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Hello (Again) World!

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Hello (again) world! After 10 years of posting here, I left without saying goodbye. Now that I’m finally back, allow me to say sorry to my loyal readers. Is it too late now to say sorry? :-) I hope not. Now, why did I take very long break? To keep it short, here are the two main reasons why I stopped: 


* I finally got burned out of thinking about topics to write, writing, proofreading, editing, and posting.

* The other reason is that I got into iOS app development that took most of my free time.

I lost focus, and so I started my disappearing act from the World Wide Web.

Some of you may wonder why I came back after all these years. Well, I just missed writing. I’m now more excited than ever to share with you again all the tech-related stuff that I find interesting. Although I am still quite busy with mobile app development and physical (offline) business, I have more hunger and freedom now to write so I think this is going to be fun.

So where do we go from here? Before I decided to make a comeback, I’ve been thinking about ways to revive the site. Like, should I change the design of the site first? -Which I did. As some of you may notice, the site now has a new design. It is now more mobile friendly than ever and more responsive. I hope you all like it, and please bear with me if you encounter some problems as we are still making a few adjustments and site enhancements.

I have also been thinking about changing the main topic or the future content of the site. Since the beginning, I have been posting mostly about Linux and other open-source software. When I took a break and have been developing apps for iOS, I obviously have been relying on my Mac as my main computer and OS X operating system. So I have to be honest with you that I have not been using Linux for a long time now and have lost track on what’s happening in the world of free and open-source software. Some of you Linux fans out there might be disappointed but I hope you’ll understand. As some of you may know, I also love Apple products simply because of their excellent hardware design and software reliability. In fact, I posted here before that I run Linux on my Macbook Pro.

Moving forward, I’m still going to post tech-related stuff but I will not just focus on a particular niche. That way, I will have more freedom to share with you what I know or experienced. I just hope that the things that I will be writing about will somehow be useful to you because that has always been the main reason why I started this site.

For those of you who stick around and for those who are planning to follow this site no matter what, thank you and see you soon!

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4 Cloud-based Applications that Work Perfectly on Linux

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As far as cloud-based applications go, the market seems to be very competitive. With the recent OneDrive controversy, users are becoming much more conscious about how and where they invest their valuable data. Pricing changes or changes in business models have started to backfire against companies pretty quickly. In other words, cloud-based applications are no longer second-class citizens on the desktop. In fact, they have become a solid business model that big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple heavily rely on.


Now that the cloud has become an end-user commodity rather than a product that was meant for data giants, companies are trying hard to increase the outreach of their cloud services to clients across all platforms. One such attempt is to bring more Linux users to the party by treating Linux-based desktops at the same level as their Windows and Mac counterparts. Many cloud-focused companies have already made available well-supported Linux clients for their services. This, in turn, has made Linux as a lucrative platform for people who dual boot or switch their computers a lot. That way, they can enjoy all their important files on Windows at work and Linux at home. It's a win-win situation for both parties.

Today, we will be focusing on a few such cloud-based applications that work natively on Linux without any major glitches or bugs. 


Insync

While we waxed eloquent about the cloud-based applications available on Linux right now, we would be more than glad to leave out Google's name in this case. The search giant has already angered a lot of Linux users lately over their lack of support for the penguinian desktop. While the Google Drive client seems to be well-supported on Windows, Mac, and Android, the Linux desktop has largely been ignored for more than a year.

Thankfully, some great alternatives have emerged to make sure that Linux users don't miss out on the amazing service. Insync is one such alternative. The application comes with a host of features that even the official Google Drive client doesn't offer. Features like command-line usage, Raspberry Pi usage, feed of file changes, and multiple accounts are present in this application. However, unlike Google's client, it's not free. The developers charge about a one-time $20 fee for downloading and installing the application. If you are someone who relies heavily on Google Drive and your Linux desktop, this is worth paying for.

More about Insync HERE.


Copy

Copy is an often-forgotten application in the small list of cloud-based services on this platform. What separates this app from its competitors is its focus on providing a cross-platform syncing solution with a focus on security and privacy. While it is not as secure as SpiderOak, it does, however, make security a priority. Another great thing about Copy is that it is generous when it comes to providing storage space. While Dropbox offers a meager 5 GB for starters, Copy gives you 15 GBs of storage space to begin with. Overall, it is a great backup solution if you're looking for something new and fresh.


Dropbox

Dropbox is the tried and tested solution for Linux users that has worked well in the past and continues to work well even now. It offers a stable and powerful interface that is at par with its clients on Windows and Mac. Furthermore, the support and the steady stream of updates the Linux client gets makes it a great default cloud solution for many users. Whether you are a new Linux user or a penguinian ninja, you'll have no trouble getting used to Dropbox.

More about Dropbox HERE.


SpiderOak One

These days, securing the data you store on cloud has become a number one priority for many uses. Furthermore, there is one more area where companies are a bit nebulous in their offerings towards their customers, and that is privacy. SpiderkOak is a company that plans to change that. Their service has a strong focus on keeping your data safe and secure and making sure that no one other than you can access it. By providing adequate security measures, SpiderOak is designed in such ways that not even the company's employees are allowed to access your data. The best thing about SpiderOak is that it works perfectly on Linux and can even be accessed via command line (for those terminal junkies out there).

More about SpiderOak HERE.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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Popular Hollywood Movies that Utilizes Linux

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Hollywood, with all its glitz and glamour, seems like the last place you'll find the mighty penguin's influence. Well thankfully for all Linux fans, the truth is quite the opposite. The open source operating system has played a key role in turning many directorial dreams into silver screen successes. What attracts the billion-dollar industry to this 'free as in free beer' operating system is not its price. In fact, it is Linux's unmatched performance is what makes it the preferred choice over some of the top-of-the-line operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X.


Be it screenwriting, animation, editing, or post production, Linux can be used in pretty much every department involved in the making of a major motion picture. If you're wondering where exactly the mighty penguin has impacted Los Angeles, sit tight as we list some of the most prominent examples of Linuxian influence in Hollywood movies.


Scooby-Doo (The Movie)

Scooby-Doo was a popular 2002 flick by Warner Brothers starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. Adapted from the popular cartoon series, this was the first live action movie in the franchise. Since the success of the movie relied on portraying an animated dog, and not just any dog, but the mighty Scooby Doo himself, the pressures were high. And this, my friends, is the scene wherein Linux steps in to save the day.

Animators of the post-production studio Rhythm & Hues used about a hundred Linux desktops to make the popular Hannah-Barbara look as realistic as possible. Using Film Gimp (now Cinepaint http://www.cinepaint.org/ ) and other proprietary Linux-based tools, the open-source desktop was a key contributor to the movie's success. No wonder, Scooby-Doo was the 15th most successful film of 2012 with an official box-office gross of more than $275 millions.




Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 Oscar-nominated movie that has grossed over $122 million so far. On June 3rd 2002, in a press release, HP announced that Linux played a critical role in the production of the movie. It was also the first movie to place Linux in the hands of animators giving them power to create a unique blend of 2D and 3D animation. Furthermore, it also helped power Dreamworks' proprietary 2D animation software Toonshooter thanks to HP's high-power Linux workstations. 

Karen Duffin from HP had the following to say about Linux:

"This deal also signifies a larger emerging trend - the shift in Hollywood
from proprietary (a la SGI's IRIX systems) to open source platforms, and
HP's leading role in this evolution.  Many of the major studios are moving
over to Linux, but DreamWorks is pioneering this movement. The evolving
relationship between HP and DreamWorks and the movies emerging from the
multi-year alliance is indicative of this movement."

Source: https://lwn.net/Articles/1712/


 

Shrek the Third

Shrek the Third is another great movie where Linux was involved in the making. Released in 2007, the third installment of the popular animated movie franchise grossed over 322 million dollars at the box office. DreamWorks with their powerhouse animation backend of more than 1,000 desktops and more than 3,000 server CPUs relied heavily on Linux for bringing the movie to fruition. What was more important was that Shrek pushed the limits of where animation can go with the accurate detailing of the models' hair and flow dresses. Furthermore, the movie also included lighting and effects that were rarely found in movies at that time. You can read more about the involvement of Linux in the movie on a Linux Journal article.




Titanic

Probably one of the biggest movies ever made, Titanic ranks amongst the movies with the best special effects. According to Box Office mojo, the current worldwide gross of the Oscar-winning masterpiece stands at a whopping $2,186,772,302. And yes, here too, Linux had a big part to play in the making of the film. Titanic, as you may know, relied heavily on the use of visual effects. A risky move at that time considering they had to create a complete ship from the ground up and everything from the water to the flag on the ship was to be pure CGI. Despite having a lot of choices in the operating systems department, no other OS proved as powerful as Linux to give birth to one of the biggest cinematic experiences of the decade.  

Digital Domain, the company responsible for the visual effects of Titanic had the following to say about Linux:

"The Linux systems worked incredibly well for our problems. The cost benefit was overwhelmingly positive even including the engineering resources we devoted to the problems. The Alpha Linux turned out to be slightly more difficult than first expected, but the state of Alpha Linux is improving very rapidly and should be substantially better now.

Digital Domain will continue to improve and expand the tools we have available on these systems. We are engendering the development of more commercial and in-house applications available on Linux. We are requesting that vendors port their applications and libraries. At this time, the Linux systems are only used for batch processing, but we expect our compositing software to be used interactively by our digital artists. This software does not require dedicated acceleration hardware, and the speed provided by the Alpha processor is a great benefit to productivity." 



Conclusion

Time and again, Linux has played a huge role in successes of many Hollywood blockbusters and continues to do so till this day. It is not just the low cost that has made Linux such an attractive choice for high-profile media studios, it is also the unmatched performance it offers that easily outshines what Apple or Microsoft offers.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.


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Best Cross-Platform Note-taking Apps to Enhance Productivity

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When it comes to taking notes on the go, there are many solutions you can try out. You can carry a small notepad, you could take notes in a simple text file, or you could try out any app from the thousands of choices the Android Play Store offers. While there seems to be no dearth of good choices in this department, apps that are truly cross-platform are hard to find. That's why, in today's article, we'll help you find apps that you can use to take notes and refer to them from everywhere.


OneNote

OneNote is Microsoft's heavily publicized note-taking application. It is a simple, easy-to-use service that ties in perfectly with MS Office Suite of desktop tools. Compared to Evernote, OneNote stacks up quite well with its easy-to-use interface and cross-platform capabilities. You can take and access your notes on desktop, web, mobile, and tablets. The interface conforms to Microsoft's popular ribbon UI and anyone who has used MS Word or MS Excel (2013+) would have no trouble getting started with it. The best thing of all is that OneNote is entirely free to use with no premium tiers or restrictions.  Much like Evernote, there isn't a Linux version for OneNote. However, having tried the web version myself for about a few months now, Linux users won't be missing out on much.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Microsoft
OpenSource: No
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.onenote.com



Evernote

Evernote is a frontrunner in the race for being one of the best cross-platform note-taking applications out there. It is stable, works across all major platforms, and has excellent features that are useful for users from all backgrounds. What's great about this application is that it seamlessly syncs all your data across all platforms. Be it bills, receipts, or even a complete novel, you can store pretty much everything in your Evernote account without having to worry about data loss. While there isn't a Linux version for this service yet, there are a couple of third-party applications you can try that will let you access your notes on Ubuntu and other distributions. Once such application is Nevernote, an open-source clone of Evernote ( http://nevernote.sourceforge.net/). The app provides a basic interface for accessing your notes and creating new ones. Other than that, you won't find any bells and whistles you usually find on the Windows or Mac application. The basic version is free to install and use and is enough for anyone who's looking for a solid cross-platform note taking solution.

Pricing: Free for Basic, $24.99 per year for Plus, $49.99 per year for Professional
Publisher: Evernote Corporation
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.evernote.com



Simplenote

Simplenote has been around for quite a while now. However, it never really got the attention it deserved. Its lightweight, clean interface is something that makes it stand apart from other feature-heavy applications and services. The application has a web-based interface and has apps that work perfectly well on iOS and Android. Simplenote, by living up to its name, ensures that you get the bare minimum features you need from a cross-platform note editor. That said, as simple as it is, the service supports Markdown thus letting you publish your notes on the web and share them with your friends and coworkers. Overall, Simplenote stands apart not only as a great note-taking tool but also an effective productivity app.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Automattic
Platforms: Mac, Web, Mobile
Website: www.simplenote.com



Google Keep

Google Keep is the search giant's way of letting you know that it has its tentacles spread across all areas of your life. Just kidding. If you're an avid note-taker and are looking for something that ties in well with the Google ecosystem, this is an app you must try. It's simple, colorful, and does the job pretty well. You can group your notes in categories and tag them with different colors. Furthermore, it also allows you to show notes based on your location, thus letting you remember anything you have to buy whilst going out shopping.

Pricing: Free
Publisher: Google
Platforms: Web, Mobile, Chrome-based apps for Windows, Mac, Linux
Website: https://keep.google.com/



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5 of the Best Raspberry Pi Projects Out There

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Raspberry Pi, when first launched about two years ago, became an instant phenomenon. After all, who could have thought of a $35 computer that lets you browse the web and does most of your office work? What is even more surprising is the reception it got from average users. Usually, one would expect a bare-minimum $35 board computer that runs Linux to be popular only among developers or geeks. However, as many as 100,000 Raspberry Pi units were sold on the day of its launch eventually selling more than 2.5 million units till date.


Completely open-source, Raspberry Pi lets you do most of the basic tasks you'd normally do on a full-fledged desktop. You can browse the web, you can create documents, and you can even play music and watch videos. When it comes to desktop computers, Raspberry Pi is a veritable "Starter's Edition."  Since its inception, the project has made common computing available to parts of the world where owning a desktop was once considered a luxury. Moreover, it has also spurred a flurry of interesting projects that take this tiny superboard to a whole new level. If you are ready to show your creative, geeky side, then read on as we cover some of the best Raspberry Pi projects out there.


1. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Low-cost Coding Tutor for Kids

We've already covered a list of the best programming courses out there. However, as good as these courses are, learning programming can be a tough ordeal for kids who need a more hands-on approach to code. Instead of letting them mess up your production computer, you can buy them a little Raspberry Pi box, hook it up to a monitor, and let them code their heart away. A good programming language that's up to this task is Scratch that turns programming into an activity that's geared towards kids, making the whole process fun and enjoyable to them. In fact, this combination of Pi and Scratch can make programming accessible to places where kids who don't have the privilege of owning a computer, thus making it easy to spread knowledge everywhere.


2. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Media Center

Did you just say media center? Yep, there's a lot this little board can do that you won't usually expect it to do. What's great about Pi is that it supports 1080p out of the box with a tiny-but-powerful GPU running behind the scenes. Combine that with the Xbian project, you got a full-fledged media center on your hands. XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distribution that is designed for Raspberry Pi that brings the latest of XBMC to your mini-computer. It's a great, cheap investment if you're someone who likes watching a lot of movies.


3. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Car Computer


A very interesting blog post by developer Andrei Istodorescu shows you exactly how you can turn Pi into a PC that sits in your car. This means that you'll be able to watch your favorite movies or TV shows in your car. While that's a perfect idea for a romantic date, just make sure that you're not doing Game of Thrones marathons while driving. The blog post explains pretty much everything you need to do in order to install, configure, and get it up and running. The approximate cost of the parts requires comes down to about $200. However, as costly as that sounds, compared to the $25 board, it's a worthy investment for every geek who also loves her car.


4. Make a Wearable Raspberry Pi Computer

Envious of your Google Glass-sporting friends? Or maybe you're too privacy conscious to try the search giant's latest wearable. Whatever the case maybe, geeks and privacy enthusiasts can make use of Pi to create a DIY wearable that they can brag about to their friends who are busy drooling over Android Wear, Google Glass, and other wearables. While no way near perfect, this project can provide a full-powered desktop computer that you can use wherever you are. Even while walking. Although the cost of this project is about $400, it's a justified investment for every geek out there who wants to have a great learning experience.


5. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Universal Remote

Instructables has another cool guide on turning your Pi computer into a universal remote. Though you'll need some parts to get that working for you, those little investments are worth it if you're a lazy geek who loves to control everything from the couch. Also, it's a great learning experience for anyone who's interested in knowing more about the LIRC or tinkering with electronics. A bit tough to get working overnight, this project can be treated as a huge learning experience more than just a way to create a universal remote. You can also pair this off with XBMC and then create an ultimate media center with remote and everything at a very low cost.

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Best Bitcoin Applications for Linux

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Bitcoin is, if many industry experts are to be believed, the future of currency. Everyone from expert coders to entrepreneurs is banking on it thus making it one of the hottest topics. We already discussed a lot about bitcoins in our earlier article and we believe that it does have a potential to cause a huge disruption in the market. For our FOSS supporters out there, bitcoin means a great deal. The reason for this is that this digital currency is entirely open-source. Which means, if Bitcoin ever reaches public adoption, it will be the most popular use of open-source technology.


If you are a Linux user, managing your bitcoins and even mining them is a piece of cake. The penguinian platform offers some great tools for bitcoins enthusiasts to manage their digital currency.


CGMiner

CGMiner is a multi-thread multi-pool miner for bitcoins. It works from the command line and can help you mine bitcoins in a way that makes maximum usage of your resources. The commands are pretty simple and straightforward thus making it easy even for non programmers (with a little bit of help, of course) to get started with bitcoins. What makes CGMiner popular is the fact that it gives you complete control over the mining process. If you are new to Bitcoins and want to get started with mining, a fantastic guide that teaches you how to mine Bitcoins on a Xubuntu desktop with CGMiner can be found HERE.



Bitcoin QT 

Bitcoin QT is the official Bitcoin app that provides you with the ability to manage your coins. It has a simple interface that works across most Linux distributions and makes it easy for you to handle all your bitcoin transactions from one place. Though there are better Bitcoin applications out there, this one may be a preferred choice if you are looking for something more official.



MultiBit

MultiBit is a free application that serves as a wallet for your Bitcoins. Open-source and easy to install, MultiBit works across all major platforms. Once installed, it lets you manage your Bitcoin transactions from one single place. The application is very lightweight and quick to install. It even stores your data in files of really small size, thus making it easy to work with on computers that have low resources. This also means that you can backup your data onto a pen drive or even your smartphone's SD card and not have to worry about computer crashes. MultiBit is fast and keeps all your private keys encrypted on your machine. Overall, it is a great lightweight application for Bitcoiners.



BitMinter

If you are someone who wants to make money mining Bitcoins, BitMinter is a mining pool that allows you to do just that. The aim of this mining pool is to make mining accessible to everyone so that they too could be a part of this open-source phenomenon. Of course, mining coins using a regular computer is not really profitable. It will not only tax your resources but will also send you a huge electricity bill. However, if you have a powerful graphics card, you can surely use it to mine coins as much as you want. And, for that, you'll need to install the BitMinter application. Built on Java, BitMinter works across all major platforms out there. 



Electrum Bitcoin Wallet

Electron is a Bitcoin wallet that lets you store your coins in a safe place. One of the striking features about this app is its simple user interface. Working perfectly well across all major platforms, Electrum stores your data in a secret phrase so that even if your computer gets stolen, only you would have access to your stuff. Also, apart from security, Electrum also offers a lot of convenience for users who like to travel. It does so by letting you use your wallet offline. If you are an Android user, Electrum will also work on your smartphone.



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Best Firefox Add-ons for a Better YouTube Experience

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From blocked videos to annoying ads, there are many things about YouTube we don't like. These restrictions and distractions only dampen the amazing experience that the video-sharing website is meant to provide. If you are a Firefox user, however, you won't have to worry about such things. Firefox offers a variety of add-ons that let you fix pretty much any annoyance that YouTube has. Furthermore, they also let you download videos right to your desktop so that you can watch them whenever you want, even without a connection.


So, without much ado, here are some of the best Firefox add-ons that help you have a better YouTube experience. 


1-Click YouTube Video Downloader

What makes this downloading app so special is purely its simplicity. Once installed, you'll find a small button below the video you are watching. This will let you choose the quality of the video you want to download, and then once you click it, the video starts downloading automatically. The add-on supports a wide variety of major formats like MP4, FLV, WebM, 3GP thus letting you watch the video later on any device you like. While it doesn't add any fancy functions to the mix, its simplicity is the only reason, which will probably make you start using it right away. 



Ageless for YouTube

If you are over 18 but still find it annoying that you have to sign in to watch age-restricted videos, then this next add-on is just for you. Once installed, you won't have to sign in every time you watch an age-restricted video. This is great for people who don't have a YouTube account or don't want to sign up for one. 



CleanTube

If you are someone annoyed by some of the unwanted elements on the YouTube page then this extension will come in handy. By simply a single click you can hide the comments section, the sidebar, ads, and other parts of YouTube that you find annoying. What gives this add-on the upper edge is that it lets you customize the look of your YouTube page the way you want it to. If you prefer, you can customize it till the only thing you see is your video and nothing else. It is really a great tool for minimalists. 



Download YouTube Videos as MP4

Much like the aforementioned 1-click YouTube Downloader, this one too puts a simple download button below your videos. What is great about this add-on is that it doesn't require you to restart the browser. As far as restrictions go, this one is limited to MP4s only. However, if all you do is watch videos on your desktop, this addon fits the bill.



YouTube Unblocker

If you are not living in the United States, watching videos that are blocked in your country can be quite a trouble. Though there are many workarounds for that (like VPN), there isn't a convenient solution that just works. Thankfully, though there's a simple extension to remedy that problem. YouTube Unblocker does exactly what it says, it automatically unblocks disabled videos like VEVO by enabling proxy that directs to the US website. So instead of completely using YouTube with a proxy server, this addon intelligently queries the video so that you will be watching only the blocked videos through a proxy. There are no VPN or shady sites involved here.

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7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

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VLC started as an academic project in 1996 and back then it was called "VideoLAN Client", and hence the name VLC. Soon, however, it grew to become a client as well as server that can be used to stream videos across the network. Its popularity showed steady growth leading up to the development of Version 1.0 that was released in 2009. In other words, the project took 13 years of development to reach its first major release, something that shows us how stable the open-source tool has indeed become.

Be it Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, VLC still remains the undisputed king of media players. From playing YouTube videos and MP3s to helping you enjoy Blu-ray movies, this open-source tool is regarded as one of the indispensable tools every desktop user should have installed. If you are using Linux right now, chances are you are a VLC user too. And if you are, we've got some useful tips for you that will help you get the most out of it.


1. Taking Screenshots of the Currently Playing Video

Whenever you are playing a video, you can grab a quick screencap without even pausing. All you have to do is press the combination Shift + S and your screenshot will automatically show up in the Pictures folder. If, however, you are using Mac OS X, use the shortcut Cmd + Alt + S and the snapshot will be waiting for you in the Pictures folder. 


2. Bookmark a Position in a Video

Imagine you are busy watching your favorite movie and suddenly your smartphone rings. It is a bummer right? Start the video again and then seeking to the last position you were on. Thankfully, VLC saves you the trouble by letting you bookmark a position in the video so that you can come back to it whenever you want.

All you have to do is go to the menubar and then Playback -> Custom Bookmarks -> Manage. A new window will pop up. Here, simply click on the button that says "Create" and you will have the bookmark at your disposal whenever you want.

Note that you can also use this for listening to audiobooks as well where bookmarking plays an important role.


3. Record the Currently Playing Video/Audio

If you listen to streaming audio or watch a lot of online videos natively, this next tip will help you keep the best bits to yourself. By recording a currently playing song or video, you can re-listen to it whenever you want.

To start recording, simply go to the menu bar and navigate to View -> Advanced Controls. Once you do that, a small red button will show up below the video or audio. Click on it and the stream will be saved to your default Videos or Music folder.


4. Record from a Webcam

If you are a wannabe rising YouTube star, this tip might help you a lot. VLC, apart from playing your favorite movies, also lets you do a recording from the webcam. Simply go to Media -> Open Capture Device. There, you'll find a dropdown menu. There, select DirectShow to select your webcam. Once that is done, start recording by hitting the red button. The video will be stored in the default videos folder.


5. Play Video Files in .zip and .rar Archives

The next time someone hands you a bunch of video files packed in a .rar archive, simply open it in VLC and it will play. VLC reads through the archive letting you play the video files contained in it.


6. Watch a YouTube Video Without a Browser

Instead of watching a YouTube video in a distraction-ridden webpage, you can use VLC to watch it on your desktop. Simply click on the menu bar -> Media and click Open Network Stream. There, paste the URL of your favorite video and it will start playing automatically. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + N anytime and paste the video directly.


7. VLC Does Podcasts Too

VLC can do a lot more than playing videos and music. It also acts as a full-fledged podcast downloader and player. Open VLC and if the playlist view isn't showing up yet, press Ctrl + L or hit the playlist button at the bottom. In the left pane under Internet, you'll find an option that says Podcasts. Hit the grey button besides it and paste your favorite podcast URL.

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