Archives: November 2007

ies4osx: Use Internet Explorer in OS X

ies4osx

If you want to visit a website optimized for (or only work with) IE, it is no longer required to install an extra Windows partition on Macs running OS X. With the newly released ies4osx (beta, at the time of writing), you could simply emulate IE 5 – 7 just like you are on a PC. 5ThirtyOne has already tested the beta version of ies4osx and published the review here.

With ies4osx, installing Internet Explorer on OS X is a simple double-click of the installer. All of the necessary files and requirements are automatically downloaded – including default Windows IE fonts and browser plug-ins like Macromedia Flash player.

Completely stable thus far running the IE 6 and IE 7 Beta. Keep in mind that because ies4osx does rely on X11, your browser window will look like something straight out of a monochrome version of Windows 98. No worries though, pages render as they should – complete with IE 6 / 7 quirks included CSS rendering issues and window pop-ups!

Further, the 5ThirtyOne.com also lists some of the advantage using this piece of software over the other alternatives.

  • We all know technology promotes laziness. VMware and Parallels are great, but having to wait for an entire OS to boot sucks! Thankfully Internet Explorer 6 / 7 load in mere seconds on a MacBook Pro.
  • Developing locally? Typing http://localhost or http://127.0.0.1 from within ies4osx Internet Explorer windows will load your local development directory. No modifications of hosts files necessary.
  • Crossover users will enjoy the eye pleasing anti-aliased font rendering offered by ies4osx installs.
  • Thanks to the automatic installation of standard plugins like Flash, web pages load in their entirety.
  • Saving web pages or files off the internet – by default – are stored in your Home directory.
  • Less memory consumption. VMware Fusion with Internet Explorer running uses 87 MB. Standalone Internet Explorer via X11 24.84 MB.

You can download ies4osx here.

Anti-virus software for OS X

You are probably much more safer working on OS X than Windows XP/Vista but there is no system on earth 100% free of virus threats. In this article, I have listed some of the popular anti-virus software, which might help running you Mac safely.

ClamXav
Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV), is a widely used free antivirus software toolkit for Unix-like operating systems. It is mainly used with a mail exchange server as a server-side email virus scanner. ClamAV is open source software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Both ClamAV and its updates are made available free of charge.

There are two versions of ClamXav available, one for OS X 10.3 & 10.4 and a separate one for for OS X 10.2. Please be sure to download the correct version.

Intego VirusBarrier
Intego VirusBarrier X4 is the simple, fast and non-intrusive antivirus security solution for Macintosh computers, by Intego, the leading publisher of personal security software for Macintosh. It offers thorough protection against viruses of all types, coming from infected files or applications, whether on CD-ROMs, DVDs or other removable media, or on files downloaded over the Internet or other types of networks.

Intego VirusBarrier X4 protects your computer from viruses by constantly examining all the files that your computer opens and writes, as well as watching for suspicious activity that may be the sign of viruses acting on applications or other files. With Intego VirusBarrier X4 on your computer, you can rest assured that your Macintosh has the best protection available against viruses of all kinds.

Intego VirusBarrier X4 is an application that works in the background and checks everything that your computer does, looking for viruses. It detects and eradicates all known viruses, including Word and Excel macro viruses, and even viruses targeting the Windows operating system. It knows the unique signatures of all known Macintosh viruses, and whenever a new virus is discovered, Intego’s Virus Monitoring Center goes into action to provide updated virus definitions, which you can download using Intego VirusBarrier X4′s automatic NetUpdate function.

Norton Antivirus
Norton Antivirus provides essential protection from viruses, hackers, and privacy threats.

The QuickMenu gives you instant access to frequently used features and automatically removes viruses (including macro viruses), worms, and Trojan horses. It also scans email attachments, instant message attachments, Internet downloads, and other incoming files for viruses. The LiveUpdate can automatically download and install new virus definitions and the Norton Scheduler lets you schedule regular virus scans and LiveUpdate checks

Some of the new features
* Compatible with Mac OS® X v10.4 Tiger™
* Includes a Global Threat Assessment Dashboard widget
* Puts scan controls in Mac OS X contextual menus
* Smart Volume Scanning eliminates redundant scanning of media you know are virus free
* Custom SafeZones save time and system resources by scanning only specified drives or directories

Note: This has not been rated high in many popular software download sites. Therefore keep in mind the name alone does not make it good.

McAfee Virex
McAfee VirusScan for Mac guards against all types of viruses and malicious code, including new and unknown threats, that target OS X. VirusScan for Mac offers unintrusive, effective protection that hunts down and kills viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious code as they attempt to infect systems, allowing users to continue to work uninterrupted. Easy to use and always on guard, VirusScan for Mac automatically checks for the latest virus updates, so your protection is always up to date. It is supported by McAfee Avert Labs, among the world’s top threat research centers.

Sophos Anti-Virus
Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac OS X provides integrated cross-platform virus detection on Macintosh servers, desktops and laptops. Sophos virus detection engine scans all entry points, and also detects non-Mac viruses that could be harbored on Mac computers.

The latest software and virus detection updates are automatically downloaded from Sophos through our updating application, EM Library, ensuring that all computers across the network, including remote laptops, are fully protected.
Pure Mac environments

Designed for all-Mac networks, Sophos Update Manager allows updating and configuration from a single Mac computer. It enables you to set scheduled updating, and to determine how scanning will be implemented on desktops and laptops.

The software is a single install for both Intel-based and PowerPC-based computers. Every virus incident is automatically reported to the administrator, making day-to-day management even easier.

There are couple of other tools worth a mention though they don’t fit in here.

Little Nitch
Little Snitch tells you when a program tries to send info to the internet so you can see what’s going on in the background!

Features
* Prevents applications from “phoning home”.
* Protects you from trojans, worms, and other network parasites.
* Shows which applications send information over the internet.
* Provides a higher level of security for the paranoid.

ChkRootKit_MacOSX
ChkRootKit_MacOSX is a freeware utility to detect WORMS, LKM TROJANS and other small dirty animals which could invade your computer. However this could be vulnerable for a sophisticated attack.

Documentation on OS X security
Vulnerability reports(securemac.com)
Introduction to Security (Uni. Utah)
Basic Mac Security (Mac Geekery)
Ultimate Guide (Lots of Links)
For New Users (Macworld.com)

Recover your data

Perhaps it has occurred to you that the external hard drive attached to your Mac does not respond or you have accidentally erased some important files. I have tried to find out some of the software, which might help you in such situations. The feature lists and descriptions listed in this article are extracts from respective vendor websites. Unfortunately I cannot give you my own opinion about the products, as I haven’t tested them myself.

FileSalvage (US$ 89.95)
Mac software for OS X that will retrieve files that have been deleted (undelete), rescue data from corrupted media, and recover lost files from your hard drive or storage device.

If you lose any files that you want back, just run FileSalvage and if the deleted files have not been written over (of which there are usually good chances), it will recover them. Corruption does not detain FileSalvage. It will process any intact data on the disk and recover whole or partial files wherever they are found.

Stellar Phoenix Macintosh – Data Recovery Software (US$ 199)
Mac data recovery software, recovers data from damaged, deleted, or corrupted volumes and even from initialized disks. An exhaustive scan of the drive is performed to locate lost partitions. All found data in the lost partition is then presented in a tree structure so that you can copy your lost files to a working volume. Stellar Phoenix Macintosh Data Recovery Software is a quick, simple and easy to use Mac data recovery solution that helps you in file recovery in moments of disaster of a disk crash.

Stellar Phoenix Macintosh supports the HFS and HFS+ file systems, and works fully in the Mac OS environment – the software can be installed natively on a machine having Mac OS X or higher.

Data Rescue II (US$ 99)
Focusing on data recovery, instead of hard drive repair, Data Rescue II will work in more cases, recover more effectively, and deliver your files in better condition than other utilities you may have tried in the past.

Data Rescue II analyzes your entire hard drive looking for your data, then it meticulously re-assembles your files and stores them to a different location.

BounceBack® Professional (US$ 69 -79)
Instantly BounceBack® from a complete disaster
Designed for Hard Drive based backup and recovery, BounceBack® Professional is the perfect backup solution for Windows and Macintosh professionals and home users who value their data and the time spent creating it. In today’s world, a disaster can occur at any moment whether a hard drive failure, virus attack, theft or loss. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of computers to use BounceBack®, the software does all the work for you. From the easiest setup to simple reminders and flexible features, BounceBack® takes the headache out of backup. If you’ve ever had a hard drive fail or a computer stolen, you know the pain associated with the loss of data and the time associated with getting up and running again. BounceBack® creates an exact copy of your computer hard drive enabling you to replace your failed hard drive with your backup drive or boot directly from your external backup drive (Mac only).

Accidental deletions and misplaced files are a fact of life. Fortunately, CMS’ QuickRestore feature offers immediate access to all previously backed up files. Just select the items to bring back and click on Restore.

Have you ever been working on a document, gone through several versions, and then realized the first or second draft was the best? With BounceBack®, changed files are backed up and maintained individually allowing you to review and compare all backed up versions of the same file.

VirtualLab™ Data Recovery Software for Macintosh (US$ ??)
If you’ve lost data, VirtualLab™ is the professional’s choice for getting it back. VirtualLab is non-destructive data recovery software that recovers deleted files, damaged or missing volumes and even formatted disks. An exhaustive scan of the drive is performed to locate lost partitions and files. Your data is presented in an finder-like view of files and directories so that you can copy your lost files to another safe location such as a networked drive or Firewire® drive.
VirtualLab™ recovers data from hard drives, CD-ROM, external devices (Zip, Jaz, Syquest), digital camera cards, Apple iPods, and much more! VirtualLab is compatible with Mac OS X and OS 9 (Classic).
Ordering is fast and easy direct from within the client you download. There is no ‘order processing delay’ to wait on, your recovery session is instantly authorized to save files.

Web browsers for Macs

Here you will find some of the well known web browsers for Mac users.

Camino (lightweight and fast)
Open source, graphical Web browser based on Mozilla’s Gecko layout engine and specifically designed for the Mac OS X family of operating systems. In place of an XUL-based user interface used by most Mozilla-based applications, Camino uses Mac-native Cocoa APIs. Camino does not include an e-mail client or HTML editor; it concentrates on providing “just the browser” in a lightweight application.
As Camino’s aim is to integrate as well as possible with the Macintosh OS, it uses the Aqua user interface and integrates a number of Mac OS X services and features such as Keychain for password management and Bonjour for scanning available bookmarks across your local network. Other notable features include an integrated pop-up blocker, tabbed browsing, and support for open standards.

iCab
iCab is one of very few browsers being developed for Mac OS 9 and earlier OS versions, and is the only one available for 68k systems that features tabbed browsing. At the same time it’s compatible with the latest hardware and system software.
iCab’s proprietary rendering engine has often been criticised for not supporting CSS and DOM, making it hard to design modern Web pages for the browser. However, in May 2005 the first public beta of iCab 3 was released with dramatically updated layout capabilities (including CSS2 support), although this version is not available for 680×0-Macs. The iCab 3 series also has proper Unicode support, using ATSUI instead of the old WorldScript; this is the reason for iCab 3 requiring Mac OS 8.5 or later.

Flock
Flock is a web browser heavily based upon Mozilla Firefox and other Mozilla technologies, as well as the name of the company developing the web browser. Flock’s creators call it a “social browser”, due to its ability to interact with popular social networking web services. Such web services include Flickr, Del.icio.us, Technorati, Photobucket, and various popular blogging and news aggregation services.

Shiira
Since the browser is being developed with Safari in mind, the main characteristics of the two browsers are similar. For example, Shiira employs private browsing options to automatically delete history and cookies when selected. However, Shiira has enhanced many features of Safari to give Shiira its own feel. The search engines search field on the toolbar includes many search engines and is fully customizable, and tabbed browsing is very flexible, enabling users to, for example, reorder tabs by dragging, or select an option to refresh tabs when they are clicked. Shiira also takes advantage of Cocoa programming to provide users with a customizable drawer extending from the left or right of the window. The drawer contains bookmarks (which launch based on a user-programmed preference of one or two clicks), history, downloads (to avoid cluttering the screen with additional download windows), a unique page holder to access myriad links while surfing other sites, and an RSS reader. Shiira natively supports in-browser PDF viewing. The browser is of comparable stability and speed to Safari, making it among the fastest and most functional browsers for users of Mac OS X.

SunriseBrowser
A new browser from Japanese Mac community, Sunrise Browser is now available for testing. The browser is developed with XCode using Apple”s powerful Cocoa/Objective-C.
Features of Sunrise Browser include
* transparent window
* auto resizable windows
* URL string displaying and copy command
* page archiving
* and more..

Opera
Opera is a cross-platform web browser and Internet suite which handles common internet-related tasks, including visiting web sites, sending and receiving e-mail messages, managing contacts, online chat and Widgets. Opera”s lightweight mobile web browser Opera Mini and most current versions of its desktop application are offered free of charge.

OmniWeb
OmniWeb was originally developed by Omni Group and released by Lighthouse Design for the NEXTSTEP platform on March 17, 1995. As NeXTSTEP evolved into OPENSTEP and then Mac OS X, OmniWeb was updated to run on these platforms. OmniWeb also briefly ran on Microsoft Windows through the Yellow Box or the OpenStep frameworks.
OmniWeb is developed using the Cocoa API which allows it to take full advantage of Mac OS X features. It uses Quartz to produce images and smooth text, it will use multiple processors if available, and features an interface that makes use of features such as drawers, sheets and customizable toolbars. OmniWeb originally employed its own proprietary HTML layout engine. However, the engine was not fully compatible with all of the most recent Internet standards, such as Cascading Style Sheets. In February 2003, the Omni Group adopted Apple”s KHTML-based WebCore rendering engine, which was created by Apple for its Safari browser.

Firefox (My favourite)
Mozilla Firefox (officially abbreviated as Fx, fx,[2] and commonly abbreviated FF) is a graphical web browser developed by the Mozilla Corporation. Started as a fork of the browser component (Navigator) of the Mozilla Application Suite, Firefox has replaced the Mozilla Suite as the flagship product of the Mozilla project, stewarded by the Mozilla Foundation and a large community of external contributors.

SeaMonkey
SeaMonkey is a free, open source, and cross-platform Internet suite that is the continuation of the former Mozilla Application Suite. SeaMonkey is community-driven, in contrast to the Mozilla Application Suite, whose stable 1.7 branch remains governed by the Mozilla Foundation. The new project-leading group is the SeaMonkey Council.

DeskBrowse
DeskBrowse is a software utility that allows users to quickly access the web and get bits of information. It is developed by SGS International for Mac OS X.
DeskBrowse is an innovative web browser with a strong focus on workflow, stability, and speed. It is very lightweight (as compared to most other modern browsers) which allows for maximum performance in all areas of the browser. It places a lightweight web browser with very little CPU requirements at your fingertips. Taking the idea from Apple”s Window Drawers (i.e. Mail”s mailbox drawer in Panther), the team had inspiration to make a small panel that slides from the side of the screen.

RAF Browser
RAFBrowse is a new, simple, fast Web Browser from RyanAndFriends! Enjoy Simplistic, fast browsing with easy, complex searching, and efficient favorite URL management. Perform searches to Google (Web, Images, And News), YubNub.org, WikiPedia, Dictionary.com, And Thesaurus.com RAFBrowse features some different ideas for the browsing experience, please provide fair feedback that provides suggestions for improvement.

SurfDude
SurfDude is a very fast, very small WebKit-based web browser. It”s currently in early development but can already perform most browsing tasks quite admirably. It currently supports the following:
* Multiple windows
* External links (links in Mail.app, etc)
* Web icons
* Google searches
* Pop-up blocking
* Banner ad blocking
* Downloads [Temporarily Broken]
* and more.

It uses nothing but standard system elements and is very theme-saavy – This means if you apply a theme to your system in ShapeShifter or another theme program, surfDude will automatically match without any extra work by the themer or user.

Mad Fox
Madfox is based on Firefox to provide enhanced IE compatibility. Features of Madfox include:
* enhanced ability to access html element by id/name
* jscript.encode
* html content-type sniffing
* partial support of xml-dataisland
* fully compatible with Firefox extensions
* and more IE compatiblity features

Internet Explorer(Not supported anymore)

Netscape X
Netscape is the name of a proprietary Windows web browser published by AOL, but developed by Mercurial Communications. It is a continuation in name of the Netscape series of browsers, originally produced by the defunct Netscape Communications Corporation.

Lynx(Command line only)
Lynx was originally designed for Unix and VMS and remains the most popular console browser on GNU/Linux. Versions are also available for DOS, and recent versions run on all Microsoft Windows releases. Versions for Mac OS X are provided by OSXGNU. There is also a “Classic” Macintosh version called MacLynx “for System 7 and later”, but it is not regularly updated.

Safari
Safari is a web browser developed by Apple Inc., and is available as part of Mac OS X.

A Google search box is a standard component of the Safari interface, as are software services that automatically fill out web forms, manage passwords via Keychain and spell check entries into web page text fields. The browser also includes an integrated pop-up ad blocker and a configurable image blocker.

Sources: Wikipedia.org & Macupdate

Best development tools for OS X users

This article is focused on developers and programmers intending to change their programming platform either Windows or Linux. Some of the listed software are available in all three OSs. Here I have given special attention to the tools required for web development.

XCode (IDE from Apple)
Xcode is Apple’s suite of tools for developing software on Mac OS X. It includes a modified version of free software GNU Compiler Collection (GCC, apple-darwin8-gcc,4.0.1 ), and can compile C, C++, Objective-C, Objective-C++, Java, and AppleScript, source code with a variety of programming models, including but not limited to Cocoa, Carbon, and Java. Third parties have added support for GNU Pascal, Free Pascal, Ada and Perl. The Xcode suite uses GDB as the back-end for its debugger.

Eclipse (Mainly Java, plugins available for other languages)
Eclipse is an open-source software framework written primarily in Java. In its default form it is a Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE), comprising the Java Development Tools (JDT) and compiler (ECJ). Users can extend its capabilities by installing plug-ins written for the Eclipse software framework, such as development toolkits for other programming languages, and can write and contribute their own plug-in modules.

REALbasic (For Visual Basic fans)
REALbasic is a rapid application development (RAD) environment that provides developers a marked increase in productivity over other cross-platform development tools. REALbasic is highly compatible with Visual Basic, so Visual Basic developers are productive very quickly with REALbasic. REALbasic also comes with a utility to help convert Visual Basic projects to REALbasic where they can be compiled for Windows, Mac, even Linux — with the click of a checkbox.

Zend Studio (PHP programming)
Zend Studio is the only Integrated Development Environment (IDE) designed for professional developers that encompasses all the development components necessary for the full PHP application lifecycle. Through a comprehensive set of editing, debugging, analysis, optimization, database tools and testing Zend Studio 5 speeds development cycles and simplifies complex projects.

Coda (Integrated web development software)
Coda integrated all different web developer applications in one. It includes a text editor, ftp client, css editor, terminal integration and even some web development books for your reference. Coda”s interface resembles the Leopard, the next update to Apple OS.

MAMP (Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP package)
The essentials conveniently packed into a single 214MB directory which can reside anywhere on your Mac. MAMP is completely self-contained meaning that the installation does not make any changes to any existing Apache installations that you may have installed on your machine. Furthermore, if and when the times comes that you decide to move your work, simply copy the entire directory to an external drive or thumbdrive and trash the local copy (leaving no trace of your previous work). All web documents to be served as web pages are stored in an ‚”htdocs” within the MAMP directory while both the Apache & MySQL server are controlled via a simple GUI interface or convenient Dashboard widget. Loathed the idea of manipulating your MySQL tables from within the Terminal? MAMP comes with phpMyAdmin making managing your MySQL tables.

Transmit (FTP client)
If you are a web designer this is probably one of the must haves. Transmit is very Mac-like FTP / SFTP client. The new version add a ton of new features, including column view, tabs, a sidebar, new favorites, search, dock status, spring loaded folders, iDisk and WebDAV support, and much more.

TextMate (Text editor)
TextMate is a general-purpose GUI text editor for Mac OS X. It provides users with innovative abstractions to support declarative customizations which are at once transparent and flexible. Though its users are mostly programmers, and its basic feature set may require more learning than simpler graphical editors, TextMate is much easier to customize than many other text editors. Notable features include tabs, recordable macros, folding sections and snippets, shell integration, and an extensible bundle system, all built around its novel scope system.

CrossOver (Your Windows Applications, Seamlessly Integrated on Mac OS X)
CrossOver Mac allows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on your Intel OS X Mac. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing Windows software simple and fast. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X. Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Clicking a Windows file or document ‚ including an email attachments ‚ will launch the appropriate Windows program, allowing you to work on the files. Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.

How to play video files encoded in wmv, wma, avi, asx, asf and divx format?

Since Microsoft no longer supports OS X version of the Windows Media Player, Mac users have to find other alternatives to play files encoded with Windows formats. After searching on the net I have found couple of useful tools that would do the job.

Flip4Mac
Flip4Mac is one of the most favorite player/encoder among Mac users. The Flip4Mac allows you to play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly on the QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a Web browser. It can be downloaded free of charge. Much more feature rich Flip4Mac WMV player pro allows you to import Windows Media video and audio for editing or conversion to other QuickTime formats. You can import directly into applications like Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express HD, QuickTime Pro and iMovie. You can also convert files from Windows Media to other QuickTime formats using applications like QuickTime Pro, Cleaner 6 and Sorenson Media Squeeze 4.1. To learn more about these advanced features, visit Flip4Mac website.

The supported Video Codecs.

  • Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile
  • Windows Media Video 9
  • Windows Media Video 8
  • Windows Media Video 7
  • ISO MPEG-4, versions 1.0 and 1.1
  • Microsoft MPEG-4, versions 2 and 3
  • Microsoft Motion JPEG

File Formats

  • Advanced Systems Format (ASF)
  • Advanced Stream Redirector (ASX)
  • Audio Video Interleaved (AVI)

VLC (initially VideoLAN Client)
VLC is a highly portable multimedia player which supports almost all the audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. VLC is an open source project and is available for free. For Intel Mac users nightly builds are available to download from here.

XinePlayer
Xine player is pretty much similar to VLC. It is based upon the stable and mature xine multimedia playback engine. It is designed to be a free replacement for QuickTime Player and DVD Player.

Features

  • Support for many popular formats including MPEG 1/2, QuickTime (MOV), DivX (AVI) and some Windows Media formats (WMV).
  • DVD playback (using the VideoLan libdvdcss decoding library).
  • DVD menu support for advanced navigation features.
  • Playlists.
  • Fullscreen playback.
  • Software deinterlacing.

Similar to VLC player, Xine player is also available for free under GNU licence.

Easy WMA
Easy WMA is a commercial media file conversion software now available in universal binary. It allows you to convert WMA, ASF and WMV audio files to MP3, M4A or WAV so that you can play your favorite songs in iTunes or any other player on your Mac. EasyWMA can be helpful if you need to play wma files on your iPod!

Features

  • Input formats : WMA, ASF, WMV, WAV
  • Output formats : M4A, MP3, WAV
  • Manual or automatic bit rate selection from source (32-320kbps)
  • Batch processing
  • Drag & drop of files and folders
  • ID3 tags support
  • iTunes integration

MPlayerOSX
MPlayerOSX is a binary distribution of the MPlayer (The Movie Player for Linux) and comes with native GUI in MacOSX. After installation you can simply (by Drag and Drop) play almost all 3ivx, DivX 3,4,5 and other codecs files in the window or fullscreen mode. Rendering of very nice antialiased text-based subtitles is also supported.

Here is another website for those who need codecs for DivX videos. After completing the installation, you will be able to use the DivX player or any other media player to play DivX videos (DIVX, DIV3, DIV4, DX50).

ffmpegX (Intel/PPC)
ffmpegX is a Mac OS X graphic user interface designed to easily operate more than 20 powerful Unix open-source video and audio processing tools including ffmpeg a hyper fast video and audio encoder. It can decode MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4 (aka DIVX4/5), VOB, AVI MS-MPEG4 V3 (aka DIVX 3), WAV, Real Audio, H263(+) (aka RealVideo 1.0), PGM, YUV, PPM, AC3, PCM8/16 bits, mulaw/Alaw, SUN AU format, MPEG audio layer 2, MPEG audio layer 3, MJPEG and even more formats. ffmpegX provides quick encoding to DivX, MPG1, MP2, MP3 & AC3. You can therefore convert DVD video to DivX, DivX to VCD or XVCD, and DVD to VCD or XVCD. It includes a bitrate calculator and an mpeg splitter for multiple CD output. When encoding to MPEG-1 it can author as XVCD (.bin/.cue files for burning with Cdrdao, or with Toast by dropping the .bin into VCD window) or XSVCD (two .img files to be burned in Toast under Multitrack XA window).

How to play FLAC on OS X?

For years being a Windows user, I have collected a large amount of music files in FLAC format. Since iTunes does not support this format I had a difficulty finding a solution to, either convert my music files into a format supported by iTunes or to find a player that plays FLAC files. In this article I will list some of my findings.

What is FLAC?
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a popular format for audio compression. Unlike lossy codecs such as Vorbis, MP3 and AAC, it does not remove any information from the audio stream and is suitable both for everyday playback and audio archival. FLAC is also a popular archive format for owners of CDs and other media who wish to preserve their valuable audio collections. If the original media is lost, damaged, or worn out, a FLAC copy of the audio tracks ensures that an exact duplicate of the original data can be recovered at any time, an exact restoration impossible from a lossy archive (e.g., MP3) of the same data. A CUE file can optionally be created when ripping a CD. If a CD is read and ripped perfectly to FLAC files, the CUE file allows later burning of an audio CD that is identical in audio data to the original CD, including track order, silence between tracks, and CD-Text. However, additional data present on some audio CDs such as lyrics and CD+G graphics are beyond the scope of a CUE file and most ripping software so that data will not be archived. Until now Apple does not support FLAC format on its iTunes player. Mac users have to rely on third party software to play their favourite FLAC music files. If you are in the same situation like me the following links may help you to find a solution.

Playback
VLC media player(Intel / PowerPC)
VLC (initially VideoLAN Client) is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ASF, WMV, Ogg, MP4, MOV, Raw ACC, FLAC audio, etc.,) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

Cog (Intel / PowerPC)
Cog is a also free open source audio player for OS X. Currently it supports Ogg Vorbis, Mp3, Flac, Musepack, Monkeys Audio, Shorten, Wavpack, AAC and Wave/AIFF formats.

Songbird(Still in Beta phase)
Songbird can do everything you expect a media player to do. Play music from your computer, as well as from the Web in one integrated user experience. If you run a music service, you can leverage Songbird”s APIs to create deeply integrated stores and user features. Coming soon on Mac OS X, Linux and more.

QuickTime FLAC Plugin (PowerPC only)
This is a FLAC plugin for QuickTime based on the OggVorbis plugin by Steve Nicolai from the qtcomponent project. Click here for the user guide.

Ripping
Max (Intel / PowerPC)
Max is an application for creating high-quality audio files in various formats, from compact discs or files. When extracting audio from compact discs, Max uses the error-correcting power of cdparanoia to ensure the true sound of your CD is faithfully extracted. Once the audio is extracted, Max can generate audio in over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, Monkey”s Audio, Speex, AIFF, and WAVE. If you would like to convert your audio from one format to another, Max can read and write audio files in over 20 compressed and uncompressed formats. For many popular formats the artist and album metadata is transferred seamlessly between the old and new files. Max leverages open source components and the resources of Mac OS X to provide extremely high-quality output. For example, MP3 encoding is accomplished with LAME, Ogg Vorbis encoding with libVorbis, FLAC encoding with libFLAC, and AAC and Apple Lossless encoding with Core Audio. Many PCM conversions are also possible using Core Audio and libsndfile.

xACT (Intel / PowerPC)
xACT stands for X Audio Compression Toolkit. It is a GUI based front end (written in AppleScript Studio) for the unix applications Shorten (3.5.1), shntool (2.0.3), monkey”s audio compressor (3.99),flac (1.1.1) and cdda2wav 2.01a32(with paranoia support). It also uses a modified md5sum (modified from 2.1 textutils) and sox (12.17.7). It does the basic commands of these applications and adds a few features to speed up productivity in creation of etree.org standard filesets.

AAChoo (Intel /PowerPC)
Ovolab AAChoo converts all your songs to AAC, the new high-quality and compact audio format at the core of MPEG-4, with an easy drag-and-drop interface and full control over every encoding parameter. Ovolab AAChoo can encode any kind of sound file in AAC format: feed it AIFF, movie, WAV files. Plus, it does not require QuickTime Pro. Ovolab AAChoo can also encode audio in 3GPP format! 3GPP is the new worldwide standard for sharing multimedia content between cell phones, PDAs and computers. It features high quality at extremely low bitrates and is perfect for encoding speech. Send your audio and video to friends with 3G cell phones!

CD/DVD Burning
Toast 8
Toast 8 is the best way to save, share and enjoy a lifetime of digital music, movies and photos on CD and DVD. Burn large files across multiple discs. Compress and copy DVD movies. Add over 50 hours of music to an audio DVD with on-screen TV menus, shuffle play, and rich Dolby Digital sound. Turn DivX files into DVDs. It has seamless support for OGG and FLAC – popular enthusiasts audio formats in audio CD and music DVD projects and Convert audio files to OGG, FLAC, AAC and more.