Useful Utilities

Here’s an assortment¬†of Windows utilities ¬†that I’ve found very useful.

fre:ac – free audio converter

I use fre:ac to rip CDs to MP3s. But, more importantly, to combine multiple MP3s into one file. This is especially useful for CD audiobooks with multiple discs. Also helpful for multipart audiobook MP3 downloads. Game of Thrones in 28 parts? No problem. Combines them all into one giant GoT file.

WinSCP – File Transfer Utility

When I want to transfer files (ex. game ROMs) from my PC to my Raspberry Pi, I use WinSCP. It can use the FTP protocol, but I run it under SCP. Wonderful to use. Don’t let all the toolbars and icons get you confused. Just hide 99% of them like I did. Makes transferring files to and from different OSs a breeze.

Floola – iTunes Replacement

I have a selection of older iPods which we use for audiobooks and assorted portable music. I’m not a fan of iTunes (memory issues, bloat, constant update reminders, fucked-up syncing, and general hatred of being locked into an ecosystem). This is a simple problem that will read, write, and update your iPod. I’ve been using it to manage audiobooks on a 3rd gen Shuffle. Works great. And, again — unlike iTunes — you can pull your music OFF of the iPod, too.

Handbrake – Video Converter

A long while ago we ripped a bunch of DVDs (to VOB format). I’ve been using handbrake to convert them to MPEGS for our PlayOn / MyMedia server. Works like a charm. Unlike some other / older converters, I’ve not had problems with audio sync and whatnot. Great piece of software.

Calibre – eBook Management

If you have a Kindle, you need to have Calibre. I read a lot of books from my public library, but don’t want to be hassled with return/due dates. Download in epub format, run through Calibre, have Calibre load right to the Kindle. Easy as pie.

Honorable Mentions

7Zip — My primary ZIP tool.
Audacity — Audio file editor.
Bulk Rename Utility — Absurdly complicated, but handy to have.
Win32DiskImager — Reads and writes images. Use it for backing up SD cards. Also handy for loading images onto SD cards (ex. when creating a Raspberry Pi card).
Paint.Net — Powerful image editor/creator.
Primo PDF — Print to PDFs for free.
WinDirStat — Helps me hunt down big files for disk space cleanup.
WinMerge — Helpful dev tool. Compares two files (text is best).