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So you are reading instructions on some article that tells you to reboot into Safe mode. You ask how you do that, and are told to use the F8 key when the computer boots up. But you just can’t seem to get the F8 key to work… so how do you boot into Safe mode?

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One of the more popular open source IM clients is Pidgin (formerly GAIM).  This client works with pretty much all chat services including the majors MSN, Google Talk, AIM, and Yahoo!  Pidgin works with Linux, Windows, BSD, and other Unix distributions.  If you’re a real minimalist you can even get a text based version.  It is very customizable and there is a lot of open source plug ins for it as well.  Pidgin supports pictures, emoticons, and fonts.  Very customizable IM alternative!

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VLC is probably the most popular open source media player out there. VLC plays basically any type of media file you can imagine. It has a very trim lined interface. The program is very light on system resources as well. Not only is it an incredible media player, it is also a server and a client to stream media across your network or the Internet. Various tweaks in video and audio are limitless. VLC is completely open source and available on Windows, OS X, and pretty much every flavor of Linux and Unix. 

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After writing articles about how to open the Safely Remove dialog as well as eject a specific USB drive, some readers contacted me asking me to write about how to eject a CD or DVD drive instead, so I’m covering that here.

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I recently installed Windows XP 64 on one of my machines the other day.  On that … I have to say my reviews so far are mixed.  I love the fact it recognizes my 4GB of RAM and so far the performance is tight.  I have had a few driver issues … but have a good handle on it. 

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RSSOwl is a multi platform open source RSS Reader.  The overall feel and navigation is just like a web browser.  The RSSOwl user interface is very customizable.  You will notice there are a lot of feeds already entered by default which includes many categories.  Select feeds open up as HTML inside RSSOwl.  As with a browser you can bookmark you favorites as well.  To be honest I just started using this application a day ago and so far am very impressed!  If any of you are experienced RSSOwl users please feel free to comment.

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You’ve already heard the news: Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 yesterday. So what does that mean for me, and how do I install it again?

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Portable Apps is a remarkable portable application suite which runs off your USB flash drive.  You can carry around all of your favorite open source applications with this utility. 

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aTunes is an open source iTunes alternative.  aTunes recently upgraded its version to 1.7.0 which includes radio support.  aTunes is able to play mp3, OGG, WMA, WAV, mp4, and FLAC files.  You can also rip and burn audio CD’s with this application. aTunes integrates with AudioScrobbler and Last.fm to add the songs played to your profile.  If you are looking for a music player similar to iTunes this is a good alternative.

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If you do a lot of tweaking to the panels in Gnome or KDE, you’ve probably run into an instance where you enabled a plugin or changed a setting and need to restart to see the effect (or maybe you locked something up). Instead of logging out or rebooting, we’ll just reload the process.

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