Try these essential Desktop tools!

This time, I will enlist few desktop applications which go beyond being just tools. These tools are free / open source and you need not worry about piracy issues!

1. Winamp and SA Stereo Tool

All of you must have heard of Winamp. It is the premier music-playing freeware since PC-time immemorial. My memory goes back to my days in 1998, when I bought my first PC and played songs in Winamp. I believed that it is only tool with which I can play music! Even now, I am comfortable with Winamp, either playing selected songs or a playlist. With the advent of broadband, I used to play Shoutcast stations in Winamp. Winamp is still a freeware and its new versions are still worth a try. I know you will refer KMP, VLC and other players. But Winamp is Winamp!

Wait a minute! Winamp has one fantastic extension known as SA Stereo Tool. According to the developer of this tool, Hans van Zutphen: “Stereo Tool is a professional low latency audio processor that is used by over 1000 FM stations, thousands of web radio stations and AM, HD and DAB+ stations all over the world, by musicians who use it to process their recordings, and by hundreds of thousands of people who use the free version to listen to music on their PC. Stereo Tool makes your music sound more consistent, powerful, clear and detailed than ever before – regardless of whether you play it through low-end or high-end equipment. Stereo Tool can make recordings sound equal and consistent in volume and sound color, bring out the details, and increase existing stereo effects. It can repair ‘broken’ stereo images which often occur on cassette tapes, vinyl and cheap CD’s, which normally causes havoc when playing it on a mono system, headphones or a system which includes a stereo widener”.

I have installed the free version of this software and it is plugged on to Winamp. Believe me, my music listening was never the same after this. It gave me dozens of options to manipulate the audio level, quality, input and output. Try it and you will see the difference.

2. Bulk Rename Utility!

I came across this beautiful tool while searching for a solution for streamlining a set of similar files with specific tag words. After using this tool, I am convinced that it will take few more years for Smartphones to offer such versatile tools. After installing this free tool, you can rename the files in a flash, correct the spellings, replace, and do lot more. This tool is particularly useful when you are faced with renaming hundreds of files.

3. Handbrake and DVD Decrypter

Handbrake is a video converter. This tool is a must for those who have hundreds of files to be converted into newer format, say MP4. Handbrake will read almost all the older formats and converts them into MP4 without any hassles. You can choose the quality (bitrate) of the output too.

Handbrake (available for Windows, Linux and Mac as a Freeware / Open Source) converts a single file. When you have a video DVD, then you have to integrate the multiple files in the DVD to a single file (usually in VOB format). This is achieved by DVD Decrypter. Though the development of DVD Decrypter has stopped now, some good Samaritan has archived it for us, the lesser mortals! So, a combination of DVD Decrypter and Handbrake will result in high quality, stereo tracked video files in MP4 format.

4. Teamviewer

Teamviewer is a PC software which allows you to access your other PCs remotely. All you need is to install this tool on both/ all the PCs. Each one will have a username and password. Enter them and you are through. The remote PC is all yours now. You can even have multiple PCs at a single point of time. What is more, Teamviewer is completely functional with its non-commercial free version. If you allow once, all the Keyboard shortcuts will be applicable at both the PCs. For example, you can copy a file by pressing Ctrl+C, and paste it on the remote PC by pressing Ctrl+V. Of course, you should have a good bandwidth to transfer the files. You can also have one to one chat. The commercial versions have more features that are required by a professional organisation.\

Teamviewer can be a good security tool also. If you have opted for two step verification on Google’s Gmail, then it is a cumbersome process to login in cybercafes, or in other’s PCs. If you have Teamviewer, you can login to Teamviewer with a unique password and use your remote PC for Gmail. Since Teamviewer allows browser-based remote access, you can forgo installing it on the new PC!

Though Teamviewer has a smartphone App, it is bit difficult to access and control a remote PC. It is not a good idea to use smartphone to work on a PC! I can go on enlisting many such tools which I have myself experimented and certified. Desktops come alive and your PC activity becomes easier and smarter by installing such tools. There may not be lakhs of such tools as in the case of smartphone Apps; but who cares? No smartphone can match the comfort of huge screens and the freedom of natural-sized keyboards!

Please note: By writing about these tools, I am only trying to help out only those simple Desktop users and not high-end professionals. I know there are more sophisticated tools, but most of them are highly priced and need high-end PCs.

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