How to Accelerate iTunes downloads

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It’s hard to find a faster download accelerator which works better than the Firefox extension – ‘DownThemAll’.  It uses a smart download technique called ‘multipart download’ where it splits files into multiple sections which are downloaded simultaneously. This maximizes the use of bandwidth, and increases average download speed up to 400%.

While ‘DownloadThemAll’  is brilliant for browser based downloads, ‘Autobahn‘ is an iTunes accelerator which applies the same ‘multiple download’ technique to iTunes downloads.

Speaking from personal experience, I was extremely please with the results yielded during testing, and the download speeds for podcasts were literally blazing fast compared to whatever I was getting earlier.  Aside from iTunes, ‘Autobahn’ also optimizes video download speeds from Veoh and Myspace videos.  Available for Windows and Mac, Autobahn is free.  

How to Turn a Video File (DivX, AVI etc) into a DVD

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I’m fortunate enough to own a DVD player which can play video files like DivX and AVI directly on my TV, but what if you just want to create a proper DVD or VCD so it would be able to run on regular players?  Avi2DVD is the perfect tool for that task.  What it does is convert your video file into a ISO file which you can then burn into your disk with any basic DVD Burner.

Aside from basic conversion, key features include multiple audio streams, subtitles, and even DVD menus for easy selection.

Do you typically watch movies from your PC or TV?  Let us know in the poll & comments!

How to Backup ANY Browser – 5 Tips for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera

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No matter which browser you’ve picked for everyday use – chances are you’ve customized your browser to make it your own.  Here are 5 free tools which will let you backup and preserve your browser profile, so all the tweaking you’ve done is safe.

1. How to backup Google Chrome

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Google’s shiny new browser doesn’t come with extensions yet – but ‘Google Chrome Backup’ will help you save all your bookmarks and settings.  Not only that, you can easily create multiple user profiles (each with different settings/bookmarks) and switch between them quickly.

2. How to backup Firefox & Flock

mozbackup

Mozbackup is a cross Mozilla backup utility which allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache etc.  It works for Firefox, Flock, and any of the other Mozilla based browsers eg. the Sea Monkey browser.

3. How to backup Safari

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(Mac Only) Apple provides an uncharacteristically round-about way of backing up your bookmarks on its support portal, but if you’re interested in getting a tool which would help automate the process, try out ‘Safari Backup And Restore’

4. How to backup Internet Explorer

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BackRex Internet Explorer Backup is a backup and restore tool for Internet Explorer. It allows you to backup favorites, history, proxy settings, fonts, autocomplete passwords and cookies.  Not only that – it supports backups across different versions of IE eg. IE 6 to IE7 and vice versa.

5. How to backup Opera

opera

The good folks at Opera were the only browser group to actually release a proper official backup utility for their browser, and as a result – it’s a top class product called OperaFly.  Aside from handling the basic backups, it also has the ability to backup and restore to/from an FTP server, send backups via email, and to restore backups from a http site.  It also allows for pre-scheduled backups and automatic backups when the browser is closed.

How to Adjust All Your MP3s to Similar Volume Levels

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The issue:

Picture this – You’re listening to soft, soothing music… which then gets turned into ear piercing tune the moment the song changes! 

The freeware solution:

Rather than constantly scrambling for the volume button, you can try out ‘Mp3Gain’.  This lovely piece of freeware adjusts songs in your MP3 collection to have similar sound levels so your listening experience is a more pleasant one.  With this, one track just flows smoothly to another.

Cool features:

Of course, there will be cases where you don’t want all the volumes of songs to be similar, and for that, ‘MP3Gain’ has something called ‘Album mode’.

With ‘Album mode’, you want some songs to be noticeably quieter than other songs, just like they are on an album. If you’re playing a classical CD, you expect the track with the flute solo to be quieter than the track with the big full-orchestra finale.  Applying ‘Album’ gain is like adjusting the volume knob once for each CD you put in your CD player. 

Also, the program stores analysis and undo information inside each file’s metadata, so reversing the process or make additional changes later on would be possible. 

Final words:

Before you download MP3Gain, just a note that iTunes already supports this function with their ‘Sound Check’ feature.  However, in case you are not using an iPod or iTunes, or if you want to make the changes more permanent (iTunes doesn’t write into the actual file’s metadata), then MP3Gain is perfect for you.

What other tools do you use to manage MP3s?  Tell us in the comments!

5 FREE Solutions for Data Recovery

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Everybody has had that moment of dread where you discover the file you need is corrupt, unreadable, or accidentally deleted.  Here are 5 pieces of software which can save the day.  The thing about recovery software is that they don’t necessarily use the same methods to get back your data – so if one doesn’t work out for you, you can try another solution listed here and hopefully one of them will work!

1. Undelete Plus

If you want to get back files which you deleted accidentally from your hard drive I’d recommend Undelete Plus. It is one of the best software you can use in such cases. It can also recover files that have been emptied from the Recycle Bin.  Lifehacker.com rates it highly saying that “Undelete Plus is the most user-friendly option of the bunch, with advanced filtering options that make it easy to find your needle of a file among the haystack of deleted garbage.”, and it has snagged a 5 star rating from Softpedia. Undelete Plus works under Win 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista operating systems.

The program supports all Windows file systems for hard and floppy drives including FAT12/16/32,NTFS/NTFS5 and image recovery from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.  Free of course. 

2. Recuva

Recuva (pronounced "recover") is another freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This will also take care of files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players.  Also – It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses! It is a product from the same company which gave us the excellent Ccleaner.

3. Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier

Unstoppable Copier is useful to copy files from any damaged media sources, like CD’s, DVD’s, USB and hard drive as it recovers files from disks with physical damage.  This allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method most types of files can be made useable even if some parts were not recoverable in the end.  Multiple directories structures or single files can be dragged and dropped onto unstoppable copier for transfer. 

4. Restoration

Restoration is an easy to use and straight forward tool to undelete files that were removed from the recycle bin or directly deleted from within Windows, and even Flash cards that had been formatted. Upon start, you can scan for all files that may be recovered and also limit the results by entering a search term or extension.  The program is small and standalone, it does not require installation and can also run from a Floppy disk/USB.

5. Recovery Toolbox for CD Free

This is the best software on this list.  Recovery Toolbox has saved me loads of money by recognizing and helping save data of CDs which otherwise would have been useless. This software has bailed me out of many tricky situations like when my PC refused to recognize the CD I’d stuck in its guts. This is the best CD recovery program out there and if you download any one software from this list, it has to be Recovery Toolbox! It has an attractive GUI. It is also quite simple to use. Users only have to select which files to copy and where to copy. This program works on all things, CD, DVD, Blu-ray and also HDVD (For those unlucky souls who bought them). Like the name suggests it is completely free. A worthy download. Download Recovery Toolbox for CD Free

This post was guest-written by Pritesh Desai, an Indian blogger who blogs mainly about Linux on his blog ‘Help For Linux’, and edited by James Yeang.  If you want to guest blog on this site, do drop me a line!