Mike Williams

Video Thumbnails Maker 9.0 adds animated video contact sheets

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SUU Design’s Video Thumbnails Maker 9.0 has shipped with new support for creating animated video thumbnail sheets. You’re able to choose which thumbnail is animated, and the duration of the animation (2-10 seconds).

The finished results may be saved as WebM or APNG, and a scaled-down version should be embedded here.

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ORPALIS PDF Reducer cuts document sizes by up to 80 percent

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ORPALIS PDF Reducer is an effective tool for optimizing PDF documents, reducing their size by up to 80 percent.

Unlike some of the competition, the program doesn’t just cut your document DPI: it applies multiple techniques to deliver the best results. This starts by checking individual PDF objects. Any which aren’t used are stripped out of the file, and you can optionally remove other items you may not need: annotations, bookmarks, embedded files and more.

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CyberLink PowerDVD 16 debuts TV Mode, media casting

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CyberLink has released PowerDVD 16, the latest edition of its do-everything media player.

New media casting support for ChromeCast, Roku and Apple TV enables streaming audio, video and pictures around your home, with PowerDVD automatically converting files to a format each device can understand.

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Take a low-level look at your PC desktop with Window Inspector

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Binary Fortress Software has released Window Inspector, a free tool for examining the low-level details of any application window.

Move your mouse cursor over any window and a detailed display lists its class, text, icons, owning process, command line, Style and StyleEX flags, and more.

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Record everything launched on a PC with Process Logger Service

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Process Logger Service is a Windows service which logs every process launched on your PC. It’s a useful tool that can help answer a range of questions. Like, did the email you open launched something? What did that installer do? When was a particular program last run? And more.

The service must be set up manually. It’s not a difficult process, but does involve a little more work than we expected.

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Stream torrents before they’re fully downloaded with WebTorrent Desktop

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There’s nothing new about the idea of streaming torrents before they’ve finished downloading, but WebTorrent Desktop does a better job than most of making that happen.

It’s open source, and installs on Windows, Linux or Mac with minimal hassle. No adware, no browser extensions, no complicated options to consider: just run the installer and it’s finished within seconds.

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Eagle Mode: not your average file manager

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Tired of Windows Explorer? There are alternatives around, but most use a very similar core interface with a few extras bolted on.

Eagle Mode is more imaginative. There’s no folder tree, no file pane, in fact it doesn’t look much like a file manager at all. Until you begin to explore…

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IObit ships Smart Defrag 5

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IObit has shipped Smart Defrag 5, a major update of its freeware disk optimizer. A new defrag engine supports multi-threading for maximum performance.

New defrag types allow users to focus on large files only, or to consolidate free disk space. If you’re unsure which defrag type to use, IOBit’s Smart Defrag/Optimize Technology will intelligently select if for you.

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Add style to your photos with ON1 Effects Free

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ON1 Effects Free 10 is a collection of professional photo filters and effects which can be used stand-alone, and as Photoshop or Lightroom plugins.

Beginners can use the package much like other apps. Open an image, choose a preset -- Cinematic, Color Grading, Haze Reduction, more -- and just click a thumbnail to apply that effect.

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Ashampoo releases Photo Optimizer 2016, Backup 2016

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Berlin-based developer Ashampoo has released two free programs: Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 2016, and Ashampoo Backup 2016.

Photo Optimizer 2016 is a stripped down version of the company’s commercial photo fixing tool, Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 6. The program can automatically optimize a folder of photos with a click, or you can use manual tools to crop, resize, rotate, sharpen, blur or straighten an image, tweak brightness, contrast or colors, add watermarks and more.

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Get the lowdown on your PCs storage devices with Diskovery

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Bvckup 2 developer Pipemetrics has released the first beta of Diskovery, a free system information tool which reveals all about your PC’s storage devices.

It’s a familiar idea, but Diskovery stands out for its thoroughness, using multiple technologies to discover and talk to drives.

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Turn your PC into a wifi hotspot with NirSoft’s HostedNetworkStarter

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NirSoft has released HostedNetworkStarter, a free tool which turns your wifi-enabled PC or laptop into a wireless hotspot.

There's no installation required, no network drivers or anything else involved: the program is just a simple front-end for the standard Windows wifi hosted network feature.

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Adjust PDF brightness, contrast and gamma with YACReader

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Text-based PDFs are generally easy to read, with high contrast, crisp fonts, and a zoom tool if you need to check the small print.

PDFs of scanned images can be very different, especially if they’re old documents, maybe handwritten, and have faded over the years.

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Investigate your PC’s RAM use with ATM

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ATM is a portable tool which gives an in-depth, low-level look at your PC's system memory use.

Forget the usual Task Manager clones, this is more about memory standby lists, the system file cache, Superfetch performance, page file effectiveness, even (on Windows 10) memory compression.

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Find, install and update popular PC software with RuckZuck

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Migrating to a new PC can be a lengthy and tedious business, especially if you have to manually find, download and install all the programs you had on your old system. RuckZuck is an open source package manager which helps you manage the process in a few clicks.

The program is portable, and surprisingly small -- a single 176KB executable -- although that’s partly because it uses PowerShell 4 to do most of the work.

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