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Vintager 2014 lets you transform digital snaps into photos of yesteryear
November 21, 2014 – 12:49 | No Comment

There’s something to be said for the way old printed photos age over time, as they turn yellow or sepia, colouring our own perception of the past. With the rise of digital, of course, all …

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Handbrake 0.10 adds H.265, ends XP support
November 23, 2014 – 18:28 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

HandbrakePopular open source video transcoder Handbrake has been updated to version 0.10 with some major additions and improvements.

New encoders include Intel Quick Sync Video, a speedy hardware-based H.264 encoder. Basic H.265 support is provided by x265 1.4, while WebM’s libvpx can encode VP8 to MKV files (and sees Theora deprecated).

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Quick Review: UnityPDF
November 22, 2014 – 07:31 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

UnityPDFUnityPDF would like to be the tool of choice for batch PDF processing. It can split or merge files, extract all or selected pages, divide one file into several, rotate every page in a file, insert pages from one file into another, password-protect or set permissions for your PDFs, even display or clean metadata.

That’s a solid set of features, and we were interested to see that UnityPDF had once been a commercial product, if only briefly (it’s now free for any use). Time for a closer look.

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Take full control of Windows updates with ABC-Update
November 21, 2014 – 16:21 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

ABC-UpdateIt’s important to keep Windows up-to-date, and the easiest way to make that happen is to let the operating system handle everything. Set Windows Update to “automatic” and get on with something else.

But if you need more control, some way to install only your chosen updates, at a time that’s convenient for you, then it might be worth looking at ABC-Update.

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Create stylish animated presentations with Notzy
November 21, 2014 – 05:48 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

NotzyLet’s be realistic: presentation software can be dull. Very, very dull. Boring templates, gradient fills with text boxes, images if you’re lucky, step from one page to the next, maybe export as PPT/PPTX.

We didn’t expect much from the free presentation builder Notzy, then – but the program turned out to be a real surprise.

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Diagnose process hangs with WhatIsHang
November 20, 2014 – 08:49 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

WhatIsHangWindows programs can crash sometimes: it’s just a fact of life. Annoying, too, although at least you’ll typically see an error message with some kind of clue about the cause.

When a program locks up, it’s a different story. There’s no error dialog, no system-level sign of trouble. If you don’t have the application window open then you may not notice it’s stopped working at all.

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Convert eBooks/ Office documents to PDF with Icecream PDF Converter
November 19, 2014 – 09:50 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Icecream PDF ConverterUtilities developer Icecream Apps has released Icecream PDF Converter, a capable tool for converting a range of file formats to and from PDF.

There are plenty of similar applications around, but what’s interesting here is most conversions are handled in the background by a bundled copy of Open Office.

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Ashampoo HDD Control 3 adds network monitoring, duplicate file finder tools
November 18, 2014 – 07:38 by Nick Peers in News | No Comment

Ashampoo HDD ControlAshampoo has unveiled a major new build of its hard drive maintenance and monitoring tool with the release of Ashampoo HDD Control 3.

The new release adds two major new features: support for monitoring up to three PCs over a network, and an addition to the program’s Clean System component, a tool for locating duplicate files.

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Force HTTPS connections for any app with SSL Enforcer
November 17, 2014 – 09:28 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

SSL EnforcerAccessing websites via an encrypted HTTPS connection is a great way to protect your personal information, and especially important when you’re using public wifi.

It’s easy to forget, of course, or use HTTP by accident. But that’s where SSL Enforcer comes in. It’s a free system-level tool which looks out for HTTP connections from any application, reroutes them to use HTTPS, or otherwise blocks them entirely.

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Zoom images online with Power Zoom (Chrome)
November 17, 2014 – 07:30 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Power ZoomPower Zoom is a Chrome extension which makes it easier to browse thumbnail images online.

There’s no clicking, no opening images in a new page or tab, no need to click Back afterwards: just hover your mouse cursor over the thumbnail, the linked full-size image is downloaded, and displayed in a pop-up over the current page. Move your mouse away, it disappears, and you can repeat the process elsewhere.

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Files 2 Folder: a faster way to sort, organise and move your files
November 16, 2014 – 06:35 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Files 2 FolderOrganising files in Windows can be a tedious experience. You’ll view your source files, maybe create a few destination folders, select each group of files, move them to their new home… Then start all over again.

Sounds familiar? Then Files 2 Folder might appeal. It’s a free Explorer extension which can automatically move files into new folders based on your preferred rules.

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CCleaner 5.0 first beta gets a flat new(-ish) look
November 15, 2014 – 14:34 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

CCleanerPiriform has released the first beta for CCleaner 5.0, its popular system cleanup tool.

The only change so far is the move to a flat interface, and even that is largely cosmetic. Functions and features are organised just as they were before, but the toolbar icons are replaced by plain stencils, and the title bar is now also a stark-looking white, whatever your Windows settings happen to be.

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