If you’ve read any of the other things on this site, then you know that we are fans of Open Source software. Blender is one of these amazing programs. If you don’t know what it is, then I suggest you read our post about the Blender animation program. Audacity is another awesome program for recording and mixing audio. Check it out here.
I happen to have a Windows Vista Business operating system. I recently did a reinstall of the entire OS. When I got to installing all my programs, Audacity and Blender were on the top of my list. The install went successfully, however when I tried to open the programs afterwards, they would just crash or present me with some strange error message. I tried getting older versions of each program, which did work in the Audacity case, but not for Blender. Whatever I did, the program just would not open or run correctly.
A couple weeks later, I got to installing my Windows Live Essentials programs. WLE needs the “Windows Platform Update” if your using a Vista system, like I am. The update is described by Microsoft on this page: Install the Windows Platform Update. WLE installed the update and then completed installing the various associated programs. Everything seemed to be working fine.
Out of curiosity, I tried installing the most recent versions of Audacity and Blender again. Lo and behold, they work fine! If you are having a problem getting Audacity or Blender to work on your Vista system, then I suggest you make sure you’ve got the Windows Platform Update. I’m just guessing, but I think they are related. If you have the Windows Live Essentials programs installed, then you should have the update already.
I hope that helps! :-)
Everyone uses digital media. However, with the wide variety of media devices on the market, not all media files can be played by one device. For example, only Apple devices (i.e. iPod, iPad, iPhone) can play the ACC audio format [there are desktop applications, such as VLC, that can play this format as well]. There are a couple universal, cross-platform media formats, like MP3, GIF, or AVI, but these are only a few of the hundreds of formats used today. Do you need to convert a music or video file from one format to another? SUPER is a great solution.
SUPER can convert almost any file to almost any file. It has a wide variety of options that allow you to tune the output file to your specifications. You can drop the frame rate or bit depth down so that your file can fit on a portable device better.
The application’s interface might take a little getting used to. It will seem complex and confusing to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. With a little practice and experimentation, you can get into the flow of things and start converting anything to anything.
Unfortunately, this program only exists for Windows users. However, it is completely free. There’s no ads or subscriptions necessary to download or use the program. You can find the .exe for SUPER on the eRightSoft website.
Download SUPER (c) from eRightSoft
- Windows only
- 1.8 GHz processor
- Microsoft Direct X 9.0c
- 180 MB RAM available
- Fast processor for both playing and encoding (i.e. 2.5 GHz Dual Core or better)
- More than 4 GB RAM
- A block of time to let the program re-encode the file(s)
Tired of using Adobe? Hate getting those Adobe Reader update notices? Unfortunately, Adobe does dominate both the flash and PDF worlds. Fortunately, you can start your escape by using totally free PDF readers!
For Windows users, I have a couple recommendations (Mac users, see the section below). If you are looking for similar features as Adobe Reader, like the annotate, screen shot, and other tools, then I would advise getting Foxit Reader. It is truly amazing. They do want you to register, but so far I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to run the application. Another one you might like, if you’re more of a scientific person, is PDF XChange. Since I found these programs, I will never go back to Adobe Reader.
XChange PDF Viewer
If Foxit Reader is a little complex and you just want a simple PDF reader, then Sumatra PDF might be just the thing for you. They are focused on the simplicity of a PDF reader. It’s got the bare minimums, without any of the frills.
Have a Mac? There’s another free PDF reader you can get too! It’s called Skim. It has many of the features Adobe Reader has (and a couple extras!). As long as you don’t get lost in the program, you’ll be pretty pleased with it!
Skim PDF Reader
So, there’s some ideas to get you out from under the Adobe monopoly. Enjoy!
- Choosing a simple PDF reader if you don’t need anything complex. Extra features may become frustrating if you don’t need or want them.
- Watch out for the extra software these programs will try to install. Go through the “Advanced” install process and uncheck the extra software you don’t want.
Blender is truly an amazing program. What makes it even more appealing is the fact that it is totally and completely FREE (download here)! The things it can do are truly amazing. More and more artists are using this program for their computer graphics and animation needs. A couple short films have already been created using Blender. You can watch some of those here.
Since the Blender website does a much better job at describing what Blender is capable of, we’ll point you to their website to learn about the stunning effects and amazing features of this open source program: Blender Features
We have been writing a couple tutorials on how to do different things with Blender in the Tutorials section. Be sure to check those out as well!
- Windows (32 & 64 bit)
- Fast processor for rendering (i.e. 2.5 GHz Dual Core or better)
- More than 3 GB RAM
- Large screen for modeling and texturing objects