My Essential iPhone Apps

With all the fuss over the iPhone 3.0 announcement, I thought it was a good time to review the apps I couldn’t live without on my iPhone. Some are for business, some are for pleasure, but all are essential in my eyes. And, oddly for a miser like me, they’re all apps that I had to fork out some cash for…
  1. Easy TimeSheet
    Easy TimeSheet – I use Easy TimeSheet for tracking hours worked on various projects. Whenever you start work on something simply start the timer… when you finish, stop it again. It’s that simple. There’s the option to assign hourly rates to projects if you plan to bill someone for your work. The data can also be e-mailed to you so that you can compile reports/bills on your computer rather than trying to fiddle about with your phone.

  2. Tweetie
    Tweetie – I used Twittelator Pro for mobile twittering for quite some time, and recently made the switch to Tweetie. When I changed, Tweetie seemed much “cleaner” and simpler… it just did its job and did it well. It allows you to send a link to your current location, and integrates with TwitPic. I’ve also found it to be very solid… I don’t remember it crashing on me yet. Since switching, Twittelator Pro has had an update which adds a load of new features, but having had a look at it I think it felt a bit too cluttered. For the simplicity of tweeting on the move, it’s Tweetie on my iPhone.
  3. Milog
    Milog – This is one I use every single day, and couldn’t do without. I have to track my business mileage in the car, and kept forgetting to fill in the log book. Rather than having to try and reconstruct my mileage a month after the event I downloaded this great little app that allows me to input the mileage for every trip, and then allows me to e-mail myself a report at the end of the month. The good thing is that this app is paying for itself, as I’m more likely to remember to claim small trips than if I were doing it all in one go.
  4. Things
    Things – I’m notoriously bad at remembering to do things… but I’m also terrible at keeping lists. They get misplaced, or (believe it or not) I forget to write things on them. Because I always have my phone with me, though, and because I can have the icon on the first page of the start screen, an iPhone-based solution works better for me. I’m also impressed with the GTDmethod of task management, so decided to go for something that loosely followed that. Things is the solution, with an inbox where you just dump tasks as they come up, and “today”, “next”, “scheduled”, and “someday” lists to help break that huge list of jobs into manageable chunks. So far I’m definitely remembering to do more than I used to!
  5. Pole Position: Remix
    Pole Position: Remix – a bit of fun to finish with, and a remake of an old game! Pole Position was good on ye olde computers, but steering by tilting the iPhone has added a nice new dimension to the game. Not to mention that I’m a bit of a Formula 1 freak so it’s nice to imagine that I’m racing round the circuit ahead of next week’s season-opening race in Melbourne. Shame none of the actual F1 circuits are in the game (only fairly simple layouts) but it’s still fun.

iOS 4 updated Apps

Twittelator Pro, GoodReader, Echofon, Reeder, Apple Store Mobile App

We’re still lurking the App Store for signs of apps that have added iOS 4 support and we’ve found some more good ones. Some apps are only adding compatibility while some really take advantage of the new APIs Apple is offering to developers. Adding compatibility isn’t the same as adding new APIs and features to increase not only user experience, but productivity and ease of use.

Read on to see what ones intrigued us this time.

Apple Store Mobile

I just received this update today and it adds retina display support for images within the Apple Store for iPhone 4 users as well as fast app switching. If you haven’t downloaded this one yet, it’s definitely much more convenient than trying to browse the Apple website within Safari, and it’s free.

Twittelator Pro

Twittelator Pro has always been a serious contender in the race for best Twitter client. A lot of people are hardcore users and follow the platform faithfully. They’ve updated their app with support for fast app switching along with the promise of faster speeds within the app. That’s all they’ve announced, but to me, the icon and app looks a heck of a lot sharper on the iPhone
4. Anyone else notice this?


Reeder has been my all-time favorite RSS app on my iPhone for quite a while now. I was happy to see they have now issued an update for iOS4 that supports fast app switching. Reeder would always cache the page even under OS 3.0 but the app just loads so much quicker now, and if you’re actually viewing the real page within the Reeder browser, it won’t kick you out of the article if you close it out, thanks to multitasking.


Echofon, like Twittelator Pro is also one of the more popular Twitter clients you’ll find in the App Store. Recent updates in the past few months have made this client all the better. They offer a free version and a paid version (sans the ads). Echofon also offers push notifications and many of the advanced features clients like Twitter for iPhone and Twitteriffic offer. This update added fast app switching and retina display support for iPhone 4 users. If you haven’t updated, go check it out!

HP unveils 3 new devices

HP unveils 3 new devices, including its new TouchPad tablet

Today at HP and Palm‘s ‘Think Beyond’ webOS event, the lack of Palm logos was a tell-tale sign that HP would steal the show.

“We have a history of firsts. We have a tradition of creating firsts,” said Todd Bradley, the Executive VP of the Personal System Group at Hewlett-Packard, a company known for its sturdy computers, printers and laptops. With a focus on bringing scale to the mass markets, HP has acquired Palm and added hundreds of engineers to its force.

Jon Rubinstein, who helped to create the iPod and is now the senior VP and general manager at Hewlett-Packard took the stage to unveil 3 new HP devices all connected with HP’s Synergy product, which merges data from across the cloud and brings it together in an easy way.

The new products are:

1. The HP Veer

The Veer is the smallest webOS smartphone to date; it is the same size as a credit card and will be available in early spring. “Never before has a smartphone done so much, and felt so little,” says Rubinstein.

2. The Pre 3

The smartphone for professionals will come in two versions- HSPA and and EVDO Rev A world phone — 8GB or 16GB. It will be available this summer.

3. The TouchPad.

This is the first in the webOS TouchPad family. Using the newest Snapdragon, dual core 1.2GHz CPU, it’s “screaming fast.” The device weighs in at 1.5lbs and is 13mm thick. It is compatible with QuickOffice, Google Docs, Dropbox, and as well as VPN, video calling, and wireless printing. Amazon has announced it will provide a Kindle app for the device. HP TouchPad is scheduled to be available in the summer. Exact pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

The three new devices come in S, M and L flavors. webOS accounts will work in tandem on the phones and the TouchPad — just log in and it populates your info across all devices.

Echofon 4 for iPhone and iPad

Echofon 4 for iPhone and iPad launches, adds user streams and media previews
UberMedia, recent acquirers of Echofon – one of the world’s top iOS Twitter applications – has today announced the launch of Echofon 4 for iPad and iPhone, bringing with it iPad user streams, media previews and advanced notifications.

The application is now used by over 3 million people worldwide across various platforms, providing a free ad-supported version and a paid download. The premium version is able to synchronise personalisation options and tweet timelines across its iPad, iPhone and desktop applications.

Today’s update enables user streams for iPad, displaying tweets without the need to refresh – saving battery life in the process. Global push notifications have also been included, sending SMS-like updates when a user receives a Direct Message, @reply, all without the need to be signed in.

Users can also mute users and view photos and videos inline, without having to leave the application.

10 Free iPhone Apps

10 Free iPhone Apps to Help You Save Money
It’s always a good time to save money, something my mother would recite to me. To date I have no savings but lots and lots and lots of dresses and shoes. Thrice weekly shopping trips is a bad habit I have not been able to break. However every now and then I do attempt to be good with money and today is one of those said days.

My endeavor to be frugal led me to compile a list of 10 mobile apps that will help you and hopefully me, save money.

Mint : Allows you to keep track of your spending and set yourself a budget. When you break your budget you get sent alerts, managing your money will enable you to save more of it.

Skype : Ditch your call plan, get on Skype, get your friends on Skype and never have to pay to talk again, great for international callers. Calls to landlines are really cheap as is international texting.

Gasbuddy: Shows the lowest prices for petrol stations near your location. It shows you maps which is handy if you don’t know where the gas station is.

RedLaser: A nifty little app to compare prices. Scan the barcode of an item you want to buy and it will tell you if it’s cheaper somewhere else.

Ebay Mobile: There are often great bargains on ebay now with the mobile app you won’t have to miss another auction again. You can bid on anything, at any time, and see the status of your own auctioned items.

Gilt: For those that need luxury goods, Gilt gives you incredible deals on name brands. You can shop on exclusive, time-sensitive sales at a steep discount.

Pageonce Bills: Never incur a late fine from your bills with this app. You can keep track of every bill you pay each month, set reminders to your phone when the bill is due, and track your payments.

ATM Hunter: It’s a great way to stop getting charged money to get your hands on your hard earned cash. It locates your nearest ATM, guides you with a map and can be preset to find your bank’s cash dispenser.

WiFi Finder: Wifi allows smartphone users to access the internet at faster speeds than the 3G network. This application searches for all the free Wifi hotspots near you. It claims to cover 465,000 free hotspots over 140 countries.

Cellfire, MobileCoupons, and Yowza: These apps aggregate coupons and will let you know if there are any deals happening in you area. It’s always best to use several of these, to have access to a number of deals.

If you know of any other money saving apps let me know.

Flash for iPhone

Flash for iPhone Now Available

Adobe's Flash technology is now available for iOS devices, thanks to a new application for jailbroken iPhones and iPads. Coming from Comex, the same man who developed the browser-based JailbreakMe tool, Frash lets iPhone users view Adobe Flash content on their phones. Frash is in its very early stages, and works with the iPhone 4, 3GS (with iOS4), third-generation iPod Touch, and iPads with the latest software (3.2.X), the developer says. To install Frash, you will also need to jailbreak your device, which can be done easily with the new Web browser-based JailbreakMe tool released last week.

Once you have jailbroken your iOS device and installed Frash ( has a simple step-by-step guide), you can view Adobe Flash in Mobile Safari. Not all Flash content will work though. Frash is in the early development stages (version 0.02), so only basic Flash animations will display, mainly advertisements. Here's a video showing Frash in action on an iPhone 4.

Apple's relationship with Adobe's Flash technology on the iPhone was bumpy from the beginning. The company refused to include the technology into its mobile devices, saying that it would cripple the experience and battery life. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also explained at length in a public letter his reasons to sideline Adobe's technology.

Some iPhone users were not happy with Job's decision, and looked into getting flash on their iOS devices. Comex's Frash should keep those users happy momentarily, until a better version of the software is developed.

As for the procedure came into legality two weeks ago, when the U.S. Copyright Office ruled it as an exemption of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). However, Apple doesn't agree with jailbreaking, and says that the procedure will void the warranty of your iOS device, meaning no free repairs in case something goes wrong. To fix that, you can always use the Restore option in iTunes.

Mozilla Contacts

Mozilla Labs: Contacts 0.4.2

More about this add-on

Contacts is an experimental addon from Mozilla Labs, which enhances Firefox by making it aware of your online contacts and friend lists. You can then search and browse your contacts in the browser, and a website can ask for permission to access them through an API.

Image Gallery


Installed. Nothing happened. Can't be bothered to figure out why. Uninstalled.
Rated 1 out of 5 stars by Nemo on January 20, 2011

Thunderbird Contacts
Didn't works for me on the first installation! There are no services I could import from.

I was asked to installed another version, the addon id was given. But this "new" installation don't install the necessary Oauth service Addon. The result is that there is no Contact Serviced for import of contacts.

Solution:Install the old "wrong" version, it will install the OAuth addon in addition. Then uninstall the "wrong version" of the Thunderbird Contacts. An then install the newest version with the given Addon id.

BUT, It's seem like the addon only install the contact names and the email addresses under Internet labels.

WordPress Plugins

How to install a Wordpress Plugin?

Plugins are tools which provide additional functionality to your application. To install a plugin you generally just need to put the plugin file into your 'wp-content/plugins' directory. Once a plugin is installed, you may activate it or deactivate it from thePlugins menu in your WP administration.
Generally the Plugin installation is a straight-forward process. In most cases it is enough to upload the plugin under the 'wp-content/plugins' directory for the WordPress installation and activate it from the administrator backend.
In WordPress 2.7 and above you can install plugins directly from the admin area. Downlod the plugin to your computer, then log in to your WP admin area and go to Plugins > Add New. Browse to the plugin archive and select it. Then click Install Now and the plugin will be installed shortly.

The removal is also straight-forward in most cases. Simply remove the directory for the plugin you would like to uninstall and it will be automatically deactivated.
Still always bear in mind that not all plugins are easy to install, so always refer to their documentation and installation instructions first.

You can check our detailed articles on the following WP plugins:
  • WordPress Shopping cart
  • WordPress Images
  • Recent comments plugin
  • Wordpress Spelling checker plugin
  • BuddyPress as a Community Website
  • Wordpress Classifieds Plugin: WP Classified; Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin (AWPCP); Your Classified Ads


BelugaFile – Adobe Air App To Share Large Files Directly Btw Two Computers

Suppose lets say you want to send a large file to your friend, files as big as 4GB in size. What other alternatives you would have? Email the file? Never. Or Upload them to free file sharing site? Wow looks great but lengthy work. Or create some sort of VPN between two computers? Really? It’s too tough to do that. Sometimes you require to transfer and exchange files with other users, for business or for even sharing. If the file sizes are small, the services available to the user are several and reliable to use. However, if the files are large, problems start. You do not have enough time to send a DVD and main mail providers do not permit the large attachments transfer. Apart from for P2P services (they work fine but too slow), particularly designed for large files transferring between distant computers, free services that let you to send large files are few.

However, there is a totally free service available. This service name is BelugaFile. It uses the Adobe Air 2.0 software technology that permits two users to send and share large files up to a maximum of 6 GB. The operation is easy enough, bearing in mind however, that in order to take full advantage of the features offered by BelugaFile, you have to to enable UDP traffic. To use BelugaFile, both you and the other person with whom you desire to connect must install BelugaFile software. To connect, you will be provided a key to send to your peer. Once connected, choose the files you desire to share. This is a freeware and multiplatform service. BelugaFile not only lets you to send large files but does it very speedily. BelugaFile is a program, reliable and easy to use, through which to share large files with friends, relatives and colleagues becomes a genuine breeze. BelugaFile is totally free and open source service. As discussed there is only one condition for this application to run smoothly, which is that your network connection must allow UDP traffic. But this is quite normal and almost all network connections allow such traffic.

BelugaFile is an application which allows you to build a peer to peer communication channel using which you can easily transfer large files. In order to initiate the transfer, one user should give the Host ID to other, and the other user as soon as provides the Host ID of first user in the ‘Their Host ID’ field and presses on ‘Connect to peer’ and the connection is established.

What is so great about Beluga file –?

• Superbly easy to use.
• Minute setup.
• Fast adequate.


It is a cross-platform (Win, Linux, and Mac) tool and takes less than 30Mb of system memory when running. Developers have tested it on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. For more software like this you can also find out about HFS and Fileai, but remember that they are not as reliable as BelugaFile. When you will test it, you certainly feel the difference.


NET Memory Profiler

.NET Memory Profiler 3.1.321 | 14,2 Mb

Find Memory Leaks and Optimize Memory Usage in any .NET Program

.NET Memory Profiler is a powerful tool for finding memory leaks and optimizing the memory usage in programs written in C#, VB.NET or any other .NET Language.

New or Updated Features in .NET Memory Profiler 3.1

Visual Studio style presentation of instance fields

Field name presentation in root paths and "Referenced by"

  • Improved memory assertions
  • Declarative memory assertions
  • Visual Studio 2008 integration
  • Easier navigation of types, resources, and instances
  • WPF Browser Application profiling
  • GC handle tracking
  • .NET Memory Profiler will help you to:
  • View real-time memory and resource information

The profiler presents real-time information about all .NET instance allocations performed on the garbage collected heap and all instances that reside on the heap.

Easily identify memory leaks by collecting and comparing snapshots of .NET memory
Snapshots include data about the .NET instance allocations and live instances at the time the snapshot was collected. They provide a lot of useful information and make it easy to identify potential memory leaks, especially when two snapshots are compared.

Find instances that are not properly disposed
The profiler also contains a dispose tracker, which provides additional data about disposable instances (i.e. instances of classes implementing the System.IDisposable interface).

Get detailed information about unmanaged resource usage
The unmanaged resources tracker can collect detailed information about unmanaged resources (such as HWND, HBITMAP and unmanaged memory) and present it together with the .NET memory information.

Optimize memory usage
The heap-utilization tracker will tell you how the managed heaps are used. Together with the real-time view and the dispose tracker this information can be used to optimize the memory usage of the application.

Investigate memory problems in production code
Profiling memory problems in production code is greatly simplified by using the "attach to process" feature and the possibility to import memory dump files.

Perform automated memory testing
The .NET Memory Profiler API makes it possible to automatically detect memory leaks and control the profiler from within the profiled program.

Retrieve information about native memory
In addition to presenting information about the GC heap and unmanaged resources, the profiler also presents information about the native memory of the profiled process or any other process running on the computer.

Download for USA ,EU and Russia:

Other countries:

Comodo Time Machine

Comodo Time Machine - a free program to roll back the system, the absolute analogue of such wonderful programs such as Roll Back RX and Eaz Fix. The program will help protect your computer from a failure, improperly installed driver, defeat any virus, and return back to a serviceable system in minutes, does not affect performance and thus makes it possible to do without a reboot automatically or manually in less than 3 seconds, a full snapshot of the system at any from which you can quickly go back or return of these lost or destroyed data.
The program is an excellent alternative to the mechanism of Windows System Restore. As a built-in component, the application allows you to recover your computer after a serious crash. However, unlike the function of Windows System Restore, «time machine" from Comodo can be used to undo changes not only at the level of system files, registry keys and the list of installed programs, but also in the user data, such as text documents and images.

Annex Comodo Time Machine (CTM) allows you to create so-called "restore points" - original images of the system to date. Subsequently, in the case of system failure caused by equipment failure, virus attack or other factors, the computer owner can easily perform a "rollback" OS to one of its previous states.

The application gives clients more control over the process of recovery than a similar functionality built-in mechanism. For example, a PC owner can configure the application so that the "snapshot" was created at each startup or at specified intervals. To minimize possible risks of the program can create a "snapshot" before any recovery procedure and synchronize files in the selected directory.

Another interesting feature of CTM is to "mount" created the image and view its contents in order to restore or retrieve individual files. By clicking on the file or folder, right-click in the window "Internet Options", the user is also able to synchronize the selected object with the earlier "snapshots".

Operating system: Windows XP / Vista / Server 2003/Server 2008/Seven (32/64)
License type: FreeWare
Developer: Comodo Group
Size: 21.57 Mb

Download Link:-

Chrome Web Apps

10 Best Chrome Web Apps For Web Designers
Google Chrome is the second most popular browser among the users. This browser have thousand of useful and beautiful extensions. Few days ago, i have been provided Best Google Chrome Extensions For Every Blogger. But Now this time Google chrome comes with Chrome web Apps store for their users.

Google Chrome Web Apps store have lots of amazing and awesome Apps. Designers and developers are also very happy to find apps which are related to the web design and development. this web apps store have awesome collection of web apps for designers and developers.

So Today we are providing 10 best Google Chrome Web Apps for web designers. I hope this stuff will be highly useful for web designers and they use these apps and make their job easier.

You may be interested in the following related articles as well

  • 26 Best Free iPad Apps For Web Designers Of Year 2010
  • Top 10 Best Free Mac Apps For Web Designers
  • 12 Fresh And Best Free Fonts From daFont
  • 25 Websites For Download Best Free Ebooks
  • Top 10 Fresh And Best Free HTML / CSS Web Templates

1) Ajax Animation - A html5 powered web-based animation suite. Its original goal was to be a usable Flash IDE alternative, but has evolved into a cross-platform/cross-format animation tool. Works offline.
2) Image MarkUp by Aviary - Aviary’s Image Markup is the perfect tool for editing images on-the-go. Resizing, cropping, rotating, and other simple editing tools are at your fingertips. Aviary’s Image Markup runs lightning fast even on the slowest connections, which makes for great results and sharing in no time at all!

3) Picnik Photo Editor - Picnik is photo editing awesomeness! The whole tool kit is there from basic fixes to professional quality effects to touch up tools. Add some fun from our selection of fonts, fun shapes and stickers.

4) Color Editor - Aviary’s Color Editor gives you the features you need to inject color into your creative process.Choose up to 20 colors per palette using color association rules. Our Color Editor allows users to create the perfect color scheme for any project!

5) Sketchpad - MugTug Sketchpad brings your favorite digital painting tools to the browser with a tool set including paintbrush, texture stamp, and spiral brush.

6) Color Blendy - Ever fire up Photoshop just to multiply a couple of colors? No more. Blend colors with different modes like multiply, overlay, dodge, within the convenience of your browser.

7) HTML 5 Photo Editor - Aviary’s new HTML5 Photo Editor is a revolution in quick and easy photo editing! With a few clicks anyone with an internet connection can edit a photo into a beautifully layered piece of art or perform a series of simple touch ups.

8 ) Page Creator

9) Pixlr Editor - If you are used to working with Gimp, Paint shop pro or even Photoshop you will feel right at home with this online image editor.

10) Vector Editor - Aviary’s Vector Editor allows users to create fully scalable vector art appropriate for logos, tee shirt designs, and more.

This entry was posted in Best of, Design and tagged Apps, Freebies. Bookmark the permalink.

Chrome Web Store

Google has changed the way of experiencing web browser by creating web app store for chrome.It’s very handy,very fast and convenient web store.there is thousands of apps,extension and themes.Google chrome user can download thousands of app and can even create and sell their own.

There are two kinds of apps in the chrome web store:

1.hosted apps

2.package apps

hosted are those apps which can be loaded using any web browser,but package apps only work inside chrome.Gmail,Google docs,Google books are example of hosted app while quick note,slide rocket,livego are example of packaged apps.You’ll find a lot of hosted apps in the Chrome Web Store.

The Chrome Web Store has very little in common with Apple‘s iTunes stores, with the exception of the obvious ripoff of UI. According to TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid, no one is buying anything on the Chrome Web Store, unlike Apple‘s App Store.

A quick look around the Web Store shows dismal download rates for “paid” applications, and downright pathetic payouts for developers. Pathetic might be a bit harsh, but apparently MathBoard, an app that has the “most activity” on the web store, was only installed 65 times last week. According to Kincaid, that works out to being about $165 in the developer’s pockets per week. Not exactly enough money to keep the lights on, is it?

This really leads to some interesting thoughts. FIrst, what the heck is Google’s end game with the Chrome Web Store? It’s way too early to tell, but the lack of promotion, and lack of consumer interest in the product really makes you wonder if this thing is even worth the space on the internet. Secondly, will people really pay for glorified web apps? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see web developers treated the same as iOS and other application developers, but have we gone so far down the “free-web” road that people will never pay up to use the services? The numbers on the Chrome Web Store suggest that this might just be the case. Free seems to rule the day when it comes to Google related projects, so it’s no surprise that their Chrome App Store has taken on a similar ecosystem.

Adobe Media Player

Adobe Media Player 1.8

Adobe Media Player software provides control and flexibility to view what you want, when you want - whether online or offline. You can queue up and download your favorite Internet TV content, track and download new episodes automatically, and manage your personal video library for viewing at your convenience.

Adobe Media Player has been my media player of choice for watching their product videos, tutorials and occassionaly my FLV's. Its name could be misleading as it is not designed to be a general media player but a player targeting creative professionals. It is also a small cross-platform media player for its UI. Any claims about bloated probably have not done any objective research or even known anything in terms of that level of programming. Adobe Media Player is able to work responsively on my 1.6Ghz laptop with jazzy UI animations, and flawless content playback, something that Windows Media Player or Quicktime could not even come close.

GOM Media Player

GOM Media Player
As various media players jockey for position to become your default setting for music and video streams, GOM Media Player's support for a wide range of file formats has helped it stand out as a firm favorite.

Supported formats include DAT, MPEG, DivX, XviD, WMV, ASF, AVI, and MOV, as are common codecs like FLV1, AC3, OGG, MP4, and H263. A pop-out playlist can save and organize your various media files, though the limited sort modes--two--hardly makes it a champ.

More impressive are the customizable settings on the control panel. Here you can adjust a video's image brightness, hue, and saturation. There's no preview window, and changes occur as the video runs, so unless you care for a rousing session of trial and error, be sure to tweak the settings after clicking "play." There's also a built-in screen-capture feature that includes zooming and panning, customizable themes, hot keys, and a host of preset and adjustable audio controls.

GOM is weakest when you're looking for help documentation and trying to tweak Save settings, but overall it's a very strong player worth at least a supporting role in your video-watching habits, if not the lead.

Media Player Classic

Media Player Classic
Its small size, low memory footprint, and numerous features make this the media player of choice, but you must add the proper codecs to perfect this freeware. Media Player Classic's interface reflects its title--retro, old school, basic. This single player easily replaces the four or five video players installed on most systems. The only caveat is that you must download a complete set of codecs to play your favorite video formats. Media Player Classic also easily loads and plays DVDs. We liked how you can easily increase or decrease playback speed.

This program also plays most audio formats. We were surprised this tiny player includes sound filters and playlists. Hot keys are easily changed, but some users complain the process to set a key isn't apparent. The help file isn't included, but is easily downloaded.

The promised video subtitle search and download function is Media Player Classic's only disappointment. The default subtitle databases are both offline. (By the time you download this player there may be a new database available.) The address is easily changed under Options. It doesn't matter if you're a novice or system administrator. If you watch video or listen to audio, this freeware player is a must-have program.

VLC Media Player 1.1.7

VLC Media Player is a long-time open-source favorite, and the latest version is also the first to be out of beta development. It's not the only option for free video playback, but it's one of the best, and the feature updates in version 1 make it well worth the upgrade.

Users can now get frame-by-frame advancement, granular speed controls allowing for on-the-fly slower or faster playback, and live recording of streaming video. The toolbars are fully customizable, so you can have only the buttons you need in the interface, there's AirTunes streaming, and there's better integration in Gtk environments. Along with the improvements, VLC continues to offer robust support for a wide range of video and audio formats, including OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, HD codecs like AES3, Raw Dirac, and even support for playing back zipped files.

The default interface is still a stripped down player that belies VLC's functionality and features. Skinning can fix that quickly, but behavior can still be a bit unpredictable depending on the quality of the skin. VLC's open-source foundation and community ensures that it evolves quickly and often, with new features and fixes released frequently. Overall, VLC Media Player is a must-have application for its ability to open just about any type of video file you throw at it.