Mike Williams

Batch image processor ImBatch gets new transparency tools


Powerful batch image processor ImBatch has reached version 4.90 with the addition of some handy transparency tools. A new Stroke feature outlines your image with transparency, using a customizable width and color.

ImBatch can now replace transparency with a white color when saving to an image which doesn’t support transparency (PNG > JPG, say).

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Reduce Memory is a tiny RAM optimizer


Would you like a faster PC? One standard tip is to run a memory optimizer, which supposedly cleans, tunes and defragments your RAM, fixes memory leaks and more. Most of these claims are utter garbage, but the technology may help a little in a few situations, and Reduce Memory offers a quick and easy way to try this out for yourself.

The program is very simple. There’s no installation, no adware, no interface, no extra startup or system tray program -- it’s just a tiny executable which you run as necessary.

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View and edit music file tags with AudioShell


AudioShell is a Windows Explorer extension which enables viewing and editing of ID3 and other tags. You may be able to do some of this already, depending on your Windows version and other software you might have installed, but AudioShell takes the idea further in several ways.

The first benefit is additional support for many more formats, covering both audio and some video formats.

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Run DOS programs on Windows with MS-DOS Player


Windows hasn’t been able to run old DOS programs for a very long time. Double-click and you’re simply told "this app can’t run on your PC". MS-DOS Player for Win32-x64 is a tiny DOS emulator which enables running simple commands and programs (not full games) with the absolute minimum of hassle.

MS-DOS Player arrives with 8 binaries, each one emulating a separate processor and supporting 32, 64 or both types of Windows. If you don’t know which you need, just head straight for the i86_x86 folder where you’ll find a single msdos.exe file.

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Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac released


Paragon Software Group has shipped Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac ($39.95), the first OS X version of its popular Windows backup and partition management suite. A powerful backup module protects all or selected partitions, Windows or OS X, while sector-level imaging and an incremental backup option ensures maximum performance.

Backup images may be mounted as virtual drives for easy browsing and recovery of selected files, or you can restore everything from the program, or via a bootable USB key or external disk.

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ScanFS is a speedy PC file finder


ScanFS is interesting desktop search tool, easy to use but with some unexpected extras. The program starts much like any other search app. Enter a file mask, a starting folder, click Enter to view the results: simple.

Your searches can be extended by entering multiple file masks (*.mp3;*.flac), and filtering the results by size ("more than" x, "less than" y), or created and modified dates.

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Build, record and broadcast presentations with CyberLink PresenterLink+


CyberLink has unveiled the first public beta of CyberLink PresenterLink+, a simple tool for building presentations, running them locally, or broadcasting via common video conferencing services. The program is stripped back and extremely easy to use. Import one or more PowerPoint decks (if PowerPoint is installed locally) or images, rearrange as needed, and you can be ready to go within minutes.

Presentation tools allow annotating slides, quickly jumping to other slides out of sequence, sharing and annotating your desktop, adding your webcam as a PiP overlay, and switching to a projector or another monitor.

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Shotcut is a versatile open-source video editor


Shotcut is a powerful open-source video editor for Windows, Linux and Mac. It’s quirky in places, not always easy to use, but spend a while learning the basics and you’ll find an array of high-end features to explore.

The program uses the popular FFmpeg to import source files, which means there’s no need to worry about format support: it’ll open just about every video variant that’s ever existed.

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Newsprompt displays breaking news on Chrome’s new tab page


Newsprompt is a free Chrome extension which finds, sorts and displays 50+ of the latest news stories on your new tab page. The add-on scans 1,000+ top websites covering broad and niche categories, uses smart algorithms to remove any duplicates, and presents you with the results: a picture, headline, source and date per story.

Just skimming through the recent results will get you up-to-date in seconds. Click anything interesting and the source article opens in new tab.

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Explore deep space with Aladin


Aladin is an interactive sky atlas enabling users to visualize and explore a host of astronomical images and data. Or, if that sounds too complicated, you could just use it to look at gorgeous pictures of deep space. Which works for us.

As long as you have Java, there’s no setup required. Aladin is a single executable, and you can just download it and run on Windows, Linux and Mac.

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Typora is a distraction-free markdown editor


Typora is a minimalist markdown editor for Windows and Mac. Markdown is a simple language which uses plain text formatting to create rich text documents, but you don’t need to understand any of that to get started.

Typora opens much like any other editor. Start typing and you can style text, copy and paste, find and replace, undo, open, print, save and more, with all the keyboard shortcuts you know already.

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Cut your animated GIF file sizes with GIF Optimizer


If you’ve ever tried creating animated GIFs, you’ll have noticed that they can get very large, especially when using complex sources like TV footage. That’s no great surprise -- the format was designed for simple animations, not full color video -- but GIF Optimizer Free may help you shrink your file sizes.

Setup is easy, because there’s no installation required -- just unzip the download and run gifoptimizer.exe.

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Auto-close unused Firefox tabs with Dustman


You can resize Firefox tabs, group them, send them to another window, but it won’t make any difference: there’s never quite enough tab space to go around. Dustman is a free Firefox extension which helps out by automatically closing tabs which haven’t been used in the last 20 minutes.

That could be potentially risky, but as with the similar Tab Wrangler for Chrome, the developer has used several tricks to reduce the chance of problems.

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Manage virtual CD, DVD, HD-DVD or BD drives with ImgDrive


ImgDrive is a free tool which can mount multiple disc images as virtual CD, DVD, HD-DVD or BD drives. The program works with iso, ccd, cue, isz, mds and nrg images.

Everything is controlled from the program’s system tray icon. This opens with a single drive letter, and you’re able to mount a new image, then access it in Explorer just like any other disc. If the single drive letter isn’t enough, another system tray menu option reserves up to 7.

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Image to PDF or XPS is a portable PDF creator


Image to PDF or XPS is a compact tool which imports multiple image formats, saving the results to PDF or XPS files. Supported source formats include BMP, GIF, PNG, TIF, WMF, EMF, XPS, JPG, JP2 and J2K files.

Your chosen images may be imported via an "Add Files" button, or you can just drag and drop them onto the program window.

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