Automatically update Windows device drivers with DriveTheLife
January 8, 2015 – 12:52 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

DriveTheLifeKeeping your Windows software up-to-date is almost always a good idea, bringing new features, perhaps improving security and fixing bugs.

The benefits of updating your device drivers aren’t quite as clear-cut: it may be worthwhile, but if the new driver is buggy – or you just make a mistake during the update process – then you could seriously mess up your PC.

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Advanced SystemCare Ultimate 8.0 promises enhanced security with no performance penalty
January 8, 2015 – 07:59 by Nick Peers in News | No Comment

Advanced SystemCare Ultimate 8.0Two months after unveiling Advanced SystemCare Free 8.0, IObit has released Advanced SystemCare Ultimate 8.0.1, a major new update for its top-of-the-line system optimisation, maintenance and security tool.

Ultimate users gain the same improvements and new features as found in the Free and Pro versions of the software, but also benefit from enhanced real-time protection from worms, Trojans and other malware, as well as new and improved browser security tools.

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Protect your Firefox settings with Preferences Monitor
January 8, 2015 – 05:05 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Preferences MonitorFirefox is an excellent browser, and its configurability is a major plus. If you don’t like some aspect of the program then there’s probably a tweak which can help.

Keeping your preferred settings can be more of a challenge, though, especially if an extension changes one or more of them without asking. Preferences Monitor is a Firefox addon which can help by monitoring all your about:config changes, warning you of any that seem dubious, and allowing you to undo them with a click.

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FORCEdraft: a text editor which won’t let you quit…
January 7, 2015 – 11:55 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

FORCEdraftTwitter, Facebook, emails, eBay – any web-enabled PC has a pile of distractions to prevent you doing real work.

FORCEdraft is a free text editor which offers an unusually strict solution: it just won’t let you access any other programs until you’ve finished the job.

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Anvi AD Blocker Ultimate now free
January 7, 2015 – 09:58 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

Anvi AD Blocker UltimateAnvisoft has released Anvi AD Blocker Ultimate 3.2, the latest edition of their web adblocker, and announced that the product is now free.

It didn’t look that way when we installed the program, unfortunately, as a web page opened post-setup inviting us to buy it.

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Cut video file sizes in half with IFME
January 6, 2015 – 09:33 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Internet Friendly Media EncoderHEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding, aka H.265) is an amazing video standard which is just as good as its name suggests, routinely producing videos half the size of their H.264 equivalents.

It’s becoming more widely supported, too: the iPhone 6 can use it for FaceTime, Android Lollipop and Windows 10 handle it out of the box, some major applications (CyberLink’s PowerDVD, for example) added support last year.

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Textarea Cache: save web form text as you type (Firefox)
January 5, 2015 – 10:32 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Textarea CacheIt’s happened to us all. You’ve spent an age at a website, deep in thought, working on a lengthy forum post or similar wall of text, when the browser window closes unexpectedly – and you’ve lost everything.

You could get angry, maybe throw things, before calming down and starting again. But it might be better to install Textarea Cache, a free Firefox addon which saves the contents of text fields locally, as you type, and makes them ready for recovery in seconds.

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Launch/ close multiple apps on demand with Splat
January 5, 2015 – 08:07 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

SplatPreparing your PC for work – or play – often requires several steps. You might launch a word processor, a spreadsheet, database, maybe a couple of websites, for instance. Or perhaps you’ll free up system resources by closing all non-essential programs before running a game.

None of this takes very long, but it’s tedious. Especially if you’re repeating the same steps, time and time again, each and every day. And that’s why you might want to simplify the process with Skwire Empire’s latest freeware release, Splat ( Simple Program Launching and Termination).

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HexDive finds interesting strings in binary files
January 3, 2015 – 07:59 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

HexDiveYou’ve found a mystery executable on your PC. What is it? Could it be malware? You check the file’s Properties dialog, and search for its name online, but can’t find anything useful.

One common next step is to open it in an editor. If the file isn’t packed then you might find it contains meaningful text strings – company names, URLs, prompts, paths, Registry keys – which will give you much more information about its origins and purpose.

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Better Search: a one-stop web research assistant for Chrome
January 2, 2015 – 06:55 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Better SearchIf you’re starting a web research project then Chrome is an ideal companion: fast, easy to use, and with a capable bookmarking system to record your favourite sites.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement, though, and Better Search extends the browser with a host of new search-related features and functionality.

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Greenshot adds screenshot callouts, resizing, more
January 2, 2015 – 04:53 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

GreenshotYou might have missed it over the holidays, but just before Christmas the excellent screenshot tool Greenshot was updated to version 1.2 with some major improvements and additions.

The program now supports selecting a capture region with the keyboard: just use the cursor keys to move the cursor (hold down Ctrl to accelerate), and press Enter to define the start and end points.

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