Windows XP Video Screen Saver PowerToy

I’ve downloaded virtually all the Power Toys ever offered by Microsoft. Some of them are more useful than others, but this one is particularly good if you have kids. Released almost a year ago, the name of the app says it all – it plays video files as your screensaver. With this installed, any video file playable by Windows Media Player can be your screensaver. Just take some home video footage, edit it Windows Movie Maker (or your favorite editing app) and output the file to your hard drive for playback. Audio playlists also work, with the screensaver playing back a visualization and the music. Configuration options include video display size, looping, playback speed, and muting audio. [Not compatible with Windows Media Player 10 $0.00]

2003 Winter Fun Packs for Windows XP

The latest round of Windows XP Fun Packs is available for download, including a nice selection of winter-themed sound effects and soundtracks for Windows Movie Maker 2. If Windows XP is your primary operating system, there’s no reason you shouldn’t download these files and add them to your video editing tool set. Make sure you seek out the Creativity Fun Pack while you’re visiting. Released earlier this year, the CFP contains more audio effects and several titles for Windows Movie Maker. The Winter Fun Packs also include a Winter Wallpaper changer, themed photos, some animated video clips, and yet another Plus! Dancer.

foobar2000

As much as I love skinning my multimedia players, there’s something to be said for efficiency. Peter Pawlowski, a veteran of the Winamp team scales back all the bloat with this media player offering resembling something that looks like it should have debuted back in the days of Windows 95. foobar2000 runs with a minimal amount of memory usage, producing a big white window for you to view your playlist while choosing from a feature list that would put some of the more well known media players to shame. While I wouldn’t consider this app ready for primetime, it runs without a hitch. If you need to conserve on RAM, you can’t go wrong replacing your current media player with foobar2000.

iTunes

After the hype dies down, iTunes is just another media player for Windows, with a built-in store. The Windows version looks and feels much like the Mac version, appearing to be nothing more than a pretty face for the audio portion of QuickTime. The win for PC users is a convenient solution for purchasing downloadable music to play on the market-leading portable music player, the iPod. Despite my love of Mac OS X and its collection of digital media apps, I’ll be sticking with Windows Media Player and WMA files for my portable music listening needs. With support from a greater number of players, it just makes more sense.