Cool Free Apps and Alternatives that You May Not Know Exist

Everybody should know by now, that if it’s not M2J Style, it’s not in style. Well a lot of you folks use stuff that you don’t need to use, or don’t use stuff you wish you had or don’t even know exists. These are apps that are useful to just about anyone, or simply better versions of something you use already.

Video Players: So there’s a lot of video formats out there now and usually any given player only can play 2 or 3 of them. Usually this player is well known, but in case you’ve never heard of it before, there’s a program called VLC, which has built-in codecs for just about any video format you throw at it and a slew of options to optomize playback and performance. There is also a competing product out there called GOM. It is a very similar application and ever bit as useful. Take your pick.

Music: Boy there are a lot of music players out there now. Winamp was the best, but now it sucks. I recommend foobar2000. It has a very similar interface, with some excellent customization settings. It plays a greater variety of file formats and the tabbed playlists rock.

A neat little trick: You can install something called “Real Alternative” on your machine, which allows Real Media files to be played on Windows Media Player, instead of having to get the actual Real Player and ruining your computer. There is also a Quicktime version of this as well, but I have had less luck with it over the past few months.

For an Instant Message Program: There’s a darling universal app for this called Pidgin. Unlike AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, it does not suck, but you can use any of those services. I suggest you try it and stop using whatever stupid program you’re using.

Zip Files: Use 7-zip, simple as that.

Web Browser: You’re not still using that old Firefox, are you? Flock is such a cool browser and has so many useful utilities built right in. You facebook, flickr, blogging and youtube junkies will take note of this immediately.

Torrents: µTorrent (“µ” is actually a character which means “micro,” but is generally referred to as “U” to make things simple.) Amazing little app, light and full of little features which I find to be very important.

PDF Readers: Yeah, you don’t have to use Adobe Reader, since…you know…it sucks. Foxit is a way better method. Unlike Adobe Reader, it’s light and doesn’t crash every friggin’ time you run it. Oh yeah, it also doesn’t install all this crap you don’t want all over the place.

PDF Writers: You can also create your own documents in this format by using CutePDF. Once installed, it basically shows up as a printer, which you can select for print and it will save to this format.

Well, this is just stuff I use frequently. I dunno if there are any big ones I’m forgetting. Mayhaps I have suggested one over the years that you may want to remind me of. I hope someone out there finds at least one app here new and/or useful. Just for the sake of looking cool, I popped the icons for all these apps down below, which are also links to said apps.


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