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As we close up yet another month of freeware goodies, it's important to look back and reflect on some of the awesome programs that received a version bump in the past 30 days. It was tough to nail down five free applications that not only upgraded themselves to a new iteration, but ones that successfully packed new and interesting features into their latest builds. There's no overarching theme this week save for that; it's a grab-bag of awesome new software to install. If this lack of a unifying concept horrifies you, don't worry. I'll list out all of this month's freeware roundups below, which you can use as a guide of-sorts to travel back to safer downloading waters.
What it does: One of the best open-source audio editors out there has jumped up from version 1.3.7 to 1.3.8--both beta. What's included in the new batch of features? Support for more than 16 channels of audio recording, provided your hardware can handle it. The performance of the app's single-file editing and multi-track editing modes have been improved as well, as has the speed of the app's included equalization and noise removal options. A new interface mode--the "mixer board" view, offers volume-unit meters (VU meters) for each track.
What it does: Remember JkDefrag? It's gone. The latest iteration of the program, version four, has transformed this previously open-source defragging tool into a closed-source freeware application. And MyDefrag, after sitting in beta for nearly five months, finally launched its official release in early July. The program boasts an improved interface and performance over its open-source predecessor, as well as lower memory use and more helpful documentation. Is it better than the standard Windows defragmentation tool? Run some benchmarks and report back!
Download the app--click here!
What it does: The semi-popular Opera browser has jumped up to its second version of the Opera 10.0 beta. Aside from widget version support and multi-server updates, a majority of the differences between 10.0 beta 2 and 10.0 beta 1 come in the form of tweaks and improvements to a laundry list of specific items. I'll back the train up even more--what separates the Opera 10 beta program from the current Opera 9 browser? Gosh. Visual tabs, increased configuration options for the browser's "Speed Dial" feature--a Safari-like list of the Web pages you most frequent--as well as automatic updates, crash logging, an inline spell checker, and perfection on the much-dreaded Acid3 rendering test.
What it does: This open-source alternative to Windows Media Player is the kitchen sink of features and formats. New to the 1.0.0 "Goldeneye" release of the app includes support for even more HD codecs: Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, and Blu-ray Linear PCM, to name a few. The app also brings instant pausing and frame-by-frame advancement to the table, perfect for those trying to catch every little detail in their favorite sci-fi series of choice. You can live record video in VLC Media Player 1.0.0, and even stream the audio of what you're watching via AirTunes
What it does: To be fair, the update of VirtualBox from 3.0.0 to 3.0.2 is more a maintenance release than anything else. But what's less important than increasing the performance of a virtual PC application? You can use this open-source app to launch new versions of operating systems inside your primary OS. It's a great time-saver when you want to fiddle with some component of an alternate OS, but don't have the time, space, or desire to split your drive into partitions and install a separate version of said OS in addition to what you normally run. This version of VirtualBox fixes 28 annoying bugs across Windows and Linux platforms, including a nasty one that sucked up your CPU resources when attempting to load a virtual OS from a hibernated state.
Miss any of the freeware roundups this month? Check out this list of 14 other programs that are worth your bandwidth, time, and love:
Including: Pidgin, Digsby, Trillian Astra, Miranda IM, VoxOX
Including: Folding@home, Climateprediction.net, GIMPS, SETI@home, Muon1
Including: PortableApps, Lupo PenSuite, MyApps, Mojopac
As always, if you have any freeware or open-source programs that you think rock harder than a reunion of your favorite band (Jonas Brothers excluded), leave me a message in the comments or via Twitter @acererak. You could be featured in a future freeware roundup!