Mike Williams

Reor is a quirky desktop calculator

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Launch Windows desktop calculator Reor for the first time and it’s tempting to think: is that it? The tiny interface really is stripped back, with little more than a numeric keypad, four operators and an equals button.

But wait. There’s more. And clicking on the Menu button reveals all.

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Terrify your friends with Windows Error Message Creator

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You're busy working on your PC. Everything seems fine. But then, without warning, an error message tells you that some irreplaceable files have been lost forever.

It's horrible. A nightmare. But if you're the twisted type then you can now bring this experience to your friends, with a little help from Windows Error Message Creator (WEMC).

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IObit Game Assistant 3 adds game 'Boost'

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IObit has launched IObit Game Assistant 3, a major update for its simple game launcher/ monitor/ manager.

The program automatically recognizes more than 4,000 games, and its launcher can now -- at last -- organize them into categories. As before, you’re free to add local or web-based games as required.

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Uncover website problems with Darcy SEO Checker

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Search engine optimization software is usually all about keywords, helping you find what’s going to work for you, and optimizing your content and site structure to deliver better search engine rankings.

Despite its name, Darcy SEO Checker doesn’t bother with any of that, instead spidering across your site to check for HTTP error codes, URL issues, description and title problems, and more.

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Xara Web Designer 11 debuts online editing

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Xara Group has unveiled the latest generation of its WYSIWYG website builders, Web Designer 11 ($49.99) and Web Designer Premium 11 ($99.99).

Both editions include a beta of cloud.xara, which allows Xara sites to be viewed, edited and updated from a browser on any device.

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Nektra SpyStudio goes freeware

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Nektra Advanced Computing has announced that its system monitoring tool SpyStudio 32-bit/ 64-bit is now free for both personal and commercial use.

An essential download for geeks everywhere, SpyStudio reveals a host of low-level details on what a process is really doing: the files and Registry keys it’s accessing, the windows it creates, COM objects instanced, API calls made, and more.

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Control your PC by spoken commands with VoiceBot

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Binary Fortress has launched VoiceBot, a macro manager for Windows Vista+ which allows you to control games and other applications with spoken commands.

At its simplest, you might have VoiceBot recognize the word "New", then issue the command Alt+F > N. Quick, easy, and works almost everywhere.

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Microsoft launches Office for Android preview

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Microsoft has launched a preview of Office for Android smartphones. Pre-release versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available for phones running Android 4.4 or later.

Functionality looks much the same as the previous tablet-oriented releases, with support for creating and opening the same documents you’re using now, and the ability to save files to OneDrive (+ For Business), Dropbox and SharePoint. While you won’t need an Office 365 subscription this time, getting hold of the apps still takes a little work. You must first sign up to the official Microsoft Office for Android community, then wait for up to four hours for your tester’s permissions to be replicated before you can download.

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Panda Global Protection 2016 beta now available

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Panda Security has announced the first public beta of Panda Global Protection 2016, a revamp of its comprehensive all-round security suite.

The new release provides enhanced Wi-Fi protection, detecting and alerting you to potential vulnerabilities. An extended PC Tuneup module frees up hard drive space, cleans the Registry and gives control over your Windows startup programs.

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Process Hacker gains new features

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Fabulous PC monitoring tools Process Hacker and Process Hacker Portable have been updated to version 2.35 with some welcome extras and enhancements.

One major addition is support for viewing the load time and load reasons for process modules, on Windows 8 and above. If a long-running process like Explorer.exe is developing problems, you can now sort its modules by load time to get clues about the cause.

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View hundreds of retro graphics formats with RECOIL

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Viewing images is easy these days. No matter which platform you’re on, or what application you’re running, just about everyone uses the same standard formats, and these can typically be displayed on your device’s native viewer, with no need to install anything else.

In the early days of computing, 30+ years ago, it was different. There was no JPG, no PNG, so companies like Atari and Commodore had their own graphic formats. Even these weren’t fixed, with new variations all the time, which makes it very difficult if you’d like to view any of them on a modern computer.

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EncFSMP: a real cross-platform encryption tool

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Encrypting your most confidential files can be very easy, at least with the right application. Create a container; choose a password; drag, drop, done.

Sharing those containers is often more difficult, especially if the recipient needs to install a copy of your original encryption tool, and it’s not available for their platform.

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Ashampoo WinOptimizer 12 gains Windows 10 support

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German developer Ashampoo has announced the release of Ashampoo WinOptimizer 12 ($49.99), its hugely comprehensive all-in-one PC maintenance toolkit.

Extended drive and internet cleaners work to free up more hard drive space. They can optimize multiple user accounts in a single operation, too -- no need to log into each account individually.

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Extract, convert and process your PDFs with PDF MultiTool

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"PDF MultiTool" sounds like it’s going to be yet another PDF toolkit: the usual set of basic functions, none of which work very well, which only exists at all because the developer hopes you'll install its assorted toolbars.

But no: this really is different. There's no adware here, no toolbars or similar irritations, and the feature list includes plenty of interesting extras which you'll rarely find elsewhere.

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Access folder contents instantly with Wincmder Shellex

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If your desktop is cluttered then you could create a few folders to hold shortcuts, important files, whatever you access regularly. That works, but it’s less convenient: you’re forced to open a folder to view the contents, then close it when you’re done.

Install Wincmder Shellex and just right-clicking a folder displays a menu listing its contents (shift+clicking gets you the previous context menu). Choose a shortcut or file and it launches as usual, no need to open the folder at all.

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