Cool tools to avoid suffering with Windows

After two years working only with Linux and Mac OS, I received a new task that requires using Windows for two months (only two months, happily). It’s hard to get back to this bugful, unstable and confusing world: I do believe Linux and Mac OS are easier to use than Windows, that big world of icons that lead to icons that lead to icons that lead to nowhere, but I’m doing my best.

I tried to find a set of useful and free (as in “free beer” and/or as in “free speech”) tools to make my work easier. They are:

Classic Shell Setup

I don’t know why Microsoft removed the toolbar from Windows Explorer since Windows Vista, but this application tries to put it back there. It also allows you to get some customisation of Start Menu, and get a simple, fast and useful menu like the Windows 9x/ME/2000 times.

Notepad++

I like gedit and kate, and the native alternative for Windows is Notepad++: a good editor for plain text files, like source code.

Pidgin

With support for MSN/Live/whatever network, Google Talk, ICQ, etc. Pidgin is one of the best chat clients. I’d rather use it than the fancy MSN Live Messenger.

Winamp

Why use iTunes or the suffering Windows Media Player if you can use Winamp? It has a clean interface, a good way to organise library (although it’s a little bit iTunesy) and a simple playlist, everything in the same screen. I really love the good and old Winamp.

VLC

Winamp can play some videos, but I think VLC is a better tool for this job. Besides, it has a great support for a huge range  of video formats and features for users with any needs and all experience levels.

Dicas de ffmpeg

Precisei recentemente pegar um vídeo de música, tirar o áudio dele e colocar em outro vídeo. Para o serviço, usei o ffmpeg, o canivete suíço de edição de vídeo em linha de comando.

Os três passos foram:

1. Retirar o áudio do primeiro vídeo

ffmpeg -i danca_do_gorila.flv -ab 128 -ar 44100 gorila.mp3

2. Acrescentar o áudio retirado do primeiro vídeo no outro vídeo

ffmpeg -i video1.mp4 -i gorila.mp3 video_gorila.mp4

3. Selecionar um trecho de um vídeo com 2 minutos, a partir do instante 00:00:02

ffmpeg -i video_gorila.mp4 -ss 00:00:02 -t 00:02:00 video_final.mp4