Codecs, Media Players, and Web Browsers

During the last couple of days I’ve been screwing with my media players more than usual.

A while back I installed K-lite Codec Pack. It’s a pack consisting of DirectShow filters, splitters, and a whole bunch of other stuff I had never heard of before. Any DirectShow player- WMP included- can take advantage of it and play anything. So, in a nutshell, I no longer needed QuickTime and I can play things in formats I didn’t even know about. Unfortunately, I had to keep QuickTime around since Premiere Elements relies on it for MPEG 4 support. I never use it, though.

So, just recently, I decided to try Media Player Classic. I liked the amount of control it gives you. You can select codecs, change rendering settings, and apply shaders. I found that changing settings doesn’t really do a lot, at least not the ones I changed. The interface was okay, not great but usable, it was a bit slower to load. It doesn’t have any media library functionality. Though I rarely use that stuff, I at least want to have playlists handy. Which is something MPC can’t do. Basically, the only thing I gained over WMP is .vob support (you can get .vob to work in WMP by changing it to .mpg, by the way), so I ditched it after less than a day. It was interesting, but I missed the familiar interface and playlists.

On to web browsers. I’ve been getting screwed by IE for a while now. It messes up the order of pages- what I mean by that is sometimes if you go back a page, forward a page, it screws up the order they are in so you go back two and they are swapped. A minor problem, but really annoying. And of course, it doesn’t display certain pages correctly. And crashes sometimes for no apparent reason. So I decided to make the switch to Firefox.

Overall, Firefox is a better browser. The interface is pretty much the same, though a few things are in different spots. It’s faster. It has a lot of addons, some of which I use. At first it refused to import. Oddly enough, if I import things one at a time (favorites, cookies, internet options, history) it worked fine. Dealing with imported bookmarks was a nightmare. The bookmark manager felt awkward and is slow as hell. I got over the awkwardness but it never sped up. I actually had to reimport my bookmarks/favorites once because I deleted half of them. But I got it all sorted out eventually. I was annoyed by the lack of clicking sounds when browsing- an addon fixed that. The download system is a bit odd, but I’m getting used to it. I’ll probably make the switch if I can get over the little quirks.

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