Read QR codes on the Windows desktop with BarCode Reader
March 12, 2015 – 07:36 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

BarCode ReaderThe easiest way to scan the occasional QR code is on your phone. Install one of the many QR Reader apps, point your camera at it, and you’re done: it’ll detect the code, read the text and maybe act on it, for example opening your browser at a URL.

ByteScout BarCode Reader is a free tool which brings the same QR-reading abilities to the Windows desktop, and adds a lot of other functionality as well.

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What’s being connected to your PC? Device Cleanup Tool explains
March 11, 2015 – 10:36 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Device Cleanup ToolIf you’d like to know what someone’s doing on your PC then you’ll probably start with any software traces: browsing history, recent documents, folders, whatever it might be. There are all kinds of options, and they might tell you everything you need to know.

While they’re not so obvious, hardware traces can also be extremely useful. If you could see that an unknown phone or USB key is being connected to your PC at a strange time, say, then maybe someone is using the device to copy your personal documents.

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IObit’s Smart Defrag 4.0 adds Game Defrag, new engine
March 11, 2015 – 08:30 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

IObit Smart DefragIObit has announced the release of Smart Defrag 4.0, a major update for its freeware PC maintenance app.

A new Game Defrag mode brings program-specific speedups. Just point Smart Defrag at a shortcut or executable – it doesn’t have to be a game, any bulky application could benefit – and the program will optimise it for you.

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Google Calendar for iPhone released
March 10, 2015 – 17:49 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

Google CalendarGoogle has announced the release of its Google Calendar app for iPhone, an iOS version of the Android app released late last year.

Both editions are strong on scheduling, taking gmails like flight bookings and hotel reservations and automatically turning them into calendar events.

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Opera FINAL 28 debuts bookmark sync, updates bundled themes
March 10, 2015 – 14:09 by Nick Peers in News | No Comment

opera_new-200x175It’s been a feature of Firefox and Chrome for a while, but bookmark sync finally makes it way across to Opera FINAL 28, giving users of the Norwegian browser a convenient way to keep their bookmarks refreshed across all their devices.

The new feature isn’t restricted to desktop browsers either, with support for mobile platforms via Opera Mini for iOS as well as Android also implemented.

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PSPad is a versatile programmer’s editor
March 10, 2015 – 12:14 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

PSPadWhat is a “programmer’s editor”? Some developers seem to think it’s essentially a regular text editor with syntax highlighting bolted on, but if you need more, you might want to take a look at the free PSPad for Windows.

The program doesn’t just open local text files, for instance. A built-in FTP client means you can edit files directly on the server. An “Open… from internet” opens any URL, and an integrated hex editor enables you to work on just about anything.

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Find hidden data on your computer with PCFerret
March 9, 2015 – 10:20 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

PCFerretHow well do you know your PC, the data it holds, how it’s really being used by others? PCFerret is a freeware tool for Windows Vista and later which claims it can help you find out.

Despite the intriguing pitch, PCFerret opens with a relatively ordinary system information report. It covers the core details you’d expect – hardware, network, drive statistics, user accounts etc – and can be saved to HTML for easy sharing, but it can’t compete with the more specialist competition.

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FotoSketcher 3.00 adds amazing “brushstrokes” effect
March 9, 2015 – 10:14 by Mike Williams in News | No Comment

FotoSketcherDavid Thoirin has announced the release of FotoSketcher 3.00, a freeware Windows application for transforming digital photos into works of art.

The headline addition this time is a new Painting 10 (brushstrokes) effect, which turns your source image into a painting – complete with the look of layered brush strokes – in a couple of clicks.

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Turn videos into self-playing EXEs with Audio/Video to EXE
March 7, 2015 – 10:14 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

Audio/ Video To EXEWhen creating media files to share with others, it’s normally best to save them in a standard format, maybe MP3 or MP4, something you know just about everything in the world can play.

Audio/Video to EXE is a free tool which does something a little different, converting almost any audio or video format into a stand-alone executable. Launch the file and it just plays your media, no other player or codecs required.

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WeatherMate 4.0 now portable, supports 100+ US weather maps
March 6, 2015 – 10:04 by Mike Williams in Tips | No Comment

WeatherMateIts last big release was back in 2007, but Windows weather monitor WeatherMate has jumped back to life with the release of version 4.0, and a host of major improvements.

The program can now display a vast number of detailed US radar and weather maps, organised into categories like “Current Conditions”, “Forecasts”, “Severe Weather”, “Travel”, “Health”, “Aviation”, “Marine”, “Golf” and “Farming”.

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Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 Preview unveiled – final release due later this year
March 6, 2015 – 07:15 by Nick Peers in News | No Comment

Office for Mac 2016After a five-year gap, Microsoft has unveiled the first public beta of its forthcoming Office 2016 for Mac with the release of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 Preview. The new release is free for all Yosemite users during the remainder of the product’s pre-release phase, with the final version slated for release later this year.

Office for Mac 2016 Preview ships with five components: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. It boasts a refreshed and optimised codebase, Retina-friendly visuals and support for full-screen mode.

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