Mike Williams

Create, convert, encrypt, annotate, and watermark PDFs with PDF-Pro

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If you need to work with PDFs then you’ve probably built up a whole library of tools to help out: a viewer, a creator, maybe a conversion tool, something else to split or merge files, and the list goes on.

EPapyrus PDF-Pro tries to replace all of these -- and a whole lot more -- with a single free (for personal use, $49 otherwise) package.

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Synfig Studio's 2D animation suite hits version 1.0

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After more than 18 months of intense development, open source 2D animation tool Synfig Studio has at last hit version 1.0.

The release brings a pile of professional features, including a complete bone system with automatic shape deformation, a new cutout tool, a dynamics converter with automatic friction effects, a bitmap painting engine, initial support for bitmap frame-by-frame animation, and more.

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Find the best Wi-Fi networks around the world with wiMAN

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Restaurants, malls, trains, hotels: it can feel as though Wi-Fi is everywhere these days. Until you’re traveling, when you can still spend an age trying to find a network, only to find it’s password-protected or the local winner of Slowest Wi-Fi 2015.

WiMAN is a free Wi-Fi manager for Android and iOS which can display a map of all your local Wi-Fi networks, along with estimates of distance (x minutes by foot/ car), and flagging them as "verified" (another wiMAN user has connected), "authentication provided" (another user has connected but you need a user name/ password) or "not verified" (no-one has connected yet).

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NovaBACKUP 17 brings installation assistance, phone and email tech support

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NovaStor has announced the release of its industrial-strength backup solution for Windows, NovaBACKUP 17 (priced from $49.95 for PCs, $349.95 for servers).

The update sees NovaStor’s remote installation service "Setup Assistance" included with the sale of every server product: a 30-minute online appointment with a product technician who will remotely install NovaBACKUP, configure it and schedule a first backup job for you.

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Create quality HTML prototypes with Pingendo

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Pingendo is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG application for prototyping web pages. It uses Twitter’s Bootstrap as a base, and responsive web design support ensures your sites will adapt to fit phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

Getting started is as easy as dragging and dropping. Organize your layout; add lists, tables or forms; add some text, maybe a few images (single pictures, thumbnails, a carousel), and insert media objects including YouTube videos and Google Maps.

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Outlook for Android comes out of preview

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Microsoft has dropped the "preview" tag from its free Outlook for Android app, following a host of recent updates and improvements.

The interface has received a colorful revamp, and been redesigned to better follow Android design principles. The app now supports IMAP accounts, as well as Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.

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Stream video torrents instantly(ish) with Ace Stream Media

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Ace Stream Media is an easier way to play video and audio torrents. You don’t need a separate client, or have to wait for the file to be downloaded before it can be played -- the program’s various tools will stream .torrents directly, no other software or waiting around required.

The easiest way to do this is via the bundled Ace Player HD. It’s a fork of VLC Media Player 2.0.5, so a little out of date, but what you’re gaining is the ability to open a .torrent. We tried this, there was around a 30 second pause while the player made its connections, downloaded and buffered the first part of the video, then it started to play, just as though it was a local file.

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Mem Reduct: a memory cleaner which isn't rubbish

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Let’s be frank: most memory cleaners are garbage. They’ll lure you in with bogus claims about fixing memory leaks, dazzle you with flashy interfaces and colorful graphs, yet usually make no difference at all to system performance (or even slow you down) because they’re doing something Windows does as required, all on its own.

If you still think they might help you anyway, there are a few more honest and capable tools you can try, and Mem Reduct is a great example.

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Sysinternals announces Sysmon 3.0, Autoruns 13.3, Regjump 1.1, Process Monitor 3.11

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Microsoft Sysinternals has just announced its round of updates for April, this time including updates for Sysmon, Autoruns, Regjump and Process Monitor.

Background monitor Sysmon 3.0 now reports remote thread creation events, perhaps improving the chance of detecting code injection attempts. Process names have been added to process terminate events, and filters are more flexible and easier to use.

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Create HTML family trees with Genealogica Grafica

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Genealogica Grafica is a Windows shareware application which creates various family tree charts and reports from GEDCOM files, saving them as HTML files ready for sharing on your own website.

If the program name sounds familiar, that’s no great surprise -- the first release appeared way back in 2006. But after a long pause, development seems to have resumed again, with support for Unicode and (partially) stylesheets. We downloaded the latest release to see how it looked.

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PopTrayU is a very configurable email notifier

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As email notifiers go, PopTrayU might seem a little old-fashioned. There’s no flashy interface, no specific support for webmail accounts, and the project’s SourceForge page takes care to highlight its "Vista/Win 7 compatibility fixes", maybe not something to boast about in 2015.

But if you forget the first impressions, look a little deeper, you’ll find it’s a great way to see alerts about new emails in your POP3 and IMAP4 accounts.

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Reflector 2 adds Android mirroring, Google Cast support

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Squirrels has announced Reflector 2.0 with new support for mirroring connections from Google Cast-enabled Chromebooks and Android devices.

As before, the program can mirror iPads and iPhones to Windows or Mac, and users are able to connect both iOS and Android devices simultaneously.

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Keep an eye on your network with EasyNetMonitor

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We’ve always liked tiny single-executable utilities, the type you’ll find at NirSoft and Sysinternals. The developers don’t waste time with gimmicks, massive icons or interface themes: they just concentrate on the core functions you need to get the job done.

So it is with EasyNetMonitor, a free tool for monitoring the availability of network and web hosts. While not up to NirSoft standards, it crams a lot of functionality into its very compact file.

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CyberLink PowerDVD 15 is smarter, smoother, even more powerful

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CyberLink has launched CyberLink PowerDVD 15, a worthwhile update of its do-everything media player for Windows Vista and later.

CyberLink’s playback-improving TrueTheater technologies are smarter than ever. TrueTheater Color enhances hue and vibrancy but leaves skin tones alone, while TrueTheater Sound amplifies vocal range audio for crisper, clearer speech.

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Adware-avoider Unchecky acquired by Reason Software

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Reason Software, developer of herdProtect and Should I remove it?, has acquired RaMMicHaeL’s smart adware-blocking Unchecky.

The program is an innovative free tool which monitors software installations, looks out for bundled adware, and automatically clears their checkboxes to ensure they’re not installed by default.

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