Nick Peers

Opera Next 21 sports hardware-accelerated Aura shell, promises more responsive UI

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Opera has moved version 21 of its web browser for Windows and Mac from the Developer (alpha) stream to the Next (beta) stream with the release of Opera Next 21. Most of the changes are system ones, designed to improve performance, but some other interesting tweaks have been implemented.

The move to the Next stream is part of the browser’s rapid-release development cycle, which brought Opera into line with rival browsers Chrome and Firefox.

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DiskAid speeds up device cloning, improves backup and restore options

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DigiDNA has released DiskAid 6.6, a new build of its tool for converting spare storage on an iOS device into an external hard drive for wireless or USB access from a Windows or Mac computer.

Version 6.6 speeds up cloning one device to others, improves support for restoring device backups and allows users to manually add or remove contacts on the iPhone via USB.

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VirtualBox squashes major bugs, adds experimental native full-screen support to OS X

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Oracle has released VirtualBox 4.3.10, a maintenance update to its cross-platform, partly open-source virtualization tool. Although primarily a series of bug fixes, there is one new feature of note for OS X users.

That feature is experimental support for the native full-screen mode as implemented in Mountain Lion and Mavericks -- press the defined host key plus [F] to toggle this on or off, or use the View menu. This new feature is accompanied by the removal of another: the mini-toolbar minimize button that doesn’t work in full screen view.

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AIDA64 adds support for upcoming Windows 8.1 Update, debuts new graphics benchmark

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Budapest software firm FinalWire Ltd has released AIDA64 Extreme Edition 4.30 and AIDA64 Business Edition 4.30. The latest builds of its diagnostic and benchmarking tool introduce a new graphics benchmark for measuring the SHA-1 hashing performance of modern chips and cards, plus adds support for the latest technologies.

AIDA64 4.30 also introduces support for the forthcoming Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Server 2012 Update 1 releases. It also optimizes and fixes three modules: ACPI query, tree enumeration and temperature measurement.

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CCleaner improves Opera browser support, Registry cleaning

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Piriform has issued the latest monthly update to its Windows cleaning tool with the release of CCleaner 4.12 and CCleaner Portable 4.12. After the excitement of last month’s release, version 4.12 is a more sedate affair.

Chief among its new features is wider support for the new Blink-based version of Opera, which joins various other tweaks, improvements and fixes.

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MobileFamilyTree for iPhone and iPad sports new user interface, AirPlay support

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Synium Software has released a major update to its Apple mobile family history app with the release of MobileFamilyTree 7.1. Aside from gaining an iOS 7-inspired facelift, the app also adds AirPlay video support, rebuilds the interactive tree from scratch and includes a number of other major and minor tweaks and improvements.

Despite the major changes, the app remains free to all existing users, while new users can take advantage of a special 50 percent off promotion and purchase the app for $6.99 before March 31st.

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iTranslate provides translation services for Windows 8 and RT devices

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Sonico GmbH has launched a Windows App version of its translation software with the release of iTranslate 1.1 for Windows RT and 8. The app follows the recent release of iTranslate Voice 2 on the iPad and iPhone.

As the name implies, iTranslate doesn't come with any support for translating phrases spoken into the microphone; instead users, must type their word or phrase into the box, and then wait for the app to translate it.

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Now is the time to get your lifetime Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO license (before it’s too late)

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It’s no secret that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware -- MBAM to its friends -- is a fast, effective and very popular Windows security tool, designed to work in tandem with your existing security software to offer a second -- and often more accurate -- opinion over whether your PC has been infected or not.

The free version offers basic, on-demand scanning and removal, but upgrade to the PRO version and you can safely run it in real-time alongside your existing security tool without performance penalty or conflict, maximizing your security even further.

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Recuva adds support for non-GUID drives, Linux file systems

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Piriform Software has released Recuva 1.51 and Recuva Portable 1.51, new versions of its popular Windows freeware data-recovery tool.

Version 1.51 widens its file system support to cover Linux-formatted volumes, plus makes it possible to recover data from drives with no partition table data. It also includes numerous improvements and optimizations.

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Blender debuts new features, improved performance and better UI

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Non-profit organization The Blender Foundation has released Blender 2.70, a major new release of its cross-platform, open-source 3D graphics tool. Version 2.70, also available in 64-bit and portableform on Windows, adds new features and begins a revamp of its user interface.

There’s initial support for volumetrics in Cycles, plus faster rendering of hair and textures. Also improved are the Motion Tracker, mesh modelling and game engine tools.

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Avast 2014 update 3 released, concentrates on stability and compatibility improvements

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Avast Software has released the third update to its Avast 2014 range of products. Avast Free Antivirus 2014, Internet Security 2014 and Premier Security 2014 all get updated to build number 9.0.2016.

Again, there are no new features in this release, but the compatibility and stability improvements, as well as internal architecture changes, make it an essential update.

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Firefox 29 Beta debuts Australis UI, improved sync function

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After another underwhelming update in the form of the disappointing Firefox 28.0 FINAL, Mozilla looks likely to have something to shout about with the release of Firefox 29.0 Beta 1.

Although not due to be officially unveiled until tomorrow, we’ve installed the latest version and checked it out to see what new features could be making their debut in the next stable build, and the early signs suggest Firefox 29 could be a landmark release.

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Firefox 28 launches, but lacks notable features after Mozilla drops Metro version at 11th hour

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Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 28.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for Android 28.0 also due for release shortly.

The most notable feature in version 28 is a missing one, with Mozilla pulling the planned Firefox for Metro release for Windows 8/RT shortly before shipping. The end result is an underwhelming desktop update overshadowed by the new Android release.

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WinPatrol adds Safe Update, Restore Deleted Files features

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BillP Studios has updated its snapshot-based security tool for Windows with the release of WinPatrol 30.5.2014. The new incremental release comes with two major new features, plus an upgrade discount for XP users as End of Life approaches.

Version 2014 also continues to tweak the positioning of dialog boxes and their components in response to user feedback, and has switched font to MS Shell Dig.

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Facebook for Android improves photo support, group admin tools

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Facebook has unveiled a major update to its Android app with the release of Facebook for Android 7.0. The latest version concentrates on improving photo management for users, and also gives group administrators more control from within the app itself.

For the first time, users can now include photos when posting comments using the Android app -- it’s an overdue update, as the feature has been present on the web since June 2013 and first appeared in Facebook for iOS five months ago.

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