• Windows 7 ramps up support for video and audio format

    Posted on November 23rd, 2009 admin No comments

    As a supernova in the history of Windows operation system, Windows 7 furnishes a cluster of compelling and spicy features. One of the big margins between Windows 7 and its predecessor, currently dominant Windows XP OS is manifested on the system’s multimedia capabilities. Users of Windows XP must have long been cumbered by the system devoid of playback support for many popular video formats except the software giant’s own patent formats ASF and WMV. Now with the advent of Windows 7, gone was the requirement to install a third-party media player, added with the powerful ability of video playback. And you are to be convinced by the charts below.

    Chart 1: Video formats supported by Windows 7 in terms of Format Name

    Chart 2: Multimedia decoders toted by Windows 7 listed in categories

    Windows 7 not only supports AVI and MP4 formats but embraces mobile video format 3GP/3G2 for the very first time. This rich batch of toted codec allows for immediate playback of such popular video formats right upon the first installation of the system, enabling fast experience between the system and many portable devices without the hassle to consider a third-party player or codec pack. Additionally, HD video formats like AVCHD and HDV are found supported in Windows 7. It is a great boon for users especially netbook users to enjoy HD videos in no time.

    Reversely, portable media players are known to lag behind in video format support, for example, iPod/iPhone acknowledges MP4, handsets mostly accepts only 3GP, Windows mobile excludes formats other than WMV. But it is not a trouble any more, we can use video converter to convert to video to almost any format we want. Leawo Video Converter is a one-stop solution for video conversion plus ingenious video customization. With complete optimal profiles, Leawo Video Converter can enable video to smoothly play on iPod/iPhone, PSP/PS3, Apple TV, Zune, Windows Mobile, PMP, Wii/DS and many other devices. Here is a collection of introductions of Leawo Video Converter’s highlighted features, feel free to take a peek.

    1. Adjust audiovisual effects
    2. Trim video length
    3. Crop video screen size
    4. Add watermark
    5. Capture video screenshot
    6. Advanced codec settings

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  • Can I use Windows Live Movie Maker in a more efficient way?

    Posted on November 22nd, 2009 admin No comments

    Yes! Windows Live Movie Maker is a remake of the default Windows component based on much advanced and human technologies. Some new features are especially added in the perspective of a better operability and efficiency. Let’s take a look at how the efficient features can appeal to us.

    Firstly, use keyboard shortcuts! Windows Live Movie Maker adopts the same Ribbon design introduced in Office 2007. This "scenic" and magical Ribbon erases the complexity of menus and reduces access time by always putting user’s favorite functions at the front. If you are a keyboard shortcut fanatic, you could find Windows Live Movie Maker embraces familiar keyboard shortcuts as are used in Office 2007. Apart from ordinary shortcuts, here is a table illustrating particular shortcuts in Windows Live Movie Maker.

    General keyboard shortcuts



    Toggle ribbon keytips on and off


    Stop the current task


    View Help for Movie Maker


    Close Movie Maker


    Save a project with a new name


    Create a new project


    Open an existing project


    Save a project


    Undo the last action


    Redo the last action


    Previewing and editing keyboard shortcuts



    Play or pause

    Space or K

    Go to the previous frame


    Go to the next frame


    Trim the video so it starts at the current point in the video


    Trim the video so it ends at the current point in the video


    Split the video into two items at the current point in the video


    Storyboard keyboard shortcuts



    Cut the selected item


    Copy the selected item




    Delete selected items


    Move the selection one item in the direction of the arrow

    Left Arrow, Right Arrow, Up Arrow, Down Arrow

    Move the focus one item in the direction of the arrow

    Ctrl+Left Arrow, Ctrl+Right Arrow, Ctrl+Up Arrow, Ctrl+Down Arrow

    Move the selection up one page

    Page Up

    Move the selection down one page

    Page Down

    Select the first item on the storyboard


    Select the last item on the storyboard


    Select all items on the same track of the storyboard


    Zoom in on the storyboard

    Plus Sign (+)

    Zoom out on the storyboard

    Minus Sign (-)

    To name a very special one of the shortcuts, there is a very intuitive way in edit videos on the Storyboard, i.e. use "Ctrl" key and key "A" combination to make a full selection of the videos to batch edit them through one shot. Similar to the scenery in the file browser, you can hold down Ctrl Key and select multiple videos to batch edit, which is very efficient when you want to apply many videos with the same setting.

    Secondly, use Quick Access Toolbar! You can self-customize a set of shortcut to your liking. Hover to the function icon and right click to expose a context menu as below. It will add the function to the Quick Access Toolbar and allow you to quick access it with key combinations of "Alt" key and numeral key "0"-"9".

    Thirdly, use Multi-monitor span! If you are handling a huge batch of video clips, don’t sigh as your monitor screen is not big enough to give you a full view of them, because Windows Live Movie Maker seamlessly supports multiple monitor display! You can just span the interface to the second monitor to get the video preview and the Storyboard to display separately on the monitors. Would you not prefer a nice and clear view of the work you are doing?

    I would like to conclude by saying Windows Live Movie Maker is really a wow to us home video makers. User experience is greatly improved. Novice users will be happy to see not only the bar is lower but they are given more flexibility to use the program in their favorite way. Whether or not you are big on efficiency, you would unlikely resist such appeal.

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  • On the journey to Windows Live Movie Maker, a magical rebirth

    Posted on November 20th, 2009 admin No comments

    Even since its introduction in Windows Me, Windows Movie Maker has been a default component of the following Windows versions until the latest Windows 7. Rather than detached from the system, it is completely rebuilt from the core. With an orderly name, Windows Live Movie Maker is now available in Windows Live package along with Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Mail. Note that the program is no longer expected to run on Windows XP, because it is based on advanced technology brought in by Vista. For better or worse, it is good to see the Phoenix gain a new life after death.

    Here we are going to look into how Windows Live Movie Maker is different from the old Movie Maker.

    Firstly, the program’s UI is reorganized and polished. If we put them side by side, the harsh and intimidating look of the old Movie Maker is absolutely not an eye candy, just for the first glimpse. Most users including me who are new to the movie maker will undoubtedly fancy a steep learning course of making a movie. The timeline view is the biggest contributing factor. It is bad to greet home users, the main user group of the program, with too much professionalism at the startup. So inside Windows Live Movie Maker, the timeline is totally "gone".

    In fact, the new movie maker has introduced an innovatively friendly style in place of timeline, which I am going to review later. The preview window is logically resized compared to the one in the old version stuffing in the place as if it shouldn’t be there. And if you are familiar with Office 2007, you must be amazed at the elegant Ribbon menu, which has now been implemented in Windows Live Movie Maker as well. The overall impression is intuitive, reasonable and comfortable, not to mention the visual stun brought by the system’s Aero effect.


    comparison between home layouts

    Secondly, we often care much about how to begin using the program and how we may expect from the program. And Windows Live Movie Maker does seem nothing like the old maker. In the old maker, the first thing we do is create a new project and then import videos. To edit the video, we have to drag them onto the timeline. The thumbnail of the video will immediately resize to the scale of its time length, which is fine for people who want to align the videos and audios as they would like it to work as it looks. What about Windows Live Movie Maker on the right hand side?


    comparison between video imports

    If you are puzzled at how the videos can be edit without a timeline, you should be pleased you are no longer going to deal with one too long to go without a scroll bar in company. Instead of arranging the videos on linear timeline, Windows Live Movie Maker gives a smooth and distinct look of the videos on the storyboard with regular size thumbnails. As you can see, this arranging style goes way more complete and natural than the scrollable timeline, and it spares quite a large space to add in more sources. With the same amount of video clips, the old movie make can’t cater to more without scroll bars, and that inevitably creates a stifling view. In contrary, Windows Live Movie Maker stays fine with its space saving style.


    comparison between Storyboards

    Thirdly, this is where I am going to review how the concept of timeline is reflected in Windows Live Movie Maker. In the old version, if we want to stretch the thumbnail on the timeline, we use the magnifier. The same in the new maker is an intuitive zooming slide bar as is marked at the bottom right. As you move the slider, you can zoom in or out on the thumbnail smoothly. The width of the thumbnail will change according to its time length. So you can easily judge the clips based on its relative length.


    comparison between zoom features

    Note than you can benefit from the new layout. It is usually troublesome to shuffle a clip to a new place in the old maker, because the clips are so compacted together and you may lose the idea of which video you are actually picking at. As is shown in the comparison below, I think you may prefer the more distinct and accurate way featured in Windows Live Movie Maker. This is the reason and result for the remake of the program, to become friendlier in user experience.


    comparison between video reorderings

    Fourthly, in terms of transition effect, instead of all or nothing approach, the new maker only display the most commonly used ones on the Ribbon. It means the program could smartly understand the user’s habit and automatically alter itself to go with it. Just one of the merits the Ribbon possesses.


    comparison between transition effects

    It could hardly deny the significant renovation does bestow a new life on this popular household movie maker. I am not saying bad words against the old maker. It remains the best choice for simple movie making at home on Windows XP and previous systems. Windows Live Movie Maker is a tribute only to Windows 7 and Vista, so you have to upgrade your system before taste the magical rebirth of the beloved movie maker.

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  • Is Windows 7 design following Mac OS X at all?

    Posted on November 13th, 2009 admin No comments

    There have long been rumors on Windows 7 imitating the design of Mac OS X, and just days before Microsoft official reportedly admitted the inspiration by Apple’s OS, which had splashed quite a lot of critics and reviews. But just overnight, Microsoft pulled down the quoted statement and denied all possible influence Apple had on Windows 7 design.


    Windows 7 does look very similar in graphical user interface to its main rival Mac OS. The task bar in Windows 7 or the dock in Mac OS is the focal point of similarity where both systems do almost the same thing to combine program icons for both launching and activating windows. In the window UI, Mac OS is always being commented as fantastic, while Windows OS before Vista went all the way with little innovation ever since Win95. Vista is the turning point, paving the way for the now best Windows OS with a brand new look. The preview feature and Aero effect in Windows 7 do make people think of Mac OS X, but some reviews would vote for Microsoft saying the design is better.


    Maybe Microsoft has foreseen the benefit of user experience reflected in the success of its rival with a charming look, and what accounts for the biggest part is the UI design. Apple’s proven intelligence in UI style is a good example to study, if not to follow. Microsoft must have known it. There is a famous saying in Chinese, “those who know both themselves and their enemies are bound to win”. It is just unlikely that Microsoft could circumvent its rival and turn out a better product. However, there are reasons to deny such “irresponsible” statements, such as avoiding unnecessary law suits and user loyalty drop.


    In fact, when we look inside the system structure, Windows 7 and Mac OS X are obviously different. Mac OS X derives from UNIX system. The advantage it has in fast booting and shutting the system is what Windows 7 strives to overcome but has not yet succeeded. The file system, the way the program is loaded and the security structure are all the way disparate. Similarity in UI design could only suggest that they have same insights in promoting user experience.


    It remains an assumption that Windows 7 design is somehow inspired by Mac OS. But we have to admit Microsoft is striving in the right direction to promote user experience. The Windows system is considerably faster than any of its predecessors and provides good compatibility to many software we are using on Windows XP and Vista.


    Windows versions for Leawo video converter applications have been tested and proven 100% compatible in Windows 7. For freeware and free trial download, visit Leawo’s download center.

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  • Intriguing merits of Windows 7, the best Windows system now on earth

    Posted on November 5th, 2009 admin No comments

    So far since the debut of Windows 7, it has hauled millions of users into its arms. Compared to Windows XP, it has significantly upgraded security measures when the former is susceptible to security breaches by worms such as Blaster and Slammer. The interface has all the way deviated from the less impressive appearance since Win95.

    Windows 7 gathers numerous merits of ease of use and shut away the annoying features which come with Windows Vista. It resurrects the concept which is supposed to bring about but spoiled by Vista, making the system to the point where users can use it just by instinct and freedom.

    As a favorable renovation for Windows Vista, Windows 7 boots and sleeps faster, consumes less resource which allows it to run on low profile or older machines, and shows more awareness of user’s habit and preference.

    Here is a list of merits that can convince you Windows 7 is the best Windows system as yet.

    1. System is more secure.

    Since it inherits Vista’s system structure, it upsets the ways hackers and virus used to attack and infect the system. Windows XP is a famous target for security attack. Hundreds of patch upgrades still find no way to plug the leaks. It is yet sophisticated for a computer illiterate to pull up protection measures against security threats.

    2. Interface is more beautiful and smooth.

    The interface is straight forward but not dull. It is less bloated than Windows Vista, but more agreeable than Windows XP. Enhanced mini Preview feature, Aero Snap, Aero Peek and Aero Shake give users an easy and fast experience in multiple tasking. Mini Preview now will show the full size on desktop when hovering on. Aero Snap lets you put two applications side by side for easy comparison and copy-and-paste. Aero Peek makes open windows temporarily transparent so you can see what’s on your desktop. Aero Shake means that if you shake a window, all the other windows will disappear. All are both useful and fun.

    3. It runs on lower resource dependency than Vista.

    It is just possible for your working Windows XP PC to experience Windows 7. 1G memory can meet the demand to run it smooth. Some geeks even show off by installing Windows 7 on unsuitable PC like those with Pentium 3 chips. It has a better resource management which reduces the chance of system crash due to resource shortage.

    4. Windows 7 is an energy-efficient system.

    The battery can last 10% longer on Windows 7 system than Windows Vista. It is critical for business people who use handheld computer or laptop on the go. For them, Windows 7 is no doubt a better choice.

    5. Windows 7 integrates DirectX 11 graphic rendering engine.

    It is a real boon to multimedia and game fans. DirectX 11 is likely to be the exclusive component of Windows 7, while Windows XP totes DirectX 9 and Windows Vista DirectX 10. We have seen great stride forward in the graphic effect in DirectX 10 video games. Many more next-generation effects are expected to come true in DirectX 11.

    6. Old Windows applications have been dramatically improved.

    Windows accessory tools like Paint, WordPad have taken on "Ribbons" like Office 2007. Powershell and Calculator are much more powerful than before. Users won’t need to seek professional solutions since their daily routines can be well tackled by these very old windows utilities.

    There are more to go – Windows 7 knocks on many more weak points of previous versions of Windows. It has made up for the widely blamed predecessor Windows Vista and cracked in the market with awesome user friendliness. We are glad this time Microsoft has made a right decision to research user data on using system prior to conceiving the system structure. At a preferential price range from $50-$126 for Windows 7 (Home Premium and Ultimate), if you are not an inveterate Windows XP loyalist, there is no good reason that you should avoid it. For the moment, Windows 7 is simply the best version of Windows you can get.

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