Author: easterncraftuk

FLAC format: What Is It? History and Uses

What is FLAC?

FLAC is an acronym for Free Lossless Audio Codec, it is almost like MP3 the only difference is that MP3 make use of what is called “lossy” compression. FLAC is ranked the popular and fastest lossless audio codec when digital audio is compressed by FLAC such audio is reduced to a size that is about 50% to 70% of the main size of the audio file although the reduced file is a matching copy of the initial audio file. The space taken by an audio file compressed by FLAC is quite smaller than the size it is before compression while maintaining the same quality. With the free lossless audio codec, every single sound made in an audio file can be heard, some of these sounds might not necessarily be a sound that can be comprehended or heard by an average human but if you have more sensitive ears you would love the standard quality FLAC lossless compression, this fact is what differentiates FLAC from MP3. Using MP3 the audio file sound is filtered that is some fragment of the sound information has been discarded. Using FLAC there is no loss of information, FLAC is supported by a lot of electronic devices such as car stereo, portable players, home stereo and the likes. FLAC is quite an error-resistant because of the framing it has, this feature helps reduces the effect of damage to the part where the error occurs and FLAC makes CD archiving possible. This free lossless audio codec is made in an open format, therefore, it is quite impossible to generate loss if the audio file compressed is needed to be converted into some other format in the nearest future. There is a verify option in FLAC and this option helps in decoding the encoded file stream in parallel with an encoding process with a comparison of the compressed file to the original file and if any error is detected whatsoever the process will be aborted.

History of FLAC

Sometime in the late nineties, the MP3 was creating worrisome effect based on the rampant illegal sharing by users over Napster. FLAC was developed in the year 2000 and the implementation of FLAC was made on the 15th of January 2001 with a Beta version of 0.5. On the 20th of July 2001, another version was released which was version 1.0. By 29th of January 2003, FLAC project and Xiph.org Foundation made public their incorporation and this was made known under the Xip.org banner. You would ask what is Xip.org? Xip.org is a foundation that is responsible for other free compression formats such as Theora, Vorbis, Opus, and Speex. A new version of FLAC was released on the 26th of May 2013 and from this point onward development was shifted to the Xip.org git repository. FLAC comprises of the stream format and also plugin inputs for countless media players. There is also something called Ogg FLAC, this is a format that uses Ogg container which was incorporated by Xip.org for streaming.

Uses of FLAC

FLAC is supported by several apps on different types of mobile phones and PC such as IOS, Android and Windows (specifically Windows 10). FLAC is good when it comes to downloading files on the internet as it helps reduce the time use in downloading. FLAC can be used in streaming music files on the internet, compressing audio files, typically not all music or media players can play a FLAC file but there are quite a number of quality media players that do this, an example is VOX music player for iPhones and Mac. There have been some comments about no difference between FLAC and MP3 and this is so not true. FLAC music quality is experienced with a good headphone and a good sound system because sometimes without this it might be quite hard to distinguish between these two. The quality of a FLAC audio file is clear and succinct as the original sound recording of that audio file. The quality of audio that FLAC gives is way better than that of MP3.

Conclusion

All being said about FLAC, it is evident that FLAC is not as known by all when compared with MP3, based on the fact that FLAC more than x2 of an mp3 file but smaller when compressed. Although with the compression there is no difference whatsoever in the sound quality of FLAC audio file. If you cannot really differentiate between these two, have you made a comparison using a headphone with great sound quality? Some music player or streaming service uses FLAC as an upload option and also a download option.

Our FLAC Converter page has a lot of conversion types that can be done from that format, the most popular ones are FLAC to MP3 or MP3 to FLAC. Our formats page has a full list of all the supported conversion types.

What Is CBR File Format, Background, And Usage?

CBR format, also known as the Comic Book Archive, is simply an archive file created for the purpose of sequential viewing of images and with no doubt what makes it possible for comic books to exist. Clearly removing any thought in your head that might be suggesting that comic books today are actually drawn by hand. But what do we exactly mean by an archive file? This is simply a file that is made up of one or more other computer files and metadata and may include a set of JPEG – an image saved in a compressed graphical format, PNG – an image saved in Portable Network Graphic format and GIF – an image file often used for web graphics. Not only does this make portability easier but also economical on space.

In fact, CBR files can exist in many different forms that you might have come across already. For example RAR, TAR and ZIP. What is more interesting though is that each of these formats goes by its own unique name. For example, if you store an image in RAR format then you will have to save it by the name CDisplay RAR Archived Comic Book or CDisplay Zip Archived Comic Book If it is stored in ZIP format.

This idea was however initially influenced and made even more famous by the CDisplay sequential image viewer. It was this application that stood out from many similar Comic book views of the time by focusing on allowing users to display their comic books and Mangas in a sequential manner.

This helped in that if you open a CBR file, it does not open in the original archive application that it was programmed to be opened in but instead, its content is viewed in a comic book reader. This right here completely revolutionized how we open and read comics on our digital devices.

Creating and Editing of CBR files.

Having in mind that CBR files are just differently labelled file types, you can simply use any archive application that is capable of opening and editing them.

Let’s say, you take an example of a comic book and just open it with any application you have that can handle ZIP files.

Please note that some applications like 7Zip recognize that CBR files are just ZIP files and can easily access them without necessarily having to rename it. However, this is not always the case with other applications that actually need you to manually rename it from CBZ to ZIP and CBR to RAR first.

After gaining access to a CBR file, you will be happy to know that they open pretty much the same way as the typical archive container. While in, you can easily take out its content, rename it, play around with the content and even add in more files. This allows you to easily amend and create comic books with whatever image you might want.

The process is actually easy to learn. Just save your images while at the same time ensuring that are numbered in order. All you have to do is make sure you do the editing as a ZIP archive and finally change it and have the final document with its extension changed to CBZ. In all this process, it is the numbering that might get your hands full but even that has been automated today. There is a trick in Windows to get that done for you using Windows File Explore or for full control over this comic project, you can get the services of bulk renaming apps like Bulk Rename Utility.

To effectively number, just remember to have it in starting with zero when numbering your files to make sure your files work well across the existing wide range of operating systems. Let’s say there are 100 files that you need to number in order, don’t just start with filename1.jpg to filename100.jpg instead use filename001.jpg to filename100.jpg. Don’t heed this and your comic reader might end up ordering them randomly.

Most efficient software for Opening CBR files.

For Windows, you still have CDisplay, a premium lightweight leader for CBR and CBZ files. But you have the choice of ComicRack too.

For MacOs, there is SimpleComic and Linux users should definitely try out MComix, a powerful reader but no longer in development.

Comics are most likely to go hand in hand with tablets and luckily there are apps out there that can turn them to mobile comic book readers. For example, Android users can try out Astonishing Comic reader or the free ComicRack Companion app. iOS users also have ComicRack and ComicZeal to get them connected too.

In fact, simply put, these are just ZIP and RAR files with modified extensions. You can go even ahead and simply describe them even more by just defining them as just archive files with images inside.

Our CBR Converter supports a number of conversions between CBR and other e-book file formats and also conversion in the reverse order, our most popular conversions are CBR to MOBI and CBR to PDF.

What is XPS and why convert XPS files to PDF and other more accessible formats?

XPS is an alternative format to PDF in Microsoft. XPS format was introduced in Vista Windows – but did not acquire much traction. Nevertheless, Windows’ modern versions continue to build excelling support for files in XPS format compared to files in PDF format.

What is an XPS File?

XPS file format is like a PDF file. However, XPS file shows a document that has a fixed layout – just like how PDF file represents too. It also contains support to other features which you can find in the file format in PDF such as DRM and digital signatures. In today’s time, XPS is now considered an open and standardized format – and it refers to Open XML Paper Specification. Just like how “Office Open XML” is an open format, XPS is an open format too for documents in Microsoft Office. Other companies related to software have not included XPS support. In Windows 8, it uses a file extension in OXPS for the files in XPS to generate. When you say OXPS it means Open XPS, which is the standardized version of the initial file in XPS format. However, you cannot view it through XPS viewer found in Windows 7. You need to convert the file in OXPS format to XPS if you wish to view it in Windows 7. To sum up, a file in XPS format is a less compatible version of a file in PDF format in Microsoft.

The Functionality of XPS Along With Windows

Windows 7, Windows 8 together with Windows Vista have a built-in tool for XPS. In Windows 8, it has improved support for files in XPS format compared to files in PDF format.

  • Microsoft XPS Document Writer – The Microsoft established a constructive printer which is named as “Microsoft XPS Document Writer.” This kind of printer makes an XPS file from your documents to be able to print it. It is just the same with “print to PDF file” but not much useful because it is not compatible with different software.
  • XPS Viewer – The installed XPS Viewer in your Microsoft enables you to open and view an XPS file format on your desktop.

In Windows 8, it shows off improved support for files in PDF format because of the Modern “Reader” application installed, but you need to have a third-party application installed if you wish to open and print files in PDF format.

When Do You Need to Use XPS Files?

When XPS was involved in Windows Vista approximately seven years ago, it was regarded as a potential killer of PDF file though it never became that popular. Although Windows urge their users to print an XPS file format instead of PDF files format because of their built-in printer of XPS Document Writer, only a few people create a file in XPS format.

As of current writing, it is still unsettled and not clear why you want to settle into XPS file format instead of creating a PDF file format unless you cannot install a printer for PDF file and you urgently need to print a document.

While the advantages of creating an XPS file and print it seems not clear, its disadvantages are clear. Numerous people use a PDF file format, while only a few use an XPS file format. Documents in XPS file format are unfamiliar to numerous people if you are trying to send them a document. They are more familiar with documents in PDF files.

To sum up all of these, you don’t need to use the XPS file format for your personal documents. XPS is being ignored and cannot replace the PDF file format. That’s why you need to convert files in XPS format to PDF format because of not all software support files in XPS format.

How to View a Document in XPS Format?

In Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, all come up with an XPS Viewer. It is somewhat similar to Windows Vista, except for added support and slight changes for digital signatures. The XPS Viewer also allows you to edit the document if there are any changes needed or if you have to add tags. For Windows 8.1 onwards, you can view documents in XPS format through Microsoft Reader application – it is the equivalent to Adobe Reader so you can open files in PDF, XPS, and TIFF format. But you need to download it from the Windows Store and install it. For Windows Vista, double clock the document in XPS format and it can be viewed through the plug-in of XPS Viewer that’s built in the Internet Explorer. For an alternative option, you can download the XPS Viewer from the XPS Essential Pack. For OS X, users can use the NiXPS View application which permits them to search, print, and view documents in XPS format, or the simpler solution is to use our XPS Converter to convert XPS to JPG, XPS to PDF, XPS to PNG and many more.

What’s the difference between MP4 & MPEG-4?

With the advancement in technology worldwide, there are many different video files and video container formats available for different systems and realistically, it is quite easy to lose track of them. You can erroneously confuse one format with the other, due to the manner in which they are named. MP4 and MPEG-4 (MPEG4) are no exception, due to their names being almost indistinguishable.

MP4 (History)

Multimedia format is the term used on an MP4 digital format granted its ability to store video and audio formats. Prior to the development of MP4, the MP3 digital format was extensively utilised on the internet. Of benefit, MP4 includes data features such as narratives and static snapshots. The technology is popularly used in companies concerned with portable media players for internal use or commercial purposes. MP4 are also regularly used in 3D graphic and computing commands. Developed in 2001, the format was upgraded a few years later in 2003. MP4 is widely used on the internet, freely allowing people to simply download selected content on the web. MP4 is also referred to as MPEG-4 part 14. Some examples of media players which use MP4 digital formats are iTunes, Winamp and Quicktime.

MPEG-4 (History)

MPEG-4 (MPEG4), are compressed visual and audio files, used on devices such as iPods, CD’s, telephones and Satellite television. Introduced in 1998, MPEG-4 files are still used by the majority of people worldwide and probably into the future. Initially, when MPEG-4 files were developed, the formats were directed at standard video communications; however, it subsequently incorporated multimedia technology. The speed of transmission per second now ranges from very low (Kilobits) to very high (megabits).

Functions of MPEG-4:

  • Encoding of audio, video and speech in media data.
  • Clear communication in visual or audio functionality to the subscriber from the recipient.
  • Ability to communicate effectively without experiencing failure on devices.
  • Overall efficiency in coding has improved.

MP4 vs MPEG-4

The similarities

Before looking at the difference between the two formats, it is essential to observe the similarities. There is only one instance in which MPEG-4 and MP4 are quite alike in their relationship with devices. MP4 and MPEG-4 are linked with visual and audio files of such devices.

The differences

Negligible differences would be the appropriate term to use when comparing MP4 and MPEG-4 but in technological space, many users will find the variances altogether obvious.

The glaring variance is the functionality of each file format.

  • MP4 is a multimedia container format used for data storage.
  • MPEG-4 is a video encoding algorithm enabling compression and decompression of files.

A broader look at the variance will help differentiate the two:

MPEG-4 or M4A is a file format that is used to compress audio and visual digital data on a computer. Comparatively, MP4 is a container format used to store the audio and video files. Confusion among users arises due to the naming of audio MP4 files to MP4 and MP4, permitting the storage of video file subtitles. Several methods of saving compressed video and audio files are a storage feature obtained in MP4 container file formats. The compression and conversion of pictures into data is not a primary concern of MP4 format. The main concern is dealing with the accurate storage of audio and video data, content, subtitles and pertinent information inside the file.

The availability of music videos on the internet is substantial, but this does not automatically imply one may download material, as free downloads may not be permissible. The .mp4 extension on a file denotes copyright-protected content. An MPEG-4 player is a device once can use to store and play MP4 video and audio files in a compressed state. MP4 files are popularly used on the internet as they are easier to share and transfer among users.

Conclusion:

Continued progression in technologies worldwide for system developers, IT service providers and users of the internet, in general, are the numerous opportunities created by MPEG-4. Improvement of service delivery to end users will remain the fundamental principle for hardware and software developers. MPEG-4 provides the platform for continuous improvement in quality service delivery. MPEG-4 provides for the easy accessibility of accurate data on the internet. With the assistance of standard operating procedures, MPEG-4 is translated and converted into a range of communication data compatible with most systems.

Our MP4 and MPEG converters allow the conversion of these files to various other formats like MP3, AVI etc.

Microsoft Word DOCX files and how to convert old DOC files.

Overview – Microsoft Word DOCX Files

A DOCX file is a Microsoft Word (XML) formatted document file, similarly to a Microsoft Word document. XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. The formatted files contain various characters such as text, images, objects, styles and formatting, stored as different files and eventually compressed into a single, zipped DOCX file.

DOCX files were developed by Microsoft in 2007 for use in Microsoft Word documents. Prior to the introduction of DOCX files, Word documents used DOC file extension. This was in 2003 and earlier programs. Documents are saved in DOCX files when the computer has Microsoft Word versions 2007 and above.

Saving a DOCX file

The new Microsoft Word programs automatically save all documents as DOCX files. The page layout in Microsoft Office 2007 and later versions was redesigned. First-time users may encounter a degree of difficulty when attempting to save a document and may require some assistance. Below is a quick process to follow:

  • Create a new Word document.
  • After completion, click the file menu and save as.
  • In the new window go to Save As type in the Drop Down Box and select Word Document and click Save.
  • This document will now have been saved as DOCX file.

Unzipping a DOCX file

2007 and later software programs are designed to open, edit and save DOCX files. Earlier versions of Microsoft programs will fail to open these file. There are however several options available to open a file:

  • A Compatibility Pack developed by Microsoft is a free program available on the internet, designed to open, edit, and save DOCX files if your computer has the versions of MS Word.
  • The Word Viewer application, another free product from Microsoft, allows you to open a DOCX file without the need for Microsoft Office on your computer.
  • OpenOffice Writer and KingsSoft Writer among others are free word processor programs developed to open these files and are highly recommended by users.
  • Google Docs program is a word application, available on the internet with the same capabilities.

Converting older DOC files to DOCX format in Microsoft Word

People have been using word processing for years and because of this, would need to conduct an exercise of converting older DOC files to DOCX files. Opening a DOC file in MS Word and then saving it as the DOCX file format on your computer, is the most effective way of converting a file. Below is a simple procedure to follow. Your computer should have the compatible 2007 or later Microsoft word program.

  • Firstly, locate the Doc file on your computer and open in Microsoft Word.
  • With the Doc file open, click the File Menu and click on Save As.
  • In the new window go to Save As Type in the Drop Down Box and select Word Document and click Save.
  • This document will now have been converted from DOC file to a DOCX format.
  • The old file will still exist, and you may choose to delete the file to avoid confusion.

Converting older DOC files to DOCX format using our Free Converter

If you do not have the newer version of Microsoft Word (2007/2010) on your computer, you can use our DOC Converter.  Below is an example of the steps to follow:

  • Open your preferred Internet Browser and navigate to FreeFileConvert.com
  • Click on the “choose file” button and locate the DOC file on your computer.
  • Click on open.
  • Then select the “Output format” to DOCX in the drop-down menu, and click  “Convert”.
  • Once the file is uploaded, your Browser will then be redirected to a status page, where the latest status of your conversion will be updated automatically.
  • When the conversion is successfully completed, a “Download” button will appear next to the file name, you can then click that button to download the file to your computer.
  • The file will download and then double-click on it to open the file.
  • You will see at the top of the Microsoft Word window that the new file is now a DOCX file.

DOC vs DOCX

With the advancement in computer technology, DOCX file format is the preferred program to use for your word documents. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft Word 2003 and prior are unable to open DOCX files. DOCX files are compacted files, availing advanced options of reading, editing, and online sharing. Additionally, Open Office XML Standard is easily accessed by most word processing software programs online, including the much preferred Google Docs application. The way to go then is to simply convert all your word documents to DOCX files.

Why GIF Files are so popular

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Formats, GIF files are Raster image file formats, with their use on the internet becoming more popular than ever before. As the saying goes, “a picture alone can mean a thousand words”, and their significance, are the very reason GIF files are found all over the internet today. Let us take a closer look at their origin to better understand these files.

When the GIF File was first published?

CompuServe published the first most popular GIF, of a dancing baby in 1987 and this was during the early days of the Internet. Since then GIF file formats have fully developed and become much easier to design. GIF 87a had an updated version released in 1989 known as GIF 89a. Version 89a is almost identical to 87a, as they both enable a series of animated images to be saved as a file. Version 87a encompasses transparent backgrounds support and image metadata as well as supports animation delays. Nearly all GIF files use version 89a.

What are GIF image files?

A GIF image is a file that contains a Bitmap visual motion picture. Typically, these are found on millions upon millions of websites, social media sites and image pages obtained in images, banners and icons. The duration of a motion image can vary from 10 to a maximum 15 seconds. Additionally, the GIF image file may display motionless pictures with minimal temporary movements. GIFs maintain their good quality, unlike JPEG format files. A GIF image file is palette based and with the ability to utilise 256 colours in total. Individuals still extensively utilise animated images, surprisingly, with the available 256 colours.

Making of GIF format files

If you go to the basics, you will come to know that a GIF is made of several images blocks and Medias. You can use them and make a beautiful GIF which is having a full-colour effect.   As every image block needs a personal colour table, GIF files can become huge, when holding a number of image blocks, resulting in the limitation of effective full-colour GIF images. GIF images have become popular as they are simple and easy to make. Before recent times, complicated programs and software were used to make the files. Many websites will now permit you to make the images speedily and with ease. There are many programs that have been developed to make the images on numerous platforms on websites. One can only search and choose a website and tool that is appropriate for them. Naturally, the programs will come with step-by-step instructions, which make the whole process effortless.

The popularity of GIF files

Centuries ago, motionless pictures were the order of the day. The introduction of animated GIF images changed that era. Videos were the sole means of watching animated images with some movement. Video technology had its shortcomings as the files were often too big to share from one computer to another and with a considerable time required to upload images for viewing. The technical feature to watch preferred sections of the video was not available to viewers. Unreliable internet connections and limited data hindered the file uploading procedure. Of course, this has become a thing of the past with the never-ending advancement in technology. GIFs gained their significance following a wide coverage of unsuccessful motion picture movies on the internet.

People took to selecting small eye-catching short clips timely avoiding the viewing of an entire movie. This triggered GIF file frenzy on the internet. File sharing and saving on the computer was a much more straightforward task, due to the size of images. Some individuals took this exciting opportunity to market by sharing extensively on the internet, with many reaping recognition and rewards. Individuals simply search and download popular GIF images on the internet today, without fuss. Image clips of musicians, athletes, presenters and other famous personalities, taken from motion pictures, televisions shows and games are shared on the World Wide Web. This has promoted not only famous personalities but transformed some regular users into internet celebrities.

Conclusion:

Animated GIF images are one of the best discoveries for the internet users who wanted to view animated images effortlessly and within a short space of time. The younger generation of particular mention may today find it difficult to communicate with peers in the absence of GIF. It is true to say the younger generation prefer a more suitable, speedy and convenient way to effectively communicate with one another. The ideal mix of picture incorporating video that fully captures their attention and imagination in a short period of time becomes much more desirable. Based on these factors, GIF files have garnered much popularity.

We support a wide variety of conversions from and to a GIF format, our most popular GIF conversion types include GIF to MP4, MP4 to GIF, GIF to BMP and many more.

Encryption/Decryption Overview and Why Encrypt PDF Files

Encryption/Decryption overview

Encryption, also known as cryptography is the conversion of readable information, messages or data to a format that only the intended recipient can access. This process may not completely eliminate interference, but reduces the possibility of a would-be interceptor manipulating the plain text, to the detriment of innocent parties. In an encryption programme, the predetermined information, messages or data in plain text is encrypted using an encryption algorithm, also known as ciphertext. Once encrypted, it is unlikely for the encoded material to be manipulated, as exceptionally high-level computer skills and resources are required.

Decryption then is the process of taking the encoded text or data and converting it back to plain text using decryption algorithms. The information or message on receipt can be easily decrypted using a private key provided by the originator, to the intended recipient.

Type of keys

There are two keys used in encoding and decoding text:-

  1. Private Key
  2. Public Key

Symmetric key

The encryption and decryption algorithms are the same in Private/Symmetric keys. The same key should be used by communicating parties before they can attain reliable communication.

Asymmetric key

In Asymmetric key programmes, two keys are paired but are not identical. The public key is published for everyone to use when encrypting messages or data. The second which is the private key, however, remains only known to the recipient of the encoded data.

Uses

Encryption is used to protect data in transit from a company to various banks/institutions, via networks such as an outsourced payment transfer platform, Bluetooth devices, internet banking and mobile telephones, these also used by various other companies.

In recent times, encryption is used by many organisations to retain data, which may not immediately be needed for use, but may be requested for at any time, as necessary. With the encoded data kept on computers, laptops and other storage devices such as ‘USB flash drives’. Encrypting information or data ‘at rest’ preserves information through loss or theft of hard drives or laptops and in the event, physical security measures fail.

Recent threats to encrypted text ‘at rest’ have been cyber or cryptography attacks, encryption key attacks, integrity attacks, malicious attacks, and data destruction attacks. Data protection technologies aim to counter some of these attacks, so it is more difficult to locate, pilfer, defile or eliminate.

Verification of messages

Encrypting and decrypting of information can only be secure; to begin with, if the devices are used to operate the programme have not been tampered with. Encryption on its own can protect message confidentiality, but other techniques are still required to protect the authenticity and integrity of a message, such as a digital signature.

Data deletion

The conventional methods for erasing data from storage devises involve overwriting its entire file with patterns, which can take an enormous amount of time, depending on the volume of content. Cryptography offers a process of deleting the content almost instantly provided all data on the device is encrypted with the key stored on the same device. All the information becomes inaccessible by deleting the key code.

Why Encrypt PDF Files

So then, why protect PDF files? The reason being, that we only view on screen without the option to print the files. This is a strong measure designed to ensure that one never really gets to fully understand its abilities and shortcomings if any. The PDF file may never be successfully decrypted by a recipient, once its content has been encrypted. A free software application developed by Adobe to encrypt files will allow sending of files via the internet. The recipient may decrypt if decryption code has been availed to them, further permitting them to open, read, edit and print the file. Without the decryption key, the file remains a view only document, without the printing facility.

The two main ways to encrypt a PDF file are:-

  1. Password encryption
    • Relies on a shared password between the originator and the recipient.
  2. Public key Infrastructure (PKI) encryption
    • Provides greater protection by using cryptography and digital certificates.

Our Encrypt PDF and Decrypt PDF tools can be used to password protect PDF files using the “shared password” method, in which case the PDF file can only be viewed by someone who knows the password for the file.