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This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon


We are living in an era of data. Every day we generate thousands of terabytes creating thousands and thousands of machine learning and deep learning models day by day to find solutions to modern problems. These problems include future sales prediction, fraudulent activity detection, the presence of diseases in patients, and so on. The accuracy and efficiency of these models highly depend on the data we feed to these models. As we are reaching closer to the era of Artificial Intelligence, the hunger for data for these models is increasing too, to achieve outstanding performance. A deep analysis is done on data and so it is important to structure and maintain the data properly in appropriate ways so that it could be accessed and modified easily.

In this article, we will be going to learn about different file formats. We will learn about how the same data can be stored in different file formats and which file format should be preferred for a specific application. We will also learn about row and columnar ways of storing data, how they two are different from each other and what could be the reason behind choosing one over the other.

Propriety vs Free file formats

A propriety file format is a specific file format that is owned and used by the company. Reading and editing in these file formats require propriety software. This is to ensure that the users cannot read, modify or copy the source code and resell it as their own product.

Free file formats on the other hand are open source and can be read using open-source software. Data present in these file formats can be read, changed, modified by users, and can be used for their own purpose using simple tools and libraries. We will be going to cover only open file formats in this article.

We start with one of the most common and favorite file formats for storing textual data of all time that is CSV.

CSV (Comma Separated Values)

CSV is one of the most common file formats for storing textual data. These files can be opened using a wide variety of programs including Notepad. The reason behind using this format over others is its ability to store complex data in a simple and readable way. Moreover, CSV files offer more security as compared to file formats like JSON. In python, it is easy to read these types of files using a special library called Pandas.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)–

It is a standard format for storing textual data based on JavaScript object index. It is basically used for transmitting data in web applications. Unlike CSV, JSON allows you to create a hierarchical structure of your data. JSON allows data to be stored in many data types including strings, arrays, booleans, integers, etc.

JSON formats are easy to integrate with APIs and can store a huge amount of data efficiently. They provide scalability and support to relational data.

import pandas as pd # Reading json file using pandas file_json = pd.read_json("file.json")#replace file with actual file name # printing the top 5 entries present in the csv file print(file_json.head()) XML (Extensible Markup Language)

This file format has a structure similar to HTML and it is used to store data and transfer data without being dependent on software and hardware tools. XML language is Java compatible and any application that is capable of processing it can use your information, whatever the platform is.

import pandas as pd # Reading a xml file using pandas file_xml = pd.read_xml("file.xml")#replace file with actual file name # printing the top 5 entries present in the csv file print(file_xml.head())

Note: Pandas read_xml function is available in the latest pandas version 1.3.0 So you might have to upgrade pandas. You can do that with the below command

pip3 install --upgrade pandas YAML ( YAML Ain’t Markup Language) –

YAML is a data serialization language that is mainly used for human interaction. It is a superset of JSON which means it includes all the features of JSON and more. Unlike other file formats, YAML uses indentation as part of its formatting like python. The benefits of using YAML over other file formats are:

Files are portable and transferable between different programming languages.

Expressive and extensive format

Files support a Unicode set of characters

import pyyaml from yaml.loader import SafeLoader # Open and load the file with open('Sample.yaml') as file: data = yaml.load(file, Loader=SafeLoader) print(data) Parquet

Parquet is a binary file format that allows you to store data in a columnar fashion. Data inside parquet files are similar to RDBMS style tables but instead of accessing one row at a time, we are accessing one column at a time. This is beneficial when we are dealing with millions and billions of records having a very little number of attributes.

import pyarrow.parquet as pq # Read the table using pyarrow table = pq.read_table('example.parquet') # Convert the table to pandas dataframe table = table.to_pandas() # print the table print(table.head()) Row vs columnar file formats

Most of the files we use in our daily life are present in row file formats where we are searching each record before moving to the next. Data present in these formats are easy to read and modify as compared to columnar formats like parquet. But when we are dealing with a huge number of records, simple operations like searching and deletion cost a considerable amount of time. To deal with the problem,  we use columnar file formats

Why use columnar file formats Data compression techniques

Gzip – This file format is used for data and file compression. It is based on DEFLATE algorithm which is based on Huffman and LZ77 coding. This is a lossless way of compression. The amazing thing is that it allows multiple files to be compressed as a single archive. It provides a better compression ratio than other compression formats at the cost of a slower speed. It is the best for storing data that don’t need to be modified frequently.

Snappy – These file formats provide faster compression but fail to provide a better compression ratio than Gzip. However, this compression format can be best suitable to compress data that require frequent modification.


There are various file formats available for storing data and creating your own datasets. But choosing one depend upon the requirements and the type of data. To choose a format that is best suitable for your application, you should at least be aware of the available options. Other than that, you should be aware of your priorities like data security, size of data, speed of operations, etc. For example, if data security is the highest priority it is better to use CSV files over JSON, or maybe choosing propriety file format could be the best option.

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Bitlocker Encryption Using Aad/Mdm For Cloud Data Security

With Windows 10’s new features, the productivity of users has increased leaps and bounds. That’s because Windows 10 introduced its approach as ‘Mobile first, Cloud first’. It is nothing but the integration of mobile devices with the cloud technology. Windows 10 delivers the modern management of data using cloud-based device management solutions such as Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). With this, users can access their data from anywhere and anytime. However, this kind of data also needs good security, which is possible with Bitlocker.

Bitlocker encryption for cloud data security

Bitlocker encryption configuration is already available on the Windows 10 mobile devices. However, these devices needed to have InstantGo capability to automate the configuration. With InstantGo, the user could automate the configuration on the device as well as backup the recovery key to the user’s Azure AD account.

But now the devices will not require the InstantGo capability anymore. With Windows 10 Creators Update, all Windows 10 devices will have a wizard where users are prompted to start the Bitlocker encryption regardless of the hardware used. This was mainly the result of users’ feedback about the configuration, where they wished to have this encryption automated without having the users do anything. Thus, now the Bitlocker encryption has become automatic and hardware independent.

How does the Bitlocker encryption work

When the end-user enrolls the device and is a local admin, the TriggerBitlocker MSI does the following:

Deploys three files into C:Program Files (x86)BitLockerTrigger

Imports a new scheduled task based on the included Enable_Bitlocker.xml

The scheduled task will run every day at 2 PM and will do the following:

Run Enable_Bitlocker.vbs which the main purpose is to call Enable_BitLocker.ps1 and make sure to run minimized.

In its turn, Enable_BitLocker.ps1 will encrypt the local drive and store the recovery key into Azure AD and OneDrive for Business (if configured)

The recovery key is only stored when either changed or not present

Users who are not part of the local admin group, need to follow a different procedure. By default, the first user that joins a device to Azure AD is a member of the local admin group. If a second user, who is a part of the same AAD tenant, logs on to the device, it will be a standard user.

This bifurcation is necessary when a Device Enrollment Manager account takes care of the Azure AD join before handing over the device to the end-user. For such users modified MSI (TriggerBitlockerUser) has been given Windows team. It is slightly different from that of local admin users:

The BitlockerTrigger scheduled task will run in the System Context and will:

Copy the recovery key to the Azure AD account of the user who joined the device to AAD.

Copy the recovery key to Systemdrivetemp (typically C:Temp) temporarily.

A new script chúng tôi is introduced and runs daily via a scheduled task called MoveKeyToOD4B. This scheduled task runs in the users’ context. The recovery key will be moved from systemdrivetemp to the OneDrive for Businessrecovery folder.

For the non-local admin scenarios, users need to deploy the TriggerBitlockerUser file via Intune to the group of end-users. This is not deployed to the Device Enrollment Manager group/account used to join the device to Azure AD.

To get the access to the recovery key, users need to go to either of the following locations:

Azure AD account

A recovery folder in the OneDrive for Business (if configured).

For more information on how to enable the Bitlocker encryption, read the complete blog on Microsoft TechNet.

The Benefits Of Using A Customer Data Platform Cdp

A Customer Data Platform looks to fulfil that age-old promise of centralizing all the customer data, and it is looking good

Marketers know that data management is the key to data-driven marketing. Traditional methods for trying to bring customer data together into a “360 customer view”, failed to solve the complete problem. But there is a new player in town, and its called Customer Data Platform (CDP). Now it is knocking on your door. Should you let it in?

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Bringing together customer data in a CDP

An un-siloed and full view of the customer is not a new concept. Yet the 360 customer view has always turned out to be the just out of reach for the marketer. Custom MarTech integration projects are known to be an especially tough cookie.

A Customer Data Platform looks to fulfill that age-old promise of centralizing all the customer data, and it is looking good. In a typical CDP setup there are three layers or functional stages: Data, Decisioning and Delivery. At the minimum CDP works on the Data layer, bringing together and making available the data from multiple sources. Other CDPs also offer extended Decisioning and Delivery functions.

I have written about CDPs, especially the difference between a CDP, CRM and DMPs.

And that is still a thing. More than half of organizations rate their own marketing and customer experience approach to be disconnected. Only 10% finds their MarTech stack is tightly integrated, with Europe doing a bit worse than North America.

But wait… creating a customer profile or even a 360 customer view doesn’t bring any value by itself.

So what are the benefits of using a Customer Data Platform? and would you need one? Let’s look at a case study that explains the value of connected data.

HelloFresh lost customer reactivation case

An example of a Customer Data Platform use case comes from Hellofresh. The HelloFresh food Box subscription service uses many channels. Facebook retargeting via custom audiences, Sendgrid for emails, Appboy for mobile push, Twilio for SMS, their own site(s) and integrated personalized offline letters using Optilyz. They wanted to connect these while keeping the current set-up.

Through the use of CDP they were able to coordinate the different channels, but also do cross-channel campaign testing. They tested several channels against each other and also different combinations (like the winning combination with email + direct mail). Just setting this up would have been an enormous effort without a CDP.

Then bring back the tracked conversions of the different channels and campaigns.

A CDP helps to do so, without the manual effort and while tracking the results for every user.

Overall, the integrated setup allows companies that have a CDP to easily find the right datasets for possible campaigns, then plan the right campaigns for an A/B/C/…-testing and measure the results.

Here is the case presented by CDP CrossEngage. Reactivate or rather win-back former customers and increase the effectiveness of a personalized direct mail.

Sending an email teaser first doubles ROI and Conversion Rate of the direct mail. It makes sense that the results are better than a single Direct mail, but also much better than an email discount and direct mail after. Which makes the case for A/B testing different scenarios.

Still quite a simple campaign if you look at it like this, but automation requires that the all the data and the multiple execution channels here are communicating with each other.

Another finding was that young people react better to the direct mail moment than older. As a result, HelloFresh could optimize their campaign and send direct mails more often to younger people (and spend more budget on this audience).

In my eyes, the less complex you can keep your marketing campaigns, the better. And especially the first iteration of your campaign.

Benefits of unified customer data

Research by the CDP Institute showed that Personalization, Insights and cross-channel measurement rank as the most popular benefits for Unified Customer Data.

You could see why these would be beneficial to marketers. The numbers might be a bit slanted though, as the respondents could answer multiple uses. For instance, if you have a loyalty program (or thinking about one) obviously your would already need to connect all the program data and personalize.

Importance of Time to first Value and Data Activation

If you are trying to create a CDP business case, the Time to First Value is an important consideration. CDP implementation can be faster than custom, single point integrations. This is because of the built-in integrations and data management features. But the value is the use of the data, also called “Data Activation”.

Start with one or two use cases that have a direct impact on profits and can be implemented quickly. This will help to increase internal support for the data-driven marketing as a whole. Then everything after that is gravy.

Later, the use-case can be built out, or more uses added. A first use case is often a lighthouse project. By having the infrastructure in place, the first project also has a signal effect for numerous follow-up projects.

Think about the maturity on dimensions a CDP offers:

Level of personalization: from placeholders for names to individual website and email content as well as individual customer journeys

Level of automation and refined Decisioning

Level of segmentation: from big groups to almost 1:1 communication

Data maturity: add more data points, from profile, product, and behavioral data to intent and value based.

Add more touchpoints and channels for Cross-channel campaigns.

Begin with quick-wins so the CDP can pay for itself. The quick-wins come in different forms. Sometimes it is called a pilot, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or the use of the CDP in a single campaign. While the roadmap will be different – the stages look the same. Starting small with an implementation time of one to three months to reach first results.

Finding your use cases and the Benefits of a CDP

The benefits of a Customer Data Platform boil down your own use case(s). These will provide the value of the CDP. Yet there are some other benefits that go beyond the single use cases and more into the long-term vision of company data management.

1. Cross-channel attribution

While the current measurement and attribution maturity of your company might not demand it (yet). The Case of HelloFresh shows that running campaigns over multiple channels asks for a flexible reporting and attribution. The CDP will ready the organization for a more comprehensive view of the outcomes of Marketing activities and attribution across channels.

2. Agility and future-ready infrastructure

A CDP is built to be a central hub to connect data sources and delivery platforms, where sources can be connected as they are introduced and use it anywhere to drive better customer experiences.

3. Democratization of Data

Traditional IT-managed databases have a built-in bottleneck (namely the IT resources). A CDP democratizes the access to customer data and lets the data be used directly by the departments that generate the associated value. Marketing, customer service, business intelligence, they all depend on the access to the data and customer touchpoints.

The Dangers Of Using Pirated Software And Why You Should Stop Right Now

The dangers of using pirated software are evident on the economy. $82 billion worth of software programs sell legitimately worldwide, while $63 billion worth of computer programs are pirated.

Copying other people’s work has almost become an acceptable thing, albeit the presence of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) should emphasize the consequence of this problem.

Have you ever wondered how much a cheap product can cost you? It’s penny wise and pound foolish, depending on how you look at it.

Some of the dangers of using pirated software are obvious while others aren’t. Let’s explore five of these dangers of using pirated software.

1. It leaves you vulnerable to attack

According to a study, thirty-four percent of pirated software downloaded from P2P were embedded with malware that infects a computer after download. About half of these were Trojans.

You expose yourself to malware when you install a pirated software. Ransomware, Trojans, viruses and other malicious software can corrupt your device and the data you have in it.

Malicious codes embedded in some pirated software programs can gain access to your data. Your device, and webcam, can be controlled this way. Pirated software makes you vulnerable to a denial of service attack.

The risks you’re exposed to include:

Access to financial and confidential information

Access to your trade secrets

Access to customers’ transactions and personal records

Identity theft

Data loss and destruction

These are just a few of what’s possible.

2. It might stop working when you need it the most

You might find out that the pirated software doesn’t work with your device. This is because the programs are cracked versions of the original ones. These software programs are likely to alter the accuracy of your results if they end up working.

Some companies check the registration of their software, so it’s possible to have the program run for a while and malfunction as time goes on.

3. It’ll lead to legal problems

Everything that has an original is likely to be counterfeited. It’s unfair when someone steals your idea, pretends it’s theirs and sells it. It’s only natural for companies to protect their assets.

It isn’t acceptable to purchase the fake software as they hardly follow due process. It is copyright infringement.

The LA County Sheriff’s department purchased a license that allowed them to install 3,700 copies of a software by DataWall. It installed 6,000 copies, claiming that only 3700 employees were using the software. The department was sued and had to pay a fine and sttorney fees of more than $750,000.

4. The product can’t be updated

100 percent of the pirated software samples studied by Microsoft Australia had Windows Update disabled and FireWall rules changed.

Updating your software as new patches or updates are released allows you to get a better experience from it. It’s impossible to enjoy this from the pirated version, so you’re stuck with it no matter the limitations. You might even get penalized if you try upgrading to an original package.

5. It puts hardworking people out of work

A report from IDC stated that for every one-percent of pirated software, approximately $40 billion is lost. This removes 150,000 jobs from the worldwide economy.

You put good people out of work and affect the economy negatively. Meanwhile, services like Netflix seem to be effectively saving the system.

Beyond the dangers of using pirated software

Let’s face it, some software is pretty expensive, and you may not need all the features it brings with its premium version. So what’s a techie to do?

You have options:

Use the free version of the software: If the software has a free version, go for it, especially if the free version covers your needs. Most vendors now give free software you can use for life. If you don’t ever need the premium version, you can stay with the freemium version.

Use a less expensive version of the software: If you don’t mind spending a little money, you can buy a version of that software with limited features that will fulfill your needs.

Go for an alternative software: Find an alternative software that solves your needs for free! A competitor app may want to pick up users by offering premium features from your original choice of software for free.

For example, you can use alternative PowerPoint presentation software instead of paying a huge sum for the whole Office suite (or resorting to piracy).

Another way to use an alternative app is to find less expensive versions of your original choice. If you don’t mind spending some money, this would be a great fit.

Check if you qualify for a free premium version: Microsoft gives free Microsoft Office to students and academic organizations who qualify. Some apps may be offering free trials for their premium option or may give you free access to their program under certain conditions.

Take the word “qualify” lightly. You may just need to use an online or mobile version of their software if you create an account with them, just like what Microsoft Office 365 does.

Buy the software: If you truly need the premium version of a software with all its features, and it’s the best in its class for your purposes, then buy it. It’s probably worth spending that money if the app or software has unique features you can’t find anywhere else.

To Wrap It Up

Remember you have options! You don’t need to expose yourself to these dangers of using pirated software. Use a free version of the program or a less expensive pricing plan. Go for an alternative. Or just buy the software if it has unique features.

In order to avoid these dangers of using pirated software, always look out for reputable vendors when you buy software. Verify the authenticity of a website before you buy software from them. Price doesn’t have to always be the first factor in your decision. You might find out that your “cost effective” choice was more expensive.

Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin is a technology researcher who helps businesses tell profitable brand stories that their audiences love. He’s worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies, global tech corporations and top consulting firms, from Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, and AT&T. You may follow his work on Twitter or simply say hello. His website is Tech Write Researcher.

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How To Pick The Right Game Console For You

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The “console wars” have slowed in intensity over the past few years as the upgrades and updates to each console have been more incremental than earth-shattering. It’s also becoming clearer that each of the “big three”—Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo—have a slightly more focused target in mind for their wares.

Deciding between Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Switch really comes down to your personal gaming tastes, style, and expectations. Here’s how to narrow down the choice.

Nintendo is, essentially, the Disney of video games. If you’re a family with small kids that likes to game together, this is the console you should own. Its roster of games includes ample youngster-friendly characters including Link from the Legend of Zelda series, Pikachu and other Pokemon and, of course, their own Mickey Mouse, Super Mario. The Switch is also designed to go from TV console to handheld, which is perfect for keeping kids occupied in the backseat during long car rides.

The biggest selling point for parents is that the Switch limits online communication – you can chat, but only through an accompanying smartphone app—and doesn’t expose kids to the dark fringes of online gameplay.

If you are a serious gamer or are serious about becoming one, the PS4 is your best option. It has a considerably deep roster of platform-exclusive titles—including the likes of God of War, Days Gone, Last of Us, and Horizon Zero Dawn—but as you can see they all exist on the far side of the “Teen/Mature” rating system.

The PS4 also shines when it comes to coop online play, and supports a lot of popular online multiplayer titles like FIFA and Call of Duty. It’s also the only console that supports its own virtual reality set-up.

This is the console for the more discerning (and older) gamer—the only drawbacks being the fact that it’s light on family-friendly titles and if you purchase one now you’ll have another buying decision to make next year when the PlayStation 5 (or PS5 or Play5tation) arrives on the scene.

As alluded to earlier, there isn’t a massive canyon of difference between the PS4 and the Xbox One, so the choice really comes down to very specific criteria. For one, if you’re a massive Minecraft fan, you might lean towards the Xbox since Microsoft publishes the game (you can play Minecraft on PS4, but the Xbox edition has a lot more options, features, and gameplay additions). It also, unlike the PS4, has a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player, for those with 4K ready TVs.

If you want to become a famous game streamer like Ninja and other Fortnite heavies, you can take a shot at Microsoft’s native streaming platform, Mixer. It’s not as big as the Amazon-owned Twitch service, but it’s gaining in popularity and the Xbox makes it easy to get started. Just maybe practice a little first so chat doesn’t make fun of your skills.

Arf File Player For Windows

Arf File Player for Windows [2023 Guide]




ARF file type contains recordings that usually are made during a conference, therefore it needs special software to operate it.

It contains audio, video,


results, pools,

file transfer





shares, and more.

We’ve listed several such tools, most of which are universal file openers.

Some of the entries are paid for, while some also offer up a free trial to start off with.

Technology is developing extremely quickly, and Cisco WebEx makes it possible these days to launch an online meeting or a web conference over a long distance.

ARF files contain recordings that have been made of online sessions and were downloaded from WebEx and recorded using Network-Based Recording which is often referred to as NBR.

This kind of file can be exported into a Windows media player and converted into a more widely used format.

Usually, ARF files contain any of the following types of content: audio, video, Q&A results, pools, file transfer, annotation, desktop shares, chat conversations, and more.

If you are trying to open an ARF file, you’re in the right spot because we gathered four of the best tools that will enable you to view, open and edit ARF files.

Make sure to check out these tools’ sets of features in order to be able to make the best decision.

Usually, you can use WebEx Network Recording Player in order to be able to open AFR files on Windows. But there are certain times when you may want to edit ARF contents with Adobe Premiere for instance or open AFR files on mobile devices.

This is where the screen recorder comes as one of the best available solutions. This tool is able to capture the screen to help you directly record ARF to MP4 for playing WebEx network recording.

Take a look at the most exciting features that are included in this tool and the easy steps that need to be taken in order to use it:

After you download the ARF Player, you have to install it, and this is really easy even for beginners.

Select Screen Recorder in order to enter Record Video and Audio window.

You have to select the recording area and choose Full Screen or Customize recording area to capture the WebEx network meeting.

After setting the recording options, you have to turn on System Audio and Microphone Audio in order to better save the web conferencing audio.

Now, you can easily record WebEx meeting to MP4.

You can download this Screen Recorder tool for free and see how it works on your machine running Windows.

Aiseesoft Screen Recorder

Record your screen, video games, skype calls, and youtube videos in the easiest and most professional way with Aiseesoft Screen Recorder.

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With HD Video Converter Factory Pro you can convert the downloaded WebEx online meeting recording from the ARF file format to other types to be able to play it on your devices. For instance, you can convert the ARF file to AVI, MP3, or MP4 formats.

The best solution to achieve this is to use HD Video Converter Factory Pro. This is an efficient ARF converter that offers users more than 300 formats and codes to choose from.

Check out the best features that are included in HD Video Converter Factory Pro:

This tool is famous for its really fast conversion speed and extremely high compression ratio that will help to significantly reduce the video file size without losing any quality during the process of conversion.

This is one of the best choices that you have available these days to convert ARF files to be able to play them on your system.

HD Video Converter Factory Pro provides a great visual experience in an efficient and safe method.

Using this tool, you will be able to download various videos from mainstream websites.

The powerful inner video editor will enable you to trim your videos and add various effects and subtitles as well.

⇒ Get Video Converter Factory Pro

Expert tip:

The user interface is simple, uncluttered. Anyone can get adjusted to it really fast since it does not have any particularities that need much learning. To open your files, you can easily place them on the main page with drag-and-drop. 

The types of files the software can open are generous. You get to enjoy audio and music files of over 700 formats, so there is a very high chance that you will be able to open virtually anything audio-related. 

The software can also open hundreds of formats of compressed files, database files, developer files, documents, image files, video and movies, and many more. 

Depending on the file type, the file opener comes with specific options. For example, if you want to open a movie file, you get a built-in media player with audio settings, video quality adjustments, and of course play/ pause buttons. 

Similarly, if you want to open a text document, you get some text editing features like font adjustments, font color, page number, or alignment options.

File View Pro also has a file compressing feature. You can use this to create .zip files or other formats of compressed files to save up disk space and you can always use this exact same software to open your compressed files in seconds.

Other key features include:

Email support for fast file sharing

Available in multiple languages

Minimal editing options for image files

File View Pro is a licensed software. You can download the unregistered, free version if you want to get accustomed to the user interface and see the toolset.

⇒ Get File View Pro

Cisco’s WebEx Player is one of the most popular tools that you can use for playing ARF files. With the help of this tool, you will be able to watch, share and edit WebEx recordings and all you have to do is just download the player.

Take a look at the best features that are included in this software:

⇒ Get WebEx Player

These are our top choices for the best solutions that you have available for playing ARF files. Check them all out and make the best decision for your needs and according to your skills.

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