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Author

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

I’m a photographer and musician based in Bangalore, India. I also dabble in graphic design and writing, and travel across the country whenever I can. I make noise on Twitter too.

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There’s no dearth of music players out there in the Windows universe, each one with a unique take on how such an app should look and function. From the humble Windows Media Player to the feature-packed Winamp to the infinitely customizable foobar2000, there’s something for every taste. But just when you thought we had every base covered, I came across Stoffi Music Player.

Designed by a cross-national team of four to fit in with native Windows programs and be as simple to use as possible, Stoffi Music Player takes a novel approach towards finding and playing back audio on your PC and beyond. The app includes some interesting features that make it worth trying out — but will you stick with it? Let’s turn the volume to 11 and find out!

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It’s amazing how, today, with a smartphone you have information about virtually everything at your fingertips wherever you go. And location-based apps take things a step further by allowing you to find friends nearby, search for restaurants in your area and see how bad traffic is en route to your next destination. But have you ever wished your phone could just tell you about great things to eat/see/do/buy around where you are, when you’re there?

That’s exactly what NowFloats is all about — it’s a new, personal way to discover what’s interesting wherever you are, through tips and thoughts shared by other users, and updates on events and special offers. It’s perfect for exploring cities you’re unfmailiar with or even stumbling upon something you never knew about in your own neighbourhood. Let’s take a look at how it works, shall we?

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Whether you’re in the business of developing software, building websites or are learning a new coding language for a weekend project, you definitely need a good IDE to code with. There are several available to suit various needs and budgets but if you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to first check out what’s on offer for free.

Notepad++ is a great option for both novice and advanced coders, and everyone in between. The app is open-source, free to download, supports multiple languages, comes with a boatload of functionality out of the box and supports plugins to too. It also allows for fine-grained customization so you can tweak it till you’re comfortable. Let’s build something with it and see how we go, shall we?

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One of the great things about the Windows platform is the vast range of free software available for the OS, enabling you to do just about anything with a PC at no cost.

Here are some tips on how to achieve some common computing tasks using the simplest apps available.

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I remember first hearing about RockMelt a couple of years ago when I wasn’t quite as active on social networks. Google Chrome with some Facebook extensions baked in? That’s supposed to get me to switch?

I scoffed, tried it out and scoffed some more. But now that I manage multiple accounts on various social networks, every little time-saver helps. And that’s why I’m glad I checked out the latest version.

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While I find the whole Mac vs. PC debate quite pointless, there’s one good thing that came out of it: apps for each OS that bring in some desirable functionality from the other. For Mac OS X, there’s RightZoom which allows for true window maximization and Witch, that offers more comprehensive window-switching.

For Windows, you can try Dexpot to get Exposé- and Spaces-like desktop behavior, and for the ubiquitous dock, you can try one of my favorite apps of all time – RocketDock.

RocketDock is an app launcher that puts a dock on your desktop with icons to launch apps from. It comes with a nice feature set and offers plenty of room for customization. If you love the OS X dock or simply enjoy a clutter-free desktop, you should definitely give it a try. Plus, there are lots of things it can do apart from displaying app shortcuts. Let’s take a closer look.

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Those of you who used to watch video on your PCs in the 90s will remember the hassles of installing codecs and finding media players that supported them – all just to catch a grainy rerun of Friends.

Thankfully those days are behind us. With the arrival of codec packs, apps like Media Player Classic and eventually Windows 7, we haven’t really had to worry about whether a video file will play on our computers or not. But the user experience still left a lot to be desired. Did you ever look at VLC Media Player and think it was just plain ugly? Or think that Windows Media Player was, although better-looking, almost as clunky as iTunes? Thankfully, there is another option…

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One of the great things about Windows is the abundance of freeware available for just about every function you can think of, and for all kinds of users too. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an OS to work with and Windows scores very high here.

However, a large range of apps also poses the problem of users having to choose the right one, particularly in the case of perhaps the most popular categories of apps – media converters.

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Microsoft has been in the news a lot over the past year for having crafted the beautiful Metro design language. Metro lends itself very well to all kinds of apps, as demonstrated by early versions of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7. And they do deserve the credit being showered upon them – Metro is simple, focuses on conveying information and looks great on all types of screens. A number of Microsoft products will likely follow these design principles once Windows 8 is launched – but what if you wanted a taste of Metro right now?

Look no further than MetroTwit, as it presents a brilliant implementation of the Metro UI in its minimalistic Twitter client for Windows. The app layout, fonts and graphic elements all borrow from Metro reducing visual clutter and presenting a lot of dynamic textual information in a pleasing, usable interface. However, not everyone chooses a Twitter client simply on the basis of its looks. Is there to MetroTwit than meets the eye? Let’s try it and find out if it’s right for you.

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I remember the days back when the only MP3s I could get my hands on were clips of songs from websites promoting CD albums – I was on a 9.6 kbps connection and it’d take about an hour to download 20 seconds of audio. But that was a big deal then and I wanted to enjoy listening to the music I’d acquired from the other side of the globe as best as I could.

I started trying out all the media players available on CDs that accompanied computer magazines and that’s when I first stumbled upon Winamp. The year was 1997, and thus began my love affair with the most beautiful media player for Windows. Is it any good today? Let’s find out.

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