Mike Williams

Auto-close unused Firefox tabs with Dustman

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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

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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

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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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Tor Browser 6.0 arrives

TorProject

The Tor Browser team has announced the first stable release of Tor Browser 6.0. This edition adds code-signing for OS X, which should allow Mac users to install Tor without any Gatekeeper hassles.

The core Firefox build has been updated to Firefox 45-ESR, and there are similar updates for OpenSSL, HTTPS-Everywhere, Torbutton and more.

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Calendar and Countdown: quick and easy task countdowns for Chrome

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Calendar and Countdown is a free Chrome extension with some handy calendar and task management features. Click C&C’s address bar icon and a full year calendar appears, along with week numbers and links to view different years.

If you’ve some major event coming up, click that date and give it a text description and color code. The color code is visible on the calendar, and hovering your mouse over that date displays the text, as a reminder.

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Grover Podcast is a smart podcast manager for Windows 10

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You’re running Windows 10, enjoy browsing podcasts, but really don’t want to install the bulky iTunes? Grover Podcast is a free, easy-to-use Windows 10 app which covers all the podcast basics -- and more -- and just might have everything you need.

The app opens in a "My Podcasts" area, initially empty, but it doesn’t have to stay that way for long. In a click or two you can be entering feed URLs, or maybe importing an OPML file if you’re already managing podcasts elsewhere.

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KOPLAYER is an Android emulator for Windows

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KOPLAYER is a free Android emulator which allows mobile gaming on your PC’s desktop. It’s a bulky 300MB download -- VirtualBox and an Android image, mostly -- but installs easily enough, and within a minute or two your virtual Android device appears.

KOPLAYER opens with a quick tutorial, explaining some of its basics. We would have liked more detail, but even this level of documentation is more than you get with some of the competition.

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Squeaky Mouse plays WAVs when you click mouse buttons

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Squeaky Mouse is a quirky Windows application which plays custom WAV files when you click specific mouse buttons. This could be useful audio feedback for anyone who can’t clearly see the mouse, perhaps because they’re visually impaired, or they’re some distance away, perhaps watching an in-person software demonstration.

Or you could just use it to really, really, really annoy someone.

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Stop data leaks with GiliSoft USB Lock

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Networks, Internet, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, CD, DVD, Blu-ray -- modern PCs make it easy to exchange files with the outside world. Sounds great. Unless you’re running a business, perhaps managing several PCs, each packed with confidential files which you don’t want copied or shared without permission.

GiliSoft USB Lock ($39.95 right now for a lifetime license, $49.95 normally) provides a range of ways to lock down your PC, and limit unauthorized data leakage.

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Cryptomator: free client-side encryption for your cloud files

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Keeping your data in the cloud offers some protection against disaster, but also brings privacy issues: could anyone else access your files?

Cryptomator provides transparent, client-side encryption to keep your data safe, and allows access on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS (a $4.99 commercial app), and via Java (Android is "coming soon").

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Take full control of your PC’s sleep modes with Stand-Bye!

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Stand-Bye! is a free tool which suspends your PC when it’s idle, saving energy and extending battery life. This starts much like Windows, with a simple "activate standby after x minutes idle time" setting. Simple.

What’s more interesting is that Stand-Bye! gives you complete control over how "idle time" is defined.

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Listary 5.0 is a massive update

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The powerful search tool/ launcher Listary has hit version 5.0 with a huge list of major new features. You can now use Listary to run searches on your favorite websites, with the results opening in a new browser page.

A smarter launcher is able to launch Windows 8/ 10 apps, and run desktop applications as an administrator, even when Listary is launched normally.

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Xara releases Xara Photo and Graphic Designer 365

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Xara has released Xara Photo and Graphic Designer 365 ($69.99 release offer, $89.99 afterwards), a major update of its photo editing and desktop publishing tool.

A redesigned photo frame enables easier resizing, rotating, straightening, panning and clipping an image, just by using control handles within the frame itself. No separate dialog boxes, no browsing the menus or toolbars, your attention stays 100% focused on the page.

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Three software testing tools you didn't know you needed

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Some software is easy to test. Downloaded a new editor? Open a few supported file types, check they’re displayed correctly, rework them, create documents from scratch: simple. System utilities are more of a challenge. Can your PC optimizer really handle a memory leak? Or an application using too many resources? And is your file unlocker really up to the job?

This kind of low-level testing is hard to carry out on your own, but there are a few specialist tools which can help, if you’re careful.

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View, edit and process CSV files with CSV Buddy

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CSV sounds like it should be a simple file format. Every data field separated by a comma, one record per line -- what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, unfortunately. Fields might be separated by other characters, use different encapsulators ("string markers"), include line breaks, not include a header, have some custom encoding, and more.

CSV Buddy is a free tool which opens just about any CSV file, and allows you to alter its header, separator, encapsulator and encoding, as well as edit individual records, and generally view, sort, filter and browse your data.

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