Mike Williams

Cyotek Gif Animator adds sprite sheet creator, WebP support

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Cyotek has announced the release of Gif Animator 0.0.3.0, an updated beta of its ultra-configurable GIF creator.

The program can now export any or all of your animation frames as a sprite sheet, with your choice of columns, rows, margins, spacing and more (there’s WebP format support, too).

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CyberLink PowerDirector 13 Ultimate: The best consumer video editor around [Review]

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CyberLink PowerDirector has long been one of the most powerful consumer video editors around, packed with functionality, yet still remaining very usable for just about every level of user.

PowerDirector 13 doesn’t bring any radical changes, and the core of the package remains much as before. Import your source files -- images, audio or video, even PowerPoint presentations -- and arrange them on the 100 track timeline. Apply effects and transitions by dragging and dropping, then preview and tweak each one as required.

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Norton Security 2015 now available

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Symantec has announced the first full release of Norton Security ($79.99) and Norton Security with Backup ($89.99), its one-stop replacement for Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360.

The most obvious change is the revamped interface. It’s recognizably Norton -- if greener than usual -- with its many functions neatly organized under Security, Identity, Backup and Performance tabs.

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TEncoder 4.4 adds DVD ripper

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Versatile video converter/ downloader/ editor TEncoder has expanded its range even further with the addition of a DVD ripper.

Point the program at your disc video folder (\VIDEO_TS, probably), and you’re able to choose the title, start and end chapters, audio and subtitle track you’d like to rip.

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Plane9 is a fun music visualizer and screensaver

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Most big-name audio players come with a few visualizations to liven up playback. Right-click inside Windows Media Player, click Visualizations, and you can have it display swirling clouds, spectrum-type bars, psychedelic ripples and space flight effects, amongst others.

These aren’t always great quality, though. There may not be much choice, and smaller audio players often don’t have a visualizer at all. But if you like the core idea, you can always improve the situation by installing the free Plane9.

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Grabilla 1.23 adds scrolling window captures

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All-in-one free screengrab tool Grabilla has been updated to version 1.23 with the ability to capture scrolling windows.

This is ideal if you need to capture a long web page or other document. There’s no need to take and edit multiple grabs, as the program should handle everything for you.

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epCheck: track your favourite TV shows from the Windows desktop

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The easiest way to track your favorite TV shows is usually to download a suitable app, or maybe sign up at a website. There are a huge number of options, and the only real challenge is finding out which one is best for you.

But what if you’d like a solution that works offline? One that doesn’t involve opening yet another account somewhere, and runs happily on the Windows desktop? Then you need to check out epCheck.

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Nero 2015: it’s all about the iOS/ Android extras

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Nero has announced the launch of Nero 2015 Classic and Nero 2015 Platinum, a very mobile device-oriented update for its flagship digital media suites.

Nero MediaHome now streams files directly to all Android and ("coming soon") iOS devices (as well as TVs and media players) over wifi, automatically transcoding media along the way for immediate compatibility.

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B1 File Manager adds streaming support

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Popular Android app B1 File Manager has been upgraded to 0.8.7 with the addition of cloud streaming support.

As previously, the app can access Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box and 4Shared accounts, as well as connecting via FTP, SFTP or SMB.

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F-Secure SAFE 2015 protects desktops, tablets and phones

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F-Secure has released F-Secure SAFE 2015, a multi-platform security suite which protects Windows and Mac desktops, and Windows 8, Android and iOS mobile devices.

Desktop protection concentrates on the core essentials, with antivirus, browsing and banking protection, simple parental controls and a spam filter. As previously, the Windows client uses Windows’ own firewall.

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CyberLink unveils Director Suite 3, including PowerDirector 13 and PhotoDirector 6

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CyberLink has announced the release of PowerDirector 13 (from $79.99), PhotoDirector 6ColorDirector 3 and AudioDirector 5($129.99), all available individually or as a part of the new Director Suite 3 ($299.99).

PowerDirector 13 highlights include a new Transition Designer, which enables you to create your own custom transition from any image.

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FileOptimizer 7.0 beta adds lossless FLAC compression

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Javier Gutiérrez Chamorro has released the first public beta of his one-stop lossless compression tool, FileOptimizer 7.0.

The major new feature is support for optimizing FLAC files. Our first tests suggest this is going to take a long time (minutes per file) and achieve maybe 2 or 3 percent savings, but it’s still a welcome addition to the package.

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ChrisPC Free Anonymous Proxy adds more proxies, improves speeds

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ChrisPC has released the latest edition of its free-for-personal-use online privacy tool, ChrisPC Free Anonymous Proxy 5.50.

The upgrade seems to have concentrated on the fundamentals, now extending the anonymous proxy list to 1,000+ from more than 50 countries.

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Andy runs Android on your Mac, Windows 7 and 8 desktop

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Almost three years on from its first release, BlueStacks is probably still the easiest way to run Android apps on your Windows desktop. But it also has issues: performance can be a problem, and you don’t get full control over your virtual device.

Andy is a new contender which takes a different approach, running an Android image with VirtualBox. It can be much more awkward to configure, but performance is great, and every aspect of the system can be tweaked to suit your needs.

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RichEdit is a surprising WordPad replacement

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If you need a free editor for Windows then checking out a few Notepad replacements is a good place to start: EverEditTotalEdit ProfessionalFXiTE are just a few we’ve covered in the past.

But if plain text editing isn’t enough then you might be interested in RichEdit, a portable WordPad replacement which supports both plain and rich text files.

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