Nick Peers

Plex Media Player is now free to all users

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Non-Plex Pass holders rejoice -- Plex has made its desktop-friendly media player app for Windows and Mac completely free with the release of Plex Media Player 1.2.

Version 1.2 also introduces a major new feature -- when the app is run in windowed mode, it defaults to the web interface, allowing users to manage their server(s) remotely.

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Touché 1.0 extends Touch Bar functionality to any modern Mac -- for free

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Apple’s Touch Bar is a major new selling point for its latest generation of MacBooks, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase one to find out what it’s all about. Touché 1.0 is a new freeware tool that places a virtual Touch Bar on the desktop of any Mac running the very latest version of MacOS Sierra (10.12.1 v2 or later).

This isn’t an emulator, but a virtual copy of the Touch Bar itself, identical in every way to the hardware-based bar found on the latest MacBooks.

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Vivaldi embraces IoT with support for Philips Hue lights, adds multiple tab selection

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Vivaldi Technologies -- led by Opera co-founder Jon S von Tetzchner -- has released Vivaldi 1.5, the latest version of its customizable web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.

The big talking point in version 1.5 is Vivaldi’s integration into the Philips Hue IoT ecosystem, but the new release also adds a number of more universal features, such as support for tab drag and drop, which makes tab stacking much simpler than before.

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Firefox Focus for iOS promises to tighten privacy while browsing

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Mozilla has unveiled Firefox Focus 2.0, a brand new privacy conscious web browser for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Despite the version number, this is the first public release of the app.

The app aims to counteract two increasingly prevalent trends in web browsing: one, a lack of privacy, as users find their web activities tracking across multiple devices, and two, an increasingly cluttered web space where adverts jostle for attention and overwhelm basic content.

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Mozilla Firefox 50 trims start-up times, widens download protection

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Mozilla has released Firefox 50.0 for Windows, Mac and Linux, with Firefox for Android 50.0 due imminently. For the second release in a row it’s launched a week late, but this time the reason behind the pause is different.

The extra week gave Firefox 50 time to unveil its headline new feature: significant start-up improvements, achieved through an overhaul of the application’s add-on SDK module system. Elsewhere download protection covers a wider range of executable files, plus Firefox 50 introduces a smattering of useful usability improvements.

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Gmail for iOS unveils Material Design-inspired look, allows users to unsend email

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Google has unveiled a major new version of its iPhone and iPad email app with the release of Gmail 5.0.3. The major highlight of this new build is a complete redesign to more closely match its web and Android interfaces.

Gmail 5.0.3 also comes with a handful of new features, including instant search, an option to unsend mail and swipe-to-archive functionality.

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RealVNC rebrands as VNC Connect 6.0, switches to subscription-based model

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RealVNC Ltd has unveiled RealVNC VNC Connect 6.0, the newly rebadged and updated version of its VNC server and client package for Windows, Mac and Linux.

There’s a shift from a perpetual license keys to a subscription-based model, plus a large number of new features, including cloud connections, team-based remote access and sharing, and support for improving remote access.

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WinZip 21 adds direct email support, makes individual file sharing easier

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Fresh off the production line comes WinZip 21, a major new release of perhaps the best-known zip utility in the world. Version 21 introduces a number of new features and improvements, including more cloud connections (Pro only), enhanced MP3 file compression and streamlined sharing.

The update builds on WinZip 20, which introduced a new ribbon-based user interface. Version 21 continues to expand its flexibility with additional file and folder interactions.

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Opera 41 slashes start times, improves newsreader feature

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Opera Software has released Opera 41 for Windows, Mac and Linux, making reduced start times its major priority. The headline new feature is accompanied by a number of other performance improvements.

Opera 41 also includes a majorly revamped personalized newsreader, containing a wide list of tweaks and enhancements to give users some extra features to play with on top of the under-the-hood updates.

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Foxit Reader 8.1 adds Box integration, improves annotation features

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Foxit Software has released Foxit Reader 8.1, a point update of its Windows PDF viewer and creator. Version 8.1 widens the app’s cloud integration with two new services, including an extension of Foxit’s recently launched ConnectedPDF online document management tool.

Elsewhere, the new release also improves annotation workflow and collaboration, plus adds JavaScript form submission support.

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WebSite X5 Evolution 13 adds parallax scrolling support, 64-bit edition to boost performance

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Incomedia has released major new versions of its wizard-driven web-building tool with the launch of WebSite X5 Evolution 13.0. Website X5 Evolution is accompanied by both higher (Professional) and lower (Start) packages.

Version 13.0 adds support for parallax scrolling, includes new features like a Sticky menu and promises up to 50 per cent better performance thanks to a new 64-bit build.

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Postbox 5 adds dynamic content support, anti-tracking features

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Postbox, Inc has released Postbox 5.0, a major update to its Windows and Mac email client. Version 5 showcases a new look with high-DPI support in Windows, plus adds dynamic data support to responses and templates.

Other highlights include a new anti-tracking feature, Quick Post tool, new per-image scaling tool to help keep message sizes down, and global filters. There’s also 25 professionally designed email signatures and 70 business templates.

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Opera 40 unveils free VPN to secure web browsing, improves battery saver

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Opera 40 has been released, bringing an easy, convenient VPN feature to the masses. It’s also reworked the battery saver tool, which was introduced in Opera 38, and adds RSS feeds to personal news.

The VPN server allows users to browse the web securely through an encrypted, tunneled connection on any network (including insecure Wi-Fi open hotspots). It also makes it possible to spoof the user’s location, giving them access to otherwise geo-locked content.

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Delayed Firefox 49 finally makes its bow, decommissions Firefox Hello

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Mozilla has finally released Firefox 49 FINAL for Windows, Mac and Linux. The release has been held back a week due to the need to fix two 'blocker' bugs. The bugs -- which concerned loading Giphly embeds in Twitter, and slow scripts and unresponsive script dialogs when resuming Firefox -- have now been resolved.

Firefox 49 sees the new 'e10' multi-process architecture roll out to more users, plus improves Reader Mode with a new Narrate feature. Fans of the Firefox Hello chat tool will, however, be disappointed to learn that the feature has been decommissioned.

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Vivaldi introduces scheduled themes and individually sized Web panels

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Vivaldi Technologies has unveiled Vivaldi 1.4 FINAL and Vivaldi 1.4 FINAL 64-bit, a major update to its web browser aimed at those wanting maximum control over their browser’s look and functionality. Vivaldi is developed by a team led by Opera co-founder Jon S von Tetzchner, and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Version 1.4’s headline new feature is support for scheduled themes, which builds on the recent introduction of customizable themes. Other notable changes include greater flexibility over Web panels, and a single-click option for reversing an accidentally closed tab.

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