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LastPass for OS X puts password manager directly on the Mac desktop
January 21, 2015 – 11:54 | No Comment

LastPass has released LastPass for Mac 3.2.0, a desktop version of its popular password-management tool. The app, also available as a series of browser extensions for Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera, now sits at the …

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Ra is a Chrome text editor/ file manager for your local storage
January 27, 2015 – 05:22 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

RaChrome apps are sometimes criticised as being strictly internet-only, virtually useless if you need to work offline.

There’s some truth in that, but it’s not always the case. Ra is a Chrome-based text editor which not only works with local text files, but can double as a simple file manager.

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Build the perfect portable toolkit with SyMenu
January 26, 2015 – 09:08 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

SyMenuIf you regularly work on other people’s PCs then it can be wise to bring along some software of your own.

Add portable Firefox and GIMP to a USB stick, say, and you won’t need to rely on the host PC’s browser or graphics editor any more. Your favourite applications will be available wherever you are, with your own settings, and a relatively private history (it won’t be as easy for the PC owner to see the sites you’ve accessed).

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Inside “Easy Disk Drive Repair” malware with VB Decompiler
January 23, 2015 – 11:32 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

VB Decompiler LiteIf you regularly download brand new programs from unknown developers then there’s an above-average chance you’ll find some malware. Antivirus software won’t necessarily pick up on the very latest threats, and so you’ll need further tools and strategies to identify potential dangers.

We recently wrote about “Easy Disk Drive Repair”, and explained how we realised this promising-looking program was actually a trojan which turned off UAC and modified browser files. We used fairly simple and straightforward techniques, but if you want to get really technical, there’s a way to find out much more about how the program works.

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Get more from your CPU with ParkControl
January 22, 2015 – 17:42 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

ParkControlWindows power plans seem simple, at least in theory. Launch the “Power Options” applet, then select “High performance” on desktops for maximum CPU speed, “Power saver” on mobile systems to optimise for energy use, or “Balanced” for somewhere in between.

That’s most how it works, too, but Windows also has a hidden setting which can fine tune the results, maybe saving more energy or further improving system speeds.

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Labrys is an alternative Start Menu for Windows 7+
January 22, 2015 – 07:55 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

LabrysMicrosoft’s decision to drop the Start Menu in Windows 8 persuaded many developers to produce their own alternatives, and there’s no shortage of free options to explore (Classic Shell is probably still the best)

Finding yet another example in the new Labrys didn’t exactly fill us with excitement, then, but despite several flaws it’s different enough to be interesting.

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Quickly transcribe audio files with pmTrans
January 21, 2015 – 09:18 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

pmTransWhether you’re typing up an entire interview, or just trying to note a few song lyrics, the endless clicking of Play/ Pause/ Rewind means it’s usually a very tedious process.

PmTrans is an easy-to-use Java-based application which can help in various ways. There’s no installation, the program is a single JAR file which you can download and run right away.

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Screen Reader reads on-screen text as you point at it
January 20, 2015 – 09:21 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Screen ReaderScreen Reader is a compact free tool which reads on-screen text out loud, as you point at it.

If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like Windows’ built-in Narrator, then you’re right – Screen Reader even uses the same core Microsoft speech engine to do its work. But the program also has a few advantages which might justify its download.

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Identifying malware with PEStudio
January 19, 2015 – 11:14 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

PeStudioThere are many technical tools which can help you identify and understand malware, and we used a few of these very recently while investigating Easy Disk Drive Repair.

You don’t have to master all of these to pick out potential threats, though. The compact and portable PeStudio can help you identify suspect programs in seconds.

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Transform photos into 3D animations with PhotoAnim
January 19, 2015 – 07:16 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

PhotoAnimConverting regular 2D images to 3D can be a very effective way to give them some extra impact, and it’s simpler than you might think.

PhotoAnim is a formerly commercial, now free application which helps you edit, morph, transform and animate 2D objects, then share the results online, in videos and various 3D formats.

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“Easy Disk Drive Repair” is not what it seems
January 18, 2015 – 06:57 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Malware Hunting“Easy Disk Drive Repair” looked like a promising program. “An incredibly easy to use, yet powerful drive repair and maintenance tool”, the developer claimed. Works with all drive types. More than one million downloads, five star awards plastered all over their product pages, and listed at big sites like Softpedia and ZDNet.

Sounded great, but we don’t like to copy and paste a developer’s description onto our own pages. We wanted to try it out, first.

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NirSoft’s WirelessConnectionInfo displays in-depth wifi stats
January 18, 2015 – 06:51 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

WirelessConnectionViewNirSoft has announced the release of WirelessConnectionInfo, a free tool which displays detailed stats on the active wifi connection under Windows Vista and later.

The WirelessConnectionInfo report displays 90 items, including network SSID, PHY Type (802.11n, say), signal quality, security algorithm, channel and more.

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