When the average consumer brings home a computer, takes it out of the box and sets it up, the machine is fairly bare-bones. The computer will, of course, have pre-loaded programs that are native to either Windows or Mac, but not much else. Many people use freeware to turn their computers into personalized machines. Freeware can do everything from speed up your machine to scan for viruses. If you are looking for a way to make your computer more personal, here are the top ten firmware downloads of 2012:
1.VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is a multimedia player that allows users to play music and videos in several different formats. Supported file types include MPEG one through four, MP3, OGG and DivX. Users can also playback DVDs and VCDs with the player. VLC is proving to be a very real competitor for stock Windows player, RealPlayer.
2. Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader is an essential bit of firmware for almost every PC and Mac user. The firmware gives users the ability to read and edit PDF, or Portable Document Format, files, submit information via fillable forms and play back embedded media content.
3. Virtual DJ
Whether you are a professional DJ or just someone who fancies himself to be a master mixer, VirtualDJ is a fun piece of firmware. Users can mix and scratch MP3s, videos and all manner of sound files. With the beatblock engine, you’re guaranteed to come up with an amazing mix for your next party.
4. Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox consistently gives Internet Explorer a run for its money. The full-featured browser features tab-browsing, pop-up blocking, an integrated Google search and amazingly simple privacy controls. Firefox is also customizable with user-created skins, making it one of the most downloaded pieces of firmware this year.
5. Adobe Flash Player
Because so many websites are utilizing flash, over 98 percent of desktop users have found it necessary to download Adobe Flash Player. The player works across a wealth of devices, mobile phones, browsers and across all major operating systems.
FrostWire is the preferred Bit Torent client of Mac users. The firmware allows users to send large files, or even entire folders, to other users with no limit on size. Best of all, FrostWire is absolutely free with no plans on charging for its use in the future. Download frostwire to take advantage of this program.
7. StuffIt Expander
StuffIt enables users to open a variety of compressed files and encrypted archives. Users can now easily open files formatted with WinZip, BetterZip, RarMachine, CleanArchiver, TarPit, RAR, Ez7z, sArchiver, SimplyRAR, Rarify, iShrink, 7-Zip and more. The firmware is available for download on both Windows and Mac OS X.
8. Apple QuickTime for Snow Leopard
QuickTime is an oldie but goody, still widely in use by the computing public. The player supports QuickTime movies, MIDI files and older formats like QTVR. Users of the firmware can also input QuickTime 7 Pro registration codes for access to more functions.
MacZip offers compression for several systems, including Unix, OS/2, Windows NT, Atari, Acorn RISC OS and more. Users can zip and unzip files as needed with this firmware that also supports encryption. This bit of firmware is especially useful for Mac users needing to send large files to people running a Windows-based operating system.
10. Apple iTunes
Many people are under the mistaken impression that they have to own an Apple device to take advantage of iTunes. The firmware can be downloaded to any computer, regardless of your iPod ownership status, and be used to download music, videos, books and podcasts. All of your purchases are kept in the iTunes library, easily organized and accessible for playback at a moment’s notice.
Chances are you have firmware on your computer whether you realize it or not. Now it’s time to be conscious of your additions and choose the firmware that will make your computer uniquely your own. Any of the top ten downloaded firmware of the year would be an excellent place to begin.