Abiword – multi platform word processor

After a recent exchange of ideas about Abiword on identi.ca, I decided to take a closer look at it again. Although OpenOffice is currently my office suite of choice, it is a bit bloated and slow. So, what does Abiword have to offer?

abiword1

  • It is blazing fast;
  • works in Windows and Linux;
  • has all the main text editing and formatting functions one needs;
  • saves and imports documents in multiple formats (Abiword’s own formats, .doc, .odf, .html, .rtf, .pdf, .docx, LaTeX, Kword and xml);
  • has revision control;
  • has spell checker and thesaurus built-in;
  • and, has a plug-in architecture to improve its list of features even more!

abiword-tools

It even has a collaboration function so you can share your document through Jabber or TCP connection (I haven’t tested it).

I have tried Abiword before but to be honest I didn’t know it had this many features. For this review I can say there are a couple of tools I might miss when collaborating a document with others, such as being able to track and manage document changes and notes.

Overall I really liked Abiword and will seriously think about using it more often.

rip CDs with CDex

[Windows] If you want to store your CDs into your hard drive, you can start ripping them using CDex. I always like to convert my audio CDs into files so I can listen to the songs easily on my mp3 player and even to guarantee I’ll always have a copy in hand if I lend the CD to someone or it gets lost somewhere around the house.

CDex streamlines well this process by extracting the audio from the CD and converting it automatically to mp3, ogg, or WAV formats while storing ID3 tags. Besides these main tasks, the software has even more features.

CDex

The interface is pretty simple to follow, converting the audio with just a click of a button.

rip DVDs with Handbrake

Handbrake logoWant to take your DVD and watch it on your iPod, PDA, smartphone, or just build a movie collection inside your computer? Simple and easy it is with Handbrake, a multi-platform (Windows, Linux, and MacOS X) DVD to mpeg-4 converter.

Handbrake will allow you to extract video, audio, and subtitles of the DVD. The output formats (containers) are: MP4, MKV, AVI, and OGM. It uses mpeg-4 and H.264 video encoders and AAC, mp3, and vorbis as audio encoders.

Handbrake

Using it is pretty simple, you’ll see one large window where you’ll choose the format, the codec, and adjust audio / video / subtitle settings if needed.

Play pretty much any video file with VLC

VLC, in my opinion, is one of those programs that needs to be installed on every machine. I mean, on every machine you’d like to watch movies on. Which is easy because it works on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

VLC

This program plays pretty much any video format you want, and audio files but it isn’t the perfect choice for your music management app. You can easily play a DVD, VCD, SVCD, AVI, OGG, MKV, MOV, 3GP, FLAC, FLV, and much more. It doesn’t play Real’s format since it is proprietary and Apple must be keeping it a tight secret.

VLC even lets you stream media, take screenshots of the movie, play around with the subtitle settings and do a bunch of other tweaking you want.

Download it here and get your portable apps version here.

Burn CDs, DVDs open source style with Infra Recorder

Infra Recorder is a very good software that I use to burn CDs and DVDs on my Windows machine. I’ve used it to burn data CD/DVDs, and work with iso files. Which means, bye bye proprietary Nero. According to the site, its full features are:

InfraRecorder

  • Create custom data, audio and mixed-mode projects and record them to physical discs as well as disc images.
  • Supports recording to dual-layer DVDs.
  • Blank (erase) rewritable discs using four different methods.
  • Record disc images (ISO and BIN/CUE).
  • Create disc copies, on the fly and using a temporary disc image.
  • Import session data from multi-session discs and add more sessions to them.
  • Save audio and data tracks to files (.wav, .wma, .ogg, .mp3 and .iso).

This program is a Windows only. Sorry, I usually try to find cross-platform programs but I wasn’t able find one for this category.

irExpress

You can download a full installer or just work as a stand alone application. The nice thing about Infra Recoder is that it also has an Express (irExpress.exe) app that is self-executable – there is no need to install – and will make using the complete functions much easier. You’ll be directly forwarded to settings used to create a music CD, data DVD, or whatever type of project you choose.

Visit the download page here.

Burn your video DVDs with open source

DVD Flick logoWant to burn a movie DVD with files from your computer? Do it ever so easily with DVD Flick. I’ve yet to find another program that is better and easier to use then DVD Flick.

You can even add subtitles (and edit its appearance), add different audio tracks, and adjust some other settings of your DVD project. The process really couldn’t be easier.

For a simple burn just select the file and click on “Create DVD”. Under 1 minute’s worth of effort and then you can just wait (a couple of hours) for the project to be completed all by itself. If you want to modify some settings – I always choose to burn directly to the DVD for example – you can easily do it.

Here is a video tutorial for you explaining step-by-step. Enjoy!