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Windows 10 Build 10162 edges towards the finish line
July 3, 2015 – 12:00 | No Comment

Microsoft has announced the release of Windows 10 Build 10162 to the Fast ring.
Gabe Aul’s blog post on the release said the company was “focused at this point on bug fixing and final polish”, …

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Context Menu Manager for Windows
July 6, 2015 – 06:57 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Context Menu ManagerDouble or right-click a file in Explorer and it’s not always obvious what’s going to happen. You might find context menu entries for all kinds of long-forgotten applications, and Windows provides no obvious way to clean up.

Context Menu Manager is a free (well, ad-sponsored) portable program to help you browse your current file associations, view their context menus, clean up broken entries, and maybe add a few new right-click options to get your system working better.

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AlomWare Reset: for when rebooting is just too slow
July 4, 2015 – 08:34 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

AlomWare ResetIf your PC seems sluggish after a lengthy session then you might reboot to free up resources, get a clean start. But it could take a while, with perhaps minutes of disk thrashing as various processes restart.

AlomWare Reset is a $14 utility which tries to restore that “just launched” feeling, but only by focusing on the core essentials, and so boosts your system in just a few seconds.

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Capture, edit and share webpage screenshots with qSnap
July 3, 2015 – 09:00 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

qSnapTaking a screenshot of what you can see on a computer is easy. Capturing something larger than the screen – in particular, a lengthy web page – is much more of a challenge, and even specialist screen capture tools won’t necessarily do it.

QSnap is a free service and set of browser add-ons which helps you capture web pages, no matter what size they are, and can edit and share them, too.

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Scan pages as searchable PDFs with NAPS2
July 3, 2015 – 05:23 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

NAPS2Earlier this year we wrote about NAPS2 (Not Another PDF Scanner 2), a tiny open source tool which could scan documents to PDF, TIFF and other file formats. We liked the program’s simplicity and ease of use, and in the past few months it’s been further extended with some major new features.

Integrated OCR means you can now make your PDFs searchable. There’s no complex interface to navigate, no manual setting of OCR regions or anything else: just click the OCR button, choose the document language and NAPS2 handles everything else.

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Scan for local wifi with Acrylic WiFi Free
July 2, 2015 – 10:54 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Acrylic WiFi FreeIf your wifi isn’t performing well then using a scanner to check for competing networks can often tell you more.

Unsure where to begin? Acrylic WiFi Free claims to be “the most advanced WLAN Scanner”, which sounds encouraging. It’s free for personal use and runs on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, so we grabbed a copy to take a closer look.

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Imagina is a professional photo processor for Windows
July 2, 2015 – 06:33 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

ImaginaWith so many image viewers and editors available for the PC, it’s not easy for developers to make their product stand out. Some try to win you over with the sheer quantity of features, but Imagina is more about the quality: it doesn’t do much, but what you get works very well.

The thumbnail browser doesn’t just open with the usual JPGs and PNGs, for instance – dcraw support means it can handle many RAW formats, initially displaying them in an attractive photo collage-like “3D Desktop” view.

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Shrink your PDFs with PDF to DjVu GUI
July 1, 2015 – 11:53 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Pdf to DjVu GUIAt first glance, “PDF to DjVu GUI” doesn’t sound like the most promising of programs. Convert documents from one of the most commonly supported formats ever, to something most people don’t know at all? If you need to share files with a wide audience then there’s no way that will ever be a good idea.

And yet, DjVu does have its advantages, especially with document size. We tried out the program with 12 PDF files, and while one DjVu version was fractionally larger, most were 25% – 80% smaller than the original, and a couple dropped by around 90%.

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Track & edit video objects with Sensarea
June 30, 2015 – 09:03 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

SensareaMost video editors provide various effects you can apply to a movie, maybe tweaking its brightness, contrast or colours. But typically these filters work with the entire frame only, which seriously limits their usefulness.

Sensarea is a free video editor for Windows which allows you to select objects, then tracks them in the frame, automatically applying your chosen effects. If you wanted to conceal someone’s identity, say, you could set up the system to pixelate their face with just a few minutes work.

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Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11 released
June 29, 2015 – 13:10 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11Xara Group has announced the release of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 11, its one-stop photo editor, graphic design and publishing tool for Windows Vista+.

Art Brushes are a highlight, a new technology which smoothly stretches bitmap or vector brushes in real-time along a freehand path. There are new brushes to emulate paint, chalk or watercolours, or you can create your own as required.

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Manage 2-20 virtual Windows desktops with Virtuoz
June 29, 2015 – 07:09 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

VirtuozUnChecky developer RaMMicHaeL has announced the release of Virtuoz, a simple and lightweight virtual desktop utility for Windows.

“It was inspired by Sysinternals Desktops”, the author explained, “but uses a different approach, which doesn’t impose the limitations which Desktops is bound to.”

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Find similar audio files with MediaPurge
June 27, 2015 – 07:44 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

MediaPurgeBuilding a media collection is much more fun than organising it, and no matter how good your intentions, it’s all too easy to end up having to navigate a scattered mess of audio and video files.

MediaPurge is a freeware Windows application which provides several ways to restore order, including finding audio duplicates, tagging, renaming or sorting files into a new folder structure.

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