Some of my favourite programs
I use MUSICMATCH JUKEBOX to listen to all my music. With this program I can play music CD's, and listen to tracks that have been downloaded from the internet. It can also transfer CD music onto my hard-drive as MP3 tracks that I can play without having to use the CD. MP3 files are about ten percent of the size of normal CD files, which means that a huge amount of MP3 files can be stored on a medium sized hard-drive.
Normal CD music can be stored on a PC as .wav files, but this would soon fill even the largest hard-drives. MP3 is a format by which the files are compressed and therefore a vast amount of these files can be stored on a PC. Even though the file size is much smaller (about one tenth), the quality is equal to CD music. This format is what has made possible the very popular practice of downloading music from the internet because of the small file size. A three minute song takes approximately fifteen minutes to download, whereas a normal CD song would take about three hours to download. While the record companies have tried various methods to outlaw the practice of downloading music, statistics have shown that music CD sales have increased.
MUSICMATCH JUKEBOX can also convert .mp3 to .wav while creating a new CD, which can then be played on any CD player. The basic version of MUSICMATCH JUKEBOX is free to download from www.musicmatch.com and the PLUS version costs about €15. On the lower left of the picture of MUSICMATCH JUKEBOX is a sound enhancement program called DFX which has to be purchased seperately. DFX is an "add-on" which greatly enhances the sound effects of .mp3 songs and costs about €15 also. HOW TO BURN CD'S USING MUSICMATCH
PHOTOEXPRESS (version 2)
This is the program which I use to do most of my photo editing. While it appears to be very basic, I find that it can do most of the tasks that I want when re-sizing, cropping, retouching, removing "red eye", etc. It is also very easy to use to add text to photos and pictures. While there are many other more popular photo-editing programs, I find that they can appear very confusing to newcomers to computers. This version and later versions sometimes come bundled with new scanners.
SKYPE is a program which I use to communicate with my friends over the internet. This program can be downloaded free from WWW.SKYPE.COM, and can be used to actually speak to and see your friends. To speak to your friends you will need a microphone, and to see your friends you will need a webcam. Both of these are not very expensive and are easy to set up on your PC.
When you download the program, you will need to set up a username and password with SKYPE which is not as complicated as it sounds.
When the program is set up and you want to contact someone that is on your friends list, you can send them an instant message or you can ring them. If they have a skype username, the icon beside their name will be displayed in green when they are online. If you have no microphone, then you can type out your message and it will be displayed on their screen and anything they type will be displayed on your screen. You can also send them files (photos etc.).
Soulseek is the program which I use to download music from the internet.
As the record companies have closed down NAPSTER (the fore-runner of file-sharing programs) and AUDIOGALAXY, SOULSEEK has still managed to avoid any lawsuits involving copyright material.
While songs (.mp3's) are still virus free because they are specially compressed files, any other file types can contain viruses. A good anti-virus program with up to date virus definitions is absolutely vital when downloading any other file types.