Better video playback and font viewing

Video Accelerator 3 and myFontbook make for a better viewing experience

In this issue of the Network World Web Applications Alert newsletter, I have not one but two topics for you.

First up is a solution to a problem that most people think they just have to live with despite the fact that it ruins the user experience: I'm talking about video freezes – you know what it's like: You're watching the latest cute kitten video on YouTube and the playback pauses for a moment then resumes. Bad enough it does this at all but nope, it does this often, in fact, every few seconds.

The answer is a utility called SpeedBit Video Accelerator 3 published by SpeedBit Ltd.

This tool creates multiple connections to the video source to ensure that the delivery pipeline never runs "dry". The result is that video just works as it should: Smoothly.

SpeedBit's product works with more than 150 video sites including YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Facebook, iTunes (Premium), 5min, Reuters, Phtobucket, Tudou, Bebo, Break, ESPN, CNET TV, AOL, CNN and Discovery.

Now available for Windows 7, Vista (all), XP, 2003, Windows 2000 with Internet Explorer 6+, FireFox 2+, Safari, Opera, Netscape, Maxthon, AOL, and Flock, the standard definition version is available for free while the HD version is priced at $39.90 per year.

I installed the free version of VA3 on Windows Vista and I have not seen a video freeze since then. Highly recommended.

Next, a tool that I love. I do a lot of design work and consequently have a huge collection of fonts I rely on. While there are quite a few font browsers available most are desktop products that are pretty poor usually because they are slow and make selecting a font far more laborious and time consuming than it should be. I just discovered a Web-based font viewer that is excellent. It has great features but above all, its fast,

Called myFontbook, this service indexes your desktop fonts and provides both list and swatch views making font browsing very fast. You can create a favorites list, generate a proof sheet, examine samples, tag and rate fonts, view glyphs (useful for finding the best looking symbol for Japanese Yen), and examine the font metrics (text baseline, default kerning, and so on). And, as I noted, ' fast!

All features of myFontbook are free and if you register on the site you can save your tags and preferences. Also highly recommended.

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