Mike Williams

Backup, clone or reformat USB keys with ImageUSB

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ImageUSB is a free Windows application for creating and writing images of USB drives. It sounds much like many other free tools, but wait -- this one is much better than you might expect.

The program comes from a trustworthy developer, PassMark Software, so you can download it with confidence. That won’t exactly take long -- it’s a very compact 463KB -- and there’s no installation required, just unzip and go.

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Caliber: instant messaging for your LinkedIn contacts

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Most instant messaging apps market themselves on just how much fun they are, with group chats, location services, media sharing, and of course way more stickers and emojis than everyone else.

Free Android and iOS app Caliber bypasses all this and goes for a different audience entirely: it’s instant messaging for your business contacts.

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Office Image Extraction Wizard goes open source

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RL Vision has announced that its Office Image Extraction Wizard is now open source.

The Windows application is a simple but effective tool for extracting images from Office and many other document types. Although, notably, not PDF (the company has a shareware application for that).

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First look: Process Lasso 8

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Whether you’re working on your PC or not, there are always plenty of processes running in the background: system services, program updaters, security tools, scheduled tasks and so on.

Windows uses a range of techniques to decide how your system resources are shared out, but you may still find some processes grab more than you’d like, drastically cutting the performance of everything else.

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Highlight key text on web pages with Super Simple Highlighter for Chrome

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You're working on some web research project, part way through a lengthy page, when it's time to go and do something else. Annoying, because while you can bookmark the site, when you next return you’ll still have to find all the most important quotes and paragraphs all over again.

Super Simple Highlighter is a Chrome extension which makes it easy to highlight one or more sections of a page, restoring them when you return (usually) so you can carry on where you left off.

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Twitter's live video streaming Periscope app now available

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Twitter has launched Periscope, a Meerkat-like iOS app which broadcasts live video to your followers.

Going live sends an instant notification to your friends, who can tune in via Twitter or the app, see what you’re seeing, add comments in real time or send you hearts (the Periscope equivalent of Facebook Likes) to show their appreciation.

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Troubleshoot DLL problems with DLL Hijack Detect

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Run a Windows program and it’ll often try to access functions or data in a Dynamic Link Library (a DLL file). If the program has provided a copy of the DLL then Windows will load that, otherwise it’ll search various folders on your system to find a copy.

Sounds great, in theory, but there can be problems. If you have multiple copies of a DLL scattered around your system, applications won’t always get the versions they expect. And if malware copies a DLL to a preferential point in the Windows search order – so-called “DLL hijacking” – then you could be running malicious code whenever it’s requested.

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Colorblinding shows how websites look to the color blind

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You can spend a very long time choosing your website color scheme, finding a starting shade, then a matching palette, shuffling and rearranging until you find something that appeals.

This isn’t all about you, though -- it’s also vital to understand how your design will be seen by anyone with a color vision deficiency.

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PhotoDemon gains RAW support, more selection tools

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Tanner Helland has announced the release of PhotoDemon 6.6, his open source photo editor for Windows.

The lengthy list of major new features starts with powerful Magic Wand, Polygon and Lasso selection tools.

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Fix corrupt photos with JPEG Repair Shop

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Maybe a download failed, an archive was damaged, a CD just got too old -- it doesn’t really matter. All you know is that one of your most important JPEGs has been corrupted, and there’s no obvious way to restore it.

Sounds like a case for JPEG Repair Shop, a free portable tool which can fix some types of corruption in a click or two.

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Flickr Tab displays great images on every new Chrome tab

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Flickr Tab is a simple Chrome extension which displays a popular Flickr image every time you open a new Chrome tab.

Interesting idea, we thought. Maybe you’ll be able to customize the images, perhaps define a few keywords, so you’re running a personalized Flickr search each time?

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Easily create and debug batch files with Batch IDE

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Creating and testing batch files can be a tedious experience. You’ll open Notepad, type your script, save it, switch to an Explorer window, find and double-click the file. And if there are problems you must switch back to Notepad and do the same thing again.

Batch IDE is a tiny portable batch file editor (a 114KB download) which cuts out all this hassle by including a "Run" button. Enter your script, click Run when you’re ready, and a command window opens to display the results: no saving or task switching required.

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X-Bomber is a fast, fun 2D space shooter

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Vertical-scrolling 2D space shooters have been entertaining gamers for more than 30 years, so it’s no surprise that some people see them as very dated. But the genre has some a long way since the empty repetitive arcade games of the 1980s.

The free X-Bomber for Windows doesn’t just repeat the same levels at higher speeds or with more enemies -- you get 17 missions, with multiple objectives, a back story based on the Japanese sci-fi TV series Star Fleet, and dynamic in-game dialog from the characters.

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TCPLogView 1.15 automatically logs open net connections

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NirSoft has updated TCPLogView 1.15 and TCPLogView (64-bit) 1.15 to automatically log TCP connections as they're opened and closed on Windows 2000-8.

Details recorded include the event type (Open, Close, Listen), time, local and remote addresses, local and remote ports, and the initiating process name and ID.

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Art of Illusion is a free 3D modeling studio

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Tools like Plotagon are a fun way to create simple 3D videos, but as we saw yesterday, they’re a little limited. Okay, make that very limited.

If you’d like to try 3D modeling for real then the open source Java-based Art of Illusion provides much more scope for getting creative.

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