Optical drives aren't potatoes. You can't boil them, mash them, or stick 'em in a stew. And by that, I mean there's simply not that much you can do with your average digital coffee holder. Optical drives read CDs. Optical drives write CDs. And... well, unless you have your drive hooked up to some kind of crazy Rube Goldberg device that feeds your guinea pig whenever you eject the tray, there's simply not much else you're going to be able to do with this essential part of your PC. CD goes in; CD goes out--end of story.
Of course, I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek with this description. There's a great deal you can do with your optical drive on the software side of things. Here's the problem: There are a ton of different programs out there for ripping, burning, and mounting images, amongst other behaviors. Finding the best-in-class application for your device can be like trying to find a tiny scratch on the bottom of the disc itself--a mind-numbing task that's sure to frustrate you as you sift through the 30 different utilities you've pulled down onto your desktop.
Allow me ease the pain a bit. In this week's freeware files, I'll be taking a look at some of the must-have software to supplement your CD drive. With these five apps, you'll be covered for a wide range of uses--ripping all different kinds of media to your (presumably) terabytes of storage space, burning your own custom discs and presentations based on preexisting files, and converting physical media to digital images that you can pull up off of your hard drive instead of ever having to fiddle with a disc again.
Grab a CD-R coaster for your drink and join me after the jump for all the software goodies!
You wouldn't be an average Maximum PC reader if you didn't have 30 different windows, tabs, and applications open at once. After all, what's the point of having a computer that's dressed to the nines if you aren't using up every available resource each time you sit at your desk? Although it's been said that multitasking actually does much to impair your focus and efficiency in dealing with tasks versus a methodical, one-at-a-time approach, all the science know-how in the world isn't going to stop the average geek from using his or her computer to do a billion things at once. That's just how it goes.
So now that we're all candidates for the 12-step multitasking program, how can we go about making the actual act of multitasking more efficient? And no, I'm not talking about those applications that you can use to tell you just how much time you're spending in each open window--if anything, knowing that one spends 95% of one's day looking at cuteoverload.com might be discouraging if nothing else. No, there are ways to quicken and improve your multitasking without resorting to needless shaming.
Minimize your windows, click the jump, and I'll show you five apps that will make your multitasking even better. No. Really. Minimize some windows already..