Latest Skype Beta extends Skype Video Messaging support to Windows – finally
April 30, 2013 – 13:17 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on Latest Skype Beta extends Skype Video Messaging support to Windows – finally

SkypeMicrosoft has released Skype for Desktop 6.5 Beta, a new preview version for Windows users. The new release is notable for introducing support for Skype Video Messaging to Windows, a feature that allows users to send pre-recorded video messages to other Skype users when offline. The feature has already landed in Skype for Mac, Skype for iOS and Skype for Android.

The new video calling feature allows users to record video messages that can be sent to other contacts, even when they’re not online, and requires that Adobe Flash already be present on the computer.

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Revolutionize your iPhone’s sound for the better with Accudio Free
April 30, 2013 – 11:45 by Nick Peers in Tips | Comments Off on Revolutionize your iPhone’s sound for the better with Accudio Free

AccudioI used to think my iPod touch was the bee’s knees when it came to digital music players. Exposure to true audiophile-friendly models from the likes of Cowon and Colorfly, coupled with listening to FLAC tracks on my budget Sony Xperia phone taught me better, and for a while I was incredibly frustrated with the shortcomings of Apple’s supposedly market-leading player.

I’ve since discovered that most of that frustration can be targeted at the frankly rubbish Music app that ships with iOS. And now I’m ready to embrace decent sounding music on my iPod touch thanks to a fabulous app called Accudio Free 1.0.0.

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Miranda NG is a multi-protocol IM client with style
April 30, 2013 – 07:59 by Mark Wilson in News | Comments Off on Miranda NG is a multi-protocol IM client with style

Miranda NGPerhaps the most frustrating aspect of instant messaging is the sheer number of different services and clients that are available. While there has been a degree of convergence over the years, there is still a high chance that if you want to be able to communicate with all of your friends, family and colleague through instant messaging, you’re going to need to have a few clients installed. This might not be the case if you try out Miranda NG, though.

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Toasts&Tiles Takes Care of Gmail in Windows 8
April 30, 2013 – 06:59 by Mark Wilson in News | Comments Off on Toasts&Tiles Takes Care of Gmail in Windows 8

Gmail LogoWhat do you do when you need to check your email? Fire up Outlook or Thunderbird? Launch Chrome and head over to the Gmail website? Having to do this throughout the day is a waste of time, and it’s a waste of time that Toasts&Tiles for Gmail aims to address. As you’d probably guess from the name, this is a Gmail client that includes support for toast notifications as well as live tiles.

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FatBatt: Your laptop battery on steroids
April 30, 2013 – 05:39 by Mark Wilson in News | Comments Off on FatBatt: Your laptop battery on steroids

FatBattUsing your laptop on the move can mean having to dart from one power source to another. Whether you have a new laptop with a brand new battery, or an aging system with a battery that has seen better days, the amount of time you can use your computer without plugging in is of paramount importance. There are steps you can take to maximize the life of your battery, and it is also something that FatBatt can help you with. Read More »

WinRAR 5.0 Beta 1 available for download
April 29, 2013 – 13:30 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on WinRAR 5.0 Beta 1 available for download

The first public beta of WinRAR 5.0 is now available. And it’s an interesting release with quite a few new features, although most are based around the addition of a new archiving format – RAR 5.0.

This first aims to improve compression performance by increasing the maximum and default dictionary sizes. Some older and less efficient compression algorithms have been ditched, while RAR 5.0 decompression can make use of multiple CPU cores.

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Rainmeter 3.0 Beta comes with the promise of better text rendering
April 29, 2013 – 12:43 by Nick Peers in News | One Comment

RainmeterThere are plenty of ways you can spruce up your Windows desktop, but if you’d like to inject some useful functionality into it with the help of customisable information panes and interactive widgets, then you shouldn’t look much further than Rainmeter 2.5. The open-source skinning tool isn’t for novices, but spend a bit of time with it and you’ll soon find your desktop is as functional as it’s attractive to look at.

One of Rainmeter’s weaknesses is the quality of the text displayed – particularly at smaller sizes. That’s about to be rectified however, and you can see how they’re getting on by installing the latest pre-release in the form of Rainmeter 3.0 Beta.

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Access Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox accounts from one app with RainbowDrive
April 29, 2013 – 10:17 by Nick Peers in Tips | Comments Off on Access Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox accounts from one app with RainbowDrive

RainbowDriveOne way to gain loads of free online storage space is to mix and match storage providers, taking advantage of each to quickly build up tens of gigabytes of cloud-based storage for backup, sync and sharing purposes. The downside of such an approach is the fact you need to manage each provider using its own dedicated app.

Nowhere is this frustration more evident than when using a tablet or phone to access your data, as you have to switch between apps to try and locate where you’ve stored a particular file. But help may be hand in the form of an app for Windows 8, iPad and Android called RainbowDrive 2.0.0 that attempts to bring multiple providers together under one roof.

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Calculatormatik: a feature-packed calculator with something for everyone
April 29, 2013 – 08:37 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Calculatormatik: a feature-packed calculator with something for everyone

If you ever need to carry out a quick calculation or unit conversion then there are plenty of online resources which can help. And Google is a great place to start; just enter your calculation in the Search box and see what happens.

There’s still a place for calculator software, though, especially if it supports a wide range of functions. So we were particularly interested to find Calculatormatik, an extremely versatile tool which crams 100 conversion and calculator-type options into a mere 198KB download.

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Take screen grabs at regular intervals with AutoScreenShot
April 29, 2013 – 08:30 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Take screen grabs at regular intervals with AutoScreenShot

If you’d like to keep an eye on your kids’ PC activities then you could pay big money for a full-strength parental controls package, with comprehensive monitoring tools, detailed reports and a whole lot more.

If your needs are more basic, though, you could just download AutoScreenShot, a tiny free tool which will save regular screenshots which you can review later.

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XnSketch transforms photos into paintings, sketches and more
April 28, 2013 – 13:10 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on XnSketch transforms photos into paintings, sketches and more

Most photo editors have a few filters which can turn regular photos into instant works of art: an oil painting, say, or a pencil sketch. But if you’d like more – or you just want the arty effects, without the photo editing overhead – then XnSketch is a simple free tool which just might be able to help.

The program runs almost everywhere (Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android), and is very easy to use. We tried the Windows build, and it came with no adware or other unwanted extras – just unzip the download and you’re ready to go immediately.

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