Mike Williams

How far has your mouse cursor traveled today? Mousotron tells all

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Point, click, tap, tap -- using your favorite PC programs can become a near automatic process. But have you ever wondered how much work is really involved, how far your mouse is moving, how many left or right-clicks you’re making? That’s what the free system monitor Mousotron can help you find out.

After an adware-free installation the program displays a very lengthy status bar, with various statistics on your keyboard and mouse use. There’s the distance your mouse has traveled (miles/ yards/ inches, or the metric equivalent); the total numbers of left, right, middle and double-clicks; the average mouse speed, X/ Y coordinates, active and idle time, and more.

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Xshell is a one-stop SSH, SFTP terminal emulator

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Most internet resources are accessed through a web interface, which means they’re normally very easy to use. You might have menus, text prompts, graphics, maybe wizards to walk you through whatever you’re trying to achieve.

For more low-level control, though -- micro-managing your own web space, maybe setting up a remote server -- you might still need a terminal emulator like the free-for-personal-use Xshell 5.

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Get free real-time backup and versioning with AutoVer

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AutoVer is a small, simple, and surprisingly capable free backup tool. Not only can the program monitor folders, detecting new and modified files, and backing them up in real time -- it can maintain a library of their previous versions, too.

The program opens with a very straightforward interface. No menus, no complex dialogs or status displays, just a four-column table and a small toolbar.

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Select random files in Explorer with Random Selection Tool

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Launch Windows Explorer and typically you’ll have some specific task in mind: a particular folder you need check, some files you’d like to open.

Occasionally, though, your requirements might be a little more vague. You want to watch a video, maybe, or play some music, but you don’t know and can’t decide which files to choose.

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Batch rename your photos with Exif ReName

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Everyone has their own idea of how digital photos should be named. This might change from time to time, cameras usually produce something entirely different, and the end result can be a hard-to-browse tangle of mismatched images.

It's a familiar story, but the open source Exif ReName tries to restore order by renaming and sorting your pictures based on the date and time they were taken.

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Block webcam hijacking with WebCam On-Off

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Webcam hijacking has been around for a long time, but recent stories about websites streaming live footage from thousands of hacked webcams have placed it firmly back in the headlines.

Fully protecting your own webcam requires tough security measures. A quality antivirus engine, smart firewall, strong passwords.

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Handbrake 0.10 ends XP support, adds H.265 encoder

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Popular 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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UnityPDF [Review]

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UnityPDF 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

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It’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

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Let’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

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Windows 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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skobbler’s 'Scout' app takes on TomTom

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Telenav subsidiary skobbler has announced the release of GPS Navigation & Maps -- Scout, a powerful -- and now free -- travel app for iOS and Android.

As with the previous skobbler app, you get online and offline maps (via OpenStreetMap), and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

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Convert eBooks/Office documents to PDF with Icecream PDF Converter

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Utilities 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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Comodo 8 delivers smarter sandboxing

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Comodo Group has announced the release of Comodo Antivirus 8 and Comodo Internet Security 8.

The new build brings smarter sandboxing with a new default "auto-sandboxing policy", keeping unknown programs isolated from your system.

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IObit releases Start Menu 8 v2.0 beta

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IObit has released a first beta for Start Menu 8 v2.0, its free alternative Start Menu.

The improvements start with more comprehensive searching. Enter a file name and the program now crawls your entire drive for matches, displaying hits wherever they might be.

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