Mike Williams

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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Auslogics unveils Driver Updater

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Australian utilities developer Auslogics has released Driver Updater, a commercial tool which can update all your PC drivers with a click.

If you’ve tried anything similar, the program’s core abilities won’t surprise you. Launch a scan and any outdated drivers are quickly listed, along with the dates and times of the latest version. You’re then able to update all your drivers, or just a select few.

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View, edit and manage RAW images with Photo Browser

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RAW image formats may have been around for a very long time (Adobe’s DNG is 10 years old this month), but they’re still not widely supported. Most graphics software handles one or two file types at best, or ignores them entirely.

Photo Browser is a little more ambitious. Once a commercial product, now freeware, this capable image viewer supports the popular RAW file types DNG, CRW, CR2, RAW, NEF, PEF, RAF, SRF, SR2 and ARW files, as well as the usual JPG/ GIF/ PNG/ TIFF and others.

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Open Broadcaster Software shares your desktop with the world

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You’ve taken some great new photos, finished your best-ever presentation, achieved total mastery of some major game -- whatever the reason, it’s now time to share your talents with the world.

If your needs are simple then you could take a few screenshots. Run a screen capture tool. Send a few emails. And maybe that’ll be enough.

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OutlookStatView delivers detailed reports on your Outlook accounts

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Use Outlook for a while and it’s all too easy to let the messages pile up. Soon your inbox is a bloated mess, too large to tackle easily, and so you just try to ignore everything older than the last week or so.

NirSoft’s OutlookStatView helps out by drilling down into your accounts and producing some detailed reports. Who’s sending you the most emails? The bulkiest attachments? How many messages are you handling each hour, day, week, month, year? It’s all just a click or two away.

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System Mechanic 14: An excellent PC maintenance suite, packed with capable features [Review]

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Keeping your PC running smoothly can be a complicated, time-consuming business. There are so many important issues to consider that even expert users can struggle to monitor them all.

Iolo’s System Mechanic 14 claims it can help by cleaning up your system, optimizing settings, and then running in the background, fixing problems as soon as they appear. This isn’t just marketing spin, either, as over the years the suite has built up a very impressive feature list. There are tools to clean and defragment your hard drive, repair the Registry, find and fix system problems, tune your internet connection, even optimize running processes in real time.

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Run and test batch files with Shell Runner

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Running a batch file in Windows can be as easy as a double-click, and if the script is simple then the command window might open, run your file and disappear again in a fraction of a second.

Of course, if your script has a problem then this might be an issue, as error messages will pop up and vanish before you have time to notice anything at all.

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Quickly search 50-plus torrent sites with Bit Che

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Finding a particular torrent isn't always easy, and you might have to visit several search engines before you spot the one you need.

Bit Che is a free PC program which offers an interesting alternative, quickly running searches on 50-plus torrent sites in a single operation.

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Enjoy crisper, cleaner videos with SmoothVideo Project

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Trying out a new video player might get you a better interface, wider format support, more tools and extras. But the core video quality will be essentially the same, just a faithful rendering of your source footage.

SmoothVideo Project (SVP) goes a step further by using frame interpolation to perhaps double your video frame rate, delivering noticeably smoother, crisper pictures.

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WordPress 4.0 adds content previews, expanding editor

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WordPress.org has launched WordPress 4.0, named “Benny” in honor of the “King of Swing” Benny Goodman.

The new release doesn’t stand out in quite the way that Goodman did -- WordPress.org plays it down, in fact, saying “4.0 is just another number for us after 3.9 and before 4.1″ -- but there are still some worthwhile new features here.

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Access 500-plus file hosting services with File & Image Uploader

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Finding a new file hosting site sounds easy in theory -- there’s certainly no shortage of options -- but it  can take some thought. Just tracking down key details like the maximum file size or how long files are kept often takes longer than you expect.

All this research is important if you're hosting mission-critical work documents, of course, or anything similarly important: you need to be sure you’re making the right choices.

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Troubleshoot network problems with NetAdapter Repair All in One

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If your network isn’t running smoothly then Windows provides a lengthy list of tools which might be able to help. Unfortunately you’ll need to find them, first, and they’re so scattered around -- a console application here, a deeply nested Control Panel dialog there -- that even experts might find that takes a while.

NetAdapter Repair All in One tries to simplify this by providing easy access to a stack of network details and functions from a single straightforward interface.

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