Mac OS

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.

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Mac Essentials: Growl

Growl for Mac
Growl

If you are someone who has just switched from Windows to Mac, this will come as a pleasant surprise to you. Growl is a universal cross application alert system for Mac, something that does not exist on the Windows platform.

You get so used to the alerts from Growl that it becomes an integral part of your daily workflow. It feels like a native application for the Mac which you become highly dependant on. As mentioned earlier, Growl is an alert tool that can be used with a large number of applications to keep you informed that an action has taken place. It will show a pop-up on the top right(default – can be changed) telling you about the action that has taken place.

Growl alerts are highly customisable and allows you to choose from different styles, locations(corners), duration of display etc. You can choose not only whether to receive a notification from a particular application but also which notification to receive based on the type of activity a program is reporting. As soon as you install and launch a program that supports Growl, it appears in the list of programs on Growl’s automatically, ready for further configuration.

Growl PreferencesGrowl Notification ScreenshotGrowl Notification ScreenshotGrowl Notification Screenshot