posted February 09, 2005 at 09:05 AM
Picture of Arlo Midgett Arlo Midgett

Phone: 907.796.6375
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Useful Downloads


More and more I find myself borrowing heavily from the Internet for my digital media toolset.  Whenever I rebuild my home computer, I inevitably spend more time re-downloading and re-installing these little, useful tools than I ever do on the OS or retail programs.  This should be an easy(ier) way to share and keep track of them.

Digital Photography
Autostitch.  An *amazing* software proof of concept that will take a series of images and automagically stitch them together.  Makes a nearly perfect panorama with zero effort!  Go ahead, throw handheld images at it that are differently exposed and at different orientations.  It'll figure it all out.  Highly recommended.
Picasa.  Google bought out this company and now offers a great freeware program for organizing and retouching your digital images.
ACDSee.  ACDSee covers much of the same ground as Picasa, yet it does some things better.  A great Windows Explorer replacement when you're working with images.  (Note:  Trial version may last only 30 days.)
Microsoft Powertoys.  Tiny little applications that can make some tasks much easier, including: Image Resizer and Webcam Timershot.

Digital Video
VirtualDub.  It's been probably a few years since I first took a look at the open source project VirtualDub.  While I still can't call its interface intuitive, I was surprised by the breadth of its functionality.  Recommended for those that are already familiar with video compression and encoding.
Windows Media Player 10.  If you're a Windows user, it comes with your OS (but you may not have the latest version.) 
QuickTime Player 7.  Good cross platform format, but scores lowest on filesize.  No need to register to download -- also comes with iTunes.
Real Player Basic.  Real wrote the book on sneaky, advertisement-laden installers, but at small file sizes, the Real format has arguably the best video quality.  Don't let their website sidetrack you into paying for something you don't need!
Windows Media Encoder.  Of the big three video architectures (Windows Media, QuickTime, and Real), Microsoft wins the "best free encoder" award.  You can convert (or even stream!) practically any video source with this encoder.  Highly recommended.

Digital Audio
New! Audacity.  Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, very robust digital audio editor.  If you've ever sliced up a waveform, you'll find this program very intuitive.
iTunes.  A more intuitive (than the Windows Media Player) organizing/library player for your music collection.
Winamp.  A small, simple, infinately customizable mp3 player.

Miscellaneous Utilities  Don't have a jewel case handy?  This site will create a .pdf that you can simply print and fold to create your own paper CD cases!
Winzip.  My compression/decompression tool of choice.
WinRar.  For when Winzip doesn't cut it.
SmartFTP.  When it's time to upload or download files.
Ad-Aware.  Update and run it every so often to eliminate spy-, ad-, and malware from your computer.  Highly recommended.
Acrobat Reader.  This should come with the OS nowadays.  Really, it should.
Microsoft Powertoys.  Tiny little applications that can make some tasks much easier, including: Open Command Window Here.
PowerPoint Viewer.  You don't need Microsoft Office just to view someone's PowerPoint presentations.  Not that I'm into that, or anything, but it could be useful.
Firefox.  Firefox is the popular alternative to Internet Explorer and Netscape for those in the know.

Google Toolbar.  Able to be added to most browsers, the Google Toolbar blocks pop-ups, makes searches easier, and ads a ton of other very useful features, to boot.  Highly recommended. Toolbar.  Pop in a word and instantly know it's definition.  Or synonym.  Or get the Word of the Day.


Self Reflection

Man, I am so cool.  I mean, really.  Don't believe it?  Check out my picture!  That's me, driving a Mustang convertable!  Allow me to reiterate: *So* cool.