Mike Williams

Play Maths Scrabble with Scrabble3D

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Scrabble is a classic word game, every bit as engrossing today as when it first appeared back in 1938.

That’s our view, anyway. But if you’re tired of the regular game, would like to mix it up a little, then you might be interested in the open source Scrabble3D.

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SHAREit promises easy Wi-Fi file sharing for PCs, iOS, Android

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If you’d like to share files between devices then you could connect them to the same network, but this can be tricky to set up, especially with devices of different types.

Lenovo’s SHAREit is a simpler solution which enables PCs, iOS, Android and Windows Phone users to share files locally over Wi-Fi, no network hassles involved at all.

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Track website availability and content with Site Monitoring

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Site Monitoring is a Java-based tool which provides various ways to monitor websites and their content.

Launch the program and it opens a page in your default browser. The interface is a little basic, but conveniently it comes with a couple of example site checks to help you figure out how everything works.

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Chrome Remote Desktop now available for iOS

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Google has released an iOS version of its Chrome Remote Desktop extension.

The new release means you can now remotely access and control your computers from PCs, Macs, Linux, iOS and Android devices, even Chromebooks.

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NirSoft releases PC forensics tool ExecutedProgramsList

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Utilities developer NirSoft has announced the release of ExecutedProgramsList, a portable PC forensics tool which lists programs and batch files previously launched on a PC.

For every program, ExecutedProgramsList displays the .exe file name, product name, version, description, and -- sometimes -- when it was last executed.

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BlueLife Hosts Editor: a one-stop HOSTS file manager

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The HOSTS file is an important element in most networks, a simple structure which maps host names to custom IP addresses.

HOSTS can be used to block ads, or prevent access to certain sites. It’s occasionally used by viruses to redirect web access from legitimate sites to somewhere more malicious. Windows doesn’t make it easy to view or control any of this, but fortunately the free BlueLife Hosts Editor provides just about everything you’ll need.

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AOMEI PXE Boot Free: boot PCs from an image on your network

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If your PC won’t start then you might try to recover the situation by booting from some other recovery environment: your Windows DVD, an antivirus disc, backup tool, whatever it might be.

If you can’t find that disc -- or maybe your computer doesn’t have a working disc drive -- then you can alternatively boot from an ISO image held on another computer, with a little help from AOMEI’s new PXE Boot Free.

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Capture email, web, FTP logins with Password Sniffer Console

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Set up an email, web or FTP account in any internet software and it’ll probably store your login details, ensuring you won’t have to remember them in future.

You’ll still need your user name and password at some point, though, if only to reinstall your software or enter your details elsewhere.

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Automatically update Windows device drivers with DriveTheLife

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Keeping your Windows software up-to-date is almost always a good idea, bringing new features, perhaps improving security and fixing bugs.

The benefits of updating your device drivers aren’t quite as clear-cut: it may be worthwhile, but if the new driver is buggy -- or you just make a mistake during the update process -- then you could seriously mess up your PC. It can still be worth checking for updates, though, especially if you’re currently having any hardware-related problems, and DriveTheLife is a free tool which automates the process for you.

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Protect your Firefox settings with Preferences Monitor

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Firefox is an excellent browser, and its configurability is a major plus. If you don’t like some aspect of the program then there’s probably a tweak which can help.

Keeping your preferred settings can be more of a challenge, though, especially if an extension changes one or more of them without asking. Preferences Monitor is a Firefox addon which can help by monitoring all your about:config changes, warning you of any that seem dubious, and allowing you to undo them with a click.

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FORCEdraft: a text editor which won’t let you quit…

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Twitter, Facebook, emails, eBay -- any web-enabled PC has a pile of distractions to prevent you doing real work.

FORCEdraft is a free text editor which offers an unusually strict solution: it just won’t let you access any other programs until you’ve finished the job.

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Anvi AD Blocker Ultimate now free

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Anvisoft has released Anvi AD Blocker Ultimate 3.2, the latest edition of its web adblocker, and announced that the product is now free.

It didn’t look that way when we installed the program, unfortunately, as a web page opened post-setup inviting us to buy it.

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Cut video file sizes in half with IFME

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HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding, aka H.265) is an amazing video standard which is just as good as its name suggests, routinely producing videos half the size of their H.264 equivalents.

It’s becoming more widely supported, too: the iPhone 6 can use it for FaceTime, Android Lollipop and Windows 10 handle it out of the box, some major applications (CyberLink’s PowerDVD, for example) added support last year.

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Textarea Cache: save web form text as you type (Firefox)

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It’s happened to us all. You’ve spent an age at a website, deep in thought, working on a lengthy forum post or similar wall of text, when the browser window closes unexpectedly -- and you’ve lost everything.

You could get angry, maybe throw things, before calming down and starting again. But it might be better to install Textarea Cache, a free Firefox addon which saves the contents of text fields locally, as you type, and makes them ready for recovery in seconds.

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Launch and close multiple apps on demand with Splat

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Preparing your PC for work -- or play -- often requires several steps. You might launch a word processor, a spreadsheet, database, maybe a couple of websites, for instance. Or perhaps you’ll free up system resources by closing all non-essential programs before running a game.

None of this takes very long, but it’s tedious. Especially if you’re repeating the same steps, time and time again, each and every day. And that’s why you might want to simplify the process with Skwire Empire’s latest freeware release, Splat ( Simple Program Launching and Termination).

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