Saturday, December 10, 2005

Turning your PC into a multimedia powerhouse

Linux is often thought to be inferior to Windows and Mac OS when it comes to multimedia applications. However, by using open source software and a few simple tips, one can easily turn a simple Linux box into a multimedia powerhouse, according to Kyle Rankin, author of the newly published Linux Multimedia Hacks.

(To see original article with embedded links, click HERE).

In the book, Rankin writes: "It seems like a person's computer is becoming the multimedia hub more and more these days. Even if you have some sort of portable device to listen to music or watch videos, most of the time you end up doing your ripping, encoding, and storage on your home PC."

Linux has often been overlooked for these types of applications, he writes, but multimedia programs under Linux are getting more and more mature. "The list of things you can't do with free open source tools under Linux keeps getting shorter as the multimedia tools get easier to use and more powerful," Rankin asserts.

Rankin's book, one of O'Reilly's "Hacks" series, contains 100 hacks to help readers get the best multimedia experience from their computers, the publisher said. Topics covered include:

* Building a MythTV digital media hub that allows you to record television, watch videos, listen to music, and even play classic arcade games
* Editing audio, video, and images, using both command-line and GUI tools, all of them free
* Managing your music collection by synchronizing your MP3 player and desktop and using dynamic playlists
* Creating and burning your own DVDs and VCDs
* Streaming audio and video over the Internet
* Syncing your digital camera to your PC to organize, touch up, and display your photographs

"Linux can be a great multimedia platform, once you learn how to use it," Rankin writes. "The problem is that documentation for these tools is often scattered, incomplete, and in some cases overly complicated. Plus there are plenty of great tools that few people have even heard of. Linux Multimedia Hacks puts all of this information in one place written in plain English."

The following sample hacks are available for download (PDF files):

* Hack 16: Get MP3 Libraries for Red Hat–Based Distributions
* Hack 19: Shuffle Your Music the Smart Way
* Hack 54: Watch Videos in ASCII Art
* Hack 74: Watch TV on Your Computer
* Hack 91: Watch Videos Within Firefox

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, and author bio, go here:

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