Mac Essentials: VLC

VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player

VLC is an open-source multimedia player and framework that plays nearly every type of multimedia file. VLC is simple, clean and has a small footprint and because it is open source it can be extended as per need.

We all need to play videos on our computer both at home and in office for one reason or the other. There are various of video formats in the wild and each company choosing to support a particular format for their own reason. But this does not leave the user(us) in a very good shape as the video files that we want to play or receive from someone may not necessarily be in the same format all the time. iTunes does not support all available formats because of license issue and the fact that there are just too many formats out there in the wild. It is always a pain to install format specific application on the machine as you would end up with too many applications that are not doing too much.

This is where VLC comes in handy. VLC can play almost all possible video formats flawlessly. In terms of interface, VLC has a very simple and basic interface that is fun to use. Hidden behind the simplicity is the power to play anything(video) that makes VLC media player so good. It can also download streams from the internet. Because of the simple and minimalist look, VLC is very quick in streaming video from the internet.

Over all, VLC is a very good media Player for you Mac. It is simple, lightweight and will successfully play the most stubborn of the media files.

Click here to download..

Mac Essentials: DropBox


How may times do you use your USB stick to copy and move your files around? How many times do you send a copy of file to yourself so that you can pick it up on a different machine while on travel or at home/office? Now the only downside about this is that you’ll end up with multiple versions of the same file and each one residing at a different location. Imagine a situation where you have multiple computers that you work on and are constantly worried about the right version of a file to be available on the right machine.

DropBox is a tool that can be used to overcome such issues. DropBox is a cloud storage tool that resides on your Mac and seamlessly stores file on the cloud in real time. Since it is available on almost all platforms including mobile platforms, it comes in very handy for making changes in a file on the go and from different locations.

With DropBox, you can use it on as many machines as you like. You can manage files with a simple drag and drop. You can also create folders and sub folders to manage your files. You can share access to a folder with friends, family, clients, associates, vendors and more so that they need not have a copy of the file but can access the file from your folder to get the latest and most updated version of the file at anytime. Sharing of the folder can be done with others even if they do not use DropBox.

You get to use 2GB space for free when you sign up DropBox. You can pay for additional storage based on your requirement. There are various storage options available on payable basis. By the way, DropBox offers a referral scheme which can land you a cool 8GB of extra storage!

Click here to download

key points from Apple Event on 1st September 2010

Apple Event Sept 2010
Apple Event Sept 2010

key points from Apple Event on 1st September 2010
In the event organised at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific Time, Apple made few announcements about new products and dropping few hints about their strategy going forward. Details about them shall be covered in articles to follow. This article is only to quickly sum up the key points from the Key note presentation by Steve Jobs.

I would have loved to put all features in tabular format for comparison purpose but that would kill the purpose of this post.

New Products unveiled.

iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod
Bugs fixed (Proximity, Bluetooth, iPhone 3G)
High Dynamic Range photos ( A new and unexpected feature. Takes two photos at a time with two extreme exposures and mixes them real time to give a sharp image)
HD Video upload over wifi
TV show rentals (Now allows rentals on iOS devices. It was purchase only until now.)
Game Center (Helps you play/challenge other users (family/friends/strangers. It adds a new competitive dimension to games.)
Free download and upgrade
Arriving September 2nd week 2010

iOS 4.2 for iPad
All of IOS 4.1
AirPlay (New name for AirTunes – Stream audio, video & photos over Wi-Fi)
*Not All Models (May potentially leave out iPod touch first gen and iPhone 4G.)
Free download and upgrade
Arriving in November 2010

New iPods (All-new designs for every model)

iPod Shuffle gen 4
iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle (tiny with buttons; buttons are back!)
Small and wearable
Easy to use – buttons
Genius mixes
VoiceOver (Will not work with bundled earphones. One will have to buy new earphones with mic.)
15 hours battery
5 colours
$49 (US) , £39 (UK)

iPod Nano
iPod Nano

iPod Nano (half the size of previous generation- no manual controls)
Multi-touch user interface
4 Apps per screen (Cannot add more from App store.)
46% smaller – 42% Lighter
Clip – no more armbands
Volume buttons
VoiceOver (Will not work with bundled earphones. One will have to buy new earphones with mic.)
FM radio, Nike+, pedometer
29 languages
24 hours battery
7 colours
$149-8GB (US), $179-16GB(US), £129-8GB(UK), £159-16GB(UK)

iPod touch
iPod touch

iPod Touch – (An iPhone without phone)
Most popular iPod (contract free)
No 1 Gaming device (outsells Nintendo & Sony combined??)
50+% (US and worldwide market share)
1.5 billion (Game & entertainment downloads)
Retina Display (4X pixels, 326 ppi, 24-bit colour LED
Apple A4 chip (similar to iPhone 4 and iPad)
3-axis Gyro (Adds new dimension to motion control)
iOS 4.1 with Game Center
FaceTime with front camera
HD video recording
40 hours battery
$229-8GB(US), $299-32GB(US), $399-64GB(US) / £189-8GB(UK), £249-32GB(UK), £329-64GB(UK)

iTunes 10
iTunes 10

iTunes 10
New Logo (Dropped CD from the iTunes logo)
Ping (Social media for music)
Customised top ten charts based on what people you follow are downloading
Social Music discovery
Follow and be followed
Circle of friends
Post your thoughts & Opinions (Can only be done over a song or album. Cannot start new thread all by itself. It ensures you are discussing things related to music)
Custom song & Album charts
Over 17,000 concert listings
160 million iTunes users in 23 countries
Free Download
Available September 01, 2010

Apple TV 2010
Apple TV

Apple TV (One more thing hobby)
Hollywood movies & TV Shows
Everything in HD
Lower prices for content
Don’t want a computer
Don’t want to manage storage
Don’t want syncing
Silent, cool & small
1/4 the size
HDMI, USB, optical audio and Ethernet, wifi 802.11n
$4.99(US), £3.49(UK) for first run HD movies
99c for HD TV Shows (commercial free)
NETFLIX, youtube, flickr, mobileme (Add-ons on Apple TV to access the movies and pics)
Airplay – iPad to Apple TV (Stream movies directly from iPad to Apple TV through wifi, no connector required)
Available by end of September 2010
$99 (US), £99 (UK)

Some numbers. (These may excite/scare/intimidate/humour you based on who you are.)
120 million iOS devices shipped
230K (New iOS activations per day, without updates)
200 (Apps downloaded every second) – (Whoo… that’s another 200!)
25K/250K on Apps store are iPad Apps
275 M iPods sold
11.7 billion songs downloaded from iTunes
450 million TV episodes downloaded from iTunes
100 million movies downloaded from iTunes
35 million books downloaded from iTunes
160 million accounts with credit cards and 1-click

Other highlights
Steve Wozniak was present in the audience which Steve Jobs acknowledged.
New Stores in operation in
Paris, France
Shanghai, China 40 feet high glass cylinder
London, England in the heart of Covent Garden (Only half mile from existing store at Regent street.)