If you’re trying to diagnose web problems, or you’re concerned about security, then it can sometimes be useful to watch your PC’s HTTP and HTTPS traffic.
Fiddler is one possible solution, an industrial-strength web debugging proxy with a lengthy feature list and enough monitoring power to satisfy the most demanding of developers.
Pushbullet is a great app which makes it easy to send files, links, notifications and more from one of your devices to another.
The latest release adds full Apple support. Just as with Android devices, you’re now able to have iPhone or iPad notifications automatically pushed to a Windows or Mac desktop (or anywhere else you’ve installed the system).
Ex-Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner has revealed a technical preview of Vivaldi, a new Chromium-based browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.
As this is a first release, the big features are mostly "coming soon". There will be extensions support, a built-in mail client, syncing across your devices, but they’re not here yet.
Chrome apps are sometimes criticized as being strictly internet-only, virtually useless if you need to work offline.
There’s some truth in that, but it’s not always the case. Ra is a Chrome-based text editor which not only works with local text files, but can double as a simple file manager.
If you regularly work on other people’s PCs then it can be wise to bring along some software of your own.
Add portable Firefox and GIMP to a USB stick, say, and you won’t need to rely on the host PC’s browser or graphics editor any more. Your favorite applications will be available wherever you are, with your own settings, and a relatively private history (it won’t be as easy for the PC owner to see the sites you’ve accessed).
If you regularly download brand new programs from unknown developers then there’s an above-average chance you’ll find some malware. Antivirus software won’t necessarily pick up on the very latest threats, and so you’ll need further tools and strategies to identify potential dangers.
We recently wrote about "Easy Disk Drive Repair", and explained how we realised this promising-looking program was actually a trojan which turned off UAC and modified browser files. We used fairly simple and straightforward techniques, but if you want to get really technical, there’s a way to find out much more about how the program works.
Windows power plans seem simple, at least in theory. Launch the Power Options applet, then select "High performance" on desktops for maximum CPU speed, "Power saver" on mobile systems to optimise for energy use, or "Balanced" for somewhere in between.
That’s most how it works, too, but Windows also has a hidden setting which can fine tune the results, maybe saving more energy or further improving system speeds.
Microsoft’s decision to drop the Start Menu in Windows 8 persuaded many developers to produce their own alternatives, and there’s no shortage of free options to explore (Classic Shell is probably still the best)
Finding yet another example in the new Labrys didn’t exactly fill us with excitement, then, but despite several flaws it’s different enough to be interesting.
Whether you’re typing up an entire interview, or just trying to note a few song lyrics, the endless clicking of Play/ Pause/ Rewind means it’s usually a very tedious process.
PmTrans is an easy-to-use Java-based application which can help in various ways. There’s no installation, the program is a single JAR file which you can download and run right away.
IObit Malware Fighter Free has been updated to version 3 with a range of new features and enhancements.
The "Browser Protect" module provides real-time protection for your home and search pages, blocks some malicious sites, eliminates malicious toolbars, and prevents malware modifying your system DNS settings.
Screen Reader is a compact free tool which reads on-screen text out loud, as you point at it.
If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like Windows’ built-in Narrator, then you’re right -- Screen Reader even uses the same core Microsoft speech engine to do its work. But the program also has a few advantages which might justify its download.
Anvisoft has released Anvi Ultimate Defrag 1.2, and announced that the program -- once an eye-watering $29.98 -- is now free.
Unsurprisingly, that does introduce some other issues. Setup now installs another Anvisoft product by default (you can avoid this with a click), and Ultimate Defrag’s interface is now spoiled by an "Anvi Slim Toolbar PRO" ad (this can be hidden, but returns when you next launch the program).
There are many technical tools which can help you identify and understand malware, and we used a few of these very recently while investigating Easy Disk Drive Repair.
You don’t have to master all of these to pick out potential threats, though. The compact and portable PeStudio can help you identify suspect programs in seconds.
Converting regular 2D images to 3D can be a very effective way to give them some extra impact, and it’s simpler than you might think.
PhotoAnim is a formerly commercial, now free application which helps you edit, morph, transform and animate 2D objects, then share the results online, in videos and various 3D formats.