VLC Takes the Codec Blues Away

Have you ever opened your video player on your computer, popped it into the ROM and kicked back, only to see an error message appear that told you that you didn’t have the right codec to play it? Actually, if you even get the error message you should consider yourself lucky, often you will only get a blank picture or no sound. This probably has happened to most all of us.

VLC may have your answer. Even though VLC is capable of playing a wide spectrum of sound files and windows media, where it really makes its mark is as a video player. Although VLC is a lightweight audio and video player, it would seem it could show some of the same issues as other players. However, after using VLC for quite some time, you will find that VLC has no problem locating the correct codecs for your movies. It won’t have to order you to go find a file and then do something completely confusing to get it up and running.

Users will be hard put to find a codec that VLC will not play. You may not find a wonderfully aesthetic video player frame, filled with silly buttons and odd looking gadgets, but what you will find is a player that will quickly and smoothly play any video you set it to.

While many video players will provide you with an install wizard to help you get things up and running, VLC will make sure that for novice users, access to that wizard is permanent. VLC allows users to change the control interface to alter functionality.

Since VLC player rarely has trouble recognizing codecs, this may be the perfect player for you and your family. With little to no experience, you can manage your video player like an expert.

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Should It All Be Free?

While no one would ever suggest infringing on a copyright, so many programs are available for free in this day and age that it makes you wonder why anyone would even need to even consider breaking this law. The growth of the open source movement has made purchasing software virtually obsolete for those who know about it. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular downloads:

Operating Systems

Whether you’re building a machine from scratch or simply upgrading, there’s no need to purchase an expensive OS from Microsoft or Apple when you can simply install a version of Linux on your computer. With the wide variety to choose from, you can even find one that looks and functions just like your favorite commercial product.

File Sharing Programs

While you can always find a file sharing program to purchase, why would you want to? With robust peer-to-peer file sharing applications like Ares and Cabos available for free, you couldn’t possibly purchase a better option.

Media Players

Tired of finding that perfect movie or music file only to discover Windows Media Player and Quicktime won’t play it? This can be a problem of the past when you upgrade to an open source media player like VLC Player or BS Player. Shh – don’t tell anyone, but you can even download the Xvid Codec for free to go along with your new player. This little bit of code allows users to easily watch or make videos using the MPEG-4 standard.

Business Software

If your computer didn’t come with Microsoft Office, there’s no need to decide between chunking out some cash for this preferred software package or making do with Microsoft Works. Simply switch over to the fully compatible OpenOffice.org suite of programs.

The best part about using free downloads is the freedom of commitment. If you don’t like what you originally chose, simply try something new!

Brainwashed Much?

If you’ve bought into the idea that Microsoft Office is the be-all, end-all of business management software, you’re not alone! When virtually everyone has come to rely on this suite as the gold standard, most people don’t even bother trying a different application. “After all,” they think, “I have Microsoft Office, what else do I need?” If you’ve compared this application with the others before coming to this conclusion, have at it. However, if you’re simply using it because it came bundled with your Window’s OS, your logic is flawed. Let’s take a look at MS Office’s biggest competitor:

OpenOffice Does Everything, For Free!

As an open source project, OpenOffice is completely free to download and use on any computer. It comes with the following components:

-Writer – word processing tool
-Calc – spreadsheet tool
-Impress – presentation tool
-Draw – graphics tool
-Base – database tool

Sound familiar? It should! These are the same functions included in the MS Office Suite. OpenOffice can even exchange files with all of the other popular office software suites including MS Office. To make it even better, OpenOffice can be installed on virtually any device, it is available in a wide range of languages, and the development staff is constantly improving the product. In fact, you can even become part of this open source project by offering your input and suggestions!

When To Stick with MS Office

If MS Office has some type of functionality that you can’t live without, you should definitely spend the extra money to purchase a license. However, the OpenOffice team has practically made it their goal in life to develop a product that’s even better than Microsoft’s suite of business management programs. It’s only a matter of time before OpenOffice not only catches up to MS Office completely, but exceeds it.

Why not try this free suite of business management programs today?

Link Love: Jack LaLanne, Kim Kardashian & the sexy Jaime Edmondson

Kim Kardashian arrives at Heidi Klum’s Annual Halloween Party at Lavo in New York on October 31, 2010. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh

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