Option-Click: Right Time, Right Click

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Pointing with dBpoweramp installed reveals this WAV to be a 6-channel surround file. Right-clicking brings up a handy format-conversion menu.

A fast (and often free) way to speed up your computer music-making is to add commands to the Context menu, the little list that pops up when you right-click on a file icon. In Windows, the software that adds these features is called a shell extension. On Mac, it's a contextual menu plug-in. Googling those phrases will turn up thousands of options.

On my OS 10.4 Mac, I use the QuickPlayCM plug-in (free, pixture.com) to preview audio and video files without launching programs. (Hitting the spacebar offers similar functionality on newer Macs.) On the PC, dBpoweramp Music Converter (free, dbpoweramp.com) offers helpful information when you hover and rapid format-conversion when you right-click. The YouSendIt extension (free, yousendit.com) provides one-click Web uploading.

CM plug-ins and extensions can also slow your system, so don't install them wantonly, but a few good ones will make things click. — David Battino,Batmosphere.com