Smartphones make it very easy to capture documents or notes -- just point your camera, and tap -- but the results aren’t always good, and may require some work later.
CyberLink YouSnap - Camera Scan to PDF is an Android app which can take photos of documents, screens, whiteboard presentations and more, automatically squaring them up, optimizing image quality, and saving the results as a JPEG or PDF.
Animated GIFs may be the most dated and inefficient form of animation around, but they can still be useful. In particular, you can use them almost anywhere, no need for a special movie player, and they’ll be viewable on almost any device.
As we saw in January, GifCam is an excellent general purpose tool that can record any desktop activity as an animated GIF. But if you’re looking to create your GIF from a video, then you might prefer QGifer, which can usually extract the footage you need in just a few seconds.
If you're wondering how other people might be using your PC then there are plenty of free system forensics tools to point you in the right direction. TurnedOnTimesView lists when a PC has been started and closed down, for instance; UserAssistView shows which programs are being launched, while BrowsingHistoryView reports on recent web activities.
If you’re interested in this kind of application then you could download each one, run various tests, research the competition, and gradually build up your own forensic toolkit. Alternatively, you could just download Win-UFO, which combines around 100 popular freeware PC forensics and system information tools into a single portable package.
With even budget PCs now including at least 4GB RAM, application memory usage isn' the issue it used to be. But if you're using an underpowered computer -- or a program with a memory leak -- then you could still run short of RAM, drastically cutting your system performance.
Process Piglet is a simple tool which monitors the memory use of running processes. New programs are tracked for 30 seconds to access their average requirements, and you'll then be alerted if that application starts to consume significantly more RAM.
Translation services from Google, Bing and others mean it's now very easy to translate plain text, and there are a host of apps and browser extensions available to simplify the process further. Translating text embedded in an image requires a little more work, but Screen Translator is an open source tool which may be able to help.
Installation is trickier than it should be, thanks to a setup program which lists some options in English, others in Cyrillic. It's not the most impressive start, but choose to install everything (which is safe, there's no adware here) and setup proceeds with no other problems.
The Windows desktop is a great place to work, when you're running two or three programs. Launch 10, 20, maybe 30, and life becomes rather more difficult. Application windows are everywhere, taskbar buttons become tiny, even Alt+Tab becomes awkward to use.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. Install ScreenTabs and the program will equip your system with two extra virtual desktops, giving you three in total. Each one gives you a fresh start -- an empty taskbar, no visible application windows -- and switching between them is as easy as clicking a tab on the left side of your screen.
Browse just about any Windows tips site and you’ll find tutorials on how to customize various Explorer right-click menus. Adding the ability to open the command prompt at a particular folder is a particular favorite; shutting down your system from the desktop right-click menu is another.
Applying this kind of tweak usually requires nothing more than a few quick Registry edits, but if you’re in a hurry then you might prefer to use Easy Context Menu. It’s a compact portable tool which makes it simple to apply 20+ common right-click tweaks, as well as adding a few small extras of its own.
Whether you need to know what a particular installation program is doing to your system, or you’re just wondering why your hard drive is busy all the time, being able to track disk activity can be very useful. It’s surprisingly easy, too, as Free Folder Monitor demonstrates.
There’s a selection of adware to avoid during installation, but get past that and Free Folder Monitor starts to work immediately, displaying current system drive activity as it happens. A table lists the date and time of the event, its type (Add, Modify, Rename or Remove), the file name, size and attributes.
There’s a lot of presentation software around, but the free SlideDog attracted our attention immediately with its claims of wide file format support. The program doesn’t just sequence images, the website boasts: you can also use videos, PowerPoint files, web pages, PDFs, Prezi presentations, and more.
While this sounds great, all isn’t quite as it seems. On installation, SlideDog points out that it doesn’t handle these file types itself, and instead depends on you having suitable viewers available (VLC Media Player for movies, PowerPoint or the PowerPoint viewer for PPT/ PPTX files, and so on).
Deciding which browser extensions are trustworthy has always been an uncertain business. If an add-on is highly rated, with plenty of users, then it should be safe… But as the recent issues over Chrome extensions showed, with popular add-ons being purchased and tweaked to push adverts, there are no guarantees.
Extension Defender is a new service which helps by cataloging malicious Chrome and Firefox extensions. This can be searched manually, but it's probably simpler to install the Chrome or Firefox extension, which can check and protect your system automatically.
SingularLabs has updated its optimization tool System Ninjato version 3.0 with the addition of a paid-for Pro version.
Both the free and Pro versions benefit from faster and more efficient junk scanning. In addition, the Startup Manager now uses an internal blacklist to highlight startup programs which should be removed.
Computers may be everywhere these days, but computer programming is still often seen in a very stereotypical way: it’s complicated, strictly for geeks only, not something of much use to anyone else.
The reality is very different. Anyone can learn the fundamentals of programming. It’s great for developing problem-solving skills, or just helping you understand how other applications work. And it’s really not that difficult, especially if you start with a simple language like the open source BASIC-256.
At first glance DriveInfo looks like another very ordinary system monitoring gadget, this time listing every drive on your system, with its free and total space. Not exactly impressive, especially as it didn’t even get all these figures right for us (a 3TB network drive was reported as -1346.80GB).
It seems the developer has realized that users need more from their gadgets, though, and in response he’s equipped DriveInfo with a host of additional features and tools.
Boris Eyrich Software has updated its popular paint tool Artweaver to version 4.5.
The new build improves integration with ArtweaverTeam.com, the companion site where several Artweaver users can collaborate on projects. The Uploader plugin is now installed by default, making it easier to get started, while team status messages are more clearly displayed on a separate status bar.
Installing a reliable antivirus package is a key part of maintaining your PC’s security, but there’s more you can do. It’s just as important to ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest software patches, blocking security vulnerabilities before malware can exploit them.
SecPod Saner is a free tool which can help automate this process by scanning applications, highlighting missing security patches, and even downloading and installing them for you.