One of my hobbies has been to try freewares and sharewares trying to find the best softwares for me. I have a fondness for portable versions. I hope these suggestions will help you. This is a work in progress.
Opera is light, safe, fast, and has tons of customizations and features. And most of the internet browsing innovations (tabs, speed dial, saved sessions, pop-up blocking, full page zoom, BitTorrent, delete private data, the little x next to the tab to close the tab, mouse gestures, etc.), have been made by Opera, which every browser has copied every since. In other words, all the features that make browsing the net easier and more confortable were done first by Opera, and they keep innovating. It’s unfortunate Opera is not known more considering they’ve impacted how we surf the web, while the others (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) just copied what Opera has done. But then Opera does not have a big company who can back them up and pay for tons of marketing and adds on the web, like Firefox with Mozilla and Chrome with Google.
Media Player Classic Home Cinema
It’s a good thing that Media Player Classic is an open-source project because the dev of the first version stopped all work on this excellent player. Someone else took over and came up with a new version (Media Player Classic 2), but a short time after that stopped all work on it too. Then a third group took the source of Media Player Classic and came up with a third project called Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Media Player Classic Home Cinema thankfully keeps getting updates and new fixes and features. Media Player Classic has the look of Windows Media Player 6.4, a bit simple, but it’s a very powerful media player and has tons of features. It plays pretty much everything, including DVDs. All you need are the right codecs, which are just a few: DirectX 9.0c runtime (June 2010), ffdshow, Real Alternative Lite (to play Real videos and audio) and QuickTime Alternative (to play QuickTime videos).
While I love to use Media Player Classic to watch videos and my DVDs, listening to music with it is entirely another matter, I’d say atrocious. I was using Winamp at first. But there were times I was tired of the ingame music of the MMORPGs I was playing, so I tried to play my games and listen to music with Winamp. But Winamp was way too demanding and slowing the computer and making me lag in the game. This is when I ditched Winamp and started looking for a better and lighter alternative. This is when I found XMPlay and I’ve been using it since.
XMPlay is an excellent audio player that plays tons of different formats, and you can read more through plugins. Also available are tons of skins as well. It’s a very light application and doesn’t take much RAM. The application is a portable one so you just unzip it and voilà you can use it, it doesn’t leave entries in the registry as well. You can find the manuals for it in the section Goodies to download.