MP3 players for lossless audio

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If you’re searching for the best possible sound quality from your digital music collection, you need to start at the source: the audio. Unlike MP3s, lossless audio formats, such as Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, FLAC, and WAV, promise bit-for-bit reproductions of music ripped from CDs.

There are many drawbacks to lossless audio, however, and the most obvious of those is file size. A 4GB iPod Nano can only hold 150 songs encoded with Apple Lossless, compared to the 1,000+ MP3s you could fit in the same space. With this in mind, high-capacity portable audio players such as the 160Gb iPod Classic or 80Gb Zune, make the most suitable containers for taking large lossless audio collections on the go.

Another issue with lossless audio is forward-compatibility. You can pretty much depend on MP3s to remain broadly compatible with music devices over the next 5 to 10 years, but the same cannot be said of lossless formats. So far, the only universally-compatible lossless format for portable audio is the Compact Disc.

The following five MP3 players support at least one type of lossless audio. Apple’s iPod Classic (as well as the Nano and Touch) work with Apple Lossless, the Zune and Toshiba Gigabeat T support Microsoft’s Windows Media Lossless, Cowon’s D2(and most Cowon players) supports the non-proprietary FLAC format, and the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 offers uncompressed WAV support for those of you who simply refuse to compress your precious music.

via cnet.

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The Best Freeware Downloads on the Web

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There are plenty of great freeware downloads on the Web; here are just a few good freeware downloads sites:
Thanks to about.com for collecting these gems.
 
  • Lifehacker Pack: the productivity experts over at Lifehacker put together a must-have packet of freeware downloads.
  • KeePass: "KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way."
  • Cspace: "CSpace provides a platform for secure, decentralized, user-to-user communication over the internet."
  • WriteRoom: "WriteRoom is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment."
  • The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities: 46 different freeware utilities sorted by function and category.
  • TrueCrypt: "Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows XP/2000/2003 and Linux."
  • PortableApps: "A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer."
  • Vyew: "Vyew is a browser-based conferencing and always-on collaboration platform that provides instant visual communication without the need for client downloads or installations."
  • I want a Freeware Utility to: "Extremely useful free utilities that do specific jobs really well and save time and money."
  • ClassicGaming: Be careful, this site is addictive.
  • Essentials 2006 Edition: a list of absolutely essential freeware downloads.
  • Stellarium: "Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope."
  • Yahoo Widgets: "Bring life to your desktop with fun, stylish, and useful Yahoo! Widgets."
  • QuickTime Alternative:"QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install the official QuickTime Player. It also supports QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages."
  • PrimoPDF: "Convert to PDF from any application."
  • Kinkless: "Kinkless GTD is a free set of Applescripts that work with OmniOutliner Pro to create a framework for implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done task-management methodology."
  • Belarc Advisor: "The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser."
  • ComputerZen: Scott Hanselman’s 2005 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List.

Google Docs gets a profusion of templates

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Users of Google Docs, the online applications for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, now have a wide range of templates from which to choose.

Google on Thursday announced the templates, which were created by Google and a number of companies with experience in the business. They can be browsed and opened through a template gallery that currently has 294 to choose from.

Google Docs users now can use a wide range of templates.

Google Docs users now can use a wide range of templates.(Credit: Google)

Among the options: wedding planners, business cards, cover letters, screenplays with proper formatting, invoices, loan amortization schedulers, fantasy basketball standings predictor, wedding photo albums, and party invitations.

Some templates, such as the group shared expense report, are explicitly designed to take advantage of the fact that Google Docs can be edited by multiple people, one of the natural advantages the technology has over PC-based editing.