Mike Williams

Bitdefender Total Security 2015 beta released

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Bitdefender has released its first public beta for Bitdefender Total Security 2015.

The interface has been revamped, automatically adapting to different resolutions and (Bitdefender says) working "fluidly on any touch screen device".

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SX Antivirus Kit bundles all SecurityXploded virus-hunting tools

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SecurityXPloded has announced the release of SX Antivirus Kit, a collection of its system checking and malware detection tools.

Despite the name, there’s no antivirus engine here, nothing to directly detect and remove threats. The 14 bundled programs are more focused on manual detection, helping you spot any signs of malware on your PC.

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NirSoft releases Wifi Collector -- for Android?

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NirSoft has announced the release of Wifi Collector, its first Android app.

Yes: Android. NirSoft’s Nir Sofer may be best known as a prolific developer of Windows utilities, but he’s now decided to branch out into the mobile world.

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Troubleshoot application launch issues with WinPrefetchView

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Prefetching is an excellent Windows technology which records the files loaded when an application starts, helping the system to optimise their launch times in future.

Normally this all happens entirely in the background. But if you’re having launch problems with a particular application, or you just want to better understand how your PC works, then NirSoft’s WinPrefetchView might be able to help. (As long as you’re not using an SSD, anyway – prefetching is unnecessary and, probably, disabled.)

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Compress your JPEGs by up to 20 percent with wxPackJPG

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JPEG compression is amazingly efficient, but while this is normally good news, it’s a little disappointing when you’re archiving. Store your JPEG library in a zip file and you’ll barely cut their size at all.

Choose a more specialist compression format, though, and the results can be very different. WxPackJPG is a graphical front end for the open-source PackJPG. It claims to compress JPEGs by up to 20 percent.

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Explore hidden Windows icons and bitmaps with NirSoft’s ResourcesExtract

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The software you run on a PC may be packaged in several different formats: EXE, DLL, CPL and so on.

These file types aren't just for executable code, though. They can also contain resources for the program can call on, as required: icons, bitmaps, cursors, videos and more.

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Trend Micro releases free Heartbleed scanners for Android, Chrome

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Trend Micro has announced the availability of two free scanners for the Heartbleed bug, meant for Google Chrome and Android. The first, a browser add-on, allows users to enter and check any specific URL.

The second, an Android app, is a little more advanced. It checks whether your device or apps are directly affected by the bug, or whether any installed apps access a cloud service which is still vulnerable.

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Rain Alarm: a handy weather alert app that works almost anywhere

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As you might guess from its name, Rain Alarm is a smart app which can warn you about imminent snow or rain. That doesn’t sound too special -- there are a host of tools promising to do the same thing -- but this one has what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

It’s about as cross-platform as you can get, for example: there are apps for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8; add-ons for Firefox and Chrome, or you can just visit the Rain Alarm website from almost anything with a browser.

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WordPress gains faster, easier media editing

WordPress

WordPress.org has announced the release of WordPress 3.9, a significant update which brings a host of worthwhile improvements.

Uploading your images is now as easy as dragging and dropping them into the editor. Once there, quicker access to crop and rotation tools, as well as the ability to resize them "in place", makes for a smoother editing experience.

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Emsisoft, Kaspersky top AV-Comparatives' Real-World Protection Test

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Independent security testing lab AV-Comparatives has revealed a summary of its March 2014 Real-World Protection Test, where top antivirus products are exposed to a test set of 1,264 current threats.

Topping the chart this time were Emsisoft Anti-Malware 8.1 and Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, both blocking 99.7 percent of threats with no false positives at all.

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Bluhell Firewall: a simple but effective ad-blocker for Firefox

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Building the perfect ad-blocker is a complex business, not least because your users can have very different ideas on how it should work.

Some developers try to address this with layer after layer of features. You’ll be able to whitelist this, blacklist that, and add custom filters for just about everything else. Sounds great, until you have to spend an age learning how everything works, and start to notice how all these layers are slowing you down.

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FilExile deletes files or folders that Explorer won’t touch

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Deleting files from Windows Explorer is usually very easy. Select your target, tap "Del", click the "Yes, I really mean it" button and the object disappears forever. (Or is sent to the Recycle Bin, anyway.)

Sometimes you’ll get an "in use" error, though, usually because the file is locked by Windows or the system. It’s best to find out why -- the file could be important -- but if all else fails, a specialist tool like Unlocker can help you to delete it anyway.

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Freeplane: a versatile brainstorming tool

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Whether you need to understand a problem, complete a task, or just generally get organized, mind mapping can probably help. Not least because it’s so easy.

Start with the central issue; note down any related ideas, and begin to arrange and order them. You’ll quickly come up with a structure which helps you better understand the issue.

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Run super-fast file searches with Hddb

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If you need to run rapid searches for file names on NTFS drives then there’s no substitute for VoidTools’ Everything. The program’s smart use of the NTFS Master File Table (MFT) means you’ll see matching files almost as fast as you can type.

There are competing tools around, though. And the latest, Hddb (Hard Disk Database) is particularly interesting, as it claims to address and fix some Everything problems. Is it worth your time? We took a look.

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PlainEdit.NET -- A Notepad replacement for technical users

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PlainEdit.NET is a free portable Notepad replacement with some interesting and unusual extras.

The core feature set is familiar enough. A tabbed interface allows you to open multiple documents, and there’s support for opening ANSI, UTF-8, Unicode and Unicode big-endian files, with Windows, Mac and Unix line breaks.

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