Media Player Classic – Black Edition is a lightweight video player for Windows

Media Player Classic – Black Edition has been around for a long time, and I’m quite certain some of you maybe using it. Some of you may prefer Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, which is still being updated.

Both programs are quite identical, because they are based on the original Media Player Classic. In fact, MPC – BE is a fork of MPC-HC, so it can play all video formats that HC supports. But MPC-BE has a few features which aren’t available in HC. So, we’ll only be looking at what’s different in MPC-BE.

Tip: you can check out our SMPlayer and VLC Media Player reviews which are two popular media player options that you may want to check out as well.

A modern interface

Media Player Classic - Black Edition video player

MPC-BE has a modern GUI, with a dark theme for the main screen and all its menus, which makes it easier on the eyes.

Seek preview

While jumping ahead or rewinding a video, you don’t have to hit the left or right arrow keys, hoping to stop at the exact time-stamp from which you want to watch the video. You have a preview in MPC-BE, a visual seek bar, which you can use with precision. It is quite similar to YouTube’s seek preview. This is an incredible feature to have, and one which is especially useful if you missed the action on the screen.

Tip: You have to enable the preview feature from Options > Interface > Enable preview in the search.

YouTube player

Media Player Classic - Black Edition

MPC-BE can play YouTube videos by default, with no user required settings whatsoever. Copy the URL of the video you wish to play, and select the Open File/URL option in the program. Hit ok and the video should play. You can set the default resolution and format of the videos from Options > Online Media Services.

MPC-BE uses a built-in option which is based on YouTube-dl (another open-source program), to parse the video from the URL. You can even use the player to seek through the streaming video and it works perfectly. It doesn’t have seek preview for YouTube videos though. It is perfectly legal to use, since it is only streaming the video, just like your web browser, and you don’t need to keep a browser open in the background while watching the video.

Tip: You can enable the same in MPC-HC, but you have to download YouTube-dl manually for it to work.

Settings

The settings page in Media Player Classic – BE is quite different compared to HC’s. Mostly the options are re-arranged in the same page, but some pages, for e.g. from the Output settings are broken down into their own sections, like Video, Audio, etc,.

LAV Filters

This is one area where MPC-HC is better by default, because it ships with LAV Filters, ready to use. But that’s not a big issue since the LAV Filters are also open source, meaning you can download and install them on your computer. Once you have done that, go to MPC-BE’s Options > External Filters > Add Filter and set the LAV Video Decoder and Audio Decoder Filters as the preferred one.

Resource Usage and Output Quality

I did not notice any major difference in the resource usage between MPC – BE and MPC – HC when playing videos. Though I have always noticed that MPC-BE is slightly faster, when it comes to opening files than MPC-HC. The latter takes quite a few seconds to start the playback. It’s not a deal breaker though. The output quality is nearly the same in both, but that’s probably because I use the same settings and filters for MPC-BE and HC.

I use both versions from time to time, although I will admit that I favor mpv nowadays. I have downloaded mpv.net, which Martin wrote about recently, and it seems to be good.

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NewFileGo for Windows: watch for new files and execute programs automatically

NewFileGo is a portable software program for Microsoft’s Windows operating system that Windows users may use to monitor directories for new files matching set rules to execute commands automatically.

Basic examples where something like this may be useful include moving digital camera photos to another directory once they are transferred to the system, extracting downloaded archives automatically, or deleting files automatically when they appear in a certain folder on the system.

NewFileGo is a small application that is provided as an archive. Just download and extract the archive on the system and run the executable file directly to get started. The developer of the application added the source code of the app to the distribution; a scan on Virustotal returned no hits.

Tip: you may process files based on age using the Windows tool Forfiles.

NewFileGo

newfilego

The program opens a clean interface on start. The very first thing you need to do is click on the “add new watcher” button to create a new monitoring process.

The interface is clean and it is easy to create a new process. The configuration window is divided into two groups: files to monitor and commands to execute.

Files to monitor sets the folder, file name and extension filters, and type parameters. You can monitor for new files, changed files, or new and changed files.

You may only define one file type rule; the default is *.* which catches all files but that can be changed in the interface. If you want to monitor several distinct file types, e.g. .jpg, .png, and .mp4, you need to create rules for each individually unless you are certain that only these files will ever appear in the monitored folder.

newfilego new monitor task

The same is true for folder selection; you may only select one folder to monitor per task.

The command to execute part defines a command that you want NewFileGo to run when a new or changed file is detected.

You may run the command for each file individually or once for all files, the latter may be useful if you want to process all files at once, e.g. all photos using an image converter. The application comes with a number of presets, e.g. open the file in notepad, echo at command line but it is also possible to run a custom command.

A click on save creates the new monitoring task but it may not activate it right away. You need to right-click on the task and select enable/disable to toggle the state.

NewFileGo starts the monitoring right away once enabled. You may want to test it first by selecting the echo command line action to verify that it works as intended.

The right-click menu features a duplicate command to create a copy of an existing rule; that is great if you need to create similar rules for multiple file extensions or folders.

Related programs

We reviewed several related programs in the past, here is a small selection:

Closing Words

NewFileGo is a handy program for Microsoft Windows devices to monitor folders for new or changed files and run a command on them automatically. The application is portable, uses a streamlined interface, and is not too heavy either when it runs.

It could use a bit more guidance or features, e.g. a toolbar to activate or disable tasks as it may not be clear to everyone that you need to use the right-click menu to change the state.

A log listing processed files and the status of each operation could be a useful optional feature as well.

Now You: Do you use tools like NewFileGo on your system?

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ClipAngel is an open-source clipboard manager for Windows

A Clipboard manager can be a very useful tool, especially if you do a lot of writing and calculating work. It can store a history of the text that you copy using CTRL + C or a right-click and copy.

This can be very useful to have, in case you want to go revisit something that you copied to the clipboard, something that the default clipboard manager in Windows is incapable of.

We have reviewed plenty of clipboard managers here on Ghacks already, including Clipboard Master, Clipboard Help+Spell, or Clipjump which all add functionality to the built-in clipboard experience to make the function more useful.

ClipAngel is an open-source clipboard manager for Windows

ClipAngel is an open-source clipboard manager for Windows

It isn’t by any means pretty, in fact not many clipboard managers are but you should never judge a program based on its interface. ClipAngel has a lot of features that make it worthwhile; the program sits in the system tray, and works in the background. When you need to access it, use Alt + V to bring up ClipAngel into view. This works in all applications, for e.g. Notepad, Libre Office, Firefox, basically any program.

The ClipAngel interface consists of a side-bar which lists all the content it has stored, a preview pane on the right where you can view the selected content, a menu bar with various settings and a toolbar with options to manage/edit the clipboard entries. There is another toolbar on the bottom with more options.

Pasting content using ClipAngel

Place the cursor where you want the text to be pasted into (for e.g. Notepad), and bring up ClipAngel’s interface. Double click on the content that you wish to paste, and it will be added right where you wanted it to. Simple, isn’t it? This works with text, rich text format, files, HTML and images.

Tip: Want to take several screenshots quickly and edit them later? Use the print screen key as many times as you want, and ClipAngel saves every one of them.

There are advanced options that you can use to paste content. To view them right-click on the selected content in the ClipAngel interface. This brings up a right-click context menu with options including Paste text, Paste line, Paste file, Paste Special, Simulate char input, Copy to clipboard, Edit title, Mark as favorite, Open file, Text compare and Delete. Most of these are self-explanatory, but Paste Special does have its own set of options.

This includes options for changing the case of the letters from: No Change, UPPER CASE, lower case, Sentence case, and a few CamelCase options. You can optionally set the program to replace tab with spaces, end of line symbol with space, etc.

Tip: If you typed a sentence in the wrong case format. For instance, IF YOU USED ALL CAPS. Don’t delete or retype it. Copy it to the clipboard, and use ClipAngel to correct it to the desired case.

Advanced Options

There are a great many advanced options in ClipAngel. I’ll mention a few of those. The paintbrush icon on the toolbar, can be used to display rich text formatting (bulleted lists, numbered lists, hyperlinks, etc). You can edit plain text directly from the program’s interface. An optional secondary column can be enabled, to include the time-stamp of each clipboard entry. The toolbar and the List menu can be used for organizing your clipboard entries. The List menu lets you sort the list, display only texts, images or files, and more.

ClipAngel also includes the name of the program and the title of the document from which you copied the content from. You can edit it if you want to.

The Clip menu if where things get really advanced. You can use it to find text within all entries, which in itself is a priceless feature. The Save as option allows you to save a selected clip to file (HTML, TXT, PNG, RTF). You can select multiple clips and use the Join Clip option, to create a single combined clip. Similarly, you can select clips and compare the text in them, although this will require a third-party file comparison application like the ones mentioned here.

A few privacy related options

ClipAngel can be disabled from monitoring specific applications using the “Ignore applications” setting. You can use the “disable monitoring” and “clear clipboard” options in ClipAngel to stop it from storing clips and to delete clips respectively. Alternatively, you could simply exit the program, when you don’t want it to store the clipboard’s content, or just use the portable version and exit it when it’s not required. You can export and import clips to the.CAC (ClipAngel Clip) format, like a backup and restore option.

Tip: To delete a clipboard entry, select it and hit the delete key.

The upload image option lets you save screenshots and other clips directly to the Imgur service. Personally, I don’t like this option.

I should mention that ClipAngel requires .Net Framework 4.52 or above, to work. Though that really shouldn’t be an issue if you’re using Windows 10, as it is pre-installed in the OS.

On a personal note, I once lost an entire article to an incorrectly timed copy and paste. Another time this happened, was when a WordPress/Server error prevented an article from being saved, and I didn’t have a draft copy. So, you could say I learned a lesson the hard way. That’s actually the reason why I started using clipboard managers, along with Microsoft Office Online because of its auto-save feature.

Hours of work and effort could be saved, simply by using a clipboard manager. I’ve tried many over the years and prefer to use Ditto, though it hasn’t been updated for a while. It’s always nice to have an alternative though. CopyQ is also a very good clipboard manager, and Martin has written an excellent review about it.

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FAR Manager is an open-source Norton Commander clone, that is highly customizable

FAR Manager isn’t new, at least not to most geeks. It has been around for decades and is still actively being developed. The name stands for File and Archive Manager and can be used for basic file operations, and so much more.

It is a Win-32 console application, which means it has a text based interface. That’s why it looks like Command Prompt.

Speaking of which, you can use all CMD commands in FAR Manager. So, if you ever missed having to type commands for changing the directory like “CD D:Games” or copying files like “Copy C:UsersUSERNAMEDownloadsFar.exe D:PortableFAR”, go nuts.

Tip: Check out other alternative file managers for Windows such as Altap Salamander or Multi Commander.

FAR Manager Viewer and Plugins

FAR Manager is an open-source Norton Commander clone
While the application does support opening files in your default program choice for that format, it does have a built-in File viewer and Editor. To access it, use the F3 key, and it should open the text in the same window. Hit F6 to edit the document, as if you were using a command line Notepad. You can add support for more file types by using Plugins.

I wanted to side-step the topic, FAR Manager plugins, because there are “FAR” too many for me to suggest. But it is not easy to avoid the topic. Every thing you need from spell check, editor and file management enhancements, networking and security tools, macro plugins, etc., are available from the Plugin page.

The biggest highlight of the program, is perhaps the fact that it is highly customizable even without plugins. To access the program’s Settings, press F9 and use the keyboard to navigate to the Options that appear at the top of the screen. Or, right-click near the top of the window, to open the menu-bar with the options displayed in expanded view. You can change the interface options, colors, elements, set to open that you want to hide/display, basically anything you want to make the program look and function the way you want it to be.

While it is primarily optimized for keyboard shortcuts, FAR Manager does offer full support for the mouse, which you can use for scrolling, left-click etc. When you right-click inside the program’s window, you will see your regular context-menu, which has all the options from your Windows’ File Explorer. That’s not bad though. In fact, I think it makes it user-friendly for people who haven’t tried the program yet, or are unfamiliar with command line switches and commands.

FAR Manager is free, and open-source. It is available in a portable version that you can try on 32-bit and 64-bit computers.

Who remembers Norton Commander and Norton Ghost? They were amazing programs back in the day. FAR Manager is often referred to as a Norton Commander clone, but regardless of that it is a great File Explorer replacement.

Now you: Which text-based file manager do you like?

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Joplin is an open source note taking app for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux

Note taking apps are handy and can be used for simple tasks like jotting down lists, to storing important information. The primary use of such an app, at least for me, is that you can pull up the data that you require quickly.  Joplin is an open source and cross platform app that is available for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux.

It’s also available as a terminal app for macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD, if that is your cup of tea. 

Tip: we reviewed several note taking applications in the past. You may want to check out Laverna, a privacy-focused solution that you can self-host even, neutriNote for Android, or the classic CintaNotes.

Joplin review

Joplin

We will be taking a look at the desktop application here. The interface of Joplin is slightly confusing at first glance, but the help section that is displayed when you run the app, explains the features quite well. 

All you need to know about are the 3 panes:  

  • The sidebar lists your notebooks 
  • The middle bar is your Note List 
  • The right pane is the Note Editor. 

You save notes to your Notebooks, and its contents are displayed in the Note List. The Note Editor allows you to create notes in rich text format (text, hyperlinks, images, tags, etc), using markdown. There are 3 layouts you can choose from, depending on what a note contains. The sidebar to the left can optionally be toggled from the menu, if you find it to be obtrusive. 

You can also create to-do lists using Joplin, which may be useful if you want to create a shopping list, or a travel check-list. You could also use it like a journal or a diary, or even in class, or at a meeting. Really, it’s up to you. 

You can use Joplin to export your notes in to one of the following formats: JEX, JSON, RAW, MD and PDF. By default, the app saves the notes in the markdown format. 

Joplin can be used to you import JEX, MD (File/Directory), RAW and ENEX. The last one, ENEX, is the Evernote format, which means you can export all your notes from it over to Joplin. 

The best part about Joplin is the synchronization feature, which lets you save your Notebook directly to your Dropbox account.  You can also choose to connect it to your OneDrive, NextCloud or WebDav servers. This way, you can access the content from any of your devices. Joplin uses end-to-end encryption to secure your data from unauthorized access.  

Please note that by default, Encryption is disabled in Joplin, and you will need to setup a password, when you are configuring the sync option to protect the data.

Download Joplin for your device, its completely free. You can find the source code of the app at GitHub. There is a portable version available, which is the one which we tested, and it minimizes itself to the system tray when not in use. 

Closing Words

Joplin is a well designed note taking application that is available for all major desktop and mobile operating systems. It supports note syncing through third-party cloud storage services, and solutions like WebDav or NextCloud that put you in control.

All in all, a great application for users who want their notes, tasks, and other bits of text on all of their devices.

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Joplin is an open source note taking app for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux appeared first on gHacks Technology News.