Email remains one of the most popular forms of communication in the world, currently fending off the unwanted attentions of Twitter, Facebook and Skype after effortlessly swatting away the threat of SMS and the printed letter. Yet we’re increasingly happy to entrust our email to the cloud, accessing through a web browser whenever we want to stay in touch.
Whether or not your email is with a cloud-based provider like Gmail or Hotmail, there’s always room for a decent email client. And if you want something that’s simple, elegant and feature-packed, we suggest you take a closer look at eM Client 5.0.
I used to think my iPod touch was the bee’s knees when it came to digital music players. Exposure to true audiophile-friendly models from the likes of Cowon and Colorfly, coupled with listening to FLAC tracks on my budget Sony Xperia phone taught me better, and for a while I was incredibly frustrated with the shortcomings of Apple’s supposedly market-leading player.
I’ve since discovered that most of that frustration can be targeted at the frankly rubbish Music app that ships with iOS. And now I’m ready to embrace decent sounding music on my iPod touch thanks to a fabulous app called Accudio Free 1.0.0.
Microsoft has released Skype for Desktop 6.5 Beta, a new preview version for Windows users. The new release is notable for introducing support for Skype Video Messaging to Windows, a feature that allows users to send pre-recorded video messages to other Skype users when offline. The feature has already landed inSkype for Mac, Skype for iOS and Skype for Android.
The new video calling feature allows users to record video messages that can be sent to other contacts, even when they’re not online, and requires that Adobe Flash already be present on the computer.
There are plenty of ways you can spruce up your Windows desktop, but if you’d like to inject some useful functionality into it with the help of customisable information panes and interactive widgets, then you shouldn’t look much further than Rainmeter 2.5. The open-source skinning tool isn’t for novices, but spend a bit of time with it and you’ll soon find your desktop is as functional as it’s attractive to look at.
One of Rainmeter’s weaknesses is the quality of the text displayed, particularly at smaller sizes. That’s about to be rectified however, and you can see how they’re getting on by installing the latest pre-release in the form of Rainmeter 3.0 Beta.
One way to gain loads of free online storage space is to mix and match storage providers, taking advantage of each to quickly build up tens of gigabytes of cloud-based storage for backup, sync and sharing purposes. The downside of such an approach is the fact you need to manage each provider using its own dedicated app.
Nowhere is this frustration more evident than when using a tablet or phone to access your data, as you have to switch between apps to try and locate where you’ve stored a particular file. But help may be hand in the form of an app for Windows 8, iPad and Android calledRainbowDrive 2.0.0 that attempts to bring multiple providers together under one roof.
Cloud-based storage provider SpiderOak has released SpiderOak 5.0.1, a brand new version of its desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux. The chief highlight of version 5 is a new feature called SpiderOak Hive, a new centralized folder for quick and easy sync between devices.
Version 5.0.1 also implements integration in Windows Explorer, support for passwords in ShareRooms and remote diagnostic tools to help SpiderOak’s support teams resolve issues with end users.
Piriform has released CCleaner 4.01 and CCleaner Portable 4.01, a minor update to its popular Windows freeware system cleaning tool. Version 4.01 is the first release since version 4.0 split users into free and paid-for camps by restricting product features to Pro license holders only.
Most of version 4.01’s tweaks are available to both free and paid-for users, and revolve around improving existing tools and adding cleaning support to several new applications.
Stardock Software has released ModernMix 1.05, the first major update to its paid-for Windows 8 tool for running full-screen apps in their own window within the confines of the Windows 8 desktop.
Version 1.05 adds background sound support for apps such as Netflix that don’t explicitly support it, meaning users don’t need to focus on the window in order to hear that app’s audio output. The new feature is joined by a preference that allows this support to be switched off if it’s not wanted.
One of the big advantages of cloud storage is that most services make it easy to use themselves as a tool for effortless syncing of data between computers. Update a file on one device, and it quickly becomes available to everyone else.
The problem with syncing via the cloud is that you usually have to pay for any meaningful amount of storage space, and that’s before you consider the potential implications of having a copy of your sensitive data stored in the cloud. However tight your cloud provider’s security is, there is always the nagging doubt that your files could be accessed by someone else.
BurnAware 6.2 adds two new features to its roster: the first allows users to set individual priorities for any file or folder in the Compilation window -- simply right-click the item in question and select Properties. The default setting is Very Low, but can be cranked incrementally all the way up to Very High via the Priority dropdown menu.
The time has come to move on to a new PC, but before jettisoning your old computer, you need to make sure you’re ready for the big move. That means two key things: getting your data, programs and settings migrated across to your new computer, and making sure there’s nothing sensitive or incriminating left on your old PC before you dispose of it.
Thankfully, both tasks can be made simple with the help of two or three superb tools, all of which are heavily discounted in the Downloadcrew Software Store this month. Step forward Laplink PCmover Professional 8, O&O SafeErase Professional 6 and for those looking to migrate to Windows 8, O&O Migration Kit for Windows 8.
jAlbum AB is released a new version of its cross-platform web media album builder for Windows, Mac and Linux. jAlbum 11.2 builds on version 11’s added support for embedding video clips as well as photos into web albums.
Version 11.2 allows users to include video without first processing it, adds play button for better identification and includes numerous bug fixes. It’s the third minor update to jAlbum in just 10 days, following on from builds 11.1 and 11.15.
IObit has released Advanced SystemCare Free 6.2.0, a minor update to its freeware system optimization and maintenance tool. The program, which can be upgraded to a Pro version with enhanced malware protection, deeper cleansing and automatic optimization, offers PC users a wide range of tools for maintaining, cleaning, optimizing and securing their computer.
Version 6.2 is a minor maintenance release that promises improvements across many of the program’s individual components. It also promises better compatibility with Windows 8.
MyHeritage Ltd has released Family Tree Builder 7.0, a major new version of its free Windows app for recording, managing and sharing a family tree. Version 7’s major new features tighten its links with the MyHeritage.com website by introducing two-way sync and providing access to the billions of historic records held at the website, some free, but most requiring a subscription.
Version 7.0 also implements full Unicode support, tweaks the user interface and extends language support to four additional countries in the Mid and Far East.
Piriform has released Defraggler 2.14.705 and Defraggler Portable 2.14.705, a minor, but noteworthy, update of its freeware defragging tool that allows users to both defrag entire drives and individual files.
Version 2.14 adds support for UDF file systems, plus allows users to defrag their drive’s free space on a schedule while also improving its search tools and navigation.