dBpowerAMP Music Converter – the swiss army knife or audio utilities

dbpoweramp-music-converterWith the increased number of audio codecs in use online now, from WAV to FLAC to MP3, you may often find the need to convert files yourself. Therefore, you need an audio utility for your conversion needs. As far as audio utilities go, dBpowerAMP Music Converter is the swiss army knife of audio utilities.

While many converters give you the opportunity to convert between any number of formats, dBpowerAMP allows you to choose the codec for each audio file format and the relevant settings for it.

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Audiophiles naturally flock to dBpowerAMP as you can set your MP3 to LAME (the best encoder), and then choose any of the individual encoding settings that you would with the standalone app itself. This grants you a freedom that is missing in some lighter audio utilities and for good reason: many do not need this.

The dBpowerAMP Music Converter is one of the best audio utility out there, but it will not be suited for everyone. Converting a file to mp3, while a simple process, presents you with encoding options that may confuse or at the very least seem redundant for the average user. Audiophiles flock to this, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will. That said, if you want an audio converter, you may as well go for the best, and we know that this is it.

Download dBpowerAMP Music Converter

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Use a GUI to examine the hard drive on your Wii with WBFSManager

If you’ve got a Wii set top gaming console, managing data on that drive just got easier.

WBFSManagerNewThis application basically provides a GUI for working with hard disk drives that have been formatted to the WBFS file system. The file system used by the console for this purpose is WBFS (Wii Backup File System), a system that is similar to NTFS, that you will now be able to handle thanks to WBFS Manager.

Customizing your gaming experience takes a bit of know-how. Getting custom content to your Wii is now possible with WBFSManager.  The app lets you list the games on the drive so you can see what you have. You get most of the standard drive manager features you’d expect – contents, space used, space available, etc.  You can also copy, move and rename files as you wish.

WBFS-05

The biggest and perhaps best use of WBFSManager is that you can use it to clone your drive to another one. If you want or need to move the content to a different or perhaps bigger drive, then WBFSManager can get you there.  If you’ve got a lot of Wii channels on your system, this can be a huge plus.  Bigger and faster drives make for a better gaming experience.

I never really got into hacking the Wii systems we have in the house; but then again, I’m not much of a gamer, either.  However, if you want to build custom channels for your Wii or want to mount ISO images that you’ve copied to the drive, this the best way to get the content there.  The app hasn’t been updated since 2009, but then again, the file and drive formats haven’t changed either.

download WBFSManager

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Convert your photos to the universally accepted DNG raw format with Adobe DNG Converter

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is a free service that allows you convert files from over 350 different types of camera into the more usable DNG format.

DNG, or Digital Negative, is a photo format that was created specifically for the purpose of providing photography buffs with a universal single format that can be read on any machine. Having this simplified format allows pictures to be archived and documented all the more easily, while keeping them more secure.

The converter comes with an easy-to-navigate interface that allows for the simple transfer of photos from one format to another. It can also be used with a range of camera and photo files, meaning that all of your pictures, no matter what format they are in, can be protected and stored.

The Adobe DNG Converter 7.2 is an unbelievably useful tool for converting and protecting different types of photo. Yes, at the moment the device only supports 350(!) types of camera, but this is still quite a lot and future updates may include additional camera support. Considering the converter is free, it really is the best tool you can use for editing your photographs into a simpler, easier to use and more secure type of file.

download Adobe DNG Converter

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Format any USB stick with the desired file system using HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

Where would we be without our USB flash drives? Our music, pictures, work files, personal data, and just about our entire life’s history are often stored on the modern day equivalent of the floppy disk.

We love their portability, file space, and universal compatibility, and so too does Hewlett-Packard’s USB Disk Storage Format Tool.

What is it and what does it do?

The HP USB Storage Format Tool is a little godsend for those who use USB flash drives as recovery devices because it is capable of formatting virtually any USB flash drive in a diverse range of systems. And here’s the best bit. Not only does it install and run very smoothly, the interface looks exactly like the standard format which is built into Windows. The key difference being where the Windows version does not have the option of selecting USB drives to format, the HP USB Storage Format Tool does. Big difference huh?

This funky piece of software also offers users the option of creating a DOS start-up disk, by either using the internal MS-DOS system files, or the ones located at a specific path.

Oh! and before we forget, this format tool also allows you to rename all your USB flash drives in any way you want and offers a NTFS volume label for format which enable you to create a FAT32 volume which is bigger than 32GB. Cool hey?

The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool blows us away because by deleting space used on flash drivers that cannot be removed in the traditional way, and creating bootable USB drives it brings enhanced power and functionality to your system without costing you the earth. If you use flash drives, then don’t delay and get it today.

HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

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Hamster Free Video Converter with a twist

Even with the staggering number of video formats already in existence, new formats seem to pop up all the time. The fast-paced emergence of new video-capable devices and media player software has only added to the rate at which new formats are developed. The problem is that video files formatted to play on one device may not be playable on another, leaving users who upgrade or change to a different device with libraries of unplayable content.

Hamster brings us the answer. It’s a video converter utility, capable of transforming files from one format to another. While other video converters exist, they’re often highly technical and complicated to use. Hamster is designed to be simple and quick, allowing you to convert video files quickly and easily.

There’s no bewildering array of settings or baroque control panel — just a straightforward interface designed so that anyone can use it. The conversion process has three steps: just load, choose the format you want, and convert. Hamster’s drag-and-drop capability lets you choose videos for editing in a quick and intuitive way; you can also open folders and files in a more traditional explorer view.

Hamster is free to download and use, and very simple to install. It doesn’t come bundled with annoying browser toolbars or other sketchy “helpful” software that you need to opt out of during the installation process. Despite being free, it doesn’t fill your screen with ads while you use it.

download Hamster Free Video Converter

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Close all Windows with a single click

Too many windows opened at the same time will overcrowd your desktop and in the end your PC will start to stutter thanks to its loss of hardware resources. To recover from this situation, you have to start close all the unnecessary windows until you reach the optimum state of functionality.

But you can overpass this manual procedure by installing a little utility that will help you in closing all windows. Close all Windows is a small program, which resides in the system tray and can be activated by a simple click or by a fast hotkey. By just a single click on it, the utility will close all the opened windows, bringing your system to its initial state.

But what if you still need some apps to run? Close all Windows can be customized to close only the windows that you want. All you have to do is to enter the wanted programs in the block-list. From no one, all the apps in the block-list will be skipped by the utility.

Besides its main function, Close all Windows can also clean your clipboard from unwanted formats in your text. A very useful feature especially when you copy a text from an Microsoft Office document into a HTML editor.

Text-Hotkeys is another useful feature that lets you predefine texts and use them very fast in case you need them repeatedly in a context. You can define up to 28 Text-Hotkeys with your own text.

read full review | download Close all Windows

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Manage your disks with EASEUS Partition Master 9

Partition Master 9 is an ALL-IN-ONE partition solution and disk management. It allows you to extend partition (especially for system drive), manage disk space easily, and settle low disk space problem on MBR and GUID partition table (GPT) disk under Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 (SP1 included) 32 bit and 64 bit system.

EaseUS offers a free version of this program and several other paid editions which come with additional features including Technical Services to Clients, free lifetime upgrades and License with WinPE bootable CD.

With the free edition of Partition Master 9 you can now safely merge different partitions without data loss on the same physical disk. It comes also with the ability to wipe data on unallocated space. This option is very useful when you want to get rid of sensitive data. The paid editions include in addition support for dynamic volumes, including copying, resizing and converting without data loss.

In comparison with the free edition, Partition Master 9 Server can repair RAID-5 volumes and supports command-line usage. This allows system administrators to create macro functions that can be scheduled to run without having to launch the main application. Therefore Partition Master 9 Server is also compatible with Windows Home Server.

The developers paid a great attention to the non-technical and inexperienced computer users. With Partition Master 9 anyone is able to backup, image and upgrade boot drives on their computers with ease. Also a bunch of video tutorials, accessible from the opening splash screen, are a great addition for those who need help when using this application.

download Partition Master 9

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Format Factory, the complete media converter

I think it’s time to say goodbye to all paid video converters, because Free Time team breaks the barrier and introduces on the market a complete free converter featuring all the necessary formats for video, audio and image files, including also formats for all the major portable devices: PS3, PSP, XBOX 360, iPhone/iPad/iPod, etc. With Format Factory you can convert any media file into most popular formats such as: wmv, avi, mkv, flv, mp3, wma, jpg, gif, etc. Additionally you can also add subtitles, crop video files, merge or split audio and video files or rip DVD or audio discs into video and audio files but also into popular ISO/CSO images.

read full review | download Format Factory

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