Computer hardware continues to advance year after year. As stated
by Moore's Law, the number of transistors on a chip will double
every 18-24 months. We will continue to buy faster and faster
hardware which will make our daily computer tasks a little faster.
The Killer Apps page lists exemplary and little known about
software applications which take advantage of our existing systems
to add truly useful functionality. It is preferable for a killer
app to be freeware, however this is not a restricting factor.
Here are my requests for killer apps:
- a plugin to run winamp
vis plugins full-screen on dual monitors
- a nice high bandwidth video conferencing application using
a modern video compression codec such as VP3
Meter is a must for power users who engage in many file
transfers. DU Meter is a little "always on top window"
that will keep track of your current bandwidth usage. It is
very handy to monitor connections to detect trouble or benchmark
adds several extremely useful features to AOL's popular instant
messaging progam. It keeps a history of all your conversations
with buddies and removes AOL's intrusive advertising. Simple
and effective. (freeware)
FTP is an efficient and fast win32 ftp server. If you have
an "always on" internet connection an FTP server is
extremely useful. Running a server on your machine allows you
to access all the files on your machine remotely from any internet
connected computer in the world through the browser standard
FTP protocol. ServU is very powerful and yet user friendly.
It is possible to setup multiple user accounts, administrator
access, ip check, etc. (shareware)
to ServU FTP Remote
Administrator runs a server on your "always on"
computer and internet connection. However unlike ServU FTP logging
into your remote administrator server will not only allow you
to access files from a remote computer but it will create a
virtual window within which you can see the actual screen of
your computer at home. The speed of remote administrator is
incredible. Cable to Cable and on a LAN the server runs virtually
in real time. It remains usable even when accessing from a dial
up connection (considerably faster than competitors PCAnywhere
(30 day shareware)
makes big claims of speeding up file transfers up to 500%. In
reality the claims are not too far off, and its not magic nor
tweaking TCP/IP settings. Flashget opens multiple http or ftp
connections for a file that you wish to download. Web servers
often ration bandwidth to give every user an equal share. Internet
Service providers often do the same. Flashget splits up files
into little sections and downloads all these sections simultaneously.
Thus you are given a share of bandwidth for each of those sections.
Multiply the number of active connections by the "bandwidth
fair share" and voila, top speed downloads even when web
servers are in high demand. Flashget also serves as a download
manager allowing you to resume file downloads which is excellent
for dial up users. (free, banner supported)
Accessories for Internet Explorer 5 is a collection of 8
additions to IE straight from Microsoft. The most useful of
these is the ability to search the engine of your choice straight
from the IE address bar by using a predetermined key to prefix
the search phrase. For example "m the most dangerous game"
would search IMDB for "the most dangerous game." It
is difficult to gauge the incredible usefulness of this feature
until you try it. (freeware) Here are the presets I use (you
can also change the search engine used when no
prefix key is added):
m -> http://www.imdb.com/Tsearch?title=%s (imdb movie
g -> http://www.google.com/search?q=%s (google search)
i -> http://images.google.com/images?q=%s (google image
d -> http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%s (google newsgroup
(google "I'm Feeling Lucky" search)
e -> http://www.everything2.com/?node=%s&type=e2node&type=superdoc
The promise of internet telephony has always been just that,
a promise. It has taken the work of an independent developer
to bring what we've always wanted; free internet calling. Creative
VoIP Blaster is a device that sits between your computer
and your telephone, and these are the drivers that make it shine.
The Blasters allow one user to call another one with the same
device over the internet. Both parties use a normal phone to
talk, but instead of the voice traveling over phone lines, it
travels to the computer via USB and then over the internet.
Because the devices do hardware signal processing the voice
quality is excellent, identical to normal phone conversations.
Creative's drivers for the product do not work with internet
connection sharing, LANs, etc. Fobbit
phone is a user-written driver that eliminates these shortcomings
to allow for free anywhere in the world, crystal clear calling.
And now some words of advice;
1. the software requires very careful setup, follow all steps
exactly (I recommend using tray
it! to run Fobbit phone minimized in the system tray)
2. a separate phone must be dedicated for internet calling
4. both calling and caller computers should be on continually
3. broadband connections are optimal for 24hr internet connectivity,
although bandwidth requirements are low enough for dial-up
is a super fast video editing and capture tool. VirtualDub is
really a one of a kind program. It can replace many faulty Video
Capture applications that come with TV Tuner cards. It will
allow you to do real time video and audio capture to a chosen
format such as DivX. In terms of linear video editing VirtualDub
is the king. You will be able to apply video filters, recompress
video, cut out or add sections, etc. Overall a very nice and
powerful program. Learning VirtualDub will take some time, but
the experience is worth it. The application is irreplaceable.
is a very unknown utility. Its function is very simple. It is
the fastest application to display video source from pc video
cameras. It is not very good for video capture because it does
not allow custom codec selection, but for simple on screen display
AmCap will give you the highest frame rates at every resolution.
AmCap is built up from Microsoft's VidCap utility but provides
several additions such as always on top mode as well as an ability
to remove the menus for a small and fast video window. (freeware)
Recorder adds much functionality to replace the very weak
windows sound recorder. This sleek and fast program will allow
you to record sound from the microphone as well as any windows
application. Total Recorder allows the use of custom audio codecs
such as DivX audio (WMA) or MP3 to which it compresses in real-time.
If you need to do any sort of sound recording, this is the program
to have. (function limited demo)
task of managing a good looking mp3 collection is a somewhat
difficult one. I organize my collection by "Artist - Title.mp3"
However, a lot of the files I download break this convention.
The task is further complicated when viewing a winamp playlist
in which file information is derived from the ID3 tags not file
name. So in come these three killer apps. They will allow you
to get those file names to look the way you want with a minimum
amount of manual
Renamer is a very small, quick and efficient program that
will rename your files based on a defined convention and will
automatically fix most of the naming problems associated with
downloaded files. If Mp3 Renamer does not provide all the functions
you need, than its time to step up to the more powerful Renamer
by Albert Bertilsson. This program can easy handle powerful
requests such as batch search and replace. Last comes ID3Stripper,
which fixes the ugly play list problem by stripping ID3 tags
from files in batches. When the tags are removed winamp derives
its information from the filename. OK, so ID3 tags have their
uses, however I have found that more often than not they get
in the way. All the information I typically want from a file
is contained in the filename. (freeware)
is a no-nonsense fast, and good looking cd ripper/mp3 encoder.
If you need to create mp3 files from your cds this is the program
to have. It is fast, easy to use and very flexible. You can
select from a variety of custom codecs as well as settings.
The default presets will also produce excellent sounding audio.
What's a computer without a fast powerful image viewer? Fast
is keyword here. ACDSee
isn't groundbreaking, rather it takes the common task of viewing
images, and makes it pleasant. The program has additional features
such as image conversion and slide show capability, but the
selling point is clearly a good fast image viewer. (shareware)
something I like to see, reinventing old technology. Remote
controls have been around for a quite a while, but have never
become common place for use with computers. Several manufacturers
such as Packard Bell and AST (Logitech) tried manufacturing
infrared based models some years ago, but the software just
wasn't there. Girder
is a user-written program that takes on the task of controlling
these cheap and effective devices. A remote is incredibly useful
for controlling a TV Tuner, DVD's, DivX, mp3s, etc. Girder will
take a bit of time to master given the complexity of controlling
multiple programs, but with some help from the discussion board
on the site you'll be well on your way. I recommend using it
in combination with the AST/Logitech remote which goes for ~
$10-$15 on auction sites. (freeware)
is a small utility that sits in the system tray showing the
amount of free ram on the system. Double clicking on the icon
will free a set amount of ram (say 10 or 20mb) The utility is
especially helpful with the poor memory management exhibited
by win9x. However it is still nice to know available system
resources when working in windows 2000. (freeware)
Heritage Dictionary is going to be difficult to get a hold
of. The version I use was originally created for windows 3.1.
Yet the dictionary remains an extremely handy and necessary
tool. The sheer number of words contained is astounding and
the definitions are top notch. A thesaurus is also included.
If you would like to get a copy of the dictionary for yourself
me an email and I'll send it to you. File size for the complete
package is 14mb, very impressive.
is an excellent program from Microsoft. This small tweaking
tool allows you to customize many aspects of how windows works.
These options are not otherwise available in the operating system.
TweakUI is available for all versions of Microsoft Windows and
offers similar enhancements thought. You are able to control
things like automatic network login, open dialog box shortcuts,
items on "new" right click menu, etc. I'm impressed.
are a couple of little applications that extend several windows
functionalities to any application. Powermenu
adds the "Always on Top", "Transparency",
"Priority" and "Minimize to Tray" options
to top level menus. "Always on Top" functionality
comes in most handy. For win2k/xp users transparency settings
are also handy. Next up, TrayIt!
will allow you to force designated applications to minimize
to the system tray as opposed to the taskbar. This
allows you to have applications run in the background without
taking up valuable taskbar space. For example, I use TrayIt!
to keep my Outlook and Fobbit Phone client (described under
internet related) minimized in the tray. It is also possible
to eliminate the tray icon altogether to allow applications
to run invisibly in the background. (freeware)
is a little application created for the sole purpose of adding
functionality to dual monitor systems. The application allows
you to create shortcut keys to jump applications between the
two monitors as well as maximize one application to both monitors.
Double clicking on the icon turns off the secondary monitor.
This feature is especially useful when working with remote administration
software such as Remote
serves a crucial purpose especially for win9x computers. The
program allows the user to view and kill any of the current
processes running on the system. Hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del on a win9x
system will show the currently running programs, but not all
processes, one of which may be causing your system to crash
or become unstable. The utility is not as necessary when running
windows 2000 because the operating system will show a list of
all current processes. One advantage of PrcView however, is
that the program also shows the full path of where the process
is located. (freeware)
That's it for the list of killer apps. I will add and remove
from this list over time to keep current with the newest programs.
If you have a killer
application suggestion do not hesitate to submit it. Please
note that this page features relatively little known about apps,
accordingly popular and excellent programs such as AOL
instant messenger, winamp,
etc. will not be on the list.