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18 things Vista & XP need to beat Linux & Mac OS X

What Windows needs to be the best once more

There's no doubt that Microsoft Windows is the biggest and the most widely used PC operating system - but it's not necessarily the best. Here are 18 things we'd like to see as standard in the next Windows.

Podcast capture

Available on: Mac

Another great feature introduced with Apple's Leopard operating system is Podcast Capture, a utility designed to make podcasting a quick, simple affair, that is if you also happen to have access to a Mac OS X server running the more robust Podcast Producer software.

It's a cool idea, but even Apple's execution hardly serves the needs of the common podcaster, since almost nobody has access to a Mac OS X server. Still, all new Macs come with Garage Band preinstalled, which does an excellent job of creating podcasts using the Mac's built-in hardware.

Fortunately, you can add fast, easy podcast creation to your Windows PC (or your Mac, for that matter) with Audacity. This free application lets you record your own audio, edit and splice additional sound clips into your podcast, and tweak the quality settings so you can strike the perfect balance between audio fidelity and file size.

When you're done recording your podcast in Audacity, use EasyPodcast to fill in the metadata that will make your podcast easy to find in the vast sea of podcasts on the net.

Software repositories

Available on: Linux, PC-BSD

In a perfect world, you'd never have to leave your chair to find great software for your PC. You'd just pop open a magic software-finding utility and click a few options, and then any application you needed would install itself instantly.

That perfect world already exists in Linux, which has long offered software repositories as an easy way for users to find and install new programs.

In Ubuntu, for instance, a utility called Synaptic Package Manager lets you browse through large online software libraries (called repositories) to locate and install applications and utilities as required. Select one and mark it for installation, and it will automatically install when you click Apply. It will even automatically grab any other files that its installation depends on, without requiring you to do any extra work. Linux distributors can do this because nearly all of the software in their repositories is free and open-source; they seldom have to worry about license restrictions hindering their efforts.

In the Windows world, however, things are more complicated. A melange of licensing types, ranging from freeware to shareware to trialware and even a little open-source, makes it difficult for anyone to build a reliable software library with the click-it-and-get-it functionality that Linux users take for granted.

Until someone builds a massive library of self-installing Windows applications, we'll have to depend on sites such as Download.com, Tucows and, of course, PC Advisor's own download library.

NEXT PAGE: Turn your desktop into a rotating cube

  1. Apple's Exposé
  2. Virtual workspaces and remote computing
  3. How to screen share and use time machine in Windows
  4. Don't live without ISO burning and stickies when using Windows
  5. Podcast capture and software repositories
  6. Turn your desktop into a rotating cube
  7. Get automated and partial screenshots on your Windows PC
  8. Cover Flow and a pre-installed web server
  9. Enjoy POSIX compliance on your Windows PC
  10. Single file applications on Windows

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