the fly transcoding, …)

VideoLAN Website
VideoLAN Website

Copy Me Now, Remember Me Later

March 20, 2007

Ever want to be able to be able to copy some text into the clipboard, and see something else you wanted to copy also into the clipboard. By default, the clipboard can only hold one item at a time. This means if you copy an item, the old item is no longer in the clipboard. There is a FREE program that will remember what you put in your clipboard, this program is called Jumpcut.

Jumpcut is an application that provides “clipboard buffering” — that is, access to text that you’ve cut or copied, even if you’ve subsequently cut or copied something else. The goal of Jumpcut’s interface is to provide quick, natural, intuitive access to your clipboard’s history.

Jumpcut Website
Jumpcut Website

You’ve Got the Whole World, in Your Mac

March 19, 2007

Imagine being able to see the Eifel Tower, the White House, and the Great Wall of China in one day. Get to see what your house looks like from outer space. Get to know the streets of a town you are going to visit, before you visit it. You can do all this and more with Google Earth. All that is required is a Mac less than 4 years old and a broadband internet connection.

From popular destinations like Maui and Paris to local restaurants and schools, Google Earth puts a wealth of Earth imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop. See satellite images of your childhood home or read articles from Wikipedia. Google Earth is free for personal use. No registration is required.

Google Earth Website
Google Earth Website

It Slices, It Dices, It Cuts Through DivX

March 18, 2007

As an addendum to the previous post, Windows Media files are not the only video type that Quicktime can’t play without a little help. DivX and Xvid are also some other popular Internet video types that Quicktime can’t play. With the help of the swiss-army knife collection of Perian, Quicktime can play these video file types and more.

Perian is a free, open source QuickTime® component that adds native support for many popular video formats. Perian enables QuickTime® application support for additional media types including:
AVI and FLV, 3ivX, DivX, Flash Screen Video, MS-MPEG4, Sorenson H.263, Truemotion VP6, and Xvid.
AVI support for: AAC, AC3 Audio using A52Codec, H.264, MPEG4, and VBR MP3

Perian Website
Perian Website

You’ve Got to .wmv it, .wmv it.

March 17, 2007

On Window PC’s, Windows Media Player comes standard. Mac OS X has no standard way for playing Windows Media files. Quicktime can’t handle all the different video types that are on the Web, it needs help to play Windows Media files. The help that Quicktime needs comes in the form of Windows Media® Components for QuickTime, by Flip4Mac™.

With Windows Media® Components for QuickTime, by Flip4Mac™, you can play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a Web browser. If you have a new Mac, this is a must download.

Windows Media Components for QuickTime
Windows Media Components for QuickTime

MS Office? We don’t need no stinkin MS Office!

March 16, 2007

While it is true that the collection of programs in Microsoft Office are the most used programs at home and work, there are alternatives. Most people only use Microsoft Word and Excel in rudimentary ways. Do you really need all the bells and whistles that Microsoft Office offers? Sure they would be nice, but when the student version of Microsoft Office sells for $130, a FREE program might be worth a try.

OpenOffice.org, the product, is a multi-platform office productivity suite. It includes the key desktop applications, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, and drawing program, with a user interface and feature set similar to other office suites. Sophisticated and flexible, OpenOffice.org also works transparently with a variety of file formats, including those of Microsoft Office, and the vendor-neutral OpenDocument standard from OASIS.

In order to currently run OpenOffice.org, you need the X11 environment installed on you Mac. The installation for X11 can be found on the DVD that comes with your Mac. Put the first disc in and look under optional installs. Another advantage OpenOffice .org currently enjoys over Microsoft Office , besides price, is that it offers an Intel Native version that runs on the newset Macs. This allows OpenOffice.org to run much faster than Microsoft Office, because Microsoft Office has to run under Rosetta emulation which slows Microsoft Office performance down.

OpenOffice.org Website
OpenOffice.org Website

Tinker Around

March 15, 2007

There are hidden preferences and features in OS X. A lot of these features can be accessed through the proper command typed into Terminal. Apple doesn’t activate these features for various reasons. If you are one who likes playing around with your computer to see what additional functionality you can get out of the OS X operating system and its associated programs, there is a program that lets you change things without having to use Terminal. The program is called TinkerTool.

TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.

The tool makes sure that preference changes can only affect the current user. You don’t need administrative privileges to use the tool. With this design, it is no problem to use TinkerTool in professional networks where users have restricted permissions. The program will never change any component of the operating system, so the integrity of your system is not put at risk, and there will be no negative effect on system updates.

All preference settings changed by TinkerTool can be reset to Apple’s defaults, or to the state that existed before using the tool. No dangerous background processes are used for TinkerTool’s operation.

TinkerTool Website
TinkeTool Website